Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Of Cameras and Cats

My kids and I are relatively "pet oriented" as a family. Over the years, we've had a goodly number of cats who resided with us as well as several dogs. My older daughter and I, though we both do love cats, tend to be more "dog" oriented but my two younger children (son, Clate and daughter, Mandy) both a very much more in the "cat lover" category. Right now, we have two cats - Gracie, who will be 16 years old this fall and who is a beautiful, furry (very) black cat with gold speckles in her fur and who is the Queen Bee in this house. She's also getting somewhat senile, or so we think, judging by some of the behaviors she's been displaying recently pertaining to her bathroom habits. This past June, we added a kitten to the family - Nina - an orange cat, short-haired and quite an ornery little cuss she can be too.

The first cat who lived with us was a black short-hair cat we named "Aces" - something to do with the ace of spades or some such logic like that. My son was about 28 months old when we got her and he immediately bonded with that cat. She liked him well enough - or so it seemed - but most of her attention to him was in the form of finding ways to torment him. She had the older daughter as an ally in that respect. Carrie learned early on that if she was back in her bedroom and would call to her little brother to come back there because she had cookies for him, he would take off at a fast trot for that present and Aces would, upon hearing him moving down the hallway, lay in wait for him to pass by the doorway between the dining area and the hall. As he went by that doorway, Aces would immediately spring out and pounce on his backside, trying to gather a free ride down the hall and Clate would end up squealing half in delight, half in fear at having been scared by the silly cat's actions.

Aces also probably scarred the poor boy for life too by the things she would do to him while he was seated on his potty chair - often for the bulk of the day in what seemed to be a futile effort to get him "house-broken" - because the cat would come up behind him and swat at his bare butt that was exposed for all to see in the opening between the seat and the back of the potty chair. It amazes me that for the poor boy having had to endure that from that cat he still grew up to become a mega cat lover!

Now, cameras in this house are something else too.

I've had a couple different cameras over the years - none were a high quality type camera mainly because what few cameras I did get that were a little bit better always seemed to have something happen to them causing them to get destroyed in the process. So, that's one reason I've never tried to acquire a digital camera as yet - that and not really having adequate funds to splurge on a camera of that type and of a good quality.

When my kids were growing up, taking pictures was somewhat of a luxury thing. Cameras and film were used somewhat sparingly because of the base purchase costs plus the developing and my income not being all that high. That plus the fact that Mandy had a tendency too then - still does for that matter - to using cameras with film in them not exactly in the best manner - therefore, wasting film, developing costs, etc.

She loved to take pictures -yes, still does - but she never learned basics of photography in doing that. Centering the subject for example is something that still eludes her. Trying to have the area around the subject not become the subject of the photo instead of the person or object she thought she was photographing. Hope that sentence there makes sense. Translated, it simply means she never bothers to remove clutter around or behind whoever or whatever she has as the subject of her photos; she doesn't bother to see that if she is taking a picture of a person that she actually manages to get all of the person's necessary parts into the photo - like the face and head for example. We have lots of pictures she's taken over the years with part of the top of the head chopped off or it's a photo of someone's legs but not much else to identify who the legs belong to. Little things like that, ya know.

One time, back in the late 80's, older daughter Carrie had borrowed her boyfriend's camera for some reason or other and after taking a couple snapshots, had laid the camera down someplace that was within range of Mandy spying it and absconding with it to take some photos. When the boyfriend got the camera back, finished off the roll of film and got it developed, imagine his surprise when there were several pictures of Mandy's cabbage patch dolls in various poses on the couch, on her bed, etc., along with pictures of the neighbor's dog, tied up at his doghouse, the neighbor's front door of her sunporch, shots of people standing in front of another neighbor's home but only "leg" shots as she hadn't bothered to focus on the whole "person" there so the only way we know who these people were was by identifying the front of the house and then, judging by the sizes of the legs we knew it was that neighbor's older daughter, younger daughter, the dad, the mother, etc.

Nope, a professional photographer is never going to be in the cards for that kid!

The older daughter, after her son was born, decided I, as the proud grandmother, should have a nice camera to be able to use to take pictures of the very photogenic little "Prince Alex." So, she bought me a nice Kodak camera kit for Christmas when Alex was about 16 months old - one of those that takes the panoramic type photos, you know. That camera lasted for about four months and then, for some inexplicable reason, it just stopped working. Changed the batteries in it - nothing! Just wouldn't work at all. It had a roll of film in it that was almost used up but to get it to release, when I took it to a developing center, they had to break the camera open in order to release the film. Kodak replaced that camera as having been defective.

The second camera - the replacement unit - lasted a little bit longer but it bit the dust too after about 16 months of use when the beast pup my younger daughter had brought home managed to snag said camera from its resting place on my computer desk and he chewed it - thoroughly mangling it beyond repair and use!

Carrie later bought me another camera kit - not a panoramic one this time - just a nice little but decent 35 MM deal which also stopped working after about 4-5 months. Just died. No explanation whatsoever.

Since then, we have decided there is no point to my getting a camera that has a high price tag or even a moderately high price tag since either the house or the users of cameras here tend to jinx them. We've been heavy users of the nice little disposable units for several years now.

I thought I had some of Mandy's "lovely" photo gems saved either on a cd or to my computer but apparently I must have decided they weren't worthy of the space required to do that 'cause I couldn't locate any of them. Maybe sometime in the future I'll stumble across them and will think about posting some of her photography greats then.

In the meantime, here's some "Cat lover" pic of our two feline residents for your viewing pleasure. Use these as a guide perhaps on how not to take great photos, maybe?

This is the "Queen Bee" cat - Gracie, trapped at the moment in the playpen with Miss Maya.
Here we have a very ticked off Gracie - not impressed at all with having her photo taken, can you tell?

And here we have my son, Clate, holding little Nina the day after Mandy and Katie brought her home to live with us. This was before she discovered how the grandson always kicks his feet constantly while sitting in the high chair and what a great target they make for her sharp little feet to bat back and forth at them then too. Keep in mind, she hasn't yet been to the vet for declawing and getting her fixed too so we won't have more feline furballs running the place!

So there you have it - a couple little tales about the not so photogenic family that belong to here and a couple of pics of the two little creatures who are a big part of our happy family too!


janey wan said...

I think you'd love a digital point and shoot, can get them rather cheat these days. No expense like film cameras, load them on to your computer and your done. No waiting for processing etc. It's addicting like blogging.

By the way love the name Clate, where did you come by that?

dr sardonicus said...

Our house sounds like yours - the cats last much longer than the cameras do.

Vic Grace said...

I love cats, although I don't feel I could have one here because it may get hurt.

I used to have two Siamese cats a long time ago. I called them Simon and Garfunkel.

One day Garfunkel got out of the house and was hit by a passing car and killed. Simon never got over it and mourned until he got sick. I had to have him put down.

Debo Blue said...

I've been a budding photog since I was twelve. I've always loved photography. Too bad I still don't know how to take a good picture, but hey, at least I try.

lattégirl said...

Nina is so cute! I adore orange kitties.

Shelby said...

I adore your little Nina :)

Linda said...

Adorable pictures! You definitely need to get a digital camera, though, it's just so much easier.

Oh, also, thought I'd let you know that I have been having a deuce of a time with Firefox and comment boxes lately. Either they don't open at all or they open up too small for me to leave a comment and I can't make them bigger. Have had to switch over to Internet Explorer to make my blog rounds now and thankfully I've had no trouble with comment boxes on it.

I tell ya, what a pain in the neck blogging can be sometimes!

masgblog said...

nice kitties.....