When picking up Hermes from doggie day care one afternoon, I saw the cutest doggie treats on the counter. When I asked about them, I found out that they were made right here in Sioux Falls! I've now met the artist and learned more about these treats, and I wanted to share with you guys.
Melissa Black says that after her husband's birthday present of two adorable puppies, she started noticing all the products coming out that make having pets even more fun (if that's even possible!). There are lots of new toys, and home and auto pet products that make living and traveling with a pet easier, but she thinks there's a lack of healthy alternatives when it comes to dog treats.
Melissa works for the Avera Institute for Human Genetics, and says she's a "scientist by nature" and never thought she had a creative side. But, she decided that just like we try and choose healthy options for our family, there should be healthy options for dog treats as well (and her's are so fun!).
Melissa named her business, Paws & Enjoy Gourmet Dog Treat Bakery and it's very fitting for her adorable treats. The gourmet treats are all natural with no artificial preservatives. They are made with quality human-grade organic, non-gmo ingredients. She even makes her own homemade chicken broth and a special frosting for dogs that doesn't contain lots of sugar. She jokes that if her family were in a position where they were snowed in for very long, that they would probably be just fine with their supply of dog treats. ;) The treats are made with healthy whole wheat flour, but Melissa is working with a local dog nutritionist and hopes to add a grain free option to her gourmet line next.
Five different flavors have been perfected so far at Paws & Enjoy. Every treat is packed with nutrients, but the dogs don't have to know that. All they care about is that they smell bacon! Or peanut butter!
There are different sized treats for all walks of dogs and the fun designs are endless. Each holiday has themed cookies and baskets, and Melissa designs new, whimsical treats monthly. My favorite so far... one of her woodland critters, the squirrel! :D
Melissa's bakery is in her kitchen. She has a duel oven with extra racks and a dehydrator, but says that she may soon have to convert her garage to support a larger oven.
Part of quality control is conducted in-home by her two puppies, Bandit and Bella and her grand-dog, Dallas. (It's very important that she has a mix of little dog and big dog opinions). Melissa's dogs have access to the treats on a regular basis so she has to help with distribution. She says they know when she is baking treats versus when she is cooking dinner and they sit patiently on the kitchen mat for her to give them a small taste. They sometimes even get to lick the spoon after all the mixing is done! (I don't know about you, but this sounds like a pretty cushy job to me.)
When I asked Melissa what she has planned for the future of her business she told me that she's excited to see where it takes her. She loves having a booth at craft fairs and fantasizes about getting an RV, taking the pups, and traveling around to all the fun fairs around the country. She would also like to open a shop outside of her home one day. For now, you can find her gourmet dog treats at local pet businesses such as Precious Pets, Mini-Critters, and Earthwise in Sioux Falls, and at Get Pinned in Mitchell and Alley Cat in Dell Rapids. You'll most likely find her at the craft fairs that will be popping up this summer, and of course you can always order on-line, too!
You can learn more about Melissa's local business at Paws & Enjoy Gourmet Dog Treat Bakery and if you are on Facebook give her page a like!
This was going to be a fun challenge where I could take Hermes to a bridge or a dirt road, or, or, or... but, when it snows and the wind blows at the same time there is just no way I can ask Hermes to go out in it. So, this week we're back indoors.
Leading lines was the challenge for this week. Leading lines in an image usually require space and a wide angle lens. The idea is to use lines to draw your viewer into the part of the image that you want them to focus on.
I had no idea what I was going to do to show leading lines indoors, and then this happened... Hermes had wrapped himself in the throw just like he always does, but this time he didn't quite make it underneath before turning circles to settle. I tip-toed to my camera and silently whispered over and over, please don't wake up, please don't wake up. I knew I wouldn't get a second chance at this one. He was completely worn out. Poor guy.
Setting up the shot at just the right angle showed wonderful leading lines. Not exactly the standard shot you would get with a bridge or a road, but I think it's kind of cool. Thanks for helping, Hermes! ;)
If you are enjoying our Friday blog circle posts, follow along this week starting with Lynda from Heartstrings Photography, Based in Hamilton New Zealand.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Does your dog have a daily schedule that they routinely follow? This is often dictated by families who work outside the home or have kids who go to school. There is a routine that is always in place and the dog usually adapts nicely. Hermes knows when it's Wednesday (every time!) and anxiously waits for me to get to the part where I pick up my keys so that he can go out the door with me headed to doggie daycare. Any other time he goes to his bed when I get my keys and looks at me as if to say, "See you later." Other than that, his days could be described as, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-days. We go for walks, we sit outside, we play "where's the rabbit." We just do what we want, when we want.
