Falling in love with a cat called Popcorn

I do like telling this story.

Back in early August 2017, I went with a friend to visit the local RSPCA in Blackberry Farm. We were just going to find a way to entertain her children for an afternoon. I had no intention of looking for another cat to home; Toffee was already getting my full attention.

We were in the cattery and there were dozens of beautiful kitties I could have taken home with me, but I remained strong and stubbornly did not let any of their soulful eyes penetrate my cold dead heart.

Seeing Pops (Wilson) for the first time

Without warning, my friend beckoned me to see this cat with one eye and so I did. As this cat came into my view, a sudden feeling I could not control hit me. It was love at first sight.

He was called “Wilson” at the time. And of course, it was a very sad history to be told. I looked at him again; I could see he had been through so much already. Had been at the RSPCA for 3 months already.

My heart melted. But could I take another cat without affective Toffee? I had to try. After a quick discussion with my friend, who was useless…all she kept saying was “Get him, Do it”. I went to the desk and put forward my interest.

I will never forget that day, and on the 8th August 2017, I went with my wonderful friend Kelly to pick him up. And I’ve been in love ever since.

Friends who know me are well aware of my devotion to Pops and Toffee. I have done much growing up in the past few years because of those two. Being responsible for them and taught me so much about myself and the things I care for. Knowing that they are safe and have a home is all I need to know in life that is full of mistakes and regret.

My first sight of Wilson as he was called then
Hello Kitty!
Kelly meets Pops
My wonderful friend Kelly meets my wonderful new addtion to my home
Cat in a Box.
Cat in a Box.
Cat on garden patrol
Cat on garden patrol
Yes, the perfect play for a cat is sit on a computer keyboard, very helpful!!
Yes, the perfect play for a cat is sit on a computer keyboard, very helpful!!
A tabby cat in black and white
A tabby cat in black and white
This cat will sleep anytime of day
This cat will sleep anytime of day
Pops still  had stitches in his eye for a month. They were supposed to fal of by themselves.
Pops still had stitches in his eye for a month. They were supposed to fal of by themselves.
Falling in love with a cat called Popcorn

Gone but not forgotten beloved Pets

For two people who read my blog, then I apologize for showing photos of pets again, but I can’t help it. I love them. Cats and dogs cover most of the animal spectrum, I’ve not yet been close enough to snakes and spiders to photograph them, but I do know a couple who have them 😉

But this post slightly different you two; I want to pay homage to the pets I’ve know but have gone in recent times. I wish I knew them better, but perhaps all I needed to know was they loved to be loved…don’t we all!

Earlier this year (2020) before Covid lockdown was enforced here in the UK, I organized a thing gathering to honour my friend’s old girl Millie. I called it Millie Celebration Day or MCD for short. We often remember our pets when they are gone but I wanted to honour one special kitty while she was still with us.

Millie Celebration Day. We honour a beautiful little kitty.
Continue reading “Gone but not forgotten beloved Pets”

Pet photos, a magnificent Husky called Winter

Dog photography. Winter the Husky

With all the turmoil and chaos that is happening, we think of ourselves as intelligent, well-travelled, learned and knowledgeable creatures. But dig a little deeper and nobody has anything figured out. But when I ask a dog what she wants, she DOES have it all figured out; she wants love, attention and to be with you.

Faith getting Winter into position in the studio
Getting some treats

When Winter came in for a shoot, the session stemmed from seeing him on a photography walk earlier in 2019. She was absolutely beautiful. I knew I had to photograph him one day.

Dog photography. Winter the Husky
Winter, she is a classic beauty
Dog photography. Winter the Husky
This lady is waiting for me to get the shot, while Jack distracts her attention

Winter, a “Husky Akita mix” old man, has everything thing she needs. A loving family, a safe home and as much attention as she wants.

Truthfully though, when I see him and those deep eyes and those “nom-able” ears (that’s right, I am a grown man so I can use the word “nom-able”, get over it). I fall in love with him every time. Like my two furballs (Toffee and Pops), I just want to be around Winter.

Dog photography. Winter the Husky
This could be a magazine cover for Husky Akitas

She’s a stoic lady. She has lived a life. She is gorgeous in everyway… oh dear I really am in love with Winter! 😉

I love how dogs can communicate with their eyes and the
way they hold themselves.

During this photoshoot I could tell Winter would have been happy just napping, but she was with his family Jake and Faith, so she did his best to accommodate us.

