Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

December 3, 2013

Abstracts – Cat Fur

Filed under: Cats, curiosities, Non Birds — richditch @ 7:07 pm
Ernie Fur Abstract

Ernie Fur Abstract

Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 105/2.8 Macro, ISO 800, 1/60th second @ f/5, 11/17/13

Ernie is one of our two indoor-only cats, and I’ve featured him in a number of previous posts on this blog. Ernie likes to be close, except when anyone visits or rings the doorbell. When he was so close the other day that I couldn’t do anything productive I grabbed an iPhone and turned on the camera just to examine his messy fur. It was a revelation for me, and I took a couple quick photos to see what I could do. I liked the results enough that I soon got out my old 105/2.8 Micro-Nikkor and mounted it on a D300 body, then waited for a good opportunity to try for higher quality images.

Ernie has enough variation in the color of his fur to make this a fun exercise – just focus on different sections for a variety of patterns. Light and shadow are also important for any results as they provide contrast and define the third dimension of the image.

Ernie Fur Abstract

Ernie Fur Abstract

The original shot: 11/14/13, iPhone 3GS, ISO 320, 1/15th second @ f/2.8

There’s also a lot of opportunity to make any image more abstract with some simple processing – just play around with contrast and color balance as I did on the original shot with my iPhone.

Ernie Fur Abstract

Ernie Fur Abstract

iPhone 4, ISO 200, 1/15th second @ f/2.8, 12/01/13

I must point out that I find it a lot easier to work with the iPhone than the D300 and 105 macro. The phone is always handy and it is easier to position close to the subject. As long as you don’t need the higher quality of fist-rate optics and a large sensor you can turn out a lot more images in a shorter period. The D300 got the colors spot-on, but with these being abstracts I don’t mind the blue or cyan that crept into the iPhone photos.

Ernie Portrait

Ernie Portrait

Nikon D300, Nikkor 105/2.8, ISO 800, 1/25th second at f/5.6

As long as I had the D300 and 105 at hand it was easy to get another portrait of Ernie for my files. Note: I’ve got a lot of shots of Ernie in my files already, like this shot from October 19, 2013.

Ernie under shirt

Ernie under shirt

Nikon D300, Nikkor 50/1.8, ISO 1600, 1/80th second @ f/2.8



  1. He’s just so beautiful and photogenic!! Great pictures, as always!

    Comment by Robin McEntire — December 4, 2013 @ 6:23 am

  2. Nice and sharp! I like that you pull away to show the whole cat in the final frame. Great model!

    Comment by denisebushphoto — December 13, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

  3. What an innovative idea to photograph cat fur! Such subtle and rich shadings but full of light, life and wispy-ness.
    I’m going to try it with my long-haired calico but will have to wait for winter here (Australia) to get the full effect.

    Comment by sabrinacaldwell — January 12, 2014 @ 6:35 pm

  4. Be sure to let me (and my readers) know when you’ve tried this – I look forward to seeing your results.

    Comment by richditch — January 12, 2014 @ 7:46 pm

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