Thursday, 16 August 2012

16/08: CATS!

My mum is visiting for a few days from tomorrow so I made a huge effort to get the current double cat commission finished today .... but it wasn't to be.    The cats are mostly black and I find black or white animals usually take so much longer than 'brown' for some reason.   Anyway, I've emailed the client with a progress report and will await feedback before finishing the portrait next Tuesday/Wednesday.

In the meantime, here are a few pictures I took at the Cat Sanctuary yesterday.   I have been there before but specifically for a halfday pastel workshop with Vic Bearcroft followed by a half day photo opportunity.  We were able to get right up to the perimeter fencing on that occasion and position the camera lenses between the wires to get the best possible pics.   Yesterday the centre was open to the General Public for a fund raising event and so we were all held further back from the enclosures and had to take our chances trying to focus the cameras to avoid the wires.  My camera (photography skills) aren't quite up to that challenge but I did get some pictures that will be good enough to work from.

A couple of the 'two legged' species

and back

the sanctuary is close to a small airport at Headcorn which offers adventure days .. parachuting, sky diving etc.   There was lots going on yesterday ...

but would these 'thrill seekers' be so keen if they realised what was next door to the airport???   Many of the big cat enclosures have high wire fences which slope inwards at the top to prevent the cats climbing out ... but they don't have roof wiring so they are open topped.       If they were unlucky enough to be blown off course the parachutists could be in for a nasty shock when they see what's waiting below :-)

This didn't work out very well as I was filming into the light but you can just make out a parachutist above the tree behind the tiger here:

Waiting for Supper??

Despite the problem with the wire fencing spoiling the photos a bit, I was able to get more than enough usable ones - here's one of the white lionesses who arrived at the Centre in May to hopefully breed with the resident white male lion in due course.    She and her sister were very laid back about all the attention they were getting.

I also got lots of photos of the two Serval Cat kittens who were impossibly cute and playful.  But I think my favourite photo of the day is this one of the two brothers - I photographed them many times during my previous visit to the Centre but they were very scruffy then - going through a moult or something.   They looked much more handsome this visit. 

This is definitely on my 'to do' list ...

Right ... enough for tonight!   

I'll post a few WIP pictures of the two (domestic) cats during the weekend if/when I get feedback from my client and know if changes need to be made before I get to the final stages of adding whiskers etc.


Jo said...

I was wondering, do the humans get made up every day like that? I presume they are staff, or do they do that for customers?

Love big cats, I have a gorgeous tiger painting of Mike's which I bought for hubby years ago.

sue said...

Yep, they're staff and they just got made up for the Open Day.

To be honest this Centre is supposed to be a breeding place for endangered species (big Cats) and not usually open to the public. They used to raise funds by having photographic and/or art days which are quite expensive but aimed at small groups so the animals aren't disturbed too much.
There were hundreds of people at this fund-raiser and I couldn't help feeling it wasn't really fair. I think they only plan to hold a couple a year so hope they stick to that otherwise it will be just 'another zoo'

I love big cats too ... they are so majestic and, well, huge!!

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

i would kill to be able to take photos there, i am so tired of fighting to get good shots at zoos of animals while a kid bangs on the glass, or screams at the animal :/

Jan/ said...

Wonderful photos, Sue! Hope you're having/had a good visit with your Mum (not sure if she's still there. Sorry I haven't popped by recently - I see I've missed out on a lot. Great portrait of the terrier and the pheasant photo is wonderful. Are you going to paint it?

sue said...

I know what you mean Jennifer, but there were a lot of kids at this open day unfortunately - coincided with school holidays so not surprising :-(

Hi Jan
Took Mum home yesterday so just relaxing today and trying to finish the cat portrait.
I like to photograph birds but feathers don't really attract me much so don't think I'll be drawing this. Much prefer furry four legged subjects :-)

Jo said...

Yup Sue, leave the feathers to Mike LOL

sue said...

Well, I'm happy to do that Jo but he hasn't posted anything for quite a while ... perhaps you need to crack the whip!