The High Heat of Summer

Our cat Trixie sleeps at the top of the old cat tree

When I took advantage of a big sale back in March to buy my new camera and lenses, one of the lenses I decided to try was the Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens. It’s a full-frame lens but on my crop camera behaves more like a moderate telephoto, a useful lenses for taking portraits of people, but that’s not something I do. I do take portraits of the pets of course but I was worried it would be too long of a focal length for indoor use. Still, I had loved it from afar and decided to give it a chance and was playing around with it for these portraits of Trixie at the top of the cat tree.

I often don’t like shots with an overly shallow depth-of-field and I could take it or leave it here. I’d like a little more depth of field on Trixie but I do like the way it renders the out-of-focus stained glass in the background, and I like the way the slightly compressed look of this length of lens puts the focus on her but still with a sense of the background for the room.

The old cat tree is in front of the large picture window in the living room. It’s actually three windows, two smaller ones on the end that slide open and big fixed one in the middle. There are pull-down shades sized to each window as well, and the big shade she is sleeping next to is pulled down, while the other two were open, letting the sunlight reflect off the brown walls and bathe her in warm light. For the shot below I moved slightly to the right to include the context of the window, which I knew would blow out because it was so much brighter than the rest of the room, but I love the way the lens handled it, two similar shots and I like both but the slight shift gives each a different feel. As does Trixie’s ‘smile’, really part of a yawn, which seems part warm and playful and part ‘my ancestors devoured yours’.

It was quickly heating up on this summer morning when I took the pictures, but when the Little Furnace curls up in my lap, that’s when I feel the real high heat of summer. Not that I’d ever turn her away, my little Trix, and of course Sam and Boo are always welcome too.

The Curious Smile

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