Today we celebrate the black cat in photography. Looking ahead, 17th of August is known as known as Black Cat Appreciation Day and in these photos you can see the challenges and the joys of capturing black fur and how natural light is your friend when you try.
Let me introduce you to some of my favourite black cat images selected from the Dash Kitten collection. Several were taken by me at home and others were photographed at Neko Ngeru Cat Cafe. All will, I hope, indulge your love in all things feline and black.
Lucky Black Cats?
Black cats are seen, in many parts of the world, as a good luck symbol and sightings are greeted as positive events. It is only the misguided and ignorant who view this beautiful feline as ‘bad luck’.
- My late mum had a silver horseshoe with a black cat and tiny flowers on it. She carried is as a wedding favour when she got married. – Marjorie
First of all, meet adventurous Jack who was adopted to a forever home from Neko Ngeru. He is slightly shady but there is enough light from the window to light his cincentrated face as he climbs the pole! My camera settings were not fast enough or sharp enough but, it is a really fun action shot and I have not spoiled its spirit by attempting to sharpen the image.
Here are some positive black cat beliefs
- In Asia and the UK, owning a black cat means a lucky life
- Egyptians held black cats in the highest esteem. They kept the rats out of the grain harvest and had special privileges.
- Giving a black cat as a gift made sure the marriage was a happy one in some areas of Great Britain.
- In Europe, sailors believed that having a black cat on board ensured a safe voyage.
This is Pan. She was a beautiful black cat who was at Neko Ngeru Cat Cafe for quite a while before finding the right home. This is a favourite photo and although it came out quite sharp, I did use a little bit of lightening (burning) in Affinity Photo in some of the shaded parts of her portrait. See where the light falls falls, how it defines her face?
Interestingly, cats in ancient Egypt were revered highly, partly due to their ability to combat vermin such as mice, rats. Cats of royalty were known to be dressed in golden jewelry and were allowed to eat right off their owners’ plates. The goddess of warfare was a woman with the head of a cat named Bastet.Days of the Year – Black Cat Appreciation Day
Some of my readers will remember Jet the kitten who, with his sister Tibby, was fostered by the Dash Kitten Crew. This photo shows how effective a 50mm (prime) lens can be. I wrote about the ‘nifty fifty’ lens and I hope this cute image shows you how the lens can soften your background while keeping your cat sharp. Jethro, as he is now, charmed a couple so much he was instantly adopted.
- Here are my tips on dodge and burn (or how to transform a sightly too dark or light photo).
An irresistible a black cat video
This short movie was shot eight years ago using an iMovie template that used drag and drop* to add photographs and video clips, no editing. It was shot not long after we adopted Phoebe so she is very cute and kittenish.
My video skills needed some improvement back then, and the photographs from an old smartphone are not my best but it captures a special period of Phoebe’s life, including the first time she stepped outside into the garden.
- TIP: I always tell beginners to make videos, make more videos, and more. Your skills will improve with practice. Try it!
A black cat portrait of neighbour Taz
This image is from a recent post about exploring layers in your computer program and I added it here as it is a great black cat example for you. The sun is behind me and slightly to the left as I shoot and it shows off Taz’s glossy fur to perfection.
*I use the term Drag and Drop when speaking about my black cat movie so I am finishing with a brief descriptin from Wikipedia for those who are not sure what it can do.
For those unfamiliar with the term, the basic sequence involved in drag and drop is:
- Move the pointer to the object
- Press, and hold down, the button on the mouse or other pointing device, to “grab” the object
- “Drag” the object to the desired location by moving the pointer to this one
- “Drop” the object by releasing the button
- Neko Ngeru Cat Cafe will be opening soon. Please keep an eye on their website for details.
Resources on Black Cats
Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can create impressive cat photographs and fun movies with the camera they carry.
She is a Professional Member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.