Open Thread

I am actively working on my photography skills, and here are two from today that I think are better than normal. First, Steve in front of the tv in my office:


Now here is Steve sitting on top of his favorite toy, a plastic mold with a ball enclosed and a scratchpad in the middle. I used some HDR function on my iphone for this and I have no idea wtf that means, but it made it orange, but it still looks ok for me:


I wish I took pictures as well as Cleek or Tim.

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62 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    YES! The Cole bigfoot lives!

  2. 2
    jl says:

    Thanks for pet pics. I like the second pic especially. That cat looks like he is ready to ride the roomba!

    I await the video. But please don’t put Steve, or the dogs, in dinosaur suits.

    Edit: pic quality if fine. If can figure out what the pic is so supposed to be of, and it’s a Cole pic, that is good enough (I hope that came out sounding right).

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    John, Steve is a beauty. My rescue mutt, marks his territory in an odd way.. actually he empties his bladder the same way but normally takes fifteen steps.. Watch him about fifteen seconds in..
    Fortunately he doesn’t poo that way.

    Have you thought about taking a class in photography? I do think the pictures are fine though.

  4. 4
    p.a. says:

    Nice. Don’t forget the rule of thirds. Well, the suggestion of thirds…

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    Have you attempted a Christmas tree, or is it a hopeless cause with that many animals?

    We’re going to attempt one this year, though we’ll probably have to anchor it to the wall to prevent Keaton and Charlotte from knocking it over.

  6. 6
    Betty Cracker says:

    I don’t know what the HDR function is either, but these are both nice pictures.

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s the first year that I’m concerned about a dog and a tree. If Mr. Finch tries to mark it and falls, it won’t be pretty.

  8. 8
    Violet says:

    @jl: Was thinking Cole should get a Roomba for Steve.

  9. 9
    Ash Can says:

    @Violet: Judging from Steve’s fur, a Roomba would probably run for about 5-10 minutes and then disintegrate in a cloud of smoke and sparks.

  10. 10
    Suffern ACE says:

    If you are an iPhone user, switch to the Camera+ app and PS express for editing. PS express can help you readjust the HDR color shift. I like some of the HDR effects, but I’m not find of some of the HDR color.

  11. 11
    Felonius Monk says:

    By divine decree of the FSM, there are NO bad pictures of Steve.

  12. 12
    Anoniminous says:

    HDR on iPhone.

    I know it’s a council of desperation … have you tried reading a manual? They are available. They can be had.

  13. 13
    Comrade Mary says:

    John, those are lovely pics (I really love the office pic the most), but they still look pretty dark on my computer.

    You’re working under a real set of handicaps, too: you’re taking pictures of a dark cat in a house decorated in dark colours. You don’t seem to keep your house brightly lit, either. (The Roomba pic is showing a lot of noise, which might be a sign that’s your camera is struggling for photons to work with.)

    Maybe this is the best you’re going to get with a basic camera. Maybe a nice hobby for this winter would be to take on some serious part time study of how to really push a camera. Go for it if you want to, or don’t, and know that most of are are teasing you out of love.

    But whatever you do, don’t stop taking and posting pics of Steve — please!

  14. 14
    seefleur says:

    Hey – you have a terrific subject to work with. So probably any shot you get of Steve is gonna get a lot of “awwww!”s from this crowd. (Having had a Maine Coon, along with our other “regular” kitties, I have to say that Steve is a very impressive specimen of Maine Coon cat-ness. He has such presence/dignity…)

  15. 15
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    I wish I took pictures as well as Cleek or Tim.

    Me, too – you’ve got some cute critters.
    More light wouldn’t hurt.

  16. 16
    Yatsuno says:

    ESPN misses the good old days when they could just ignore the Seahacks in the NFL.

  17. 17
    MikeJ says:

    @Betty Cracker: HDR is just ramping up the color by combining multiple exposures. Here’s one I took. And here.

  18. 18
    Comrade Mary says:

    Justsoyouknow: that first pic of Steve is now my desktop.

  19. 19
    gogol's wife says:

    Steve is adorable. I love his eyes in the first pic.

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I wish I took pictures as well as Cleek or Tim.

    As do we all, John. As do we all.

    (Seriously, Steve is one gorgeous flooooofy cat.)

  21. 21
    Violet says:

    @Ash Can: Maybe, although Steven would be riding on top of it keeping all his fur to himself. Some friends got one and were astonished by how much stuff it picked up. They have a maid and figured the house was reasonably clean. Not so, according to the Roomba.

  22. 22
    currants says:

    @Anoniminous: Highly recommend Pogue’s books as manuals.

