August Photon Pounce

Glowing, with slight winds

Canopy ahead

August is no slouch when it comes to special effects, you just gotta hunt for them.

Trees will make use of light, and have fun doing it

Trees will make use of light, and have fun doing it! (There’s photosynthesis, too, I know.)

Bud has stirred and his ears have perked. He says, “Meow! I can help you hunt, just let me out the door. We’ll climb those trees together. I’ll suss out your greens, I’m good at seeing greens and blues. I’ll lead you to the best views. I’ll eat up squirrels and birds. Deal?”

“I can’t be party to that bit about squirrels and especially birds.”

One speck of orange. Very funny, lingering hot summer!

Only one speck of orange so far. Very funny, lingering hot summer! (Kidding! The orange leaf is from last year, leaves aren’t turning here yet.)

“Shoot, girl, you know those raccoons and squirrels and rats are the ones who climb up and eat the birds’ eggs. Hawks, too, they snatch small birds right out of the air. They’re all out there, I smell them, I hear them. I’ll eat ’em up, the rodents, that is. Meow.”

Where are we? Everything looks so big!

Where are we? Everything looks so big!

“I know that about the other predators! Cats don’t actually make much difference in bird populations. Even with our forest predators we have plenty of birds, as you no doubt sense every day. But you’re 15 years old, and I’m well, you know … ”

“Ha, look at what a smooth, muscular jaguar I am!”


Bud is an indoor cat, actually.

“You are that.”

Pine goes abstract in the deep, still sky

Pine goes frothy in the bright sky

“C’mon, I could so grip that gnarly-barked pine tree.  Or even that sweetgum. Major traction. Perfect climbing trees.”

A short ways from our usual spot, and even higher up, pine glitters

A short ways from our usual spot, and even higher up, pine glitters

“I know you scent the coyotes and ticks and mosquitoes in the forest. Not safe out there for you, kitten, nice try, though.”

“What!?! Rawr!!”

That's oak with the pine. Trees all close together.

That’s oak with the pine.

“I meant, nothing is safe from you out there. You’re a wildcat! Hunt down an indoor sunny spot and pounce on it. Go to sleep while I bag the pictures. Deal?”

“Well then, purrrr.”

Top of a tulip tree

Top of a tulip tree

It takes a really sunny sky to get enough light on those pine needles to make them stand out. They’re probably over-exposed according to good photographic practice. But I’m looking for things that feel like drawings and paintings. Some of my old drawings were based on pine-like, shining lines. The forest is dense, trees jammed together, so the pine sprays across other leaves, and across the sky, in pictures. These pics need photo editing but there’s no time. Only Bud’s pic was edited, to be closer to his actual brown and white color.

Sweetgum's a star all by itself!

Sweetgum’s a star in itself!

So many aerial pathways to scout ...

So many aerial pathways to scout …

Always a pleasure

Always a pleasure

The main source of almost all scenes here.

The main source of most scenes here.

Big picture view of endless configurations.

Those colors are there, but it took the camera to see them

It takes the camera to sort some of these colors

Feast in the foliage

Feast in the foliage

A still sky runs deep

A still sky runs deep

Endless, glorious, trees

Endless, glorious, trees

Likely overexposed, but I can't resist that glitter!!

Likely overexposed, but I can’t resist that glitter!!

My Editing Cat is waking, so I’d best post before he sees he only has one portrait in this … Summer is not done with us yet. The light has turned fall-golden, but leaves remain green at this date. Even if that changes we’ll be back on a different note, but still using summer shots. Don’t know when. I never do!





