Happy New Year

Happy New Year from the Cagaran Cats, with a series of photos from the Christmas shoot.

So we’re into 2013 already – Happy New Year!  It seems hardly any time since we were out to celebrate my Grandpa’s 80th last Hogmanay, and yet at the same time, so much has happened in the past year.

We did our usual Cagaran Christmas card, with a photo of some of our recent kittens.  Like last year, we had the same photo on three different designs of card, because we couldn’t decide which design we preferred.

The Three Designs
The Three Designs

I’ve had lots of people ask me if the photo is real, and if so, how we got it.  The answer is lots and lots of photos – 761 to be precise!  I wanted the photo to contain both Ocis and Tiffs, and I was hoping to get all three patterns of Ocis.  We built our ‘set’ in the hallway, by lining the window alcove with black fleece, and hanging a piece of mesh from the hook in the ceiling that we use to hang a lantern at Christmas time.  I then dangled strands of beads, and tied silver bobbles onto the mesh.  We poured a load of other bobbles into the bottom of the alcove (a box laid across the front, and covered in the fleece kept them in, creating a miniature ball pool), and then ran some white fairy lights through them.  We also brought out a flood light and several desk lamps, in an attempt to create a bright enough space that the camera could work fast enough to catch a load of rapidly-moving kittens.

The set for the card photos
The 'set' for the card photos - you can see the edge of the fleece at the right-hand side, and the shape of the box under the fleece at the front

I brought out Etak, Ayla, Bru, Cheeky and Carrie, and put them all into the alcove.  I waved a cat toy around to try and get the kittens’ attention (frequently unsuccessful, I may add), whilst Richard started snapping.  We kept going for forty minutes, until we thought we must surely have something that would work.  I thought you might like to share some of the ‘failed’ attempts: there are photos which contain all of the kittens, but only one is facing the right way…

The five kittens, but only Carrie is looking
The five kittens, but only Carrie is looking

Or they are facing the right way, but pulling stupid faces…

An otherwise good photo with Cheeky pulling a stupid face at the front
An otherwise good photo with Cheeky pulling a stupid face at the front

Ayla looking like she's sucked on a lemon
Ayla looking like she's sucking on a lemon

Cheeky licking her nose
Cheeky licking her nose - every other cat in this photo looked perfect!

Or where four are sitting beautifully but one or two refuse to look towards the camera…

One of many photos where Ayla is too busy playing to bother looking at the camera
One of many photos in which most of the kittens look great, but Ayla is too busy amusing herself to bother looking at the camera
Another that would be fine except that Derk has looked away, and Bru has managed to partially obscure himself behind a string of beads!
Another that would be fine except that Derk has looked away, and Bru has managed to partially obscure his face behind a string of beads!

Or is obscured behind the decorations…

Almost an ideal photo, but Carrie has dropped her head to behind a bobble
Almost an ideal photo, but Carrie has leaned across to behind a bobble
Carrie pretending to be a Magritte painting
Carrie pretending to be a Magritte painting (complete with reflection of Richard with the camera, and me waving the toy around!)

Or one has gone under another…

Cheeky and Bru stepping over and under eachother
Cheeky and Bru stepping over and under eachother

All that is visible of Bru, where he has crawled under Derk
All that is visible of Bru, where he has crawled under Derk

Ones where one is moving around so much that they are just a blur…

Ayla playing in the bobbles
A blurry Ayla, playing in the bobbles

Ones where some are coming, and others going…

Ayla on her way back into the alcove, and Bru on his way out
Ayla on her way back into the alcove, and Bru on his way out

Ones where they have all abandoned the alcove, and all we have is a departing tail…

Ayla's tail departing an otherwise empty alcove
Ayla's tail heading out of an otherwise empty alcove

In the case of Cheeky and Ayla, we also have plenty where they are trying to destroy the ‘set’…

Ayla attempting to eat the beads
Ayla attempting to eat the beads

Cheeky thinking about eating the beads
Cheeky thinking about eating one of the strands of beads...

... and going for it!
... and going for it with another strand a few minutes later!

Cheeky trying to chew one of the bobbles off
Cheeky trying to chew one of the bobbles off its string...

Ayla trying to chew through a different one
... and Ayla trying to chew through another (she succeeded, by the way)

Some are even perfectly nice photos, just not what we were looking for…

Bru and Cheeky behind, with Ayla at the front watching her brother and Carrie disappear along the corridor
Bru and Cheeky behind, with Ayla at the front watching her brother and Carrie disappear along the corridor
The Three Patterns from the Ocicat litter
The Three Patterns from the Ocicat litter
Cheeky and Bru - a nice photo of Cheeky, in particular
Cheeky and Bru - a nice photo of Cheeky, in particular

Mostly, we have lots and lots of photos that look like something from a spot-the-difference game, with just tiny movements between each one, in the hope of getting one that works!  These are the photos chosen for the card:

The final front photo (from left: Derk, then Cheeky at the front, with Bru behind her, and then Carrie with Ayla behind)
The final front photo (from left: Derk, then Cheeky with Bru behind her, and then Carrie with Ayla behind)
... and the image from the back of the card
... and the image from the back of the card (Ayla and Derk)

This coming weekend is an exciting one for us, because we’re going down to the Shorthair and Joint Foreign show, and dropping the two Variant girls off at their new home in Cardiff.  I am always excited to see our kittens going to their new homes, and it’s particularly lovely when two can go together.

The show is exciting for two reasons – one, you may remember that Richard and I are both on the committee of RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland), and that club is having its first ever show as part of the Joint Foreign show.  The second reason is that the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society), of which we are also committee members, is another of the Joint shows, and we have won the Best Kitten award there the past two years.  It would be lovely to win it for a third year, but one of the best things about the AGCS show is seeing such a fabulous selection of Asians turn out, so even if we don’t win, the AGCS is bound to be an enjoyable show.  I can’t wait!

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