Catography: Photographing My Feline Friends
Photographing cats is something I find both challenging and rewarding. It’s always interesting to see how they respond to me taking pictures, especially of them. The hardest part for me seems to be getting enough light on the subjects. These are house cats, and they can move very fast when they want to, making longer shutter speeds difficult. Why not just use a higher ISO? Well, with my camera, anything much past 800 or sometimes even 400 can cause noise. Hopefully, newer models will improve on that. Flash? At first, that seemed like the answer, so I did some flash photography with Jenny. She hated it. She blinked, ran, and squinted. I can’t do that to my cat. So now I use available light.
I started doing available light with longer shutter speeds and a shorter focal length lens. I also used the afore mentioned higher ISO. The cats were more calm and natural in their poses, but grain and some slight motion blur were evident on closer examination. Below one of my earlier available light photos of Jenny. She’s having fun playing with her fishy.
To reduce these problems, I decided to photograph the cats while they were sleepy (so they would be still) and use a tripod. I set the tripod up out in the open where they could sniff it and get used to it for a couple of days. I got Precious (the striped cat) to look at the camera by calling her name and taping my fingers together by the camera lens. Cat toys also work. Precious is a bit more shy of the camera for some reason. Jenny is more accustomed to being photographed, but due to her experience with flash photography, she always squints for the first couple of shots. Because Jen has demonstrated her ability to understand spoken English, I usually verbally assure her that I will not use flash. After that, she can get very curious about what exactly I’m doing. Sure, I take pictures all the time, but why am I pointing the camera at her? And why did I move that three-legged thing she likes to sit under? Fortunately, it is in her nature to sit and stare at me when she’s curious, so I get some cute shots.
Below are some of my more recent cat pictures.