Over the last couple of weeks we’ve explored the Atlantic coast of Florida as we consider a move to the sunshine state. A visit to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge treated us to an amazing sunset and a young American alligator in brilliant blue water the following morning.
Unfortunately, I made a pretty serious tactical error the evening before: I mounted the 300mm lens I would use to make the image above while the car’s air conditioning was still running, and did not check and clean the sensor back at the motel that evening. The result? The above image, upon scrutiny, revealed a field of dust bunnies scattered along the lower third of the frame (top 1/3 of the sensor, since the image is reversed.) While image cleanup has become easier with each new version of Photoshop and Lightroom, I still prefer not to have to do very much in the first place. Lesson? Better to take the 10 minutes to clean the sensor than to spend an hour and a half in front of the computer to rescue a photograph!
Dolly on the wing-back chair, November 2007, Racine, Wis. | Canon 1D Mk. IIN and 300mm f/4L lens | Exposed 1/80 sec. @ f/4, ISO 1000
It was so easy to say “hello” at the Humane Society all those years ago. Sleeping in a cage adorned with a sign that read “I need a home for Christmas” was the cat who would come into our home and into our hearts in time to discover the joy of shredded wrapping paper under the tree. This little but loving nine pound ball of fur named Dolly has been in my life since I was in the fifth grade. Mom always said that Miss Dolly was going to sleep her life away, and indeed she spent at least 18 hours a day in one of her many nests throughout the house. She lived a good life as an indoor cat.
Sure, she clearly wished she could go outside sometimes so that she might suck the breath out of the local wildlife, as evidenced by her cackling at the window and powerful flicks of her tail against the tabletop. For a stretch she perfected the art of indoor hunting. My parents were especially happy when Dolly’s interest in mousing indoors waned, as waking to a cat gleefully taunting its prey at the foot of the bed was a little too much for them. She was trouble, but the best kind. Most nights she’d patrol the yard from atop a wing-back chair in the living room while we turned in to bed.
Dolly lived a long life, and we’re better for having her in ours. And while it’s one of the hardest things to do, today we all had to say goodbye. Living in North Carolina, I couldn’t be there. But none of us will ever forget that tabby cat. Dolly, you’re loved.