an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

Posts tagged “black cats

The Huntress

Just look for the eyes.

Just look for the eyes.

On a quiet afternoon the garden was full of excitement.

You can't see her, surely.

You can’t see her, surely.

For several years before moving in here Mimi hunted for food for her babies. Now that she’s a pampered princess she still likes to indulge now and then, just to keep in shape.

Something is over there.

Something is over there.

Nothing escapes her notice.

Well disguised.

Well disguised.

Nothing was harmed while photographing—Mimi was only practicing.

Capturing these photos between the blades of grass and sometimes confusing light and shadows and moving blades of grass was my own hunting expedition for the afternoon.


See more feline photos on www.TheCreativeCat.net. All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


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Vintage, or Not

Bella, Vintage 3

Bella, Vintage 3

(I thought I’d share a few of my recent photos from The Creative Cat.)

A vintage photo of Bella? But she’s not even a year old!

I’m not sure if I can promise this will be the last of these multiple posts with slideshows. The beauty of the sunlight, amplified by snow cover, simply overtook me and I couldn’t stop taking photos. Sometimes I caught some interesting effects.

These photos have a vintage feel, but obviously are not. The mirror I have on my bathroom door is vintage, well, it’s really just old. At one point it had been glued to either a frame or a wall, and the backing itself is in somewhat poor shape. I just wanted a mirror there to have a nearly full-length in the bathroom when I got dressed, and to make the room look larger, and I’ve never changed it. The door is a bi-fold, so depending on how the door folds it reflects different areas and different windows.

Bella, Vintage 2

Bella, Vintage 2

In this case, it’s folded far enough that I saw Bella’s reflection from outside the bathroom on top of the wardrobe, and all those nicks and dings and mis-reflections give the photos of Bella the feel and dulled color of a vintage photo. These are taken with my smartphone which I held against the mirror at an angle so that it would not be reflected but I would still be able to focus on Bella’s image. I intentionally caught the flaws in the mirror, which is also kind of cool, a little ghostly, and I moved the it up and down to capture different flawed areas for different effects.

Bella, Vintage 1

Bella, Vintage 1

I didn’t edit any of them at all. It was fun to see what came out.

For more feline photos, visit The Creative Cat.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Birdwatching

two black cats looking out a window
two black cats looking out a window

Birdwatching

Mimi and Mr. Sunshine keep an eye on the activities at the bird feeders as the snow swirls around outside their window. Is it birdwatching, or meditation, both, or do the mesmerizing movements of the birds and snow lead to a meditative state? They do for me, but perhaps I’m overthinking this.

This photo won a Certificate of Excellence as a Black & White Photo in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Communication Contest.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Mewsette’s Minions

black cat with pumpkins
black cat with pumpkins

Mewse4tte and her minions.

You many not know that I have five rescued black cats, just by chance–they are all related. Right now I also have two foster kittens who are also–black! Halloween is a great day for us. You’re going to see a few more photos, and you can also join us on The Creative Cat for more every day!

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Awake, my minions, it’s Halloween! You know the plan—world domination by black cats via Halloween pumpkins! For every pumpkin a black cat! Now, go forth and find homes, and at midnight you will each become a black cat waiting in a shelter for a forever home!

We could only wish finding homes for black cats was that simple and fun. But tomorrow, you could go out and adopt a black cat from a shelter or rescue, even if you don’t have a pumpkin in your yard tonight! Think of the beauty of Mimi and her children and Emeraude, and consider adopting a black cat for your Halloween treat!

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I first published this in 2010 under the title “Help, Mom’s Gone Crazy” because Mewsette and all the other beautiful black cats couldn’t figure out what I wanted them to do with the pumpkins!

I just can’t figure out what she wants me to do but it has something to do with these pumpkins! Sometimes mom gets these crazy ideas and she chases us around the house and tries to get us to do things that we don’t understand, and she’s been after us with these pumpkins for days. I can’t wait till Halloween is over and mom gets back to normal!

Yesterday while mom was working on her computer I saw a few kitties wearing silly costumes. It’s just a really good thing she didn’t try that, and that’s all I’ll say on that subject.

You many not know that I have five rescued black cats, just by chance–they are all related. Right now I also have two foster kittens who are also–black! Halloween is a great day for us.


Be In Your Own Moment

Be in your own moment.

Be in your own moment.

Jelly Bean is certainly enjoying a moment of his own making here atop the wardrobe. It began all on its own as he gave himself a bath then began rolling around and talking to himself, unaware, unconcerned, that anyone was watching or listening.

I enjoyed watching him, then picked up my camera with the telephoto lens and had a moment of my own in photographing him in his moment, using the light, the curtain, the lenses, focusing here and there and changing the f-stop and exposure as I pleased, the actions over the years I’ve come to call “painting with my camera”. I had no post-processing on this photo, it is what it is, and I’m pretty happy with it, as I think Jelly Bean was also very happy with his moment.

