One of my absolute, all-time favorite photos, enjoying the quiet, beautiful space they are in.
Giuseppe watches the yard, Jelly Bean soaks it in at the upstairs window facing east.
These sunny spring mornings have been intoxicating for all of us. In the rush to get breakfast and clean up and play and get to work, we all pause when we find ourselves in a sunny spot and simply appreciate the gift of the sun’s warmth and the promise of more beautiful days to come. The rounded mirror in the background brings to mind the rising of the sun over the horizon.
And while I love to look at their beautiful faces as they look back at me in photos, I usually prefer the more candid shot as they do what they do and I am only an observer, trying my best not to influence their actions.
This photo, like all the others, was originally a color photo, though because of the dramatic contrast with the sunlight I knew I’d probably convert it to black and white in PhotoShop to mimic the effect of a true black and white shot. Removing the distraction of color allows the eye to notice the tracery of sunlight on whiskers against rich black fur, and the delicate shapes of the wild rose branches on the wall above.
But I didn’t like it as a black and white shot; there were just wasn’t enough interest in the darker areas and aside from the left edge it just looked murky.
So that meant I got to play around with a few other techniques I use now and then. In this case I was still desaturating, which converts color information into grayscale, keeping the richness of the detail, but this time, not all the way so that a bit of color remained to add interest and dimension. The cabinet looks like a very pale pine, Jelly Bean retains some of the warm mahogany in his fur, a trace of green remains in Giuseppe’s eyes, the antique gold mirror frame still has a gold tinge to it. The only two cool colors, the tired old snake plant and the plant pot between the two boys, retain some of their original gray green and turquoise, but not so much that they call attention to themselves. Overall, the photo retains a tinge of the warm yellow morning sun.
I initially cropped down farther, right above the top edge of the mirror, to bring the focus on the two cats, but the image lost the airy look of the sun-filled space, and one of the things I liked about the original photo was the organic shape of the rose branches against the wall at the top. I recropped it to include this and once again found that feeling of a larger, open space, and the extra element of detail lightened up the heavier shapes of the cats, the cabinet, even the mirror. The only thing I don’t care for, and one of the other reasons I had originally cropped down so far, was that I don’t like the glass globe at the top of the photo; I find it distracting, but not as distracting as cropping too far down.
Other Variations, and Notecards
You’ll see this image, with minor variations, in a set of notecards entitled “Victoriana Cats” which I compiled of four similar images featuring contemplative black cats in softened sepia compositions.
I love the way the set of cards has turned out and that filtering effect of the diffuse glow that softens the highlights, but I also like the original image with its hard morning sunlight and deep shadows, above.
About the cards
These dreamy sepia-toned cards are 5″ x 7″, blank inside and printed on 12 pt. gloss card stock with matching natural white envelopes and packed in a clear-top white cardboard greeting card box. Cards are blank inside; on the back is the story of the photo.
Though these photos may look antique and sepia-toned, they are neither. My cats are perfect models and knew to pose in the bright yellow morning sun in front of my round antique mirror and the narrow casement window with the lace curtain. I applied a few Photoshop filters to the original photos to make them consistent in tone and style. I adopted the name “Victoriana” from the genre of art that mimics some elements of the Victorian era, such as sepia images that have been softened by age, with newer styles and subject matter—it’s not strictly Victorian, but recalls the contemplative poses popular in the day.
Use them for all-purpose greeting cards, sympathy, thinking of you, friendship, or find some shabby chic frames for 5″ x 7″ images and frame them for your walls.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.