About Leah

I'm Leah T. Alford, a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
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41 Responses to August Photon Pounce

  1. I have to rescue fledgling song thrushes and blackbirds every year from magpies who gang up and rip the little birds apart to eat them. Sparta Puss rarely catches birds, she hunts rats, which is a good thing. I think the anti cat propagandists are deflecting attention from other predators, including humans, possibly the worst

    • Catwoods says:

      So very sad about the magpies! There are birds here that raid nests and eat the nestlings. Good for Sparta Puss, hunting the rats! If these anti cat folks ever succeed in ridding the outdoors of cats, rodent numbers everywhere will surge! I completely agree with you, those who blame cats have not studied the dynamics of animal life at all. Habitat loss (caused by humans) is the biggest factor in bird and small mammal decline. I wrote a chapter on all this in a book I’m trying to get out, delayed for now. Thinking seriously about doing an entire post about it.

  2. RMW says:

    Bud would be one sorry cat if he had to live outdoors with no comfy sofas. The grass is always greener on the other side of the window!

  3. Claudia says:

    Great pictures! I have a lot of wild growth where I live, too, and am always out there trying to get this or that angle. And your cat — looks just like my TC (Tom Cat)! Both thinking they can get a better angle on both getting pics and getting outside!

  4. Charles Huss says:

    I believe there is a certain amount of self regulation nature so when a population dwindles, more babies are born. Also, unlike humans, animals kill the weakest of a species so only the best reproduce. Love the pictures too.

    • Catwoods says:

      I believe you are right about the population adjustments in nature, Charles. I’ve read about similar things with other animals. Somehow when a harsh winter is coming, animals will have smaller litters. I always find the predator/prey thing disturbing, but it is the way of animals in the natural world, so I try to cope with it although I don’t fully understand.
      I’m happy you enjoyed the pictures!

  5. Mollie Hunt says:

    Purrrr. Here in Portland, the Audubon Society and the Feral Cat Coalition work together.

  6. Candace says:

    It’s true, in my experience, that cats don’t affect the bird population much, contrary to what some cat-hating birders say. We have 4 indoor cats but also 6 outdoor cats (former dumpees or ferals, all fixed) and I would say the total bird deaths per year for all of them, combined, is 3. I always feel very bad about those 3. Most of the time the cats ignore them. If a mockingbird taunts them too much, that is sometimes not in the mockingbird’s favor. Of course, my cats are all well-fed and I’m sure some ferals have to get their own food but I just don’t think the statistics are valid and I’m a birder, too, so I’m all for the birds getting to live full lives.

    • Catwoods says:

      I think the stats are wrong too, and I believe they’re the result of flawed scientific methods. I also think the real reasons for avian population decreases are human-caused factors like the massive destruction of bird habitats. I do love birds, always have, and I’m sad about the ones that don’t get to live their normal life span. I really enjoy your exquisite photos of them! My experiences living in a neighborhood full of birds and feral cats are similar to yours. I even thought of writing a post about that since the new book on this topic (I don’t even want to name the title) needs to be countered by sensible viewpoints as much as possible.

      • Candace says:

        Yes, I’ve read that automobiles and reflective glass buildings are responsible for far more bird deaths than cats. I used to work in a reflective glass building and would hear a strike or 2 a week and that was just in my part of the building. It was sad. Also wind turbines but they’re not as plentiful as cars. And, of course, destruction of bird habitats, like you said. All human-caused. I’m sure people blame cats because it’s easier than facing up to the fact that it is US who cause most of the problems for animals in the world.

        • Catwoods says:

          I think you are absolutely correct, humans are doing this, and rather than advocate for innovation and major shifts in the way we construct things and use land, some blame cats and don’t bother to question the way the studies are done. Sigh. Grackles are some of my favorite birds (not everyone’s, I know) and I knew they are sometimes poisoned for being “agricultural pests”, but this article I found today indicates many other species of birds have been killed too, along with other wildlife. An immediate question I have is, with all this going on, how can they can ensure non-target species aren’t killed, too? (Warning, This is difficult reading for those of us who care about birds and animals.)

