Monthly Archives: January 2012

Project 52 – Week 4 – Snuggling

Welcome to my Project 52 blog post for week 4! This week our assignment was to photograph our dogs either jumping or cuddling. The only jumping my dogs do is on and off the couch, but they are snuggling champions! This was not a hard task . . . well, getting the pictures wasn’t hard. Choosing the best ones was much tougher 🙂

Jack Jack Sleeping

Isn't it true that they look like angels when they're sleeping?

Jack Jack (my youngest) doesn’t snuggle as much as the others. He’s often on alert, ready to warn me about the next intruder (like the one from a few weeks ago – a helium balloon). This photo was a real catch, because normally the second I move, he’s up and making sure I’m not going anywhere without him.

Grace Checking In

Gracie was cuddled up to my leg while I was on the couch, but as you can see, I woke her up as I reached for the camera. For those of you aware of her facial paralysis, you can see that the left side of her face is still drooping and her left eye is still smaller. But she’s not letting it stop her one bit, so don’t fret about Gracie-Lou-Who.

My Old Dog

My beloved Old Dog is a real cuddle-bunny

Farley has had more than 12 years of practice at cuddling, so he is a grand champion at it. In fact, this pose is one I see for the majority of the time I spend with him. He sleeps a lot, and his favourite way to sleep is pressed up tight against one of his people. I love this face – it is the face of an angel (of course, I am deeply biased!)

Thanks for checking out my blog! Since this is a blog roll, please continue on to Karla Ogilvie’s blog to see her wonderful photos. And then keep on going, to enjoy many gorgeous animals. When you get back here, you’ve done the entire trip!

Project 52 – Week 3 – The Hip

So, another week into the year brings another Project 52 assignment.  I have to say that I have enjoyed these assignments immensely.  What a fabulous way to think outside the box, which is most definitely not my forte!

This week’s assignment was to shoot from the hip.  I had no idea that this was a method of photography – I thought it was just a comment to make about a person that is a straight talker.  I probably shouldn’t admit this, because it makes me sound a little bit dense, but it’s true.  Shooting from the hip is a form of street shooting where the photographer holds the camera at hip or waist level and shoots upwards.  People don’t tend to notice the camera as easily, and so it’s a bit easier to get more candid photos.  It’s not an easy way to shoot, because you can’t frame your shots, so you have to depend on post-processing to achieve your desired look.

I had a fabulous time taking these pictures . . . so thank you for suggesting this.

Treat.  Now.  Ah, good human!

Crooked due to facial paralysis (on the left – her right), this photo almost makes her look straight again.

I promise Mom, I didn’t do it!

Okay, what’s with the camera??  How come I can see your face still?

As this is a blog roll, please visit Ali Peterson’s blog at Skyy Blue Photography Blog and keep going through the links until you end up back here.  Enjoy some fabulous photos!

Dream Come True

November 15, 2011 was the best day of my life. Keep in mind that I’m fairly young, never married and I don’t have kids. But still, even if I had those things, that day would still have been completely and utterly amazing.
A bit of background first. First of all (in case you don’t know me), I am involved in the sport of showing dogs. I have been involved with dog shows for 12 years now, with Cocker Spaniels. I’m not as active in conformation (the beauty pageant side of things) these days, moreso with obedience and rally, but I still love all of it. Secondly, I love musical theatre. My best friend does too, so we’re always talking about taking a trip to New York to see a show on Broadway. It’s been a dream for both of us for a long time. Every time we discuss it, we put it off, just because it’s not an inexpensive endeavour. Thirdly (is that a word????), the greatest dog show in North America is the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, held annually on the second Monday and Tuesday in February, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The cream of the crop are shown there, and it is THE show to attend for dog show enthusiasts.
Yesterday I was sitting at my desk at work when the Facebook Messenger notification pinged on my iPhone. A friend was asking me if I could get time off in February. She wanted to take me to Westminster to see her dog show, as he was invited as one of the Top 5 in the Breed. Oh my goodness, really?????? She wanted to take me? My heart stopped, resumed, pounded and spent a great deal of time in my throat. I literally leapt out of my chair and ran out of my office (okay, there may have been some skipping involved in that running) to tell my friend what had just happened.

