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Behind the Scenes: Mr. Whiskers

Hello there.  Jeremiah Tolbert here.  I’m the man behind Dr. Roundbottom and his photonic captures.  I even do his voice from time to time on the podcast.

This month, I thought I would bring you behind the scenes for my latest shoot, “The Deadly Mr. Whiskers.”  Due to scheduling problems, we have been unable to move forward on the podcast, which has played havoc with my planned content.  I’ve had to scramble to create shoots and fill the holes.

Frankly, I am surprised it took me as long as this to do a shoot with one of our cats.  Hopefully I elevated the shoot above the average “cat picture” found on the web.  The shoot was actually quite challenging.

Above is the Faery Doll painstakingly fashioned for the shoot.  The idea here is that Mrs. Dowd has a faery-shaped toy for the cat just like you or I might give a mouse-shaped toy to our cats.

The wings were the first thing to go, as you’ll see in the outtakes included below.  Unfortunately, dry leaves are too delicate to take savage attacks from cats and still remain photographable.  They also provided too bright of a surface and I had troubles with the lighting.

A note on the lighting.  It’s much easier to light a human being who voluntarily stands still than a cat, who does not.  We attempted this shoot with both of our cats, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and ultimately, I got the best shot from Guildenstern, but neither of them were happy about it, despite the copious amounts of catnip rubbed into the toy.

They did not much care for the lights and often turned to stare at the flashes after they went off, so keeping their attention on the toy was a full time task for Sarah (my wife, and the voice and face of Miss Watkins).  Even then, they quickly became bored, so I had to balance my lights and get the best shot I could as quickly as possible.  Even after I took the shot I used (shown below before processing) I took another dozen shots hoping for an even better action shot.

So there you have it.  And here are some of the outtakes from the shoot.

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