ARCHIVE 591 – FARM CAT

 

 


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Cat beside the road at Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral V2 profile; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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TALKING IMAGES 55 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY: 1 – THE MAIN MANTRA

 


(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

INTRO

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly.

And so – there can be no question where to start ->>>>>  its the Main Mantra!

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THE MAIN MANTRA

When thinking about photography, THE main (and very liberating) thing to keep in mind is that we are all different in our attitudes and opinions to it.  We are all individuals.  This does of course apply to probably anything that you like to mention – we all may have different opinions about cheese, the clothes we choose to wear, the houses we like to live in, the books we read, those we choose as partners, those we hate – you name it!

This being the case, there are never any rights or wrongs in photography, there are only differences of opinion.  I may think my photos are wonderful, and someone else may think them dreadful.  Photography is a very subjective activity, it depends upon our personal opinions – and that is something I’ll touch on more in later posts.

And so to Stuffed Shirts.

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STUFFED SHIRTS

How YOU choose to approach photography, how you take your photographs, is entirely YOUR choice. And so, if you never take anything else away from these posts, never, ever, let anyone else – any Stuffed Shirt –  tell you that you are not a “proper” photographer because you do not do something which he or she thinks “proper” photographers should do.  We’ve all heard it – that we must/ must not use a particular make of camera; or NOT use a mobile phone; or always/never work in black and white; or always/never use a tripod;  or always/never use our camera on manual settings; or always/never use certain processing software; or only photograph in the blue and golden hours; or always/never obey the photographic “rules” >>> on and on and on >>> ad nauseam!

LOL! >>> David Noton, a photographer that I certainly admire, once said, in print, something at once both hugely important and really quite rude – “ignore all the bo**ocks, get out there and expose.  Take your camera for a walk. Use your eyes.“.  Very simple, very blunt and hugely relevant.

And so to one way forward.

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ONE WAY FORWARD

Take photographs, and then look at them and think if you like them and are satisfied with them.  If you are NOT satisfied with them, try to think – to articulate/explain to yourself – why this is so >>>>> and then learn from that.

By all means look at other photographers’ pictures and try to learn from them – what is there in them that you would like to see in your pictures?  But note that simply copying others’ photographs – e.g. by simply standing on the same spot as they did to photograph Stonehenge – is unlikely to bring lasting satisfaction or expertise.

But there are many resources to help you, e.g. looking at images in museums, art galleries and books, and on the internet; joining tours and workshops led by expert photographers (see for example the link to David Noton, above); joining a camera club; reading photographic magazines; searching for info on the internet, including youtube; watching the (relatively few) photography programs on TV, etc.  Generally speaking, the more images that you can see, the more you will add to the “photographic library” – the visual experience – within your mind.  And do keep in mind that these can be images in all media – photographs, paintings, pencil/charcoal drawings, computer-generated graphics, advertising pictures, pictures on Cornflakes packets (naturally, I admit all links to the firm …) – all types of images!

First, you ought to like/ be satisfied with your own pictures.  And second – if you choose to go in this direction/ if this matters to you –  it would be nice if (at least some) others liked them too.

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ARCHIVE 449 – AND IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE CAT (MONO)

 

 


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Our friends’ cat, a favourite subject of mine; 1 Mar 2015.

She climbed up onto the arm of the sofa and spent a lot of time with her back to us, wagging her tail.  Then she turned around, the bright light streaming over her from the right, and gazed impassively at us for sometime.

I find cats very beautiful and never tire of photographing them – perhaps the title of this sums up my feelings towards them.  Something spiritual, perhaps?  Quite possibly.

Click onto the image to see a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens used wide open; 3200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum Inverse preset.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 377 – ANIMAL 5

 

 


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Click onto the image above to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Farm cat beside the road at Redlake Farm, on Queen’s Sedge Moor – see this link for the first image in this series, and much context; there are other images from this series here 2 3 4 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral V2 profile; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 363 – ANIMAL 4

 

 


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Click onto the image above to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – strongly recommended.

Beside the road at Redlake Farm, on Queen’s Sedge Moor – see this link for an earlier image in this series, and much context; there are other images from this little series here 2 3 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral V2 profile; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 352 – ANIMAL 3

 

 


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Click onto the image above to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – strongly recommended.

