Interview with Oliver & Lottie
May 26th, 2009
Hosted by: Madi, The Cat
Kritters That Twitter
MADI: Hello, and thanks for meeting me at the Kritter Koffeehouse. I am very excited to be speaking with you today and greatly appreciate your time. Before we get started, I just want to point out that just like everything associated with the Kritter Kommunity, Kritters That Twitter is specifically designed for Animals and Animal Lovers. The Kritter Koffeehouse is open daily and serves beverages and snacks for both Animals and Hoomans. That being said, I see you are an Animal…..could I offer you a bowl of milk or water? Some Catnip before we get started?
OLIVER & LOTTIE: Oh, yes pleeeese. A nice bowl of ice cold milk would be loverly.
MADI: Lets jump in and get started; we are eager to learn more about you! First what is your association with Twitter? How did you hear about Twitter and how long have you been a Kwitter (Kritter that Twitters)?
OLIVER & LOTTIE: Daddy twitters on Twitpic with photographs of London and the River Thames under the name Pawisu. I used to help him and pestered to use the puter to Twitter. I am very good at using the scanner and printers – specially when I am sleeping on them. There are four of us cats, me and Lottie, my full sister, Oliver, who is also a tabby and little Felicity who is a tuxedo and only has three legs. The three of us tabbies have to supervise daddy (he works from an office at home); often all three of us sit with him.
I first got interested in puters watching the fish on the screen saver. I’ve been Twittering properly for only a month.
MADI: Your screen name is @Oliver & Lottie on Twitter….Tell me about that name, what it means, how you came up with the name.
OLIVER & LOTTIE Oliver is my name, Lottie is my sister. At first Lottie did most of the typing because she has more delicate paws but I’ve been practicing. After we were born somebody dumped Lottie and Me in a Wendy House (a sort of plastic tent that looks like a house for children to play in). We were rescued and because we were so small, only a few weeks old (our eyes were still shut) and Lottie was very ill with enteritis and was severely dehydrated we had to find a special mummy and daddy. Celia, the kind lady who rescues thousands of cats in London knew Paul and Jackie, and knew that they were the mummy and daddy for us. We were very ill and every hour, day and night, for two weeks we had to have special medication, liquids and kitten milk; the VET didn’t give Lottie a real chance, but mummy and daddy worked really hard and with the treatment and all the love we both pulled through. When we arrived we could both sit on daddy’s hand at the same time and we used to sleep on mummy wrapped round her neck, one each side. We have both grown into the most loving and beautiful cats that mummy and daddy could ever have dreamed of. We had a little black sister, Izzy – who was daddy’s little flusy, but when she was seven she got a tumour on her bowel and didn’t make it. Mummy and daddy were devastated; that why they know and appreciate the feeling people have when they lose a friend.
MADI: Oh my catness! That is awful, we are sorry to hear about Izzy…She sounds adorable, just like you.
As you know Twitter can be a resource for support in times of need. My sister Abi and I see you on Twitter regularly. What do you like most about Twitter and how do you find it valuable?
OLIVER & LOTTIE: I love chatting to cats all around the world. I was amazed at the support for Rosie when she lost Daisythe whippet, Romeo’s mum and the concern for Luketheshopcat. It shows that all around the world there are people who truly care, not only for their special friends but for others too.
MADI: Yes, we agree. We hat http://kritterkommunity.com have met some of the most amazing Kwitters on Twitter. My mommy has seen your Daddy’s photos on Twitter and loves them…..do you have any photography tips you can share with us?
OLIVER & LOTTIE: Yes. Firstly; if you are buying a new camera get the best you can afford. For normal photographs anything up to 8 megapixel is well adequate. 8 MP will produce a 12×8 inch print perfectly and there is still enough detail to allow for cropping.
Make sure you have a reasonable zoom – 5x is great but up to 10 is better (zoom is important for those candid shots). It is a good idea to have a clear glass filter to protect the lens from dirt, paws and noses.
Secondly: Don’t be shy of taking dozens of pictures to get one that is great – just delete the others.
Three: When you take the pictures try to get to the same level as the animal – on the ground or wherever – or raise the animal to your level (especially with smaller animals like rabbits, mice etc.)