Dash on the other hand, could care less what day it is. He has the same routine day in and day out. It doesn't matter what you have planned, his plans are always the same. It goes something like this:
He wakes up bright and early (cough) around 9am.
He goes outside to do his business, runs back in, checks the dog bowl to make sure there is food in it for later, then heads back to his kennel. When he is alerted that there might be something outside, he runs to the front door and barks like mad. (Most of the time it's a false alarm, but by gosh he's ready!)
Towards the afternoon hours Dash leaves the front room for better sun bathing options in the kitchen and a good view of the back yard.
This is the time of day when the squirrels are out and thus, this is when Dash's
"work day" truly begins. He sees a squirrel, runs to the door and barks his little head off telling that squirrel to "GET OFF MY LAWN!" (He's such a crotchety old man sometimes.)
Dash sprints out the door into the yard, kicking grass and dirt, (or snow) everywhere, runs the track around the tree, then jumps repeatedly at the squirrel who is now perched in the tree spewing a string of obscenities in Dash's direction.
When Dash has ended the conversation, he trots back inside and plops down on the couch or in front of the fire if it's cold out.
This is the first of about 15 or more "Let me out...let me in" rotations that last for about an hour or so until Dash has worn himself out. Honestly, sometimes I'm worn out before he is.
At the end of the day, Dash likes to lay on the couch beside me while I watch Netflix, whine a little to let me know that I should be scratching him, and then finally goes to his kennel when it's time for everyone to be in bed.
Yep, that's his whole day unless I convince him that it is warm enough for him to go for a walk with Hermes and I. It's a dog's life for sure.
This post is part of a blog circle, so to see what other pet photographers' dogs in might be doing with their day, start with KME Photography in Minneapolis, MN. Have a great weekend!
This week's challenge was to "Revisit and Re-Edit" so I decided to go back to the beginning for this one. Back to the shelter...
I started volunteering at a shelter over 10 years ago. When that shelter closed a few years later, it was sad and I missed it, but I was also busy with my kids and other volunteer work so I just accepted it. I loved and admired the people that I worked with and am grateful for their encouragement towards my photography. Never in a million years did it even occur to me that it might lead to a job that I love so much.
So, for the challenge, here are some re-edits and I have to say the "revisit" part was sooooo much fun for me. :O)
The challenge this week was a fun look at the past, but it didn't stop there. I have been so inspired this year with the number of people taking part in this challenge who work with rescues on a regular basis. I've been missing that connection for awhile now and decided that I'd like to change that. Today I was notified that I have been accepted as a HeARTs Speak Artist. HeARTs Speak is a 501c3 international nonprofit organization who's mission is to unite art and advocacy to increase the visibility of shelter animals.
HeARTs Speak artists provide their services pro bono or donate their work to animal shelters, rescues, and advocacy groups. I know the difference a good photo makes for a shelter animal when needing a new home. I love being part of that process and am looking forward to working with these animals (and the people who work so hard for them) again.
You can see more from other photographers in this blog circle each time there is a challenge post. This week start with Pet Love Photography, author of "Rescue Dogs: Portraits and Stories," serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area. Have a great weekend!
Are you one of those people who always has a song in their head? I wake up with a song in my head all the time. I wasn't dreaming about the song (I don't think) and I didn't wake up to the song on the radio, it's just there. This week I had a song stuck in my head that refused to go away..."gotta cut loose, footloose; kick off your Sunday shoes..." Imagine my surprise when the theme for this week's challenge was "favorite song." Now, if you ask me what my favorite song is, there is NO way I can give you one. I can give you a list of artists: Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Tom Petty, Simon and Garfunkle, Queen, Nickel Creek, Garth Brooks, Alanas Morissette, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Imagine Dragons, Andrea Bocelli... (I love everything except maybe jazz), but I could not narrow it down to one song. Footloose might not be my favorite song, but it's a happy song, makes people want to dance, and I thought it might just work well for this week's theme.
When trying to come up with image ideas for this song, all I could think of was this one from 5 years ago. Even though he was mid-jump to catch a frisbee, this picture is FULL of Hermes's personality... his "crazy, fun-loving, bouncing off the walls, will try to get away with anything" personality!
Since there is really no way to duplicate something like this I figured I'd just let Hermes be Hermes and see what happened.
