Sunday, January 24, 2010

Black Humor We Love


There is a website that has a twist on Motivational Posters. Ken found it a couple of years ago. Now that I have a Blog, I wanted to share it with all of you! Beautiful images with tongue-in-cheek messages. Check it out for yourself. Click on "Posters" at the top!

It's Always Something ...

I have a confession to make. It takes us forever to get out of the house to shoot a distant cat show. There is always something unexpected that throws a wrench into our exquisitely planned-to-the-minute (and unrealistically optomistic) schedule of things to do before we can leave home. And since we essentially BUILD our shooting table and studio at the cat show, there is a lot to do.

Once, it was our Black British Shorthair, Nox, whom we could not find (counting kitty noses, you know) before we set the alarm and closed the front door. We looked all over the house. With a flashlight -- he was nowhere. Finally, I resorted to opening all the doors in the house ... cabinet doors, linen closet doors, you name it. We found him .. asleep in one of the kitchen cabinets which had a spring hinge that closed the cabinet door after him. Nox was a happy camper but we were over an hour behind schedule.

Another incident was my notebook computer. Two days we worked on it, right before leaving to drive cross country to a show, to get it to burn a CD, but it refused. Finally, we bought another after putting the recalcitrant offender into the shop for repair.

Today was another example of events conspiring to set us behind. One event was a new Lenovo notebook computer we got as a show computer to be able to handle the load of images from the new Canon EOS 5D Mark II at the show. Ken spent two days downloading applications, checking to see they worked, and trying out all peripherals. Then he couldn't burn a CD. Spent more time talking to Tech Support. Nada. End result: Shipped back to Lenovo for repair. The first Tech Support person told us to get a CD from Fry's and reload the operating system. Ha!

The second event has nothing to do with electronics. Winter is the time of year that squirrels in our part of the country are looking to find a nice warm place to sleep or have babies. Our attic must be a 5-star hotel in that respect, as we've had squirrels in our attic before. If they didn't chew the electrical wiring, conduct Santa Anita races above our heads, and urinate in the insulation, I wouldn't mind sharing the space. But they do. And they have. Our cats are the "tell" -- when they start looking up at the ceiling, I know we have a problem.

We have 2 "Have a Heart" traps which are set in our attic. This morning, all feline heads were pointed toward the ceiling in our bedroom. Ken and I looked at each other, knowing what that meant. Two hours out of our schedule, down the drain -- not even creating something new like a display of our photos for cat shows -- but rescuing a frightened squirrel who only wanted a warm place to sleep ... ur, and race around and possibly raise a family. Sigh. So we began.

Move the photo table in the studio which obstructs the stairs to the attic. Get gloves to handle the cage. Clear out the car for the re-homing squirrel trip and line it with newspaper just in case Mr. Squirrel was kind enough not to empty his bladder in our insulation. Move the cats to the front of the house just in case they decided to try to climb a ladder to the attic in their old age. (The Maine Coons are very adventurous.) Did I mention that going into the attic makes Ken's skin crawl? It freaks him out. He's so tall that the roofing nails scrape his head and with no floor, he has to pick his way carefully. Not a pleasant experience even without a squirrel trapped. But we didn't have a choice. You can't leave a squirrel trapped in a cage. So Ken bit the bullet. The squirrel was pretty quiet during the physical transportation process from the attic to the studio but once he and Ken were out the front door, he smelled "freedom." This made him kind of crazy until he was put in the car. A new experience, scary but not painful. We drove him to a large park with lots of squirrels, trees, and a large duck pond about three miles from home.

I should have brought my camera for the "release" but I was too worried about Mr. Squirrel and his feelings to even think about it. Once Ken opened the trap, the squirrel ran straight for a stand of trees about half a football field away.

Happy Squirrel. Happy Flicks. Now, late Flicks.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cats on Glass

This piece of art glass by Joan Baker Designs was my Christmas present from Ken. It measures 10.5 inches by 37.5 inches and is framed in metal with a chain for hanging. It's called "Whimsical Cats" !

