Some Spring Thoughts | Seattle Animal Photography 

My boy and I had a lovely day together at the zoo recently, and I’m looking forward to more sunny spring days here where I can get out and about taking photos. Once I figure out what my naughty stomach is doing to me, and once I’ve shaken this cold and got some energy back, maybe that will be possible. And this is assuming we have some more nice days…we have had some wacky weather lately.

The giraffe shot was taken with my brother in mind, since he understands the ‘skill involved’ within that shot. Although, since the funny-looking fellow seemed to be looking right at me, I’m not sure what to make of his ‘gesture’ personally. Catching the bear basking in the spring sun made for an adorable sight, but take a peek at the long claws on his paw in that photo…

                                                                                                                                                                                  When I go to the zoo, I always have mixed feelings come up. I am happy to take my little boy so that he may see all these rare, many almost extinct, fascinating animals; I want him to learn about the different amazing creatures in the animal kingdom, and hopefully learn to appreciate that zoos are there to help with conservation, education, and breeding programs.

He’s excited to see the animals that fill the pages of children’s story books, and see that they really do exist. But I’m constantly reminded of the sad truth behind keeping these animals in their enclosures, in zoos, in wildlife preserves…we need them because all kinds of animals, birds and marine life are losing their right to live wild and free, safe from poachers, hunters, polluters and land developers. I read an article in TIME Magazine recently entitled ‘Nature Is Over’ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2108014-1,00.html and the whole concept made my heart sink. I don’t want nature to disappear. How could that be??! I don’t want my child to know a future where humans have obliterated all that is natural around us. I think that will be a sad, sad day. I also think it will be a very grave day; we are already seeing the impact we have had on the world around us and it’s not looking pretty. And by the way, did you go and see ‘The Lorax’ movie yet? If not why not?!!

*I love this link to The Lorax Project, so check it out… http://www.seussville.com/loraxproject/

Spring brings us that feeling that growth and new beginnings are possible; we see the flowers blooming, buds opening on trees, the grass is greener, and people get busy in their gardens (I seriously need my energy back to do something with ours – it’s looking shameful!). It’s the change in the trees, the sky, the light, the life that is in nature around us that brings those feelings and inspiration. I feel grateful to live in a city that embraces the natural world within and around it; we have so many parks and green spaces, we are surrounded by mountains and water. I doubt I can ever get my little family to the depths of the Amazon or the plains of Africa to see all the wildlife and natural wonders that I’d like us to see, but I can appreciate the nature that I see around me all the time, and hope that Roman always sees the wonder in it too.

xo  ~ K

“In Nature there are no rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.” – Robert Green Ingersoll

Perfect Imperfection | Seattle Film Photography 

Hooray for analog! I finally got around to the long (although not quite arduous) process of getting my medium format film prints into their new square photo album this afternoon. Having the prints in a square format (some 5 inch square, some 4) makes them automatically special, but it’s the getting them there and into a real live, not-on-the-computer, album that makes it all so extra special.

Taking photos on film, in any format, involves you in such a different process from that of digital photography, and until I got my Diana F+ a few Christmases ago, I’d mostly left film photography behind for some time. Back when I was working on feature films, I had basically become a film snob, and would abhor anything that would be shot on anything but 35mm celluloid, for the process and production values at the time when working with film, just magnified a project to further greatness. Everyone has now gone digital in the lands of both professional photography and film-making but there are signs everywhere of nostalgia for those mediums; there has been a resurgence in what is called the ‘analog lifestyle’; go see http://www.lomography.com/ if you want to see how the Lomo movement has taken off with and grab every cool camera to do so with. And funnily enough, every camera app on your iPhone wants to replicate film, to get the look and feel of its simplicity, its unsuspecting colors and its element of surprise. I love using the phone apps but they don’t truly represent the process of taking photos on film, getting them developed and into your hot little hands, where they were highly anticipated for so long (usually the next day, actually). You had to make sure every shot counted and there were always some good, and disappointing surprises with the returned prints.Then finally getting those beautifully imperfect prints into an album – not even into separate plastic dividers inside, just with actually photo mounts straight onto the page – feels like the most wonderful thing. For if photos aren’t meant to be gazed over (other than on a phone display or on you laptop), what are they for? There’s a major satisfaction of holding that imperfect surprise of a print in your hot little hands…and there you go, that is your art.

As photographers now, with all the new technology and post-processing available, you find yourself expecting nothing less than perfection. Perfect composition, lighting, exposure, posing, editing, all of it; some aspects of the medium have allowed us to get close to perfect, particularly with the new ability to take countless shots without worrying about wasting frames/money. But we may spend too much time trying to get that ‘perfect shot’ these days…

I think I will set myself a personal cat project with film because I think this would be a lot harder challenge against digital. I would expect most pet photographers to agree that they can take a lot of shots of cats and dogs at a session but most will be throw-aways, due to the activity and often non-compliance (or if you’d like to say, they had a different agenda that day). I don’t think I’d be able to do the same pet portraits on film, but I’d go in with hope that the less-than-perfect shots held their character as I imagined but still showed me some great surprises. I will have to research some pet photographers of the past who shot on film…

On to a week of organizing photos, possibly a cat session and a model session, as well as prepping for school portraits! It’s keeping me busy but it also keeps me sane; it all serves as therapy!

“A beautiful thing is never perfect.’ – Proverb

Bye for now. xo ~ K

Oh, England… | Reflections

I’m ending the week with a lot on my mind, a lot of projects to finish, groups and fundraisers to sort out, and a major desire to get out of town. This time last year, me and my little family were planning and prepping for our trip back home to England, and it now seems like an eternity has gone by. I am very much needing what I think is a much-deserved break and that would be a wonderful one to have coming up again.