"....everybody cut footloose!" :D
If you'd rather not have this particular song stuck in your head, see if there's one you might like better by following the blog circle. :) You can start with John Bouma with MaxNorman Pet Photography serving the South Florida Area.
Have a great weekend!
As thrilling as curling was to watch at the Olympics, I'm not sure if it tops the pouncy, bouncy, giggly (ok, that's me) fun that occurs when Hermes plays "Where's the Rabbit?"
It started off with a need for entertainment during the cold winter months. Hermes and Dash are not snow dogs, in fact they can barely make it back inside from doing their business if the weather is too blustery. We needed a game that would let them exercise their brain so that they wouldn't go stir crazy. Last winter I got one of those dog puzzles that have little compartments for treats. The idea is they have to figure out how to lift a lid, move a lever, slide a door, etc in order to find the treat underneath. Well, they both figured this out after the 2nd or 3rd try and then it was a mad race for Hermes to find the treats by just digging at the toy as fast as he could. He got that puzzle down to a winning 20 seconds. (So much for mental stimulation.)
This year it's all about the rabbit. Where's the Rabbit is basically hide and seek. Hermes covers his eyes..... :D (Ok, ok. But, it's a fun visual isn't it?!) I tell Hermes to stay while I go in the other room and hide the toy rabbit. Then I say, "Where's the rabbit?" and he comes running. He searches high and low for the rabbit and when he finds it I cheer and clap and squeak the rabbit when he drops it for me to hide again. The fun part for me is I try and give him hints as to where the rabbit is. (He has NO idea how to follow a pointed finger and I have no idea how to teach that particular necessity. If anyone has any pointers [ha!] I'd love to teach it to him.) Ok, back to the game... While he's looking for the rabbit, I just keep saying, "where's the rabbit?" and if he is in the wrong place I'll say something like, "not over theeerrrre." If he is close and just doesn't see it, I make encouraging noises like, "oo-oo, so close, Hermes!" (This is where I end up giggling because he puts his head in cubby holes and boots, or climbs up on the back of the couch to get a better look. It's obvious that he loves the game.) :)
To start off with, I always hid the rabbit in plain site. Here are some pictures from our first round:
He figured the game out quickly, and since it's never in plain sight anymore he checks every place that he's ever found that rabbit. Hermes loves this game and I have to admit, so do I. He gets so excited when he finds it! It's like watching little kids hunt for Easter eggs. ;)
Dash likes to play Where's the Rabbit, too, but not as much as Find the Treat... (this is my husbands very lazy version of the game and not anywhere near as much fun).
If your dog is going stir crazy from not getting to go outside, I encourage you to try something like this. Exercising their brain is important on so many levels. It not only tires and helps calm very energetic dogs, but it actually helps to slow the aging process in senior dogs. Here is a short article that I thought you might like if you have one of those dogs who has a constant supply of energy:
Mental vs. Physical Stimulation For Your Dog.
Enjoy your week!
I was a "collector" in my younger years. I was very sentimental about things even as a teenager. My dad traveled the world with his job and would bring gifts home for us kids. One time he brought me 3 unique, spiny sea shells that he picked up off the beach (I can't even remember which country now) and I still have those shells simply because my dad picked them up for me and carried them home from a place I'd never seen. (Ok, so maybe I'm still sentimental). I collected so many things through the years, but the constant moves that come from being married to an Air Force pilot and having 3 little boys with all the things that go along with having 3 little boys brought a new way of seeing things for me... it was all stuff and it was a pain to pack and un-pack year after year.
I soon became a minimalist....NOT! Ha! Honestly, I'd love to be one, but it's just not in me. I like things that make me smile when I see them, whether from their beauty or from a memory associated with them. So, let's face it, my house will always lean towards the word, clutter rather than, tidy.
Minimalism has a place in art and we see it in photography as well. This image of a leaf in the snow would be considered minimalist. There is very little (if anything) to compete with the subject of the photograph.
I consider my Sioux View images to be minimalist photography. These images have what we call "negative space," (the background is void of clutter), they are for the most part linear in nature, and I remove the color from these images so that the viewer "feels" more of the textures, contrasts, and even emotions presented in the images.
Since the purpose of this 52 Weeks project is to think outside the box when it comes to pet photography, I needed to come up with something that would be considered minimalist with Hermes as my model. I knew the snow would be perfect for this week's challenge, but I also knew that Hermes and snow don't always play nice together. In the end, he was kind enough to take about a minute and a half out of his day for this shot out the back door.