Faith, the mum, was very patient and gentle with Winter. My studio isn’t huge, plus it was an unfamiliar space for Winter, so she did amazingly well!

Now let me make this very clear, I will never forsake a pet’s comfort just to get a good photo. I will never ask a pet to be out of his comfort zone. If a pet does not want to cooperate, then I won’t make him.

That being said, Winter was like a pro. I could tell he was no longer a bouncy pup, but she did most of the things we asked of him, that made me love him even more!

I started by stating in 2020 we are living a crazy world out there, but the love and loyalty of a pet re-focuses what is important to us. This beautiful Husky is no exception. We should all learn from our pets, to try and live the simple life away from greed and noise.

A Dog like Winter can just give you a look, and the world’s problems will seem less important.

My admiration for Winter is boundless, I hope to learn more patience and kindness from that old man very soon.

The Secret to Family Photography Outdoors

I lost count of how many families I have photographed in my career. Even so, when the weather, the light, the environment, and the children all behave everything comes together so perfectly that it’s almost too easy to photograph a family.

Secrets of outdoor family photography
Keep the session very lose and relaxed

Very important is the weather in a family photo shoot. Good weather will make or break how the photoshoot will go. Not so much for me, the photographer, but for the family. Rain and wind do not sit well for a compliant and happy family. If I can I try to get a late summer evening to get that light famously known as the Golden Hour.

Secrets of outdoor family photography
Let children be themselves. Don’t over instruct them.

Even so, there is always something to consider when I conduct a family photography session. I’ve seen some photographers, who have a very controlling demeanor, do really frustrating things with a family; some photographers get too involved.

Perhaps it is the way I am, but I harbor truth and honesty in every part of my life, even the hurtful truth is better than a lie. So when I’m photographing a family, I tell them where to stand, talk to them naturally, keep the session light-hearted, maybe tell a goofy joke or two, and just let the family be themselves. I do not over instruct them on how to be themselves; people are very good at being themselves if they trust me and they know they are in a safe place.

Secrets of outdoor family photography

However, I have witnessed some photographers with no people skills at all, leaving the family limbo and in an unsure state.

I learned a valuable lesson when I was in a design class in college; K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid. That is my same philosophy when conducting Family Photography; make the relaxed, continue to communicate and reassure them, be yourself and they will be themselves.

Try many ideas, but if they don’t work then scrap it and try a new one. In my opinion, a good photographer will try as many as a dozen ideas/setups in an hour. Keep things simple and fresh; it never fails.

So the secret, is no secret at all 🙂

How a home studio changed my Photography

Over 15 years ago I dreamt of having my own photography studio to expand my creative choices. I have always loved shooting weddings, but it was the control I had in a studio that really allowed me to do more.

young female model in home studio

So, with the help of a couple of good mates, we converted my front room into a studio space. It took 3 days to strip it all down, remove the carpets, paint the walls and install a paper backdrop system but it was all well worth it.

young man in studio

I confess, the technical part of photography no longer interests me. It has been about the stories for a very long time now. I love collecting stories about lives. I enjoy being inspired by the people who have changed how I think. I love being challenged about how I think. For this to happen I need a space where I can be intimate and control the environment. My home studio changed that for me.

Have a home photography studio does have compromises; mainly to do with the number of subjects you can place inside the studio. But that never really affected me other. I prefer to shoot individuals or small pets. But I digress.

The reoccurring expenditure of maintaining a photography studio can go into four figures if your budget is not controlled. With that comes the pressure of getting work that will pay for your investment every month. Rent, electricity and business bills are all attached to a ‘traditional’ bricks and mortar Photography Studio.

If you can convert a large room or build an annexe then the costs can be controlled.

The home studio I designed was all about minimalism. I wanted the basics; space, white walls and a backdrop system.

Since having this space I’ve been able to explore new ways of positioning lighting and poses. Because of the limits of a domestic space, there are still some things I can’t do such as larger groups or more props. But so long as I was realistic with my expectations, then that was not a major concert; for larger projects, I just took it outdoors.

So ultimately, however, many years later, it has been worth the sacrifice of turning my living room into a studio. Absolutely. Because of my unique circumstances, I am able to adapt to the compromises of having a semi-dedicated home studio.

The freedom to get models in. The creativity to have lights where I want them. And I can set up my studio within a hour from it being living space.

Amazing, as I type up this blog and look at my photos, it isn’t the photos that I am most fond of; it is the stories of their lives I remember. The small parts of their lives they shared wtih me. Treasure memories I will have forever.