Video Battle Between Heart & Mind

It’s a common occurrence. Photographers go through an internal debate whether or not to shoot something depending on the likelihood it will make it in the final product. Today, I’m sad because my mind defeated my heart.

T60 produced a pair of videos for the Lincoln Park Zoo this past summer. On one particular day, I spent two hours in the Lion House to capture a time-lapse video. That’s the day I met Marta.

Marta was the zoo’s black leopard. She passed away this week after far exceeding her life expectancy, and she was simply my favorite animal at LPZ.

Hermione the cat

It’s no wonder I took to her. I live with a mini-Marta, my frequent T60 editing companion, Hermione. They were two black cats who love playing in boxes.

Now, Hermione is a house cat and Marta was a leopard, so their color and love of boxes is where the comparison ends. It’s never good to equate a wild animal to a domestic one, but it was hard to look at Marta playing in her box and not think of my cat at home.

Anyway, I was sitting next to Marta’s cage for two hours during this time-lapse shoot and eventually I wondered, should I get some video of her too? We already had shots of lions and tigers which were a sure thing to make it into the videos. I knew in my head that video of another big cat would simply be destined for the cutting room floor, so I decided not to hit the record button.

Marta the black cat

Boy, do I regret that decision. I would have loved to show you some video today of Marta hanging out in her box, but I don’t have any and it makes me sick. The best I can do is show the cell phone photo I snapped that day.

Next time my heart and mind are battling it out during a shoot, I’m going to let my heart win for a change.  That’ll be for Marta.

–Tony Gnau