My HeART Speaks | Seattle Rescue Pet Photography

This week I was honored and humbled to be chosen by HeARTs Speak as one of two members honored for our contributions to animal rescue photography. This is long, bear with me…!

Right now, as many around me know, the rescue I do volunteer photography for, Animal Talk has lost its lease – basically had the rug pulled out from under us – and all of our animals had to be quickly found adopters or placed in foster homes. Within a couple of weeks, we went from having one obvious physical (though bursting at the seams) location, to having animals spread out over countless homes. I don’t even know how all the brilliant people at ATR managed it. As a no-kill rescue, there’s only one answer for all those cats, and it’s that for every single one, the right home is out there somewhere and we don’t give up on them. I even have taken in a foster cat called Oreo for a while myself (much to my female cat’s chagrin!).
Thankfully, we had just had our annual benefit, and the night brought in some $30,000. Announcing that we were suddenly to be without a physical address, undoubtedly initiated an absolute outpouring of support in many ways. But nonetheless, lots of crazy changes and events are afoot.

For two years now, I have been the chief rescue photographer at ATR, photographing what must now be hundreds and hundreds of cats (a few dogs here and there) with the goal of creating eye-catching portraits so that these kitties get noticed more easily. I usually photograph(ed) at the rescue either in one of the three small ‘cat suites’, by sticking my head into cat crates, in my makeshift ‘studio’ there (ie a 2×3 foot space on top of some filing cabinets in the ‘office’), and by going to foster homes. Sometimes it was once a week, but in recent months it was a lot more that I was doing. Before we had to completely vacate the premises, which was actual the back portion of a pet supply store, I did a mad rush to get all adoptable adult cats photographed so their images could be put online. I regularly post these images to our shelter system (which updates Petfinder), as well as to my Facebook page, and create updates for our ‘Adopt Less-Adoptable Cats’ campaign page. I also not only took event photos at the rescue benefit, but I also worked hard on putting together a video that was shown; since my background is in film/video production, I enlisted some friends to help me flex my producing muscle and we created a video that I’m very proud of. I also recently worked with the peeps at the Lil Bub Show (you have to know who Lil Bub is!) to get photos together for a spot in their YouTube episode that featured our rescue. Phew!!

Come see the Lil Bub episode here: http://kamoorephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/lil-bubs-big-show-features-animal-talk-rescue

And the video I produced for the benefit is here:

But I’m not telling you this because I’m tooting my horn. The long hours I spend editing on my computer, the times I spend groveling on the cat-litter-dusty floor taking photos, and the many hours of uploading, tweaking, backing up, and posting, are for one thing only, something I care about deeply. I might be adamant that I get credit for my work, or that it’s posted in the best resolution it can be, but at the core of it all is the deep love I have for animals. Knowing that my work can help get even one animal adopted makes it worth it. The first time I heard that a cat was adopted as a direct

Scarlet - first cat session I shot for the rescue and first cat adopted as direct result of my photo. Prior to this, her photo hadn't any activity online for 6 months. Copyright K.A.Moore Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Scarlet – first cat session I shot for the rescue and first cat adopted as direct result of my photo. Prior to this, her photo hadn’t any activity online for 6 months. Copyright K.A.Moore Photography. All Rights Reserved.

result of my photography, was something I won’t forget. It might not seem like a big deal to all the countless amazing people who work to get animals rescued and adopted every day, with all their own hard work. A lot of my own work is unseen, but I think the images speak for themselves. I try my hardest to capture the essence and character of every cat I meet, to get people to see what I see. I also feel like I have grown a lot personally, along with my own skills, and created a definite personal style to my photography, over those last few years. I am so grateful for that, for the opportunity it has given me. I’ve gradually added some things to my photography gear to make the images possible, but I don’t have the means in general to where it’s easy to do so. I also battle with MS, which mostly sucks physical energy from me on a day-to-day basis (with occasional relapse hiccups!), but I think that also actually pushes me. Sometimes it’s good for me to stand back and be proud of what I do, because I’m not the best person for accepting compliments (must be the Brit in me!). It makes me want to try harder still.

