May 062014

Photo copyright Ali Springer

In order to capture this picture I relied heavily on luck. Luck and timing.

I can manipulate things like shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and even the angle at which I shoot, but I have absolutely no control when it comes to subjects like Alan. My friend had just gotten a new kitten and while I was visiting her I decided to whip out my camera and snap off a few shots. I quickly ran through some camera settings: ISO 400, aperture f4.5 and shutter 1/25. I did not intend for these to be serious images, just something to mess around with. Now Alan, on the other hand, was having none of this, serious or not. He was fully content of thwarting any and every image that I was able to take. He would tease me, looking at me straight on and as soon as I would go to take the picture he would turn or zip away. The result: blurry blobs of fur that somewhat resembles a cat.

But he never stayed gone long, too interested the big black clicking machine (my camera) that was glued to my face. Finally it got to the point where I was determined to get “the” shot. It did not matter what I had to do, not even bribery was out of the question.

I rolled around on the floor. I followed him up and down hallways, I played with him – endlessly, and I fed him. Nothing worked. It like he knew what I was after. I did not get this picture until the very end. I had had enough of this game he was playing. I was getting up to leave and had to step over him in order to make it out of the kitchen. I do not know what it was that told me to point my lens down and peer through the viewfinder one last time. Perhaps it was a release of frustration or maybe my photographer’s instinct, but I peered through my viewfinder, finger poised over the button, I shouted, “ALAN!” No sooner had his name left my mouth than his tiny head began to turn upwards, mouth wide with a mewing rebuttal that quickly turned into a full-fledged yawn. And through the course of this three-second exchange my camera was clicking away, one shot after another. Amidst those shots was this one. Finally. I had “the” photo.

I captured this photo with my Nikon D40 and 55-200mm lens.

About the Photographer:
My name is Ali Springer. I am relatively new to the realm of photography, logistically speaking. But what I lack in experience I make up for in creativity and drive. I am not afraid to attempt new things or to approach old ideas from new directions. Whether it is a laugh or a cry, the goal I have with all my photographs is to evoke emotion and for people to walk away having been told – visually speaking – a new story.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at

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