Purrfect Kitty Stretches :: Vermont Cat Photographer

Our model today is Nikki, a soon-to-be-adopted kitty from Humane Society of Chittenden County. She was kind enough to show off some of her excellent stretching skills during her portrait session. Her guidelines for aspiring kitties are simple:

Step 2: Repetitive leg lifts may seem boring but you
Step 3: The classic "Nikki" pose is a great stretch for every part of the body but should only be attempted after practicing Steps 1 and 2. Nikki points out that you only have to hold this pose for 1/250 of a second, just long enough for the photographer to make the exposure.

And there you have it. A workout so easy a cat could do it. But, if your cats are anything like mine, they won’t. Too much effort.

Peace and Furballs,


Karen O - March 12, 2013 - 10:22 pm

Hi! I also volunteer for my shelter once a week! What color paper is this, is it Savage’s “Holly?” It’s so pretty! I saw in your article you have two AB’s. Are you using both of them? I only use 1 AB800, should I use both of mine? If so, what is the best positioning? I usually have the one set at 45 degrees and a reflector bouncing light. Here’s a link to some of my shelter pics. :) Thanks in advance! Karen

Karen O - March 12, 2013 - 10:22 pm
alphadog - March 12, 2013 - 10:59 pm

Hi Karen! I can’t remember what color it is, but I do believe you’re correct that it’s Holly by Savage. It is pretty, isn’t it? It’s fairly flexible too… I’ve had good luck tweaking the green to suit my tastes. I love the grey that you use too. It really shows the subtle colors of animal’s coats.

In the studio I work with 3 AB400′s. I use all 3 if I’m feeling very picky about light or I’m trying something new, but often it’s just 2 lights (main and accent from the opposite direction). If I use the third it’s for the background. Your work is gorgeous! I think you’ve got the right idea with the 45 degree angle and reflector. It looks like you’re pointing the light across the animals, not directly at them, which helps add depth with shadows. I don’t often use a reflector, it’s really a personal preference.

You’re doing great work for HS of Yuma! Have you looked into joining HeARTs Speak? We have several members in Arizona, mainly the Phoenix/Tucson region.

I just liked your FB page… I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work! You capture some lovely expressions :) I’m a little smitten with Toby! What a handsome fella!

Peace, Purrs, and Tail Wags,

Karen O - March 13, 2013 - 11:58 am

Hi Kelly!
Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate your feedback on my shelter work. :) I try to go once a week, but sometimes it just doesn’t work, because my hubby assists me and he has to work overtime on occasion. In speaking with the shelter admin, we have now worked it out that one of the inmates that goes there during the week is going to assist me, when my husband isn’t able to help me on Saturdays. I went on Monday and the inmate did a great job. :)
I will have to give 2 lights a try. I have one AB400 and two 800′s. I hope to be able to invest in more 400′s, as I learned, after the fact, the 800′s are a bit strong, when I want to use a higher aperture. I strictly use the 400 for my newborn work. When you use the second light as an accent, is it pointing at the main light?
I love your work! I became a fan of your page, too!

alphadog - March 13, 2013 - 10:33 pm

That’s awesome that your hubby goes too sometimes! My husband, Ian, goes every week with me. It’s a fun way to hang out :)

When I use a second light it pretty much does point at the main light. I have a metal grid over it to narrow the beam to 20 or 30 degrees. I really like to accent the shadow side of the face, particularly to give a little extra definition to the ears, cheek, and chin.


Karen Ortiz - March 14, 2013 - 12:16 am

Yes, he is a great guy! We enjoy the time together, too. :) It’s great your hubby goes with you, too!

Do you just use the metal grid that came with the light. I’ve always used large soft boxes, never a bare light. This sounds really interesting. I just might have to give it a shot with my 2 AB800′s!

Hope you have a wonderful Thursday!!

alphadog - March 19, 2013 - 3:31 pm

Hi Karen, I got a set of grids from Paul C. Buff. 10,20,30, and 40 degrees. I like the grids since it gives a nice sharp edge that I can control the placement of. No extra spill if I don’t want it. They’re a nice cheap way of diversifying your light :)

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