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OUT OF THE DARKNESS, INTO THE LIGHT
BetterPhoto.com Photo Contest SECOND PLACE Winner
 
OUT OF THE DARKNESS, INTO THE LIGHT
OUT OF THE DARKNESS, INTO THE LIGHT
© Vickie L. Holt
Olympus Evolt E-3 ...
 
 
 
Usman Bajwa
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    A fascinating capture of the kitty and light, Vickie!

UB.

10/13/2010 5:53:53 AM

 
Bonnie C. Lackey
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Gorgeous portrait with wonderful lighting and detail, Vickie.

10/13/2010 6:03:46 AM

 
Shelly A. Van Camp
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Beautiful!!

10/13/2010 6:39:51 AM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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member since: 7/12/2007
 

Thanks everyone. This was actually a very under-exposed photo of this cat taken in her pet-carrier. After working with curves and other editing tools, I was able to reveal the cat while leaving the background as dark as the original image. She is a rescued cat at Angels of Assisi animal shelter, where I volunteer as their adoption website photographer.

10/13/2010 7:07:35 AM

 
Connie Fore
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member since: 4/21/2008
 

This is a beautiful pet portrait! Wonderful lighting!

10/13/2010 7:32:22 AM

 
Linda Blair
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Wow...love this dramatic portrait...great moody portrait...I bet we see this again!!!!

10/13/2010 3:44:17 PM

 
Kathy Cline
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Hi Vickie, I have to say that this is one of the best kitty portraits here at BP. Im sure this will win an award.
This kitty should be in the movies or commercials.
She is so beautiful!! Have a blessed weekend.

10/23/2010 6:49:23 PM

 
Michelle Alton
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Rare to see a pet photo getting big-time recognition here. But then this is no ordinary pet shot! It's absolutely stunning portraiture, Vickie. Congratulations on this great selection for POTD!

10/24/2010 3:28:22 AM

 
Liz Mackney
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Great save all the way around! Congratulations on your wonderful POTD!

10/24/2010 3:43:58 AM

 
Katarina Mansson
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Magnificent portrait! Congratulations on your POTD!

10/24/2010 3:46:49 AM

 
Marisol Pastor
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Excellent portrait of a beautiful cat! Congrats on the POTD!

10/24/2010 4:05:18 AM

 
Julie Christiansen
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Congrats on the POTD. Superb.

10/24/2010 4:06:19 AM

 
Usman Bajwa
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Good to see this again, Vickie. CONGRATZ on the POTD!

UB.

10/24/2010 4:17:34 AM

 
Richard M. Waas
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Very nice Vickie.....Congrats on a well deserved POTD!!

10/24/2010 4:18:56 AM

 
Donna LaMattino Pagakis
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I love this cat portrait Vickie, the lighting works so well. A huge congratulations on your beautiful POTD!

10/24/2010 4:25:09 AM

 
Jessica Jenney
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Congratulations, Vickie on your gorgeous POTD!

10/24/2010 4:54:24 AM

 
Leslie Carson Wolfe
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Beautiful cat, beautiful lighting, perfect moment!

10/24/2010 5:01:24 AM

 
JO ANN CLEVELAND
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Fannnnn...tastic Vicki! Congrats on your POTD!

That black bg really shows this beautiful cat off well....great clarity and composition..

jo ann c.

10/24/2010 5:05:10 AM

 
Nancyj Hovey
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C O N G R T U L A T I O N S
on your very deserving POTD! 8o)

10/24/2010 5:12:34 AM

 
Anthony L. Mancuso
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Congrats on your awesome POTD Vicki!

