I love cats and recently I had the pleasure to encounter a Siamese female making the rounds through our backyard. Her name is Kicia. Not sure what's her age, but Kicia, like any Siamese cat, is very loving, very talkative, and comes for petting even if you're a complete stranger. She now visits our backyard regularly and clearly enjoys sitting comfortably on our garden swing.
She has dark brown (seal) points which indicates she's a traditional Siamese. An interesting fact I've learned is that Siamese cats are born pure white. Their extremities – ear tips, face, paws and tail get darker in the first few months of their lives due to mutations of a temperature-sensitive gene – the Tyrosinase (TYR) gene. A Siamese's coat is basically a heat map of its body where the colder parts get darker. I assume this characteristic helps the cats absorb sun's heat where is most needed. Humans, instead, use hats, gloves and shoes.
I love Kicia's ability of tuning out to focus only on the prey – in this case, a small pinkish toy at the end of a short rope. Her crystal-clear, sapphire-like blue eyes are unbelievably beautiful. No wonder Siamese cats are the most recognized domestic cats in the world, and the Siamese breed is positioned at #4 in the top ten list of the most popular cat breeds, according to Cat Fancier's Association (CFA).
The photographs were made with a 500mm lens, at f4, at ground level. For such occasions, I use long telephoto lenses to narrow the depth of field and achieve a smooth background blur (Bokeh). Macro lenses at 100mm will do well too. To make these cat close-ups I recommend the following:
- Lie down on the ground
- Use the lens wide-open
- Focus on the eyes
- Frame your subject matter as tight as possible
- Ensure the background is as clutter-less as possible