Photographers need to master a variety of skills to get consistently excellent pictures. However, I think there are two that are particularly important when it comes to getting an interesting shot: patience and persistence. This became clear to me in my late afternoon encounter with some beautiful New Orleans street cats.
I live near a house that happens to be an occasional hangout for some local cats that I am determined to befriend someday. On a leisurely ride home I noticed a pretty little kitty sunning himself on the front porch, just as the light was warming up into gold. Armed with my Canon G16 point-and-shoot for any emergency photo opportunities, I dismounted my bike and started taking some pictures. The kitty sat up, confused about all the commotion, placing his head almost perfectly in the decorative space of the gate:
And I thought, huh! That’s pretty cute. I knew I wasn’t quite satisfied with the pictures, but I rationalized they were good enough for some casual shots. As I was walking my bike down the sidewalk the kitty started following me:
He continued to do so up to the edge of the porch where, at a certain angle, he aligned himself beautifully in the ironwork.
One of my favorite things about photography is the decisive moment: the crucial seconds where all the components of an image fall into place. A second before and the smiling woman blinks; a second after and the bicyclist is out of frame. In the grand scope of photography this picture isn’t a particularly impressive instance of that, but it’s one of my favorite photos out of all that I’ve taken. Maybe it’s because I took my time, waited long enough to feel the moment lock into place, and trusted the universe to let that happen.
But it’s probably because I just like cats. I really, really like cats.