One of my most used Christmas presents this year is a Viltrox LED Light Panel. I picked it out after my wife said that my stepson was looking for something to buy for me. I am very hard to buy for because I don’t need much and if I do find something that I want it is too expensive for me or anyone else. So you can imagine how hard it was to come up with a good suggestion. I was very happy that it actually was a good suggestion because this light has proved to be quite useful.
I typically hate using a flash for photographing our cats, or anything else. About the only thing a flash is good for, in my opinion, is in photographing receipts. I hate the harsh shadows it creates and you just can’t avoid those laser eyes.
This light panel is not better than natural light but it does improve on the flash that comes on your camera in five significant ways.
It has a much larger surface area than a flash so it does not produce the single direction light that causes harsh shadows. Of course, it is not as diffused as the large studio lights in a portrait studio but it is much more portable and less expensive.
The color temperature can be changed to match the lighting conditions. If you are outdoors and need a fill light, you can set it to a higher color temperature to match the natural light. If you are indoors and want the warmer light that you get from incandescent bulbs or candle, you can turn down the color temperature to a warmer level.
The brightness level can be set between 20% and 100% intensity. Sometimes I just need a little fill light and I don’t want my subjects to squint when I take their photo so I turn the level down to 40% or less.
The light does not need to be attached to the camera so you can get extra light from whatever angle you need it to come from.
By being constantly on, it gives the eyes a chance to dilate, thus reducing red eye or “laser eyes.”
I took the two photos below with the light attached to my camera. The first one of Chris sleeping on the sofa is a good example of how the light does not produce harsh shadows. I wish I had taken another photo using the camera’s flash but I did not think of it at the time.
This photo of Chris does have some obvious shadows, which were unavoidable given the content, but I have shot photos like this using a flash and they are almost always unusable. Pay no attention to Chris’s eye boogers. That has always been a constant problem with his eyes.
What do you think? Do you have any other lighting tips you would like to share?
Recently I gave the cats a nice box that they liked to play in and then I took it away because we had to ship something and it was just the right size. I felt bad about it so when I came across another box at work I grabbed it.
I decided to make this one better than the last so I taped the top closed and cut two openings; one on the front and one on the side. I then cut a few peep holes in it so the box could feel like a little fort with spy holes to watch the “enemy.”
I named it “Fort Box” and the cats took to it right away, especially Colonel Chris who took over command of the fort.
For Throwback Thursday, I want to share a post which was the turning point of Chris and Frankie’s relationship. It was August, 2014, six months after we adopted Frankie and the first time the two boys were able to lie together without fighting.
Several weeks ago I wrote a post called Rebuilding Burnt Bridges where I talked about how Chris tormented Frankie for weeks after we adopted him but then had a change of heart and decided he wanted to be friends with Frankie. Unfortunately, that came too late and Frankie didn’t trust him. Not only that, whenever Chris tried to be nice, Frankie would attack him.
Since that post Chris has continued in his efforts to make peace and lately I have seen signs that things are getting better. They still fight, and Frankie is by no means ready to be Chris’s best buddy, but there are occasions when Chris moves in close to Frankie and Frankie doesn’t attack him. Indeed, sometimes he doesn’t leave either. I know it is not much but it is much better than what we have been used to seeing. Chris may be a bad cat but…
We bought a new Keurig coffee machine recently and the cats love the box that it came in. It seems like the perfect size for them.
It has been in our living room for over two weeks, longer than a typical box usually hangs around. My wife was tired of tripping over and asked me to throw it out the other day, but then she left for Virginia for a week so the cats still have until Tuesday to enjoy their box before I have to trash it.
I have mentioned before that Floki is the most difficult cat to control in the universe. My wife and I working together can’t contain him long enough to cut just one of his nails. Forget about all ten. Chris, on the other hand, can hold him down indefinitely all by himself.
He used to hold down Puck by grabbing the scruff of his neck but now it’s Floki’s turn. What I don’t understand is why Floki doesn’t struggle like he does with us. I’ve held Floki by the scruff to no avail. He does cry loudly when Chris does that, which alerts me that I need to go break it up.
I have written a few posts on this subject in case you are bored and want to read on.
Since starting as a volunteer at the SPCA a few months ago, I have noticed a surprisingly high number of cats who spend there time lying in litter boxes. I don’t know why. The pods at the SPCA are about 100 square feet with plenty of vertical sleeping areas. Perhaps it is a reaction to stress. Considering there are between four and eight cats in each pod and the pods are constantly changing as cats come and go, I can understand why it would be stressful, especially for the more timid cats.
I think the one cat toy in our house that has really stood the test of time is the Turbo Scratcher. The one we have now is one of two that we bought well over fifteen years ago (I don’t know what happened to the other one). It has not only lasted for years, it has also remained one of the most played with toys in the house.
Not all of our cats have been interested in it. Some have ignored it completely while others played with it occasionally, but there has always been one cat that goes back to it again and again. When Chris was young, he was the one. Then it was Puck and now Floki loves the Turbo Scratcher.
I often hear the sound of Floki playing with it but I never have a camera around. When I do go and get my camera or phone, as soon as I come back he is done playing. I was lucky to get the above video before Christmas and then promply forgot I had it until now.
Do you have any pet toys that have stood the test of time? I would love to hear about them.