10/24/2010 5:16:17 AM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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Thanks so much, everyone! This recognition makes me want to tell more about her story. She was rescued by authorities and animals rescue workers, along with over 100 more animals from a really bad hoarding situation in Bedford County, Virginia in September. The man was living in a double-wide trailer with all these animals, and when animal control went in, they went in Haz-mat suits, it was so bad. Not all animals were found alive. On the day I took this photo, I photographed over 50 more animals, as well. I go each Saturday to photograph new arrivals at the shelter, and it took three Saturday's to finish photographing this group. She didn't even have a name then. She was just number 21. Now she's Catherine, and hopefully soon, once all the court decisions are made, she can finally be posted on the adoption website and find a good home.

10/24/2010 5:26:34 AM

 
Wayne T. Fisk
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Picture Purrrfect!
Wayne

10/24/2010 5:28:00 AM

 
Joy Rector
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congrats on the POTD

10/24/2010 5:34:29 AM

 
Kathy Cline
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glitter-graphics.com

10/24/2010 5:39:09 AM

 
Mary Beth Aiello
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Oh, the light, the light, Vickie. Superb. Just beautiful... in every way. Huge congrats on this outstanding POTD.

10/24/2010 5:48:27 AM

 
Lana Arcemont
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Congratulations, Vickie!
This is gorgeous!

10/24/2010 5:51:05 AM

 
Cathy Barrows
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Congrats on your POTD...i'm not a cat person but this is one awesome cat portrait

10/24/2010 5:57:22 AM

 
Jean-Pierre Ducondi
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This is an amazing portrait. Big congrats.
JP

10/24/2010 6:07:54 AM

 
Karen Seargeant
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BEAUTIFUL! AWESOME shot! Congrats!

10/24/2010 6:20:49 AM

 
Maria Coulson
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Outstanding! Congratulations.

10/24/2010 6:48:21 AM

 
Nikki McDonald
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I agree with everyone else, Vickie -- this is a wonderful cat portrait. The colors are rich, the details fine, and the lighting gives her a beautiful glow. Congratulations on the post processing work, thanks for sharing her story (good luck, Catherine!) and congratulations on the POTD.

10/24/2010 6:56:01 AM

 
Leslie Carson Wolfe
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What a great story, Vickie. That's a wonderful thing you do to help the animals.

10/24/2010 7:02:27 AM

 
Kathleen K. Parker
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Fabulous! What a story! Can you adopt her? Congratulations on your POTD!
kk

10/24/2010 7:15:57 AM

 
Marsha S. Smith
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member since: 8/21/2004
 

This image and this kitty are so gorgeous! All of my cats are strays that I have taken in, had neutered and adore so I hope that someone will give her a Forever Home.

Congratulations on the POTD, you and Catherine both deserve it.

10/24/2010 7:18:39 AM

 
Lisa J. Boulden
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Such an eye-catching portrait of Catherine!
Congratulations on your wonderful work!
Smiles, Lisa♥

10/24/2010 7:25:54 AM

 
Phyllis Burchett
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Wonderful portrait work...congrats on your POTD Vickie!

10/24/2010 7:42:53 AM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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member since: 7/12/2007
 

Leslie: Thanks! It's something I actually encourage other photographers to do at their local shelter. I have proven that better photos on a website get animals adopted. After all, people shop online FIRST, and only go out to a shelter if they see an animal that catches their attention. A huge part of catching someone's attention online is to have a photograph that catches their attention. I breaks my heart to think of how many animals have been euthanized in the past ten years because their online photograph (done by shelter staff) didn't catch anyone's eye. Photography is fast becoming one of the most important tools in animal adoption efforts. Just go to any adoption search engine to see how poor most adoption photographs are. Please volunteer and help me save more.
Kathleen: Part of volunteering at the shelter is resisting the urge to adopt them all! I live in an apartment and already have a wonderful kitty who doesn't want to share me with any other pet. I'm sure Catherine's new family, when they come, will give her a wonderful home.

10/24/2010 7:45:44 AM

 
PiperAnne L. Worcester
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Wow! WOW at the portrait and WOW at what you do for the shelter animals!