Once back in the warmth of the house he told me to take all the time I needed for this shot on the couch. :D
To continue around the blog circle and see what other pet photographers and their models have come up with for this challenge, start with Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching family portraits in Coppell Texas and surrounding communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
This week's challenge was to photograph using a wide angle lens, so on the first nice(ish) day Hermes and I headed out with my 17-50mm lens. Using a wide angle lens can let you show more of an area rather than just a portion of it. Landscape photography is perfect for wide angle shots. With a wide angle lens you can take a picture of a lake, but you can also get mountains behind it and the shore in front of it instead of just the lake.
In this first image I wanted to show the new snow that we got and how perfect it was before all the kids got out of class to play and build forts and snowmen. My wide angle lens was perfect for this. The snow was up to Hermes's knees, but he'll do almost anything for a treat. ;)
A wide angle lens will "open up" places that are "walled," so to speak, making it a great lens for things like paths and bridges. The stairs and railing on the playground equipment fan out in this image inviting us to "come and play" with Hermes.
With a wide angle lens I'm able to include Hermes's ears and Dash's long legs in the picture! And, if you get really close you can create some fun images. ;)
If you'd like to see more from the pet photographers in this blog circle, start with Lynda Mowat from Heartstrings Photography, based in the Waikato New Zealand. Have a great weekend!
I love silhouettes almost as much as black and whites... almost. ;O) Silhouettes are another way to make sure that emotion trumps over things like clothing style or hair color. For me, the tricky part is finding a place without buildings or too many trees that can get in the way of your silhouetted subject.
Here is a silhouette from a fun session a couple of years ago.
With our weather lately, I thought I was going to have to get creative and figure out a way to get a silhouette indoors. But, we had one evening that showed some color. My husband and I took Dash and Hermes out for just a few minutes and I was able to get one shot of each of them before they turned into pupsicles. It always amazes me how fast the sky changes colors just before sunset!
This is a blog circle post, so if you'd like to see more silhouettes from other pet photographers in the group, you can start with Darlene with Pant the Town Pet Photography serving MA and NH. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Today is Chinese New Year and 2018's Chinese zodiac symbol happens to be the Earth Dog. Here are some fun facts about the Year of the Dog.
Dog is the symbol of loyalty and honesty. Some of the best traits of human nature are used to describe our furry companions and these traits are supposedly passed on to people born in the Year of the Dog. They are honest, friendly, faithful, smart, straightforward, and often have a strong sense of responsibility. (Sound familiar?)
If you were born between Feb 4th and Feb 3rd (of the following year) during 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 or 2018, then you were born under the sign of the Dog. You also have something in common with these famous people: Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Bill Clinton, Herbert Hoover, Golda Meir, Voltaire, Marcel Proust, George Gershwin, Jane Goodall, Socrates, Prince William, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Ellen DeGeneres, Jessica Biel, Kelly Clarkson, Kirsten Dunst, LeAnn Rimes, Queen Latifah, Shirley McLaine, Susan Sarandon, Uma Thurman, Andre Agassi and Confuscius. (Not a bad crown to run with if you ask me.)
If one of your kids brings home a stray, you might want to think before you say no to keeping it. A dog will bring good fortune to those who bring them into their home this year.
The Chinese word for the barking sound – 旺旺 wàng wàng – actually means “prosperous prosperous" and barking dogs are considered to bring prosperity and wealth to one's house. (I honestly don't know if Dash's bark is worth the possibility of early retirement or not.)
And, in case you plan to buy a lottery ticket you might like to know that the numbers 3, 4, and 9, as well as other numbers that contain these, are lucky numbers for people born in the year of the Dog.
I went to a four-day power packed photographer's conference in Cedar Rapids this past week and had a great time making new friends and learning from some of the top photographers in the nation. Since it left me with very little time to come up with a unique picture of the dogs for this post, I've made you a little Chinese New Year's gift instead. It's printable on standard 8.5x11 paper or card stock. Simply click on the image. Hope you like it. :O)
If you'd like, please continue around the blog circle by starting with Tim Evans of Tim Evans Photography - photographing people and pets throughout south Mississippi. Have a great week!
I've decided that the name Project 52 was just a bit too stressful for me. So, from now on I'm calling these posts, 52 Fridays-Give or Take. ;O)
Dash has had me worried. After two trips to the vet and three nights on an IV, he has spent the last week and a half laying around and sleeping most of the time. He has finally started feeling better though. Want to know how I know? He barks at the squirrels constantly!!! (I'm glad you're feeling better, Dash, but you really need to give it a rest.)