It may sound silly to some, but I love cats (along with many other critters). I love photography. I love photographing cats! I love cats getting their forever homes, thanks to the amazing rescue I work with.

Copyright K.A.Moore Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright K.A.Moore Photography. All Rights Reserved.

It’s a ‘job’ that’s never done, and as long as I keep striving to do the best I can with what I have for every cat, I will feel good about this crazy thing I do…for free. There are amazing photographers out there that I admire, and HeARTs Speak is an organization full of them (and other artists), so to be recognized for what I have been pretty quietly doing, is wonderful. It often feels like a very quiet and solitary position that I’m in, even though I’m usually editing photos on my laptop with all my own animals on the bed with me. They are my editing buddies, my sidekicks, my reason why that next photo is worth it (and all the megabytes of hard drive storage they take up).

With no physical rescue at the moment, I didn’t have anyone to really happily jump up and down with when a dear Kelly called to say I was one of the two ladies chosen. But I’m glowing inside and my week will round itself out with a trip to photograph at Purrfect Pals rescue (where some of our kitties ended up), plus two consecutive days of going to foster homes to do the same. I hope it’s not too long before our rescue finds its permanent home again, and I’ll be back going for regular photo visits in a new spot.

So finally, I’ll say thank you to HeARTs Speak for recognizing little old me, and to all the photographers out there that do what I do, to those that inspire me, and to those that make animals’ lives better every day. Truly…thank you!

xo ~ K

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Into Fall we go, Seattle! | Personal Work

So it’s about a week into Fall/Autumn and I’m at the tail end of the worst cold I’ve had in months and months, and it is seriously dumping buckets here in Seattle. Definitely a new season. Most people wouldn’t be surprised by that, given my location, but we just had one of the most consistently warm summers here on record (the grass was uncharacteristically brown everywhere) and it has been a shock to the system. Within a week here you can go from wearing flip-flops to wearing boots, and not be completely surprised.

And it’s just typical because today was the annual Clickinmoms photowalk and the scheduled route was along the waterfront, which is where you’d probably find the worst winds off the Puget Sound and probably a lot of wet tourists. Naturally they’ll all think this was the expected weather for here and every Seattlite will quickly tell them they just missed a glorious summer, and ‘no it’s not always like this.’

I’m not a complete wimp when it comes to the rain and cold, and yeah, yeah, I’ve heard all the ‘you must be used to it; it’s just like England’ remarks! Being from the South of England, I’d also say the same as the above about Seattle with regards to the weather. Even if you’re used to the rain and expect it, doesn’t mean you particularly like it or even own rain boots (although I don’t know why I don’t at this point!).

Given me being ill for several days and a storm hanging overhead, it’s probably unwise to walk around in the rain taking photos, so myself and another photog joined the girls at the end for food and drink. It is a reminder of the far fewer dry locations we have as photographers here in the Northwest, from about October to maybe May, so we have to get inventive. And of course, a bit wet. Finding locales with partial cover, great indoor window light, and carrying an umbrella for who I may be photographing, are some solutions. I have yet to work out how to attach an umbrella for myself onto a camera bag for hands-free snapping! The overcast sky here acts as a beautiful diffuser, giving even light, and we rarely get super frigid-cold weather here. I’m always happy and interested to hear of others’ suggestions for shooting locations here for any other time than the summer (anyone have something to share?).

I’m excited about taking photos when the leaves fall and around Halloween (my favorite holiday!) and am currently working on producing a video for the Nine Lives Gala coming up next weekend for Animal Talk Rescue. And I think I’ll be getting in some holiday sessions soon, and getting some cats decked out for Christmas pictures! Just because the sun is going to hide away for a while doesn’t mean we will stop the photography; as Ansel Adams once said –

“Bad weather makes for good photography.”

xo ~ K

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The Seattle Wheel from outside and the sun out.