  23. 23
    Yatsuno says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Winter means extra Papa Stevedore Hemingway floofiness. JC is gonna be swearing up a storm once he sheds it all too, for teh extra lulz.

  24. 24
    Anoniminous says:


    Thanks for the rec. If I ever find a digital camera that can accept my old-fashioned hand cranked lenses I’ll check them out.

    Now all you have to do is convince Herr Blogenfuhrer.

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    The suffering in Bristol causes my Schadenfreude meter to peg.

  26. 26
    AnnieB says:

    Steve is extremely handsome. And your photographic skills are indeed improving.

    I know your post calls for a snarky response, but sometimes you just have to call it like you see it.

  27. 27
    Ash Can says:

    @Yatsuno: The furmination pics ought to be a hoot. “OK, gang, which of these two piles is Steve’s fur and which is the couch?”

  28. 28
    Pogonip says:

    I initially read that as “…working on my pornography skills” and wondered why there were so few responses.

  29. 29


    We used to put up a four-foot plastic tree. Keaton would run at it full-tilt, jump on it, and ride it down.

  30. 30
    khead says:

    You need a ball that glows in the scratch pad toy. Otherwise, you’re doing fine.

    This is gonna be our first year in 10+ years with a tree. It’s a new house and we just have to have a tree. And we have absolutely no idea how to try and cat-proof it. Any ideas? Anyone?

  31. 31
    Comrade Luke says:

    I think the main issue with your photos is that they are indoors, in poor lighting conditions. There is an app called Cortex Camera that targets exactly this problem, and is very highly rated in the app store. It’s $2.99, so if you want a free one you’ll have to do a bit of Googling to see if they exist.

    Good luck!

  32. 32
    trollhattan says:


    That was a pantsing, from the moment Carroll opted to kick off (a Don James tactic).

    If they do the same to SF in SF Sunday, I’m going to have the best Monday at the office, evah.

  33. 33


    When we had the 4-foot tree, we lashed it he base to a table with rope and weighted the table down. Not quite sure what we’ll do with the new 6-foot tree, but weights will probably be involved again, plus it’s going in a corner.

    If you get a fresh tree, make sure to cover the water in the tree stand so your pet can’t drink it — the pesticides they use on most trees can poison a cat or dog.

  34. 34
    trollhattan says:

    News that’s not news to cat “owners.”

  35. 35
    Yatsuno says:

    @trollhattan: Bring me the head of Colin Kaepernick. I will not complain if his body is still attached and he is still breathing. Also. Too.

    Of course if SF loses again at home, they can’t go around blaming the crowd noise for that now can they? Nah Pete will have to have cheated in some way.

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:


    Folks at work are an even mix of Niner: Raider fans, which is an endless field of opportunity for mocking (mockortunity?). May need to deal with the smattering of Bronco fans, come February.

    The schedulers must be thrilled they have New Orleans and Carolina playing twice before season’s end.

  37. 37
    mtiffany says:

    Not sure if Cole is trolling… but HDR is High Dynamic Range.

    Wikipedia explains:

  38. 38
    Yatsuno says:

    @trollhattan: Old friend from college has been a massive Bronco fan all his life. Up until this year it was a forgivable sin, but this might have to get personal if all goes well. Yeah the Seachickens are playing great right now, but I never EVER underestimate Seahackitude.

  39. 39
    ruemara says:

    I wish I took pictures as well as Cleek or Tim

    For one, they’re not working with iphones. For two, these are quite good for iphones and once you figure out how to use the fill light filter, you’ll be at a peak.

    Steve, you’re handsome and Imma let you finish, but Otajamakushi is the best maine cooniest kitteh of all time.

    Actually, I like seeing Steve because he’s Takkun-esque.

  40. 40
    trollhattan says:


    When they were all in the AFC West, the battles with Denver, especially the Elway Denver, were pretty epic. Have retained my Bronco animosity in case they re-re-re-realign.

  41. 41
    trollhattan says:

    Needless rhetorical question of the evening: is there anything the wingnuts can’t destroy? No, no there isn’t.

  42. 42
    agorabum says:

    Talk to one of your frat boys in person about how to use the technology, if your google-fu does not help you.
    But in general – increase your exposure to take in more light. Use the filters after the pics…

  43. 43
    Roger Moore says:

    I wish I took pictures as well as Cleek or Tim.

    I think your composition is fine, but your technical quality needs some work. That unfortunately means you need a better camera. Better lighting would do you a world of good, also, too.