Since the theme for this week's blog circle is Fantasy, I thought I'd create an image that reflects something that keeps popping up in my head these days. I call it, "Why can't we just all get along."
This next one is called, "Dash and Er-nie sit-tin in-a tree....." (you know the rest) ;D
We're all having a bit of fun with the theme this week. Hope you enjoy it! To see more, start with Wag to my Heart Photographer, Danyel Rogers, providing photography needs for the Portland Metro area.
Have a wonderful weekend!
A friend recently posted a link to a Tedx Talk. The speaker was Dewitt Jones, a Photographer for National Geographic. Dewitt's talk had so many "quote-ables" that I knew I had to share.
Dewitt says that National Geographic told him to...
"Go out and celebrate what's right with the world."
Everything we see and hear these days - the television news, the newspapers, Facebook... they all tell us what's wrong with the world (and a lot of times it's exaggerated or not even true.) We need to look through what Dewitt calls the "lens of celebration" instead, and celebrate what's right with the world instead of what's wrong.
Remember a few years back, when everyone was posting pictures of their food on Facebook and Instagram? We (ok, I) soon got sick of seeing post after post of what people were eating (and laundry, what??), but those people were showing something that was "good" in their day. They were sharing happiness. As a bonus, imagine how those pictures made the people who created that meal feel. I'm pretty sure that there was a huge grin on the chef's face whenever they saw their restaurant tagged and then saw something that they created in the image.
"When we 'celebrate what's right with the world' it gives us the energy to find the next right answer."
I feel like we need to try a little harder to balance the good with the bad that is always being thrown at us. It might take a minute for someone to see the good in a sea of bad, but if you try you can usually find it. My family lives in and around Houston. During the flood last year, my five siblings were each effected in different ways, one personally and the others spent weeks helping friends and neighbors. My sister sent me a picture of a friend sitting with her husband in a lawn chair with all of their belongings (most of which were ruined) piled in the yard behind them. In the front corner of the image, on what looked like a beach cooler, was one of those little word-art blocks. The block said,
"Collect moments not things."
And, they were smiling in the picture! For a moment at least, they had found what was right with the world.
If you'd like a little pick-me-up, or just a fun 18 minutes of listening to a great guy with a good message (and quite a bit of humor), take a look at this Tedx Talk with Dewitt Jones. I've watched it a few times now. ;)
Catchlights are the theme for this week's Project 52 and they are very important in images with people or animals. Very simply put, if you don't have catchlights in the eyes, there is not much life to the image.
In this first picture of Dash the reflection of the snow covers the bottom half of his eyes, but as far as catchlights go, there is only a tiny bit at the top of his eyes.
Once he came inside, the windows cast nice catchlights making his eyes have more life to them.
If you saw my previous post this week celebrating Ollie, then this next image will look a little familiar. With lots of fur and being black to boot, catchlights are sometimes the only thing that will save an image from looking like the dog has no eyes at all. In some images, the catchlights might be the only thing you see unless you print the image quite large.
When you are taking pictures of people or animals with your camera or your phone, make sure that you can see catchlights in their eyes. If you can't, then turn them until you can. Anywhere there is light... windows, open sky, light coming from another room, for example. It will make a huge difference in your image.
If you'd like to see more of our catchlights theme, start with John Bouma with MaxNorman Pet Photography, serving the South Florida area and follow the Project 52 links around the blog circle. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Oliver's family knew that he would soon be living life one day at a time. At 12 years old he was showing signs that let his family know that he would soon be ready to go. They knew it was a blessing to have had Ollie for so long, but it was still very hard to think about letting go of their beloved companion.
Ollie was a model student from the beginning. He completed puppy class, recall class and agility; he even earned his Canine Good Citizen badge. Ollie loved being with his family. He was a big teddy bear and being a "Good dog" was in his blood as Ollie's grandfather won best of show at the Westminster Dog Show in 2004. At the age of five though, Ollie came down with canine meningitis. He was sick and afterwards had trouble using his hind legs, but he went on living and loving life for 7 more years. Ollie's dad says, "He kept us together as a family. He owes us nothing; we owe him." I think this says it all.
Ollie passed away just before Christmas. His family was heartbroken, but Ollie had given them notice of his intentions ahead of time to help prepare them. The family had read the story of the Rainbow Bridge and kept it close to heart in the months that led up to Ollie's passing. (I wonder if that unknown author has any idea how many families they have helped with the passing of their beloved pets.)
We got pictures of Ollie with his family and pictures with his housemate and friend, Zeus. Then we took some pictures to help Ollie's loved ones remember that he will forever be in their hearts.
