The world is full of advice whether you want it or not. One piece of advice is to “only photograph what you love.” The love I have for the little creatures in my life has grown over the years, much as the love for my wife and children has. The foundations for love might be inherent in us all, but it takes time for any kind of love to develop both breadth and depth. Once it starts growing, it never stops.
I’ve always considered all my animals little angels, but the Gingersnaps make my heart melt with their looks and their tiny meows. It’s the size of their eyes in comparison with the rest of their faces that helps tug at my heart. Yes, you could say I love the little guys. I’m now trying to find ways to express a bit of what I feel tempering what I see.
Today I came across Ponder sitting on my camera bag in the window box at the same spot where Lucy used to sit. He was doing the same thing, looking out at the world. I keep one of my OM-Ds in the room with the Leica 25mm for quick grab occasions such as this one. Unfortunately (or fortunately) by the time I swung around with the camera Ponder was looking in my general direction. So I composed and took several quick exposures, picking this particular one to work with.
Normally I don’t talk about all the steps I took to create a photo, but this time I’ll make an exception. First of all I’m using the Panasonic Leica 25mm on the OM-D E-M10. That combination is compact and quick. I’ve owned the 25mm for over three years; the more I use it the more I keep coming back to use it even more. I don’t use it wide open unless I absolutely have to, preferring to step down to f/2 to f/2.8. A lot of people say that’s a waste of a fast lens, but what folks don’t realize is that a fast lens helps to see and focus in dim light. You might not make the exposure wide open, but you certainly use it to help focus.
Once the exposures were made I transferred the JPEGs from the E-M10 to my iPhone using OI.Share. Once on the phone I post processed them a bit using Snapseed, where I converted the three color images to neutral black and white using the defaults. I applied a bit of vignetting (-60) to finish and then exported back to my camera roll. I then opened the black and white output from Snapseed in the Formulas app and applied the Ambrosia filter to get the result you see above. This enhanced the eyes even more while flattening and softening the lighter details around the eyes. It gives an old-fashioned warmth to the overall photo. And it helps make Ponder look like a little angel.
These are two more black and whites that have gone through just Snapseed.
There’s a movement afoot in the photographic community these days to lament the passing of film, especially black and white. I think those lamentations are ill-conceived. Whenever anyone complains about the digital vs analog, the issues as I see them usually boil down to lighting and composition. Ignoring composition for the moment, in all three of these photos the light coming into the room from the window was soft and surrounding of my subjects, the kittens. Talk to any “old timer” and to a photographer they’ll emphasize how critical the quality of the light is. I had a classic north light, enhanced with an overcast day. The light coming through that window today was incredible. As were the kittens.