Four: Try to use as fast a shutter speed as possible, 1/250 is ideal; this stops blurring if the animal moves. Cats, especially are notorious for not staying still. If you can set the camera aperture use a wide aperture below F5; this will mean that the background will be out of focus and the cat or dog will stand out.
Five: Always have the light source behind or to one side. Avoid flash, it is too harsh and you will not get the fineness and sheen on the coat. It is better to use normal domestic light and correct the colour later.
Six: Try to ‘ignore’ the cat or animal, as you are setting up. Pre-focus on the eyes and hold that focus while you compose the shot (hold down the shutter button half-way) and wait until you are happy, then shoot.
Seven: If you have a camera that will take bursts of shots (often 3) switch this on, it gives a better chance of getting the right shot.
Eight: For quiet shots choose a time when the cat/dog or animal is calm and relaxed with no distraction. Talk quietly to them.
Nine: Don’t shoot with wide angle, close up, it will distort the face (unless you want to). Always, for normal portraits, use 2x zoom (equivalent to 80 -100mm on a conventional 35mm camera); this gives a picture with ‘normal’ perspective.
Ten: Get your anipal used to your camera and sitting quietly whilst you snap. You don’t want to frighten it, neither do you want it coming to see what you are doing.
Eleven: Always shoot with a wider shot and crop later than try to get too tight a shot, unless the animal is asleep (Lottie, take note).
Twelve: Rather than full face shots, try different angles, shoot the side of the face; look for expressions. To get the subjects attention at the right moment get someone to stand behind you and make a noise.
Thirteen: Rather than spend a lot of money on photo software for your computer download Irfanview, it’s a free programme, works brilliantly, and will do all you normally need to, to your photos. Put the extra money towards a better camera.
One point on autofocus camera, tabby cats of any colour prove almost impossible for autofocus. If you can’t focus manually print yourself off a sheet of paper with broad black strips (say ½ wide) and put this in front of the cat to focus on (better if you have a tripod).
If you are fanatical about getting the colours right in your photos; take a picture, close up, of a sheet of white paper in the light and conditions where you will take your photos. Print this sheet first and adjust colour balance until it is white. Use that setting for all of the photos taken then. (or tell the photo shop to do the same).
Finally, don’t get too obsessed with perfection/ A slightly blurry or wrongly exposed picture that shows the real character and charm of an animal is worth a thousand perfect portraits.
MADI: We at Kritters That Twitter want to make sure we offer solutions and add value to the lives of Animals and Animal Lovers through our blog. Do you have a blog and if so what types of things do you blog about?
Could you give me a few examples of things you have blogged about?
OLIVER & LOTTIE: We have a number of blogs; our main one is http://ollieandlottie.wordpress.com
On here I tell everyone what we have been up to, and what daddy’s been doing
Is a static blog which gives our biographies and tells how we all came to be with our staff.
Is where we post all our pictures so the world can see how beautiful we are.
Is my special site where I write little stories for kittens
Is a new site daddy is building going into great detail about photographing cats
We are, of course, on twitter and TwitPics as Oliverandlottie
The photos in our gallery are all available for people to download and print for themselves or to help raise money for animals who need help. We understand that humans who don’t have the joy of knowing the love of a cat, dog or other anipal may thing the thousands of animals who twitter are daft, but that is their loss. Every day animals brighten the lives of millions of people, bring love and companionship where there may have been none before, and make a house a home. Children growing up with an anipal learn about life, love, responsibility and, sometimes, sadly, death and grief.
My mommy and daddy would like to dedicate this to Sooty, Sophie, Charlie, Nick, our dear Izzy; me (Oliver), Lottie, Sammy and Felicity. We have brought laughter, tears, joy and sadness but we have brightened every day and made it more worth living.
MADI: That was such a nice dedication… Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to chat with me and other Kwitters. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you and your family of Kwitters better. The photography tips are priceless!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Mommy for helping me write this interview. Because of Mommy I was able to use Spellcheck and edit my Grammar. We believe that this will help both Animals and Hoomans understand the content.
Interviewer: Madi The Cat
Interviewee: Oliver The Cat