10/24/2010 7:53:05 AM

 
Sara B. Coffey
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Vickie, Great photo of Catherine. Like everyone else said the lighting is captivating. I like the sharpness in her eyes, & the gradual softness, & darkening around her face & chest. No one would ever guess she is in a pet carrier! Congratulations on your POTD, & your work at the shelter. Sara:)

10/24/2010 7:57:25 AM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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member since: 7/12/2007
 

I've told so much about Catherine and her fellow refugees, but haven't said anything yet about the actual mechanics of the shot! :-) Since the lighting seems to be the feature that so many are mentioning, let me tell you how I did it. An animal shelter is not a studio. It's more like triage. Where most people in shelters tend to use a flash, I use a 100 watt natural-light ligtbulb screwed into a common, clamp-on auto shop light. I take many of the sheter's cat photos in a large plastic bin with lights clamped onto the side, but for photographing cats in cages and carriers, I simply clamp the light onto the opening of the cage and shine it inward. For this shot, completely by accident, the light reflected just right to create the under-exposure due to excessive light. Because the light was so bright, however, Catherine was waiting just under the darkness to be revealed in her beauty. The shot was taken while I was sitting in the floor in front of her carrier, surrounded by other volunteers feeding, watering and cleaning cages.

10/24/2010 8:07:19 AM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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member since: 7/12/2007
 

Catherine took three amazing shots, actually. The one I will be posting as her adoption photo is the 25th photo in my gallery, and is called "Mysterious".

10/24/2010 8:29:47 AM

 
Michael S. McCook
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Vickie, this is such a beautiful portrait. The sharpness and lighting are wonderful. But to me, the thing that makes it exceptional, is Catherine's expression...or lack of one. There is something about it which strikes an emotional cord within me.

Now that I know her story, I understand that look on her face. We have 4 cats, 3 rescue and one stray. Thank you for sharing your story and this fantastic image. Congratulations on your well deserved POTD. Good luck in the contest, I'm sure this is a winner!

10/24/2010 8:54:44 AM

 
Pamela Koch
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Vickie,
Congratulations on the stunning POTD. Catherine doesn't realize how lucky she is to have such a talented photographer photographing her. Thank you for sharing her story. I am sure she will not stay at the shelter for long.

10/24/2010 10:00:40 AM

 
Amanda D. Austwick
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What a GORGEOUS cat portrait!!! She actually looks almost like a lioness! CONGRATULATIONS on your POTD!!!

10/24/2010 10:28:12 AM

 
Lee McHugh
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Absolutely Outstanding. Beautiful capture. Handsome cat too.

10/24/2010 10:47:51 AM

 
Bunny Snow
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I hope the light will guide her into a wonderful home that you and she deserves. You, for capturing the wonderful and stately portrait, executing the well done photoshop work. This is the best and best lighted portrait of an animal I've seen at BP. I look forward to it being in the winner's circle.

My prayers will be with Catherine also, that she receives a deserving home with someone that will love and give her the care she needs.

10/24/2010 10:59:34 AM

 
Kathleen M. Rinker
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Beautiful portrait of this kitty, I hope she finds a good home. Congrats on your POTD!!

10/24/2010 11:04:35 AM

 
Stephanie Halstead
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Wonderful shot. THANKS for telling how you captured the moment. We adopted our first cat from the shelter. She lived with us for 17 1/2 years until her death last Dec. Naturally she was a family member. Last January we adopted another kitten from the SPCA...what an absolute delight he is. He is seldom still and so is hard to photograph. But I will keep trying. :)

10/24/2010 11:33:34 AM

 
Erica Murphy
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Great story and great portrait Vickie!! What a hero you are to help these animals find homes.

10/24/2010 11:45:22 AM

 
Siete Meeter
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Beautiful!!Congrats on your POTD!!

10/24/2010 1:19:20 PM

 
Jeff W. Robinson
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Congrats Vickie on your outstanding POTD! Jeff

10/24/2010 1:58:28 PM

 

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Congrats to you Vickie on your outstanding POTD.. A real deserving win..

