© Vickie L. Holt


Usman M. Bajwa level-classic 10/13/2010 5:53:53 AM

A fascinating capture of the kitty and light, Vickie!

UB. #1317045

Bonnie C. Lackey 10/13/2010 6:03:46 AM

Gorgeous portrait with wonderful lighting and detail, Vickie. #8963715

Shelly A. Van Camp level-classic 10/13/2010 6:39:51 AM

Beautiful!! #8963846

Vickie L. Holt 10/13/2010 7:07:35 AM

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. #8963916

Connie Fore 10/13/2010 7:32:22 AM

This is a beautiful pet portrait! Wonderful lighting! #8963975

Linda Blair 10/13/2010 3:44:17 PM

Wow...love this dramatic portrait...great moody portrait...I bet we see this again!!!! #8964722

Kathy Cline level-classic 10/23/2010 6:49:23 PM

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. #8992067

Michelle Alton 10/24/2010 3:28:22 AM

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! #8992374

Liz Mackney 10/24/2010 3:43:58 AM

Great save all the way around! Congratulations on your wonderful POTD! #8992386

Katarina Mansson 10/24/2010 3:46:49 AM

Magnificent portrait! Congratulations on your POTD! #8992390

Marisol Pastor 10/24/2010 4:05:18 AM

Excellent portrait of a beautiful cat! Congrats on the POTD! #8992399

Julie Christiansen 10/24/2010 4:06:19 AM

Congrats on the POTD. Superb. #8992402

Usman M. Bajwa level-classic 10/24/2010 4:17:34 AM

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

UB. #8992415

Richard M. Waas level-classic 10/24/2010 4:18:56 AM

Very nice Vickie.....Congrats on a well deserved POTD!! #8992417

Donna La Mattino Pagakis level-classic 10/24/2010 4:25:09 AM

I love this cat portrait Vickie, the lighting works so well. A huge congratulations on your beautiful POTD! #8992426

Jessica Jenney level-classic 10/24/2010 4:54:24 AM

Congratulations, Vickie on your gorgeous POTD! #8992483

Leslie Carson Wolfe 10/24/2010 5:01:24 AM

Beautiful cat, beautiful lighting, perfect moment! #8992504

JO ANN CLEVELAND 10/24/2010 5:05:10 AM

Fannnnn...tastic Vicki! Congrats on your POTD!

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

jo ann c. #8992512

Nancyj E. Hovey level-classic 10/24/2010 5:12:34 AM

on your very deserving POTD! 8o) #8992520

Anthony L. Mancuso 10/24/2010 5:16:17 AM

Congrats on your awesome POTD Vicki! #8992532

Vickie L. Holt 10/24/2010 5:26:34 AM

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. #8992568

Wayne T. Fisk 10/24/2010 5:28:00 AM

Picture Purrrfect!
Wayne #8992570

Joy Rector 10/24/2010 5:34:29 AM

congrats on the POTD #8992576

Kathy Cline level-classic 10/24/2010 5:39:09 AM



Mary Beth Aiello level-classic 10/24/2010 5:48:27 AM

Oh, the light, the light, Vickie. Superb. Just beautiful... in every way. Huge congrats on this outstanding POTD. #8992594

Lana Arcemont level-classic 10/24/2010 5:51:05 AM

Congratulations, Vickie!
This is gorgeous! #8992596

Cathy Barrows 10/24/2010 5:57:22 AM

Congrats on your POTD...i'm not a cat person but this is one awesome cat portrait #8992612

Jean-Pierre Ducondi level-classic 10/24/2010 6:07:54 AM

This is an amazing portrait. Big congrats.
JP #8992643

Karen Seargeant 10/24/2010 6:20:49 AM

BEAUTIFUL! AWESOME shot! Congrats! #8992671

Maria Coulson 10/24/2010 6:48:21 AM

Outstanding! Congratulations. #8992715

Nikki McDonald level-classic 10/24/2010 6:56:01 AM

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. #8992727

Leslie Carson Wolfe 10/24/2010 7:02:27 AM

What a great story, Vickie. That's a wonderful thing you do to help the animals. #8992737

Kathleen K. Parker level-classic 10/24/2010 7:15:57 AM

Fabulous! What a story! Can you adopt her? Congratulations on your POTD!
kk #8992765

Marsha S. Smith 10/24/2010 7:18:39 AM

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. #8992776

Lisa J. Boulden level-classic 10/24/2010 7:25:54 AM

Such an eye-catching portrait of Catherine!
Congratulations on your wonderful work!
Smiles, Lisa♥ #8992790

