So John gets to write a blog this time … but why has Shad chosen to let the staff write for him…
Together we have photographed horses in the snow, stood on the side of a Super-pipe while snowboarders do tricks feet from our cameras.; huddled together to stay out of the wind and rain on our local beaches photographing the local Kite Surfers… We have faced many challenges together. Yet Shad chooses not to photograph Maternity shoots. Could it be that he can creep through grass to shoot an apex predator through a nikon 300mm prime lens but he’s afraid of a little baby! Don’t get me wrong Shadow doesn’t have a problem with kids in fact his adopted sister is my Grand Daughter…. but they get on much better now she is growing up. Shad just doesn’t do babies, he’s says it’s too … and I quote “icky”! I suppose you could say it’s one of his foibles. Because of course he doesn’t have many! Mmmmm…
The young lady in question is a model we first met back in 2013 Bridal Shoot. So Mary Rose, Natasha and myself took the opportunity to enjoy to the autumn sunshibe at a local landmark Portchester Castle and take a few maternity shots for Fiona’s photo album. The medieval Portchester Castle was built as part of a roman fort overlooking the north end of Portsmouth Harbour some time in the 11th century. The weather -worn stone walls provided a rustic backdrop for the shoot and I got creative with a few silhouette shots as the sun began to set. Alright I admit it, we missed our Shad!
Dry feet are very important to a pussy cat. We like our paws to be shipshape, our whiskers to float free and our bellies to feel full! But this day my fur glistened with moisture from the endless drizzly rain that fell from the sky. It’s not uncommon to see doggies wearing a waterproof overcoat or a tartan jumper, but cats mostly don’t tolerate costumes or too much bling. And this cat certainly isn’t prissy enough to pull-off a leopard-print mackintosh. So I went ‘á la nature’, in reverence to my unadorned big cat cousins residing at the Wingham Wildlife Park in Kent. John, Natasha (the other photographer in John’s family) and I had driven all the way over to Canterbury to catch a glimpse of Poppy the baby jaguar and it was worth every lick of my coat required later to get myself clean and dry.
Having never seen a jaguar in real life before, I switched from happy-go-lucky ‘human mode’ (which employs the skills I have perfected to communicate with humans in their visual / auditory way) to ‘untamed feline mode’ (which involves using body language and scent to connect with other cats). My whiskers stood proud and bristled with excitement as I flicked a few happy pheromones in the direction of Poppy’s mum whose name is Luna. I wanted her to know I was there to admire her baby so there was no need for her to fret. You can imagine my surprise when I strode purposefully to the fence and found that Poppy looked just like me – sleek, black, handsome and proud. The only difference I could see (apart from the size perhaps) was that Poppy had big blue eyes and mine are yellow. Poppy is the first big cat to the born at the park and she takes after her black mum Luna more than her yellow-spotted dad Loki. She was born in July 2014 and has recently gone on show to the public now the zookeepers are satisfied that her protective mother is comfortable with the idea.
Another new sight for me was the pardine genet. This debonair exotic creature is very shy in the wild and as such there is not much known about its natural mating, courtship and hunting behaviours. This mysterious cat-like mammal is similar to a civet, a fossa or a mongoose and has a vast range from Canada down to the Andes. It’s a protected species throughout most of its range except for a few areas including Ecuador and El Salvador, yet they are hunted in many parts of Canada and the United States. Seems like a contradiction to me but I’ve never understood the killing for sport thing.
There are far too many animals at the park to mention them all but some of the striking ones in these photos are the Puma (also known as a cougar or a mountain cat), the noble lion and magnificent tiger, curious meerkats and the dignified red panda, as well as quirky perky penguins. There was also a monkey with a teddy who made me laugh because I have a teddy at home, but don’t go telling everybody that!
So there I was, happily snoozing away, curled up in a ball to keep warm on this cool spring evening, when I heard John getting all excited on the phone. His daughter Susan had finally given birth to the little bubby that was growing inside her for what seemed like an eternity. Humans sure do need a lot of brewing, unlike us cats who only need nine weeks as opposed to nine months.
By all accounts, the family was expecting a girl following an ultra-sound a few weeks ago, so you can imagine everyone’s surprise when a boy popped out. Susan brought young Oscar round to see us a couple of days after she came home from hospital and here are a few pictures of the little squirt to warm your cockles!
As a cat, I’m not given to swooning over human babies, but I have to admit, this one is a cutie, even though he doesn’t have fur and whiskers. I sniffed him and had a brief moment where I began to contemplate the meaning of life when the little rascal starting screaming. The noise was deafening so I turned tail and trotted off to the window-sill in the other room to watch the birds in the garden. I do love my peace and quiet. Congratulations Susan and Scott!