Ken got it for me from Darlene's store, Cats Unlimited, here in Bedford, Texas. You might have seen Darlene at cat shows around the country, selling quality cat paraphenalia. When a cat show is over, both we and Darlene have much to do to get packed up and loaded into our vehicles. This is a process that takes us all several hours so it's either Darlene out last or Ken and me. Ken and I kinda judge our progress by Darlene's progress. :)

If you want to see some of these items in person at Cats Unlimited in Bedford, I have contact information in another post:

Neither Ken nor I decorate our house with cat things so this piece is the exception to the rule. We prefer the cats themselves to be what catches our eye ... but this piece of art is like a stained glass window with four colorful heavy-lidded cats in various poses. As I sit at my email computer in my studio (I have my image computer in another room entirely), I can look out onto our "patio" area below this piece of glass and see the squirrels and cardinals, woodpeckers, doves and little chickadees eating black oil sunflower seeds and wild bird seed. So it's perfect: adds color to the room but doesn't obscure my peeking out at the wildlife.

Here is a long shot of what the piece looks like in the studio. You can see the chain at the top. You can also see Quin, our Black Smoke Maine Coon, napping on the sheepskin covering a footstool below the stained glass and a tiny bit of Zak, our Blue and White Maine Coon is napping on my desk in the foreground at right. Sky, our Blue British Shorthair is part of my desktop screen saver so the only one not present is Nox, our Black British Shorthair, who prefers sleeping in the living room or atop my dressing area.

The pyramid shaped orange thing in the middle of the photo is the top part of a salt lamp that Sassia and Rick Hollenberg gave us when we stayed with them after doing a CFA Show in Phoenix some years ago. It looks like a "whatzit" (read: what is that?) floating on top of my monitor but it actually is sitting on top of my PC tower computer located behind my monitor, constantly emitting an aura of ... what exactly was that supposed to do, Sassia? Good luck? Productivity enhancements? Anyway, whatever it does, I like it and feel good about it!

I am pleased with the placement of the stained glass. I can see it every day, it's not intrusive but makes me smile when I see the light shining through, and we don't use these doors anyway.

A wonderful gift of humorous graphic cats that brightens my day.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Coat Colors, Backgrounds and an Oriental Shorthair

Oyate Charleston Harbor "Charlie," 7 month old Cinnamon Oriental Shorthair Male,
photographed on our New Green Felt background.
Breeder: Cindy Crenshaw/R Fulkerson; Owner: Paula Mortimore.
Oyate Charleston Harbor "Charlie," 7 mo old Cinnamon Oriental Shorthair Male,
photographed on our Magenta background.
Breeder: Cindy Crenshaw/R Fulkerson; Owner: Paula Mortimore.

We photographed Charlie at TICA's 2009 Southeast Regional Awards Banquet and Cat Show, held in Raleigh, North Carolina. I believe that Charlie is the first Solid Cinnamon shorthair I've ever photographed. There is such a richness to his coat color that I had to post his photo. His owner, Paula, gave me carte blanche with background colors so I first chose Magenta. I thought it would bring out the green of his eyes and be a dynamite swirl of colors with hot pink, dark orange of his coat and the eye color. I told Paula it would be a bit outre' but sweetheart that she is, she agreed.

Charlie, on the other hand, was spooked on Saturday and didn't want to sit up or stand for the sitting. Paula was disappointed, and I was, too. On Sunday, Paula came over before the show started and told me Charlie was so much better, playing in the hotel room and at ease in the showhall, could we shoot him again? We did, but using a new green background we were bringing out for the first time at this show. The green is a more traditional background for this coat color.

So here you can see, above, the difference in the look of the cat on two different backgrounds. At the top is our New Green Felt and below that is our Magenta. But whatever background a cat is shot against, the important thing is that the cat is comfortable, trusting and having a good time -- that's what makes a good photo shoot. These are two of the 22 images I submitted yesterday for consideration to Cat Fancy for the Oriental Shorthair. This breed profile will be published in May of 2010. Hopefully, I will get an image or two published.

Backgrounds for Charlie: at top - New Green Felt; below - Magenta