I moved to the States from the UK over 17 years ago but as much as I have assimilated and have my life invested here, naturally I miss much that lies across the ‘pond’ (also know as the Atlantic). All my family is there, my son is thousands upon thousands of miles from seeing his grandparents regularly (as well as being far from his other set of grandparents, who are in North Carolina), and I dearly miss having proper fish and chips. I even got desperately excited at the site of several shelves of British goods in the local supermarket the other day, and more than one person reading that on Facebook pointed out that I need to get out more. Umm, yesss.

I will save the gig photos I edited last week and all my reminiscing about ‘Old Blighty’ for another day and instead post some photos from our trip last year (please view the gallery). If it stands to motivate me to push for us to get out of town for even one night so that I can recharge and have a change in scenery, brilliant. I am feeling a need more than ever to feel revitalized in body and soul so I can continue to be the person I need to be for my son, and to preserve my sanity! At least I now know I can just hop down the street to buy a packet of English Hobnobs and Branston Pickle.

 

Here’s to a less stressful next week! And crossing fingers for rest and a reprieve in my near future. Cheerio then.

xo ~ K

*All photos taken using Hipstamatic iPhone app.

Where we love is home– home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Photo Session Blog: General Zod & Ursa | Seattle Cat Photography

One well-loved house cat

General Zod

It has been an impossibly long and busy week (and more) filled with appointments, taking rescue photos at Animal Talk Rescue http://animaltalkrescue.org and at a cat foster home, a private session, a location scout, preschool duties, a gig at a casino…all kinds of things. We also have our ‘peripheral domestic drama’ looming once again. And amid all of that, hundreds of photos were taken, many an iced tea and caramel latte has been sipped, and I’ve had a lot of headaches (that’s pretty normal though!).

Ursa

 

 

I have often thought that in my next life, should I have one, I would like to come back as a well-loved house cat, one that is adored by its owner and would likely have to only contend with competing with only one or two other cats for attention and treats. I would eat sumptuous dishes of salmon and greens, have my fur coat brushed, sleep at any hour of the day that I please and I could lord over my household from high-up places such as the shower stall (as my cat does) and the fridge. All those silly responsibilities and all the trappings that make us crazy, frustrated and dissatisfied humans, would be gone. I could handle that. And maybe I wouldn’t get as many headaches. Millions upon millions of animals don’t have it nearly as lucky, and it’s what keeps me taking all those hundreds of photos of rescue kitties (often in a 2 by 3 feet space on top of a filing cabinet!).

Scarlet

When the first rescue cat (Scarlet) that I photographed was adopted after her new ‘profile pic’ was posted, it was true motivation and proof positive of the power of photographic imagery. Just to catch the eye of a potential adopter is all I/we can hope for and it can make the world of difference.

Trixie…looking for a home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right now I have 3 of my 4 animals lying on my bed with me, one under the covers, sleeping. Such is the life. Sleeping is what I should be doing too…Mama Kat is exhausted!

xo ~ K

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.”   ~ Thomas Merton

My tricky little Valentine | Reflections

Long week, longer weekend, and lots of tricky subjects in between…

My first tricky subject, as in one that I photographed, was my little stinker who despite the pouts, still pulls it off as a cutie-pie. I think that these moments of unplanned imperfect photographic moments are what keep photography fun; most posed shots would have everyone believe that all children are angels that comply to every request, and as in the case of the many cats that I take photos of, they are magically entranced by the camera. I laugh when I think of myself (now) trying to get Valentine photos of my little boy at the gorgeous Kubota Gardens http://www.kubota.org/ with my Seattle Momtog meetup; there we were trying to get cute-as-pie photos, but what we really end up doing is having to bribe and threaten for anything that will work with our own children (as they’ve heard all the posing cues many times before, and our two boys hadn’t seen each other in ages so they just wanted to goof off). It was chilly and grey out but luckily no rain…the boys kept themselves warm by running off and we get warm chasing them.

And it’s probably needless to say that it’s also beyond tricky to get photos of my feline friends sometimes; cats may well be the most uncooperative animals of all; no sitting, rolling over, coming when name is called, none of that. They seem to do the opposite of what you want so you just have to go with the(ir) flow when you plan to get great cat photos. When I get photos of the rescue cats at Animal Talk, I literally am trying to keep the cat up on a 2 by 3 foot space on top of a filing cabinet in a tiny closet room space, and usually have 5-10 minutes to get the ‘winning shots’ with often nervous or shy kitties. This week though, I got to take some pet cat photos in a private home, and naturally it’s the cat’s domain, so I must naturally work around what they want! I will get to posting those – General Zod & Ursa – on my next post.

Valentine’s Day itself doesn’t have to be tricky; my man will be working a double shift at the restaurant as usual, which means (I joke) he will be wining and dining other ladies all evening and not me. It’s just another day though; I should be getting chocolate and flowers on many a random day, right? 

My biggest tricky subjects this last weekend involved none other than our usual blended family drama; it makes everything else so much harder to bear, and other tasks and projects slower to complete, but they end up being the respite from the chaos. Focusing on something that brings us joy removes us from our complicated lives, even for a short while.

This week I have much planned in the way of photos; a location scout tomorrow, a foster cat shoot ( I will only ever talk about shooting with a camera, btw), much editing, and more rescue cat photos too!! And I guess I will still feel like I am owed a Valentine’s date at some point…

Much love to everyone for Valentine’s Day and EVERY day; show the people you love, how you feel very single day, not just when a stupid Hallmark holiday tells you too, and well before it’s too late.

 

The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.  ~ G.K. Chesterton

xo ~ K