  7. DS Levy says:

    Oh, Leah, you and I do share a love of trees! And I absolutely LOVE these photos–so lushly green I can almost smell their scent through the screen. You know, I just bought a new book, The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben, and I cannot wait to start reading it (I have to finish a couple others first, though). And speaking of books, btw: thank you for your advice re: Faulkner. 🙂 Really, Leah, these are wonderful photos, and very much “feel like drawings and painting”–I could look at them all day! And of course that darling Bud, that handsome fellow I could look at all day, too! Have a great weekend (sorry I’m late commenting here, been doing a lot of writing and editing this week, and tonight have a 40th class reunion to go to, yikes!). 🙂

    • Catwoods says:

      I always love when you comment, Deb, but there’s never any rush. Happy to hear you are getting some writing done! Glad to share with you a great fondness for trees and forests, I remember enjoying some of your videos about being in Michigan so much! I’m pleased you like my pictures that I take mostly by stepping just outside the door. Easy-pesy. Whenever you do read the book, if you have time, I hope you will tell about it, maybe on your blog, maybe in an essay. You always give me the best book tips, but I can’t read it for a long time – there’s a snag, sigh, in my book publishing plans. More on that later. Bud is very flattered that you mentioned his picture! Have a wonderful time at the reunion, they can be interesting and even fun! Getting out is always refreshing!

  8. Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie says:

    love the trees, the cat, the photos 🙂 and thank you for visiting my blog 🙂

  9. Deziz World says:

    Oh MEooooOW we sure hope ya’ll don’t actually live unner all dat. Da bugs, da birds, da snakes, oh me. Da one foto is our favorite and da bestest foto today. 🙂

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena

    • Catwoods says:

      LOL Dezi and Raena, we do live under these trees! I only have to step outside to take the pics, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many as I can’t walk far these days. You’re right, there’s lots of critters, bugs, snakes; always a challenge. I’ve encountered snakes, all non-venomous, and I’ve photographed them. Some of those photos are elsewhere on this site in the summer posts.
      I’m happy you enjoyed the photos!
      Wishing you all the best, Leah and Bud

  10. chattykerry says:

    Hello Leah. Bud is indeed a handsome jaguar! Lovely shots and we are also still green. The beauty berries are suspiciously full – is it just the rain or the sign of a hard winter? Finally the temperature is dropping to a gentle 92 or so.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you so much Kerry, Bud is highly pleased with your comment! That’s interesting about the beauty berries. We’ve had some years when they just exploded all over the place, and I can’t remember what the winters were like. Just a gorgeous sight! I’ve been busy and haven’t been able to walk up to see ours yet. I hear you about the temps! We’ve had worse, but I’ll be ready for some coolness when it comes.

  11. Dragnfli says:

    As long as you have good color, and you do, it’s not overexposed. You exposed correctly for what you want to show. (Says the person who spent 20 years working in photo labs.)

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you, Dragonfli! It’s very good to hear that from someone who knows about photos! I’ve always loved to take pictures, but have never known much about the techniques.

  12. Susanne says:

    The pictures are beautiful.. I love the trees and how they play against the light and each other…

  13. Sorry you cannot go outside Bud. I write and schedule most posts in advance so I do get incongruities in seasons and outside appearances. You do not want to post your autumn pictures in spring. I try to keep the Christmas photos out of the Summer. Scooby walked in front of my keyboard and sprayed me, so he is fired as a cat editor–banned for life! He couldn’t stand the pressure. Bud is much better I am certain.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank your for visiting, greg-in-Washington! Bud talks big, but sleeping is now his favorite activity. Sorry Scooby got a little uh, overinvolved in editing! Yeah, seasonal scheduling can be tricky. I just post when time/health permits so that means I may have a backlog of pics from a prior season. LOL we’re actually still 90 degrees and mostly green where I live, and we may not see the leaves really turn until October or November. So that puts me out of sync with other US regions. Those leaves that appear yellowish in these photos are actually just highlighted by an intense sun that lights them towards gold this time of year. The orange leaf was actually left from last year, I saw it all summer. There may be one leaf turned yellow to a thousand that are still a robust green now. Next post won’t be a seasonal topic, it just requires photos that were taken in summer.

  14. Lauren says:

    Love the dialog between you and Bud!

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