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This image and post began with quite a different plan from what is here. The journey itself was a lesson, and led me to “Be in your own moment” by being in my own moment.

I began with a quote I’d seen in a meme on Facebook:

If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
~Lao Tzu, Tao te Ching

I liked this quote, it spoke to me on many levels, and I find it, basically, to be true, especially the part about living in the present. I enjoy reading several translations of the Tao te Ching, and always find something that speaks to me at that moment. I decided that I would use these words to make my own meme someday, and even had the idea to use a photo of Mewsette in a position similar to JB, picturing the black and white photo with its focus on Mewsette’s eye and the softened reflection of the lace curtain in the mirror, and relished the thought of choosing the font and putting the image together. I don’t enjoy graphic design as much as I used to, but I try to put aside time for fun things a few times a week to give myself a reward for designing the things that aren’t as much fun as they used to be. Before Facebook these memes were just called “quotes” and were often available as posters, and I designed plenty and also hand lettered quite a few in my years as a graphic designer, to give myself experience and something fun to do with this medium.

I pulled up Mewsette’s photo and the quote and drafted a bit of text comparing my being in the moment and how I enjoy my felines being in the moment, figuring this would be quick and fun and I’d have been done this morning. Before I’ll use a quote I will trace it back to its source. The source for this quote was not Lao Tzu, nor the Tao te Ching. It wasn’t even an alternate translation of anything in the Tao te Ching. In fact, I found it in an article about misappropriated quotes from the Tao te Ching that’s pretty funny, and looked through various translations to find something that might correspond so I could get to the original. No luck. Well, someone had taken quite a few liberties with words. That was okay, I still liked what the quote had to say, and knew of another similar one from Henry David Thoreau I’d seen in another meme that would work for the concept of being in the moment and looking within yourself.

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
~Henry David Thoreau

Sigh. This was actually said by someone else as I found on a page of Thoreau mis-quotations. It’s still a nice quote, but…no.

Facebook memes aren’t the culprit—this sort of misuse of another’s words happened with posters and greeting cards and calendars before the internet even existed. So here was the lesson, and it’s one I should have known: I was trying to use someone else’s inspiration, words, moment, to express something I felt deeply myself. I had been inspired by the meme and the quote, but was warned twice about not looking deeply enough into myself to express my own self, a lesson I learned with both art and writing. Be inspired by others, but find your own means of expression. It’s the sincerity that counts and I was not being sincere. I thought of all the art and writing I’ve been creating and knew the kernel of its success—getting to that space where I am completely within my own inspiration and working toward that end. I was in my own moment. I remembered the photo above and how much enjoyment Bean was getting all by himself. He may have seen me photographing him—cats don’t miss much and later in the session he turned and looked at me—but I was just another element on the periphery of his moment, he wasn’t looking at the world upside down because of me. As, when I was photographing him, was he, even though he was the subject and the reason I began photographing, but he led me to the pursuit of an image, my own unique visual voice describing what I felt was the depth of that moment for me.

The pursuit of the first quote led me to this conclusion, and the pursuit of the second quote led me back to myself, and my own words, and Jelly Bean finished it all off.

And here is part of the other reason for this post today as well.

It’s easy to be in the moment when you’re a feline living in a loving home since the humans take care of many things for you. But isn’t that part of the lesson? Find the place where you belong, surround yourself with supportive people and circumstances so that you can live in your moment?

When I make my art and when I write I am in the moment with what I’m doing, often not particularly aware of my surroundings, in part because I’ve set myself up for that moment so that I can let go. I do this at other times as well, usually around my creative life, and also around mundanities, like washing dishes. It’s a break from the constant push and pull of what is and what needs to be. And it’s very welcome when I’m feeling trapped in a situation, stuck in traffic or embroiled a long-term issue, to let it go and be in the moment without holding the past and future one in each hand. Watching my cats reminds me of that.

And the other lesson in all of this is perhaps a bit of pride, that I thought I’d be a half hour at this yet it took a few hours off and on during the day to look up the quote and then determine that I was really intended to do my own thing. And in that pursuit I was in yet another creative moment, my own moment, letting go of past and future and focusing on “now”. It’s all just cycling in on itself and it’s exciting when things come together like that.

wild black cherry tree

The wild black cherry tree.

I don’t always live in the moment, in fact a good bit of what I do is plan for the future. Worry, or being anxious as the first quote had mentioned, is another thing entirely. Worry is unproductive and does not solve problems, only holds onto them. But the other big thing that took my time today was taking care of an issue with a tree in my yard and by extension several of them.

One of my trees was hit by lightning in storms we had last night, while I was out. I didn’t see it when I came home after dark, but I certainly noticed this morning when I came downstairs and looked out the side window and saw way more sky than I should have. The entire top of my wild black cherry tree is laying in my neighbor’s yard, neatly falling right in their small yard and mercifully missing their porch, main roof and shed; they were the ones who told me lightning had struck it. A large branch is also in my yard, but more than that I was concerned that more violent storms were forecast and the tree might be unsound, and could split and fall on their house or mine. I called a customer of mine who owns a tree service company (I painted his trucks and construction signs 28 years ago when he went into business), and asked him to take a look at it, and also a few of my other trees that have been dropping branches and creaking in the wind. It looks like I’ll be losing a few of my trees here, the big old ones that are getting sparse already anyway.