Yes, my friend is taking me to NYC to attend Westminster. She is literally making a dream come true for me. I was so high last night and I felt so good, I could have done anything. I’m still in a state of shock, but it’s a good shock.
The hotel is booked (the Affinia Manhattan). My flight is booked. The Westminster tickets have been purchased. I spent an hour on the phone with my friend that night, just giggling and being 12 years old, flooded with excitement and unable to contain it. I am really going to be there, on the green carpet, beside some of the greatest dogs in North America! For 2011 the Number One dog in the US is a . . . Cocker Spaniel. His name is Beckham, and he is one of the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen. Better than that, he’s not a machine or a robot. He’s a happy dog that LOVES to show, and he adores his handlers. To think that he could possibly win Best in Show at Westminster is thrilling enough . . . but to be there???? Oh my gosh, how freakin’ amazing.
I really didn’t think my day could get better than that, but it did. When I told my best friend the thrilling news, she was excited for me. But it got better, it really did. While I was at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned (visions of incredible dogs going through my head), my best friend booked a flight to NYC for the Saturday and Sunday preceding Westminster, so that we could fulfill a shared dream of seeing a show on Broadway.
I am so happy, excited and bursting right now . . . in less than a month, I’m going to have so much greatness going on that life will seem dull by comparison afterwards.
Wow. Just wow. Thank you to my special friend for making me feel so very special and loved and amazing. I hope to God I can do that for somebody else some day, because it was the most amazing thing ever.

Project 52 – Week 2 – Newness

So this week (Week 2 of Project 52) had a topic of Newness . . . . I had a terrible time figuring out what I was going to take pictures of.  Yes, it’s a new year, but that just didn’t inspire me.  I wanted something clever and well outside the box.  Thankfully my co-worker was able to spend some time brainstorming with me, and I came up with something.
As you look at this picture, you may be wondering which part of it inspires thoughts of newness . . . Obviously the toy has been loved, the bowl is dull from use, and the kibble and clicker are unlikely to be the focus of this post.  So what is it?
Well, something I’ve been wanting to teach my dogs for ages is to pick up their toys and put them away.  So tonight I started teaching Jack Jack (the “baby” of my crew) a NEW trick!  Aha!  Newness enters the picture (okay, that was a bad pun . . . )

Jack Jack tries to figure out what to do with the toy.  If you’re not familiar with clicker training, what I did tonight was tried to shape his behaviour.  Initially I clicked at him for looking at the toy, then pawing at it, then nosing it.  Then I upped the ante and clicked for him picking up it.

He figured out that I wanted him to pick it up fairly quickly . . . at this point (after 15 minutes of training), he’s still dropping it as soon as I click, but we can strengthen the behaviour with more reinforcement.  I thought he did well with the NEW trick.

Jack wants to know if I’m proud.  Am I?  Huh?  Huh?  Huh?

For more furry goodness, please check out Melissa McCabe’s blog at http://blog.unleashedpetportraits.com/2012/01/newness.html

Goals for 2012

So, you may have noticed that I didn’t call this post “Resolutions for 2012.”  It seems like in the past, I’d make resolutions on January 1st, and then have completely and totally forgotten them by the end of February, if I even made it that long!  Last year I decided to set goals.  Before you jump in to tell me that goals and resolutions are the same thing, let me assure you that I know that.  I am, after all, a writer with a decent vocabulary 😉  But for some unknown reason, the world goal seems to place much less pressure on me than the word resolution does.

In any case, I set three goals for myself last year.  I think that overall, I did well with achieving them.  I promised myself that I’d volunteer less and therefore make more time for myself.  My sentence (errr, term) with the local SPCA ended in May, and I chose not to remain on the Board of Directors at that time.  That freed up a significant amount of time.  I didn’t add any more commitments to my plate, so I’d say I volunteered less and made more time for me.

My second goal was to make new friends, which I did.  Most of my new friends are online friends, but I don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with that.  I have some very close friends that started out as online friends.

