I'm sure it's reflective of my larger personality, but I have to admit I'm a quality control freak when it comes to taking pictures. I almost always use a tripod (more about that in an upcoming post), I always meter carefully and I think a lot about the camera settings. But for the fuzzy, ill-composed shot here, I didn't think about any of that: I just pressed the button when the moment happened and I didn't have any idea what the camera settings were.
The kitty in this picture just arrived in my house about 8 weeks ago and prior to that she had led a feral life for more than four years. She was born outside and survived by her wits, cunning, speed, elusiveness and hunting ability. She was "tamed" somewhat by my friend Lynne, but Lynne already had two cats so Mama Kitty ended up living with me (and my other cat, who is her daughter--are you following this?). Anyway, she's an extraordinarily sweet, but very shy cat and though she's a wonderful pet, she is still very cautious around me. If I move quickly, she dashes off to another room in a cloud of dust (leaving a trail of claw marks in my beautiful hardwood floors!).
I took this photo a few days ago when I was just sitting on the porch and cleaning my camera. I had no intention of taking any pictures but then I looked down and saw that I was being spied on by this very curious cat. This kitty is so fast and so elusive that I knew if I paused to set the right shutter speed or turn on the flash, she'd be gone. So before she could move a whisker, I just pressed the button. The photo is badly composed, nowhere near sharp (it was shot handheld at 1/8 second--something I'd never knowingly do), the white balance is all wrong and the shot is full of clutter--but I love it. This is my first shot of my new model and she created the idea for it by watching me; she told me it was time to start photographing her. And so I did.
Sometimes a shot will happen so quickly (with kids, pets, animals) that you have to shoot first and think later. In these situations it's more important that you capture the moment and save the finesse for another time. The curious look on this sweet cat's face is far more important to me than a sharp photo.
Fisking John Scalzi
3 hours ago