I love my trees, they are my friends and protectors, the wall that gives me privacy in this tightly constructed neighborhood. My habitat will be changing, and it will be an expense. But not to worry, time to plan and planning is exciting, change can be a positive thing as well. My maples have had good long lives, and I will have the opportunity to change the front of my home to something new.


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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


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Truly Spring

black cat at window with sunflares
black cat at window with sunflares

Truly Spring

Truly spring has arrived at the morning widow as Mimi is bathed in pinks and surrounded by rainbows.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Shades of Green

two black cats
two black cats

Mewsette and Jelly Bean in reflected green light.

I thought I might share this photo today from The Creative Cat.

This is not to take off on the title of a certain series of books, it is actually the first thing I thought when I looked at these photos; there were, of course, more than one. Now that the trees have leafed out the sunlight reflects green into the house and enhances all those green eyes. Even my yellow art glass bowl hanging in the upper right corner looks green, and the wall behind—actually those are seen in that lovely round antique mirror, the wall and ceiling of the stairwell colored green by the light from the big window in my office at the foot of the stairs.

What wonderful faces to greet me at the top of the stairs.


The Eyes Have It: 2010

two black cats

Mewsette and Giuseppe awaken briefly to have their photo taken. Naps are a very important activity and not to be interrupted for light and transient reasons.

Eyes are striking no matter the species, and cats’ eyes especially because they are usually very bright colors. In a black cat’s fur, they look like gems and are often quite large in proportion to their facial features. Here they look like crescent moons in a deep night sky.

Mewsette and Giuseppe are brother and sister, two siblings of a litter of four I fostered and who still live with me. It’s a long story, but in the end they became such excellent art subjects for photography, sketches, painting and block prints. Even as adults, they are still close and tend to hang out in pairs or threes, and they sleep in a heap like kittens do, though they average 12 pounds each.

While they look identical at first glance, I have always been able to see the differences in their features. Part of the fun of working with their images is to show those differences, and their eyes are one feature unique among each of them in color, shape and angle.

The light in this photo is somewhat cool coming from a north window with a lot of reflection from snow, so their eye colors are a little muted, but Mewsette, on the left, has very light, bright green eyes, the greenest of the litter, with very little yellow. Giueseppe’s, on the other hand, are a warm yellow amber, just enough orange so the yellow doesn’t appear lemon. Mewsette’s eyes are round like all her other features—face, head, paws, rounded ears, blunt nose. Giuseppe has wide oval eyes that are pointed at the corners, and he also has an elongated face with a prominent nose, large ears and a long body, as everything seems to be stretched.

I photograph them all the time and often use their images in my own designs as well as selling their images as stock photography. This litter is only the most recent in my household—I have about 30 years of cat photos and have the last ten years of my digitals on my website. You can see them in action in almost every entry on my blog The Creative Cat, and on my Marketplace blog you can see them in my Animal Sympathy Cards. I have eight galleries of them in the photo section on my website.

Black cats can be difficult to photograph, especially if you don’t like to use a flash, as I do not; it tends to reflect off of black fur a little harshly, creating a photo that has too much contrast, highlights flashed out and missing detail, shadows saturated with black, and very little in between. A good bit of bright ambient light from more than one direction helps to capture the details without flashing highlights. My camera is a digital SLR, but I still use many of the same lenses and photo techniques I used with my film SLR in opening up the F-stop as far as I could while reducing shutter speed to avoid motion blur and ensure a sharp clarity of all those details I had worked to preserve.


Black Cat Abstract

four black cats in abstract composition

Black Cat Abstract

This is what happens when cool reflected winter light meets indoor light from the ceiling fixture, something I could never plan because it depends on the quality of light and even the time of day, and, of course, all that shiny black fur. It hardly looks that way in the viewfinder, it all just depends on how the color sensor records it.

If you can’t figure them out, from the top, Jelly Bean is cleaning his white spot, Mewsette is curled facing him, Guiseppe is curled on the left and upside down and Mr. Sunshine is using him as a pillow. I usually use The Creative Cat as the outlet for my cat photos, but every once in a while I like to share one with a photography audience, so meet the Fantastic Four, the Curious Quartet.

A nice little psychedelic sensation in the middle of the afternoon.

 


Black Cat Appreciation Day

two black cats

Those Luminous Eyes

It’s Black Cat Appreciation Day—why not? We do that every day here with five black cats. I have lots of gigabytes of photos of black cats, but here is one that I love best, in part because of their eyes, Mewsette and Giuseppe, sister and brother. I may post another, who knows? We’ve been making the most of this holiday on The Creative Cat and at Portraits of Animals on Facebook.


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