The one that got away

I sent the following “cat story” the other day to a friend of mine who is a Birman fancier.

So, there’s this kitty who roams around my neighborhood that could be a Birman. Lovely, lovely little creature with long hair and blue eyes. And she (she HAS to be a she!) is absolutely fearless, like no other cat I’ve ever seen.

I came home a few nights ago with the dogs in the car, and this kitty came wandering up to the garage door just as we were getting out. I was distracted, they were distracted, and when we turned around, suddenly here was this cat within a leash’s length of both my dogs! I had my hands full of packages and was in a foul mood anyway, and I just thought “holy smokes, here we go–bloodbath–and there’s not one [darn] thing I can do about it.” But the cat sauntered on up, first to Reggie (who turns into a salivating, squealing, growling, leash-pulling machine at the mere sight of a cat under a car across the street two blocks away), who gently bumped noses with her, then to Rudy, who checked out the kitty’s other end. The cat never flinched, and neither dog made the slightest noise or aggressive gesture. All acted like “meh, nice to meetcha. Laters.”

I put the dogs in the house, then had to go back into the garage and carry the kitty out because she did not want to leave. She even purred when I picked her up.

I would very, very much like to have a kitty like that of my own. I think we could make it work.

That kitty stopped by again this afternoon and sat for a moment–just for a moment–in a pretty pose on my front porch, facing the late-day sun. I thought, “oh man, that’s a beautiful shot NOW WHERE’S MY CAMERA?!?!”

Fortunately my FujiFilm was within arm’s length, so I snatched it up and ran to the window. The dogs came over to investigate, then started to bark. I had about two seconds to get the image so I poked the camera through the vertical blinds and snapped one frame.

As the cat bolted away, I knew my camera had betrayed me.


Of course, as soon as the cat was out of the frame, the lens whirred and locked focus right where she had been sitting. I took a few more shots from the exact same point just for giggles and the porch was in crisp focus in each one. Inexplicable.

With a film camera, I’d have had to adjust the f-stop (and hope there was enough light for the ISO of the film in the camera) and the focus, but I think I could have done both faster than this camera could figure out that the subject was the cat and not the spots on the windowpane three inches in front of it.


You had one job to do, you scumbag, and you blew it.

I appreciate digital cameras because they make it possible for me to be a professional photographer on a shoestring budget, which I could never do with film. But they don’t always make the best decisions, especially on the fly, and when I can’t override those decisions quickly enough, some great shots get away. This is why I specialize in product photography–the subjects don’t move and I can take as many do-overs as I need to get the image I want.

Perhaps if the camera had been properly set to the “Cat” scene mode, as mentioned in my post about buying it, this shot might have turned out. 😉


3 thoughts on “The one that got away

  1. Pingback: The one I couldn’t save | Going Forward

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