Aren’t you always impressed by the images of fierce snarling cats channelling their inner tiger? These photos look so difficult to capture but with a dash of preparation you can grab your own fierce and ferocious cat portrait. Here’s how.
Two Types of Fierce Cat Looks
- The sneaky snarl (also known as a yawn!)
- The genuine fierce snarl
The first ‘snarl’ is a sneaky cheat as you capture a cat when it bares its teeth, not with a snarl, but with a totally abandoned yawn. Trust me this is so much fun to capture with your camera and looks spectacular.
The second, truly fierce, cat expression can be a challenge to capture as most of us don’t face a truly angry cat very often. The good news is you can grab the shot if you are ready, and you are able to use a combination of your quick reactions and a zoom to get you closer. This can be your smartphone digital zoom, a DSLR kit lens, or a more expensive zoom/telephoto lens.
TIP: If you use digital zoom like the pinch/slide on your smartphone, keep your camera steady and supported. Digital zoom exposes every tiny movement as a blur!
The Almost Fierce Snarl
This is easier to achieve because it is more predictable. You just need to be ready for the moment and you can do this by observing when your cat seems to yawn more – maybe after a meal, or after some frantic playtime.
Here are some of my favourite fearsome yawns captured with a DSLR, and a smartphone.
Jack’s portrait was the winner of a Cat Writers’ Association Certificate of Excellence and you will understand why when you realise that not only is his ferocious yawn expressive, but one of his incisors is missing! I was aiming for a fun ground level shot of a ginger cat basking in the summer sunshine then Jack gave me a perfect Tongue Out Tuesday wrapped in a tremendous yawn.
DID YOU KNOW? …. a cat’s yawn doesn’t last quite as long as a human’s, which scientists chalk up to brain size and gray matter. The theory is that yawning delivers additional “cooler” blood to the brain as a way to keep the temperature optimally balanced.Great Pet Care
This photography of Oscar the ginger tabby from Neko Ngeru Cat Cafe was a lucky shot. He had just risen to his feet, had a stretch and yawned as he began to move forward. He looks totally ready to chew someone out!
Smartphone Capture Magic
Phoebe is our free spirited longhaired cat who rarely stands still long enough for a good photo, so I only have a few, including this one.
This spectacular mouthful of teeth was taken with an iPhone 4S. I had time to raise my ‘phone, and take one photo as Phoebe yawned right at me. So, no fancy settings just me going ‘Oh Right This Is It‘ pointing and hoping. My smartphone took the photo using its auto mode wthout my help.
The Genuine Snarl
This genuine hissing snarl is of a next door neighbour cat! She is quite shy and never ventures into our garden but she does observe from higher up the slope near her home. Here she had ventured lower this time and was walking along our high fence top when she spotted a cat below her. Kitty was high enough for me to zoom in, and look upwards with my telephoto lens for added drama.
I was able to focus on the angry snarl, which was directed at a member of the Dash Kitten crew stood below, and grabbed a dramatic moment. My setting were:
- Continuous Shooting mode,
- with center-weighted average metering and
- Aperture Priority mode.
I kept the image sharp by focusing on her eye and there is enough contrast that I know the image will be useful when I want to play around with filters and image adjustments if I want to explore image editing.
……..continuous shooting modes and fast shutter speeds (1/125 sec or faster) will let you freeze the moment. If you’re indoors with low light, you may want to use a higher ISO setting so you can shoot with a faster shutter speed.Get Olympus
Spotting The Snapportunity
With some quiet relaxed observation you will find out when is a good photo opportunity for a snarl or yawn.
It may happen after eating a tasty Churu or before settling down to nap. The stretch, yawn then curl and nap manoeuvre will become familiar and yawn hunting is a skill you will learn quickly. The more you observe the more action you will see and like many things, until someone tells you, you don’t see it happening but, once you do, there are yawns and snarl everywhere you look!
If you have settings you can adjust, set them with this specific goal in mind then you are ready to stalk at a moment’s notice.
Inspired by my crazy cat shots are you ready to grab your camera, and start stalking your cat ready to grab that fierce moment? I would love to share your gnarly snarly captures.