Phyllis H. Burchett 10/24/2010 7:42:53 AM

Wonderful portrait work...congrats on your POTD Vickie! #8992810

Vickie L. Holt 10/24/2010 7:45:44 AM

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. #8992812

PiperAnne L. Worcester 10/24/2010 7:53:05 AM

Wow! WOW at the portrait and WOW at what you do for the shelter animals! #8992818

Sara B Coffey level-classic 10/24/2010 7:57:25 AM

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:) #8992819

Vickie L. Holt 10/24/2010 8:07:19 AM

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. #8992829

Vickie L. Holt 10/24/2010 8:29:47 AM

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". #8992880

Michael McCook level-classic 10/24/2010 8:54:44 AM

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! #8992894

Pamela Koch 10/24/2010 10:00:40 AM

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. #8992981

Amanda D. Austwick level-classic 10/24/2010 10:28:12 AM

What a GORGEOUS cat portrait!!! She actually looks almost like a lioness! CONGRATULATIONS on your POTD!!! #8993006

Lee McHugh level-classic 10/24/2010 10:47:51 AM

Absolutely Outstanding. Beautiful capture. Handsome cat too. #8993016

Bunny Snow level-classic 10/24/2010 10:59:34 AM

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.


Kathleen Rinker 10/24/2010 11:04:35 AM

Beautiful portrait of this kitty, I hope she finds a good home. Congrats on your POTD!! #8993037

Stephanie Halstead level-classic 10/24/2010 11:33:34 AM

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. :) #8993062

Erica Murphy level-classic 10/24/2010 11:45:22 AM

Great story and great portrait Vickie!! What a hero you are to help these animals find homes. #8993072

Siete Meeter 10/24/2010 1:19:20 PM

Beautiful!!Congrats on your POTD!! #8993213

Jeff Robinson level-classic 10/24/2010 1:58:28 PM

Congrats Vickie on your outstanding POTD! Jeff #8993241

Jeff Robinson level-classic 10/24/2010 2:21:57 PM

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

Brian #8993268

Christine Pentecost 10/24/2010 3:11:27 PM

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!! #8993317

Toni Riggs 10/24/2010 3:20:40 PM

Gorgeous animal portrait, congrats! #8993320

Nancy L. Green level-classic 10/24/2010 3:26:54 PM

ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!! I love the lighting here, WTG!! <>< #8993324

Patricia A. Casey level-classic 10/24/2010 3:27:50 PM

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....=^..^= #8993325

Diana Powell 10/24/2010 4:09:43 PM

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 :)

Cindy Bendush level-classic 10/24/2010 4:14:19 PM

Such an exquisite kitty portrait! Congratulations on your beautiful POTD!!! #8993368

Virginia L. Allison 10/24/2010 7:46:45 PM

Beautiful portrait. Clear eyes and soft fur..love it! #8993582

Raymond Pauly level-classic 10/24/2010 9:14:52 PM

Outstanding! Beautiful cat and portrait! #8993673

Deborah A. Ciullo 10/24/2010 10:10:06 PM

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! #8993697

Vickie L. Holt 10/25/2010 5:16:56 AM

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. #8994183

Richard D. Love 10/25/2010 5:36:24 AM

Congratulations, Vickie. Outstanding lighting and comp. Well done.

Rick #8994239

Sabrina Ryan 10/25/2010 7:34:46 AM

Outstanding portrait! Congratulations, Vickie! #8994443

Leslie Carson Wolfe 10/25/2010 7:39:32 AM

Vickie, I'm interested in checking out the shelter here and seeing if I can help out. Where do I start? #8994464

Vickie L. Holt 10/25/2010 7:53:07 AM

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 #8994494

Vickie L. Holt 10/25/2010 8:07:15 AM

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! #8994523

Leslie Carson Wolfe 10/25/2010 9:07:14 AM

Thanks for all the helpful ideas. I'm filling out a volunteer application form at this moment! #8994626

Stanley C. Sims 10/25/2010 10:34:44 AM

Like everyone else, I am in awe. Big congrats on your very well deserved POTD. #8994802

Deborah A. Ciullo 10/25/2010 6:23:45 PM

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!!! #8995744

Vickie L. Holt 10/25/2010 6:38:15 PM

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! #8995792

Mary K. Robison 10/26/2010 1:07:47 AM

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. #8996153

Linda Blair 10/27/2010 9:33:50 AM

Congratulations on your gorgeous POTD!!!!! #8999411

Vickie L. Holt 10/27/2010 2:17:11 PM

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! #8999818

Nancy (Peaches) Harker 10/27/2010 5:12:36 PM

HUGE congrats on this awesome POTD! #9000188

Melissa G. Meiselman 11/15/2010 2:37:01 PM

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!!! #9036910

Leslie Carson Wolfe 11/15/2010 2:51:25 PM

Congratulations on your Finalist award, Vickie! #9037059

Deborah C. Lewinson level-classic 11/15/2010 4:30:54 PM

Congrats, Vickie, on your POTD and Finalist award for this magnificent portrait!