Beside the road at Redlake Farm, on Queen’s Sedge Moor – see this link for an earlier image in this series, and much context; there is another image from this series here 2 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 292mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 350 – ANIMAL 2

 

 


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Click onto the image above to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – strongly recommended.

Beside the road at Redlake Farm, on Queen’s Sedge Moor – see this link for an earlier image in this series, and much context.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 360mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control; Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 349 – ANIMAL

 

 

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Click onto the image above to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – strongly recommendedThe lower image can be enlarged in this way too.

OK, let’s start at the bottom line: I love cats.  A cat named George, aged two, was present when I was born.  My mother told me that he used to get up on his hind legs and peer in at me in my pram – probably wondering if he was allowed to eat me I expect!  And I grew up alongside him and, as an only child, he was effectively my brother.  Quite simply, he was always there, he was always around, and he died when I was 13.  I have never owned a cat but, equally, I have never forgotten George and, indeed, over 50 years later he is still frequently – and warmly – in my thoughts.  And whenever I encounter cats these days, I look on them with much affection.

And my feline odyssey goes a little further than that because, taking clients on safari in Kenya, I came into close contact with our moggies’ much larger cousins – Lion, Leopard and Cheetah.  Lions I could take or leave really, but I spent ages almost drowning in the deep, expressionless, amber eyes of Leopard and Cheetah.  And then there were smaller cats too – Serval and (most wonderfully) Caracal.

So what on earth has all this got to do with the Somerset Levels?  Well, recently, I was exploring on the southeastern edges of Queen’s Sedge Moor, when I hauled up at Redlake Farm – and promptly had two very pleasant experiences.  I’ll talk about the first of those experiences another time but, as I walked along the farm’s frontage there was a closed gate with six cats basking beneath it on the morning sun’s warm rays.  There is a picture – not a very good picture – of them below, but it gives you an idea of the scene.
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And, standing very still, I looked at these cats, they looked back at me, and – very softly – I started talking to them.  I certainly didn’t want to frighten them by getting too close and, anyway, looking at them, it was immediately apparent that these were not tame house cats, but rather working cats in a way, who earn their keep on the farm as fierce ratters and mousers.  Stroking one of these, even if I could get near enough, might not be a wholly joyous experience.

And so the camera went into APS-C mode, lengthening the reach of my telephoto and, from a distance, I photographed them.  And as I looked through the camera into those impassive and predatory faces, I was reminded of those much larger cats in Kenya long ago, and the title of this post came surely to mind.

Technique: upper image – Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral V2 picture control.  Lower image: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; 400 ISO.  Redlake Farm, Queen’s Sedge Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

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ARCHIVE 406 – AFFECTION (MONO)

 

 


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Our friend and her cat; 1 Mar 2015.

We went to visit our friends, a truly lovely family, and, as usual, I slouched back indolently in an armchair with this damned great camera and lens perched on my paunch, enjoying the moment.

Their front room has a bay window with translucent panels that looks out onto the street and, as often happens, the light in that room was diffuse and gorgeous.

Things caught my eye but I was too slow with the camera.  Then their friendly cat got up on the arm of the sofa, and sat there, contentedly wagging her tail.  She enjoys human company, probably for the sounds, and she sits or lies with us for long periods.  An open fire was an especial draw for her on that chilly afternoon.

Suddenly our friend reached out to stroke the cat and murmur something to her, and my camera came up and caught this single frame.  What do I like about it?  Well, of course, the interaction, there’s eye contact there, and also some kind of, if not friendship, then calm familiarity – these two living beings know and trust each other, at the very least.

I like the way our friend is leaning across the sofa, introducing a dynamic that heads up towards upper left, at right angles to the cat’s gaze.  And then there are the sidelit curls and textures in her hair – and a striped sweater that is crying out for black and white photography!

The occasion was good too because, having had medical dressings on my face, it was the first time I’d used a camera in seven weeks or more, and it was very good to “get back behind a lens” again.

Click onto this image to see a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens, used wide open; 3200 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset.

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GAZING INTO HER EYES

 

 

cat attempt

We gaze into each other’s eyes, and emotions

– elusive, fugitive, fleeting,

emotions understood by each of us

but never by both of us –

pass between us.

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