  44. 44
    Roger Moore says:

    The cats might care more if they heard their owners voice followed by the sound of a can opener. That said, my cat will often come running when I call him. Of course he’s so friendly he runs to answer the door any time somebody walks by outside in the hope that somebody will come to visit, so that may mean he’d come running for just about anyone who called him.

  45. 45
    Darkrose says:

    Look at him, with all his fluffs!

  46. 46
    reality-based says:


    if a live tree, that needs water – definitely invest in one of those big plastic trays, about 30″ in diameter, with raised lip – only cost $5 or so, hide with a tree skirt, saves your floors if kitty is tipping tree – or even if he isn’t.

    I use to have small silver or gold colored bells (not sleigh-type bills, like mini-church bells, kinda noisy) as the ornaments on the bottom set of branches – so when the cats were messing around, the bell noise prompted me to charge in there with a squirt-gun yelling “Kitty get out of the tree. ” It kinda worked.

    Of course, there was the Christmas I spent with 4 foster rescue kittens – I put the tree in a corner, guy-wired it into the walls. Since they couldn’t knock it over, kittens contented themselves with climbing the tree, pulling all of the lights and tinsel garland OFF the tree, arranging it into a nest, and falling asleep in it. Cutest Christmas picture ever.

  47. 47
    RSR says:

    we want to see those pantaloons. shots from the reverse side please

  48. 48
    Scamp Dog says:

    @reality-based: I don’t believe you. I insist on photographic proof! Proof, I tells ya!

  49. 49
    The Other Chuck says:

    You know what other super-advanced camera feature you might try using?

    A flash.

  50. 50
    reality-based says:

    @Scamp Dog:

    unfortunately, this all happened 23 years ago ( I had to look it up!) – so I would have to go dig old photo albums out of storage (in another state) to provide said evidence.

    (sigh) – how come nothing this cute ever happens to me now, in the digital age, when I got all KINDS of worthless pics on my hard drive.

    I REALLY wish I had pictures of my old, 30 -pounds skinnier body, digitized, too – for inspiration!

    The best part, when I walked into the living room Christmas morning to see kittens in tinsel nest, one woke up, yawned, and looked at me, innocent as all hell, it wasn’t them, it was some OTHER gang of kittens who did the fell deed.

    Except that she still had garland hanging over her ear.

  51. 51
    Robert Sneddon says:

    A good compact camera for shooting pictures indoors without terrifying pets etc. with a flash is one of the Panasonic LX series; the current model is the LX-7 but the older LX-5 and LX-3 do a good job as well. It has a big aperture and light grasp and a very good-quality lens in front of a larger-than-normal sensor which allows it to work remarkably well in low-light situations.

    Here’s a pic of Mafdet, a cat who ruled over some friends until she passed a couple of months ago, snapshotted with with my LX-3 with no flash or trick lighting.

  52. 52
    Ramalama says:

    For your next cat act, will you please make sure to get another male and name him Adam?

    So you’ll have Adam and Steve rather than Adam and Eve.

    Just to mess with people, because you can.

  53. 53
    mzrad says:

    YES: second photo, albeit orange and mildly fuzzy, is one of your better shots. Anytime one can take a pet photo without the weird eyeball, YES.

    Do you walk the dogs in the snow?

  54. 54
    rikyrah says:

    Steve is cute

  55. 55
    tofudog says:

    There are some great photography websites with lessons and suggestions. This one does focus a bit on taking animal pictures since he’s a big animal lover. But has overall suggestions too.

  56. 56
    jayboat says:

    What a beautiful subject. All the info you need is in this thread (esp the parts about golden thirds and photoshop apps for your phone), so I’ll just add the obvious- practice makes perfect.

    I love hdr effects. I’ve shot 100-150K images each year for the last 7, but since most of my work is fast moving boats, I have to use a variety of post-processing to get the look of true hdr that I want.

    Also, too- the new sensors on many brands are amazing at low light captures.

    Here’s an aerial from near Sanibel last Saturday

    and one with the new Nikon D7100

  57. 57
    Paul in KY says:

    Others have probably already made the point, but you need more light when taking these pictures. How about an outside shot of Steve (in bright sunlight)?

  58. 58
    Paul in KY says:

    @reality-based: Bet that was cute overload.

  59. 59
    Paul in KY says:

    @Robert Sneddon: Very fine looking cat. RIP, Mafdet

  60. 60
    kc says:

    Those are great! Damn, that is a good-lpoking cat.

  61. 61

    Steve is gorgeous no matter who the photographer is!

  62. 62
    Mr_Gravity says:

    @khead: Chain link fence?

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