Brian

10/24/2010 2:21:57 PM

 
Christine Pentecost
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This is an absolutely AWESOME photo! What an interesting story as well, but certainly with a happy ending, or at least it will definitely be a happy ending when she is adopted. Great job!!

10/24/2010 3:11:27 PM

 
Toni Riggs
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Gorgeous animal portrait, congrats!

10/24/2010 3:20:40 PM

 
Nancy L. Green
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ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!! I love the lighting here, WTG!! <><

10/24/2010 3:26:54 PM

 
PATRICIA A. CASEY
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Absolutely stunning portrait! Congratulations on a very well deserved POTD.....and Thank You for all you do at the Shelter.....kudos to all volunteers....Wonderful story line as well...thank you for sharing those!!Cheers....=^..^=

10/24/2010 3:27:50 PM

 
Diana Powell
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Most beautiful Cat photo I have seen in a long time, and what a story this cat has. I wish I could take her in, but my two would have a fit :)

10/24/2010 4:09:43 PM

 
Cindy Bendush
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Such an exquisite kitty portrait! Congratulations on your beautiful POTD!!!

10/24/2010 4:14:19 PM

 
Virginia L. Allison
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Beautiful portrait. Clear eyes and soft fur..love it!

10/24/2010 7:46:45 PM

 
Raymond Pauly
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Outstanding! Beautiful cat and portrait!

10/24/2010 9:14:52 PM

 
Deborah A. Ciullo
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This truly is outstanding!!! Wonderful lighting! Fantastic job!!! Congratulations on your very well deserved win! Also, thank you for sharing your story. Because of this I am now going to volunteer my services for our local shelter!

10/24/2010 10:10:06 PM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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member since: 7/12/2007
 

Deborah: THANK YOU!!! If you need any tips on handling shelter furries for quick and easy shots, feel free to ask! Most of the photography I do there, I do without any assistance, so I'm handling the animal and the camera at the same time. It works best this way, actually, as the animal will then have nothing to concentrate on but you. The first thing you might want to get is a rectangular storage bin of about the 100 gallon size (about $10.00 at Wal-mart) and about 3 yards of white fleece.

10/25/2010 5:16:56 AM

 
Richard D. Love
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Congratulations, Vickie. Outstanding lighting and comp. Well done.

Rick

10/25/2010 5:36:24 AM

 
Sabrina Ryan
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Outstanding portrait! Congratulations, Vickie!

10/25/2010 7:34:46 AM

 
Leslie Carson Wolfe
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Vickie, I'm interested in checking out the shelter here and seeing if I can help out. Where do I start?

10/25/2010 7:39:32 AM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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member since: 7/12/2007
 

Leslie: The first thing to do is to contact the shelter and to convince them to let you help. Most shelters are unaware that their poor photography is holding them back and may not be immediately convinced you can do anything to help them. You may want to direct them to angelsofassisi.org to see the work there, and how on so many of their pages, they honor the photography being done. You can let them know that you heard about a place in Virginia that had over a 25% increase in adoption rates when a professional photographer began volunteering. If you (or anyone) would like more information and reference points, please email me! vickieholt@cox.net

10/25/2010 7:53:07 AM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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member since: 7/12/2007
 

Just to let everyone know how rare having good photography in an animal shelter is: Since I began, I've practically become a celebrity for it in my city. I was recently featured on the news and have been invited to be a guest on a British podcast about photography. I'm also writing a book that will include all the tips, tricks and techniques I have developed to get these kinds of photographs in the challenging atmosphere of a busy animal shelter. I urge everyone to volunteer. It helps to boost your photography business, just through celebrity!

10/25/2010 8:07:15 AM

 
Leslie Carson Wolfe
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Thanks for all the helpful ideas. I'm filling out a volunteer application form at this moment!

