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Top 10: 1. Thomas

by Darren

We’ve reached the end of my top 10, and right now you’re either thinking Thomas looks great … or you’re thinking I’m out of my mind. It’s difficult to take an image of pure blacks and whites without losing some detail in the shadows and/or highlights and this has some slight issues with both.

It’s always important when taking a picture of an animal to thoroughly research the species and watch the individual animal.  That way your research will tell you what it’s likely to do which helps you to anticipate, while watching tells you what it does do so that you can capture the behaviour when it happens again.

Over the four months we’ve spent with Thomas I’ve had the opportunity to watch him at length, virtually every day.  And that’s what makes this image special: it’s every bit the reflection of him.  Portrait photographers will tell you that capturing the essence of the subject is everything in terms of a great image and it’s just the same with any other living creature.  That way he’s sitting up in an anthropomorphic fashion is something he does regularly.  As is that stare which just says ‘what?’

But it’s not been easy to get the image either because Thomas is such a scaredy cat.  When we went to the RSPCA he was languishing, unpicked by the other visitors because he rarely came out of his (enclosed) bed.  His previous elderly owner could no longer look after him and he’d therefore been taken out of his home and put in a small cell.  I can remember the look on the RSPCA worker’s face when we said we’d take him.  Apparently not many people will take a 10 year old cat and I dread to think of the consequences had he not found a home which, given the time he’d been there may have contributed to the tear in her eye.

Over the last four months he’s adjusted and can be quite bold at times, especially when we’re lying down – I guess that’s less threatening to him.  But the slightest quick move and he runs to the nearest hiding place, and he hates cameras.

Yet I managed to capture an image which truly reflects him, and that’s why it’s special.  That’s why it’s #1.