Roman’s view tonight, from the inside, looking out to a very rainy ferris wheel…

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My Favorite Photography Gear

If there’s something that makes a photographer tick (and drool), it’s looking at photography gear and gadgets, most of the time while online. Who doesn’t go ‘window-shopping’ online for their favorite hobby, obsession or lifelong pursuit? If there’s anything that the web has done, it has made clicking and shopping so easy, it’s scary. But it has to be said, that this ease has made it so that you can potentially get your hands on something that you actually need the very next day, if you wish…and so revolutionize your photographing power that much sooner!
Me and my fellow Clickin Moms photograp(her)s somehow always manage to mention photography gear and tools at every photowalk or meetup, so I love hearing about others’ fun purchases too. I don’t have much extra money, and nor am I a spendthrift, so my shopping usually goes along with a lot of deliberating and comparing, and this usually means I’m a happy customer. There is now a huge market for women photographers out there, so I have featured a number of items here that reflect that.

Thanks to Pinterest (and sites like Amazon and Etsy), many of us probably spend entirely too much time gawking at things we can’t afford or don’t need, but here are a few choice photog purchases I have made, that I love, love, love. This one is for the lady photographers!
*Note: I have not been asked or paid to write about these products by the business owners, so they really are things I love enough to write about…

1) Custom camera strapSomething Strappy, $28

Camera Strap, Something Strappy

Camera Strap, Something Strappy

Now maybe I should join the Black Rapid gang and get one of their straps, but I like to be more unique than that, getting something that says me a lot better. The strap on my main camera, my Nikon D7000, is a custom strap by Something Strappy on Etsy. I spent hours ogling straps, deciding a camera strap cover wasn’t for me; although I like the idea of changing designs more easily, they never stay in one spot and bunch up, making my strap not looking as awesome as it could. My custom strap does have different prints on the two sides, as well as my photography business name embroidered on it (marketing tool!), so I at least fulfilled two design choices with it. Kimberly K was easy to chat online with to get the strap as I would like it, and I can tell great care was taken in making it just as I wanted.
It can be attached to the camera just as any strap would, but I use a Strap Buddy on the base of my camera, so that it can hang more easily on my side (take that, Black Rapid) and so far, it has been the perfect combo. The Strap Buddy was bought on Photojojo‘s site; quite possibly having the coolest collection of fabulous photography gadgets anywhere on the web. But naturally, many many things on there that I don’t actually need, alas.

*Baby Crown prop: JBPLove, also on Etsy

2) Lens cap keeper strapEverlee Designs, $5 (CAD)

Owl Lens Cap Keeper, Everlee Designs

Owl Lens Cap Keeper, Everlee Designs

This little handy dandy gadget is also the cutest little gadget, thanks to Megan Lee, based up in Ottawa, Canada. Also bought on Etsy. And I kind of fib here by putting this in the singular, because I have kept on going back to Everlee Designs to buy these for all my lenses and have just bought myself a backup. Having your lens cap staying attached to your camera instead of setting it down somewhere or putting it in your pocket (for it to fall out) is more than handy. That’s one less thing to worry about when you’re shooting a session. I suppose this is unabashedly one for the girls, because I have a couple of owls, a ladybug/bird, a flower and I have a pink mushroom coming. Beyond cute, and also serves to help capture the attention of many a photographed cat with the dangling of my camera cap.
Megan also includes with my purchase, the cutest notes to me and some blank tags that I use on client packaging.

*On the above photo of my camera with the strap and crown, you can see another of the owl lens cap keepers!

3) Rose Bronze camera bagJo Totes, $89, and Urban Photo sling bag – Lowepro, $76

Rose Bronze camera bag, Jo Totes

Rose Bronze camera bag, Jo Totes

Now these are two things, yes, but one can’t go anywhere without a bag to carry everything in, and these two serve different purposes. I’m actually cheating here, because these were both bought as gifts for me (although I picked them out).

