OUT OF THE DARKNESS, INTO THE LIGHT [Beautiful Cat Photographs]

© Vickie L. Holt


Uploaded: October 13, 2010 05:30:17


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


Usman M. Bajwa level-classic October 13, 2010

A fascinating capture of the kitty and light, Vickie!

UB. #1317045

Bonnie C. Lackey level-classic October 13, 2010

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

Shelly A. Van Camp level-classic October 13, 2010

Beautiful!! #8963846

Vickie L. Holt October 13, 2010

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 October 13, 2010

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

Linda Blair October 13, 2010

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

Kathy Cline October 23, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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

Katarina Mansson October 24, 2010

Magnificent portrait! Congratulations on your POTD! #8992390

Marisol Pastor October 24, 2010

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

Julie Christiansen October 24, 2010

Congrats on the POTD. Superb. #8992402

Usman M. Bajwa level-classic October 24, 2010

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

UB. #8992415

Richard M. Waas October 24, 2010

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

Donna La Mattino Pagakis October 24, 2010

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

Jessica Jenney October 24, 2010

Congratulations, Vickie on your gorgeous POTD! #8992483

Leslie Carson Wolfe October 24, 2010

Beautiful cat, beautiful lighting, perfect moment! #8992504

JO ANN CLEVELAND October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

on your very deserving POTD! 8o) #8992520

Anthony L. Mancuso October 24, 2010

Congrats on your awesome POTD Vicki! #8992532

Vickie L. Holt October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

Picture Purrrfect!
Wayne #8992570

Joy Rector October 24, 2010

congrats on the POTD #8992576

Kathy Cline October 24, 2010



Mary Beth Aiello level-classic October 24, 2010

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

Lana Arcemont October 24, 2010

Congratulations, Vickie!
This is gorgeous! #8992596

Cathy Barrows October 24, 2010

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

Jean-Pierre Ducondi October 24, 2010

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

Karen Seargeant October 24, 2010

BEAUTIFUL! AWESOME shot! Congrats! #8992671

Maria Coulson October 24, 2010

Outstanding! Congratulations. #8992715

Nikki McDonald level-classic October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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

Kathleen K. Parker level-deluxe October 24, 2010

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

Marsha S. Smith October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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

Phyllis H. Burchett October 24, 2010

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

Vickie L. Holt October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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

Sara B Coffey level-classic October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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

Lee McHugh October 24, 2010

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

Bunny Snow October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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

Stephanie Halstead level-classic October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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

Siete Meeter October 24, 2010

Beautiful!!Congrats on your POTD!! #8993213

Jeff Robinson level-deluxe October 24, 2010

Congrats Vickie on your outstanding POTD! Jeff #8993241

October 24, 2010

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

Brian #8993268

Christine Pentecost October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

Gorgeous animal portrait, congrats! #8993320

Nancy L. Green level-classic October 24, 2010

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

Patricia A. Casey level-deluxe October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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 October 24, 2010

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

Virginia L. Allison October 24, 2010

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

Raymond Pauly October 24, 2010

Outstanding! Beautiful cat and portrait! #8993673

Deborah A. Ciullo October 24, 2010

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 October 25, 2010

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 October 25, 2010

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

Rick #8994239

Leslie Carson Wolfe October 25, 2010

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 October 25, 2010

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 October 25, 2010

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 October 25, 2010

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

Stanley C. Sims October 25, 2010

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

Deborah A. Ciullo October 25, 2010

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 October 25, 2010

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 October 26, 2010

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 October 27, 2010

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

Vickie L. Holt October 27, 2010

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 October 27, 2010

HUGE congrats on this awesome POTD! #9000188

Melissa G. Meiselman November 15, 2010

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 November 15, 2010

Congratulations on your Finalist award, Vickie! #9037059

Deborah C. Lewinson level-addict November 15, 2010

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

Debby #9038118

Merna L. Nobile November 15, 2010

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 November 15, 2010

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

Mary K. Robison November 16, 2010

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

Shawn Jennings November 16, 2010

Fantastic! Congratulations on your finalist, Vickie! #9041679

Judy V. Kennamer level-classic November 17, 2010

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

Bojan Bencic level-classic November 17, 2010

Congratulations on your fantastic winner, Vickie. #9045820

Kathy Salerni level-classic November 17, 2010

Big congrats on winning the Gold, Vicki! #9045935

Maria Morrow November 17, 2010

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

Mary Beth Aiello level-classic November 17, 2010

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

Nancyj E. Hovey level-classic November 17, 2010

Congratulations on your WINNER! 8o) #9046342

PiperAnne L. Worcester November 17, 2010

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

Michael Umbreit November 17, 2010

Vickie - Congratulations!! - Mike #9046588

Amanda D. Austwick level-classic November 17, 2010

congratulations on this wonderful Gold Win!!! #9046754

JO ANN CLEVELAND November 17, 2010

BIG Congrats on a spectacular First Place Winner Vickie!!

jo ann c. #9046894

November 17, 2010

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 November 17, 2010

Fantastic image, congrats! -mm #9047478

Mary K. Robison November 18, 2010

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 November 18, 2010

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

Sara B Coffey level-classic November 19, 2010

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

Linda Blair November 19, 2010

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

Donna La Mattino Pagakis November 19, 2010

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

Cindy Bendush level-classic November 19, 2010

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 November 20, 2010

Congratulations Vickie. This deserves the gold. #9054397

Usman M. Bajwa level-classic November 21, 2010

CONGRATULATIONS on your terrific Winner!!

UB. #9054547

Vickie L. Holt November 22, 2010

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 November 22, 2010

Congrats on this wonderful winner Vickie! #9057552

Vickie L. Holt December 04, 2010

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 June 28, 2011

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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