Posts have been few and far between as of late due to some technical issues, business travel and general life just nibbling away my time. But through the madness of the last month I remain committed to photographing as many animals as possible and letting their individual lights shine. Up to now we have primarily used the kitty studio (aka super large container store box) for photographing kittens and cats. This was developed from shared ideas and modified to fit our needs at the Roanoke Valley SPCA. This set up has yielded fantastic results especially for the kittens.
Last week, one of the handlers suggested a new setup for the larger cats. As we have moved out of kitten season, we have more adult cats to photograph. They almost fit in the “kitty studio” box but more often than not their head is out of the backdrop or they are just too big to be comfortable in there. The solution or at very least the beginning of a solution was to try setting up an x-pen. This was not a familiar term to me. An x-pen is the collapsible hinged pen that you usually see setup outside to keep puppies, rabbits and other small animals from wandering off.
So we gave it a try. (Bonnie and Susan, two awesome volunteers, herding Cinderella in the photo.) Finding a spot that we would not be disturbed and had enough clear floor space are the major challenges. We used the same clip-on shop lights to overcome the fluorescent lights. Used the same 3 yards of fleece secured with binder clips for the backdrop and away we went. Overall it worked out great!
A few minor inconveniences of note:
One or two additional shop lights could be utilized to help keep the shadows down.
Be ready to get down. Because this set up is too large to place on an elevated surface like a table, you have to get down on the cat’s level. I tried a low chair with a little success but did best when I was right on the ground with the animals. My knees and back may not be the same. Perhaps I will work on a very low stool.
So here is one of the best of the first x-pen shots. Moped is a rambunctious fun loving kitty that really needed the extra room to stretch out. Once he established his boundaries of the fleece lined x-pen he was able to roll and get comfortable with his surroundings. Finally got the look I was striving for with this kitty.