Debby #9038118

Merna L. Nobile 11/15/2010 4:58:37 PM

I would personally like to congratulate you on your winning photograph for October, 2010 and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Merna Nobile #9038369

Kathy Salerni level-classic 11/15/2010 8:06:06 PM

Huge congrats on your well deserved Finalist, Vickie! #9039693

Mary K. Robison 11/16/2010 12:39:36 AM

Congratulations on your well earned Finalist/POTD, Vickie! Such a beautiful capture! #9040258

Shawn Jennings level-classic 11/16/2010 9:17:35 AM

Fantastic! Congratulations on your finalist, Vickie! #9041679

Judy V. Kennamer level-classic 11/17/2010 11:16:04 AM

Absolutely gorgeous Vickie!!! Congrats on your WINNER!!!! #9045432

Bojan Bencic level-classic 11/17/2010 12:53:16 PM

Congratulations on your fantastic winner, Vickie. #9045820

Kathy Salerni level-classic 11/17/2010 1:17:37 PM

Big congrats on winning the Gold, Vicki! #9045935

Maria Morrow 11/17/2010 1:37:08 PM

Outstanding image, beautiful light on your beautiful subject. Congratulations! #9045980

Mary Beth Aiello level-classic 11/17/2010 1:57:10 PM

Absolutegly spectacular, Vicki. Huge congrats on winning the Gold. #9046040

Nancyj E. Hovey level-classic 11/17/2010 3:13:42 PM

Congratulations on your WINNER! 8o) #9046342

PiperAnne L. Worcester 11/17/2010 4:04:16 PM

You deserved this! Congratultions on such a fantastic image! #9046584

Michael Umbreit level-classic 11/17/2010 4:05:26 PM

Vickie - Congratulations!! - Mike #9046588

Amanda D. Austwick level-classic 11/17/2010 4:55:21 PM

congratulations on this wonderful Gold Win!!! #9046754

JO ANN CLEVELAND 11/17/2010 5:36:01 PM

BIG Congrats on a spectacular First Place Winner Vickie!!

jo ann c. #9046894

JO ANN CLEVELAND 11/17/2010 8:15:44 PM

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

Brian #9047258

Melissa McCabe 11/17/2010 10:54:50 PM

Fantastic image, congrats! -mm #9047478

Sabrina Ryan 11/18/2010 6:03:47 AM

CONGRATULATIONS on your Winning image, Vickie! #9048069

Mary K. Robison 11/18/2010 11:37:25 AM

So happy to see Catherine again, this time with her well earned golden award, Vickie!
"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. #9048933

Evy Johansen level-classic 11/18/2010 8:08:11 PM

Beautiful capture, Vickie! Big congratulations on your win! #9049939

Sara B Coffey level-classic 11/19/2010 11:08:54 AM

Wow Vickie, Congratulations on your winning photo of Catherine! It is good to see this one again - a beautiful capture! Sara #9051583

Linda Blair 11/19/2010 2:38:51 PM

Gorgeous winner...congratulations!!!! #9051973

Donna La Mattino Pagakis level-classic 11/19/2010 8:32:59 PM

It is great to see this image in the winner's circle Vickie, congratulations on your win! #9052393

Cindy Bendush level-classic 11/19/2010 10:56:20 PM

The more I look at this image, the more I am mesmerized by it! Huge congratulations on your well-deserved win Vickie! #9052553

Stanley C. Sims 11/20/2010 9:59:41 PM

Congratulations Vickie. This deserves the gold. #9054397

Usman M. Bajwa level-classic 11/21/2010 2:49:47 AM

CONGRATULATIONS on your terrific Winner!!

UB. #9054547

Vickie L. Holt 11/22/2010 5:30:52 AM

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. #9056966

Phyllis H. Burchett 11/22/2010 10:08:02 AM

Congrats on this wonderful winner Vickie! #9057552

Vickie L. Holt 12/4/2010 1:31:37 PM

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! #9080258

JO ANN CLEVELAND 6/28/2011 12:15:48 PM

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. #9492369

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Exif: F Number: 6.3, Exposure Bias Value: -2.30, ExposureTime: 1/125 seconds, Flash: did not fire, auto mode, ISO: 100, White balance: Auto white balance, FocalLength: 43.00 mm, Model: E-3

Uploaded on 10/13/2010 5:30:17 AM

BetterPhoto.com All Time Best Photo Contest Winner
BetterPhoto.com Photo Contest SECOND PLACE Winner
BetterPhoto.com Photo of the Day

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