10/25/2010 9:07:14 AM

 
Stanley C. Sims

member since: 1/28/2001
 

Like everyone else, I am in awe. Big congrats on your very well deserved POTD.

10/25/2010 10:34:44 AM

 
Deborah A. Ciullo
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Thanks so much for all of the great information Vickie! I am away on vacation until Thursday but as soon as I get back I will be calling my local shelters too! Looking forward to this experience. Will e-mail you when I get back, for more suggestions. Thanks so much! Not only did you win a POTD here, you have also done something wonderful to help some homeless animals!!!

10/25/2010 6:23:45 PM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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member since: 7/12/2007
 

Deborah: Thanks again! Leslie has already contacted her shelter and they have eagerly asked her to come for a tour. Both of you are great! I can't tell you how big my heart has swollen to know that my efforts to spread the word about shelter photography has finally begun to reach others. This is just the beginning. Until all shelters are no-kill, lets save as many as we can. Thank you, little Catherine! Remind me to give you scritches and pets on Saturday!

10/25/2010 6:38:15 PM

 
Mary K. Robison
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Vickie, it's obvious from the enthusiastic response to this image that your skills, both in-camera and in the Digital Darkroom, are outstanding. CONGRATULATIONS on the selection of this regal portrait as a POTD!
And, like so many others above, I have no doubt we'll see Catherine (the Great) among next month's winners.

The back story for Catherine and animal shelter photos is fascinating. The moment she becomes available for adoption, you can bet there'll be a line forming outside the shelter door, with everyone wanting to add her to their family.
Thanks for the wonderful work you do. You're a very special lady.

10/26/2010 1:07:47 AM

 
Linda Blair
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Congratulations on your gorgeous POTD!!!!!

10/27/2010 9:33:50 AM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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member since: 7/12/2007
 

You've all been so kind and thoughtful in your well-wishes for Catherine that I thought I'd let you all know that we got the all-clear, and she has finally been posted to the adoption website and is available for adoption, along with nearly 100 of her fellow refugees from the same hoarding rescue. If you'd like to see them all, please visit angelsofassisi.org. In the animal list, they are all clearly marked with "Bedford Rescue" after their names. Let the adoptions begin!

10/27/2010 2:17:11 PM

 
Nancy (Peaches) Harker
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HUGE congrats on this awesome POTD!

10/27/2010 5:12:36 PM

 
Melissa Gurdus
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I am very impressed with this shot, Catherine's story and your description of how you photograph these animals!! Congrats on this exquisite finalist, Vickie!!!

11/15/2010 2:37:01 PM

 
Leslie Carson Wolfe
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Congratulations on your Finalist award, Vickie!

11/15/2010 2:51:25 PM

 
Deborah C. Lewinson
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Congrats, Vickie, on your POTD and Finalist award for this magnificent portrait!

Debby

11/15/2010 4:30:54 PM

 
Merna L. Nobile
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I would personally like to congratulate you on your winning photograph for October, 2010 and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Merna Nobile

11/15/2010 4:58:37 PM

 
Kathy Salerni
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Huge congrats on your well deserved Finalist, Vickie!

11/15/2010 8:06:06 PM

 
Mary K. Robison
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Congratulations on your well earned Finalist/POTD, Vickie! Such a beautiful capture!

11/16/2010 12:39:36 AM

 
Shawn Jennings
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Fantastic! Congratulations on your finalist, Vickie!

11/16/2010 9:17:35 AM

 
Judy V. Kennamer
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Absolutely gorgeous Vickie!!! Congrats on your WINNER!!!!

11/17/2010 11:16:04 AM

 
Bojan Bencic
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Congratulations on your fantastic winner, Vickie.

11/17/2010 12:53:16 PM

 
Kathy Salerni
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Big congrats on winning the Gold, Vicki!

11/17/2010 1:17:37 PM

 
Maria Capilupi
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Outstanding image, beautiful light on your beautiful subject. Congratulations!