My final goal for 2011 was to continue to advance my photography skills as well as to advance my photo editing skills.  I took the most advanced photography class that the local community college offered, and I spent as much time as I could snapping pictures.  I have no doubt that both sets of skills have improved, through sheer numbers if nothing else.

So on to 2012.  How can I follow up such success?  It’s a bit scary, sitting here with almost an entire year ahead of me, so full of promise, excitement and unknown.  But the idea is to set goals despite not knowing what’s coming.  I think it helps me feel like I might just have some small amount of control over my destiny.  So here goes . . .

Goal #1 – Learn to do more with Photoshop.  I want to learn how to build simple ads for myself, and how to do more effective editing for my photography clients.

Goal #2 – I want to do twice as many client shoots in 2012 as I did in 2011.  It shouldn’t be hard – I just did five client shoots in 2011, and I plan to do more advertising to really get my name out there this year.

Goal #3 – Spend special one-on-one time with Farley every day.  Let’s face it, the Old Dog is 12.  He’s not going to live forever, no matter how much I bargain with the Gods or plead with him to never die.  It’s going to happen, and I don’t want my final memories of our time together to be negative.  So every day will include special cuddling, me telling him I love him (I don’t care that he can’t hear me), and me giving him a bit of what he wants.

Goal #4 – Earn Grace’s RAE (Rally Advanced Excellent) title, and earn Jack Jack’s RA (Rally Advanced), RE (Rally Excellent) and PCD (Pre-CD) titles.

So, as lofty as those may sound (and some are rather un-quantifiable), they are my goals for 2012.  I hope to have as much success this year as I did last year.

Project 52 – Meet the KLADs

Meet the KLADs!  I call them the KLADs because my other hobby is breeding and showing American Cocker Spaniels . . . and my kennel name is KLAD.  These three dogs are the heart of my kennel, and the light of my life.

The oldest KLAD is Farley.  He is formally known as Can Ch Silverwood’s Northern Light Am Can CD, RN, CGC.  He is a Canadian Champion, and he has American and Canadian Companion Dog (CD) titles in obedience, a Rally Novice title in rally obedience and a Canine Good Citizen title.  He is now 12 years old, and he is my heart dog.

The middle KLAD is Grace, also called Gracie-Lou.  Her formal name is Silverwood’s Elegantly KLAD PCD, CD, RE, CGN, TDI.  She competes in obedience (PCD and CD), rally obedience (RE = Rally Excellent) and holds a Canine Good Neighbor title, as well as being certified through Therapy Dogs International.  She is 5 years old, and she is a working therapy dog.  She is a gentle soul.  Her only truly bad trait is her insatiable hunger and her stealing of anything even slightly edible.

The baby at KLAD (who is almost 4, so not really a baby) is Can Ch Calla’s All Bets On KLAD RN who just finished his show career and is starting his rally obedience and obedience career.  He is the one I take the most photos of, because he’s very pretty to look at, and he knows it.

If you’d like to see more photos of the KLAD kids, as well as learning more about them, please check out http://www.kladcockers.com/

To see more wonderful Project 52 photos, please continue on to Terran Bayer of Westway Pets’ blog at http://www.westwaypets.com/blog/?p=545

Enjoy!

A New Venture

A lot has changed since October 2010, which is when I last posted to my blog. The biggest change has been my venture into the world of pet photography. Not just as a hobby, which wouldn’t be new news at all, but as a business. I obtained a business license from the municipal government and hung my shingle out for all to see. I didn’t do any real advertising, so my first 8 months of business were slow. I did do six shoots, though, and I know that all of my clients were happy with the outcome. For 2012, I plan to do some advertising and some mini-sessions (short sittings with small online galleries for clients to choose photos from) to get my name out there. I’m really excited about this venture!

Part of my challenge for 2012 is to spend some more time developing my photographic eye and style. To that end, I’m taking part in something called Project 52, where a group of pet photographers take a photo (with a particular theme to it) and then link to each others’ blogs.

I hope to be posting to this blog more actively, so those of you that have enjoyed my writing in the past, please keep your eyes peeled for nuggets of humour as 2012 progresses!