My Rose is the larger bag as well as the prettier one, and holds a good load of gear safely: camera body with lens attached, 2 lenses, external flash and some other gubbins like an extra battery, filters, cell phone, etc. Sometimes it feels a bit too bulky and pretty to take along to a shoot, so I often use my Urban Sling instead (photos below). It’s boring black, but sometimes inconspicuous is good. It’s also very easy to pull round to my front to change out lenses and so forth, is very comfy and light, and I stuff a fair amount in: camera plus lens or two (depending on lens size) and my flash-gun.

I have many other bits and bobs that I use and love, aside from my actual kit, but these are things that I get asked about when people see them, so I thought I’d share. I definitely support the little businesses I find on Etsy for buying unique custom items and there’s a plethora of cool photography products out there that aren’t just black and grey and advertising your camera brand. If you buy through Etsy, tell them I sent you, and get customizing!

Photos on the blog soon of my recent wedding photography session. Excited to get them done! Catch up with me on Facebook too: K.A.Moore Photography on Facebook

xo ~ K

PS. Follow me on Pinterest here: kamoorephoto

Lucky Licorice has found a home! | Seattle Cat Photography

Licorice. Copyright K.A.Moore Photography.

Licorice. Copyright K.A.Moore Photography.

My heart is happy tonight for this sweet little guy, Licorice. He was my foster kitten in the Fall of 2011, and was then adopted out a couple of months afterwards. But he came back to us, apparently too ‘hissy’ and bonding more with the family’s other cat, than with the people. He was at the rescue yet again but then in a the lucky foster home, where his new guardians fell in love with him! I have thought of this little sweetie since those days of snuggling under my neck when he was just a teeny little thing, and have hoped and hoped to hear this. Finally a furever home!! 

I love you buddy!!! xo ~ K

kamoorephotography Louie cat photo

End-of-life Photos of a Special Cat | Seattle Cat Photography

I took some photos of my mum’s cat Louie on my recent trip back home to England; a beautiful white cat – even with him being ear-less, he still was handsome (lost his ears to skin cancer some years ago). Yet I knew these would be the last photos I would take of him. After twenty years, his body was ready to shut down, and I could see that in his every move and his tired but still-magical eyes. I would watch him slowly make his way up and down the stairs, with much effort thanks to arthritis. He couldn’t see properly anymore; high blood pressure had made his retinas detach and caused blindness. And he couldn’t hear anymore either. Sometimes he would sit basking in the sun, looking happy as most cats do when doing just that, but he usually seemed restless, not knowing how to be comfortable.

A loved companion animal has a gift in terms of a loving human caretaker knowing when it is time to end the suffering by choosing euthanasia. Most animals know death and illness far more cruel, or have never even felt loved before. But it’s the hardest decision to make, even when you know it’s what is best; to end the suffering and give that animal peace, after giving so much of themselves to you. Twenty years is a long time, so much can happen in two decades. There’s so much love and attachment that happens in that time; they become part (and so often, become the spirit) of your home. It’s very hard to let go…

I’m glad I was able to get some end-of-life photos of Louie, particularly to give my mum and stepdad. Photos don’t replace memories, but they are a way for us to freeze time and hold those special moments close. So as much as I love taking photos of all sorts of things that embody life – new babies, children, parties, of animals looking for a new life (and family) of their own – I actually hope I can capture more special and precious memories like these, of companion animals before they pass on.

You fought hard to stay alive, my friend.
In the end, though, you couldn’t conquer death.
But neither did death conquer you.
Death cures all diseases, mends all broken bones,
Breaks all chains.
And made you free at last.” ~ Anon

Rest in Peace, little Louie. xo ~ K

Louie, May 2013 Copyright K.A.Moore Photography. All Rights Reserved

Louie, May 2013
Copyright K.A.Moore Photography. All Rights Reserved

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