11/17/2010 1:37:08 PM

 
Mary Beth Aiello
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Absolutegly spectacular, Vicki. Huge congrats on winning the Gold.

11/17/2010 1:57:10 PM

 
Nancyj Hovey
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Congratulations on your WINNER! 8o)

11/17/2010 3:13:42 PM

 
PiperAnne L. Worcester
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You deserved this! Congratultions on such a fantastic image!

11/17/2010 4:04:16 PM

 
Mike Umbreit
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Vickie - Congratulations!! - Mike

11/17/2010 4:05:26 PM

 
Amanda D. Austwick
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member since: 8/2/2003
 

congratulations on this wonderful Gold Win!!!

11/17/2010 4:55:21 PM

 
JO ANN CLEVELAND
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member since: 3/16/2006
 

BIG Congrats on a spectacular First Place Winner Vickie!!

jo ann c.

11/17/2010 5:36:01 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
 

A very big congrats to you Vickie on your outstanding 2nd Place Gold Finish. A very deserving win for a really great image..

Brian

11/17/2010 8:15:44 PM

 
Melissa McCabe
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member since: 6/18/2007
 

Fantastic image, congrats! -mm

11/17/2010 10:54:50 PM

 
Sabrina Ryan
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member since: 4/22/2014
 

CONGRATULATIONS on your Winning image, Vickie!

11/18/2010 6:03:47 AM

 
Mary K. Robison
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member since: 6/30/2003
 

So happy to see Catherine again, this time with her well earned golden award, Vickie!
CONGRATULATIONS!
"I can't tell you how big my heart has swollen to know that my efforts to spread the word about shelter photography has finally begun to reach others. This is just the beginning..."
Your words, Vickie, and they sum you up perfectly.

11/18/2010 11:37:25 AM

 
Evy Johansen
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Beautiful capture, Vickie! Big congratulations on your win!

11/18/2010 8:08:11 PM

 
Sara B. Coffey
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member since: 10/10/2005
 

Wow Vickie, Congratulations on your winning photo of Catherine! It is good to see this one again - a beautiful capture! Sara

11/19/2010 11:08:54 AM

 
Linda Blair
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member since: 8/14/2006
 

Gorgeous winner...congratulations!!!!

11/19/2010 2:38:51 PM

 
Donna LaMattino Pagakis
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It is great to see this image in the winner's circle Vickie, congratulations on your win!

11/19/2010 8:32:59 PM

 
Cindy Bendush
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The more I look at this image, the more I am mesmerized by it! Huge congratulations on your well-deserved win Vickie!

11/19/2010 10:56:20 PM

 
Stanley C. Sims

member since: 1/28/2001
 

Congratulations Vickie. This deserves the gold.

11/20/2010 9:59:41 PM

 
Usman Bajwa
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member since: 4/11/2006
 

CONGRATULATIONS on your terrific Winner!!

UB.

11/21/2010 2:49:47 AM

 
Vickie L. Holt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/12/2007
 

Thank you everyone for your congratulations, admiration and well wishes for little Catherine. I'm so happy she has inspired you. I hope she can also inspire at least some of you to visit your local shelter and offer yourself as a volunteer so you can help save more just like her.

11/22/2010 5:30:52 AM

 
Phyllis Burchett
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member since: 11/29/2003
 

Congrats on this wonderful winner Vickie!

11/22/2010 10:08:02 AM

 
Vickie L. Holt
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member since: 7/12/2007
 

Hello everyone! And thanks! Just to let you all know - Catherine was adopted on Thursday, 12/02! She went home with another of the Bedford County kitties. Happy ending!

12/4/2010 1:31:37 PM

 
JO ANN CLEVELAND
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Totally gorgeous Vickie! I love this..who would think this was an adoptable pet??

Congratulations...you are inspiring me to get involved!

jo ann c.

6/28/2011 12:15:48 PM

 
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