Herding Cats For Mother's Day

Mother's Day Photo Idea

With my wife out of town for a few days last week, I decided it was the perfect chance to create a fun, memorable photo for Mother’s Day. I wanted something that had our whole family in it, including the crazy pets. I normally steer clear of shots like this for the simple reason that it’s near-impossible to herd the cats. It’s just very love/hate between our three pets, so the only way this was going to work was if I shot a composite.

After school last week, we loaded everyone up in the car and headed to my studio to take the shot. I set up an overhead camera rig about 8 feet off the ground, shooting wide at 16mm. For lighting, there’s a bare bulb flash in the upper middle and lower left of the frame. I also added an extra bare flash in the lower right to kill some of the c-stand shadows that were showing up. We used 5 photographs to create the final image.

The dust wasn’t dust at all, but rather a couple of passes with an airbrush using Corel Painter. I also added a chalkboard texture to give some nice additional contrast.

Loading up the pets for the ride:

Mother's Day Photo Idea 2

Here’s the shot of the boys:

Mother's Day Photo Idea 3

Here’s Queso (the dog). Note that I put down a pencil and a hairbrush to serve as simple markers of the feet location from the myself and the boys. The hairbrush works great for this because, sadly, it doesn’t get much use in my house anymore.

Mother's Day Photo Idea 4

Lisa loved the shot, and we all laughed at how huge the cats have become.

Christmas 2009

Wow - what a great Christmas we had to finish out the year! Lisa's parents (who live in Austin) came by for dinner on Christmas Eve, and then were over early the next morning. Christmas day started at 6:30 am, as we wanted to be awake when the boys came downstairs to see what Santa brought them. Of course, yesterday Brandon decided to sleep in a little bit, so he didn't make it down until around 7:30. Check out some of the intense Christmas action!

Tracking Santa via NORAD:

Nobody better touch the oven!

95% chance this is either Little Einsteins, Dora, or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Here's the B-Man putting out some food for the reindeer. Thanks Jen F. for sending this along!

Now he's reading the Night Before Christmas. This particular book was given to Lisa when she was a kid, and it's a tradition in our family to read it the night before.

Trevor makes his appearance!

The Zhu Zhu pets were a big hit - thanks Uncle Todd!

Here's Grandpa Tony, hanging out on Christmas morning. Wait a minute....

I knew it! :

Here's an iPhone pic showing our colossal tree light FAIL.

Officer Brandon is deputized.

And promptly makes his first arrest.

O'Reilly gets some mouse action.

Here's Mommy and B-Man testing out his new wheelbarrow and equipment! He will regret getting this, I promise.

We have a tradition every year where I get some treats from the Cheesecake Factory for Christmas Eve dinner. At first, I took Queso with me. Now, I take both boys with me every year to pick it up. Here's a little photo history:

Merry Christmas! I hope you had an awesome holiday, and I'll be posting the Best of 2009 shortly!