I feel privileged to have met Ollie. Between our brief time at the session and the wonderful stories told by his family, I know that he was truly the definition of an old soul.
There are several versions of The Rainbow Bridge out there, but they all convey the same message and conjure up the same emotions. Here is one in particular that I really like:
The Rainbow Bridge
inspired by a Norse legend
By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.
© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved.
Something that new photographers often times are told to do is, fill the frame. Fill the frame means just that... fill the frame with your subject. If you like the details of a flower, then fill the frame with that flower rather than the flower with it's stem, leaves, ground and background since all of that other stuff can be distracting.
Filling the frame is very useful when you want to show detail, get rid of background clutter, or show emotion.
This first image shows one of Hermes' favorite toys. How do I know it's a favorite? Because it's been around awhile and I haven't found it's innards all over the floor.
This next picture of Hermes was taken on the same couch, but I moved in close so that the other furniture and the color from the walls wouldn't be so distracting. Now, we can easily see those beautiful, big, brown eyes.
Dash has been under the weather this past week and just hasn't been himself. (He's even let Hermes sit in my lap while we're watching Netflix!) He's on antibiotics now and will hopefully be back to his bossy self soon, but it's kind of pitiful to see him like this.
If you'd like an up close look at more of the stars of this blog ring, start with Ann Bridges of Ann Bridges Photography - The Critter Pawtographer located in North East Texas.
Enjoy you weekend!
There are rules to follow in photography just like every other craft, and the rule of thirds is one of the basics that every new photographer learns. It has to do with the composition of an image and can help draw the viewers eye to what the photographer wants them to see. The image is divided into three equal section both vertically and horizontally. The "rule" is that when placing your subject in the frame, placing them on the intersection points of these division lines has the most impact with the lines themselves coming in second. This does help new photographers to see the impact of the rule of thirds on an image, but ..... rules are made to be broken. Lets just say, if every image followed the rule of thirds, things could get boring very quickly.
For me, the rule of thirds is not something I think about when I aim my camera. However, there are certain scenarios that I find work beautifully for this composition technique; landscape images with a person in them for instance. If the person is in the middle of the image then the image is about that person using a "look at me" frame of mind. If the person is placed using the rule of thirds, then that person now becomes part of a "story" rather than being the main character. You see the person and then you see where they are or what might be going on around them.
The rule of thirds also works nicely if the scene is quite simple. Placing the subject using the rule of thirds can be very pleasing and actually relaxing to the viewer. (Here's Hermes helping me demonstrate "relaxing.")
Then there are times when you want to emphasize something in your image without making it seem quite as intrusive (or caloric). Using the rule of thirds can make something seem a little less "over the top" than if you put it right smack in the middle of the scene... Ok, this one might be a little over the top anyway, but you get the idea. ;O)
Want to see more about this week's theme? Head over to St. Cloud, Twin Cities and central MN About A Dog Photography to continue the blog circle and have a great weekend! (I think I need a little snack.)
It's January - a new year, a new beginning and I'm participating in a brand new Project 52. This project is a round robin of sorts that will take place once a week, and there are pet photographers from around the world who will be taking part throughout the year. At the end of each of our Project 52 blog posts will be a link to another participating photographer's blog so that you can click through and see how they interpreted the theme as well.
The theme this week is Blank Slate and there are so many ways to interpret this prompt:
Dash considers it a blank slate every time he sees a squirrel (and it's usually the same squirrel, too). The score is even between them and this time he just might win. Dash, you will always win for being the loudest, but that squirrel will always be able to climb the highest. If it makes you feel any better, I could get you a blue ribbon for "most voicetrous."
Opposite Dash, is Hermes who never seems to start with a blank slate. He remembers everything (and I'm pretty sure he keeps score)... Treats are behind that door... Wednesdays mean doggie playdates (I swear he knows when it's Wednesday)... and, when the vacuum cleaner comes out that means someone's coming over and we might get treats to stop jumping on them!
I explored all the ins and outs of blank slate (I might take these prompts a little too seriously), but it wasn't until I searched for quotes that I realized how perfectly this prompt fits my pet sessions.
Life is just a blank slate,
what matters most is what you write on it.
- Christine Frankland
"I am a blank slate - Therefore I can create anything I want."
Having a blank slate is sometimes as daunting as it is exciting.
It was this last quote that made that cartoon light bulb go off over my head. Every session that I schedule starts with a blank slate. It's not something I intended to do because everything I read before starting my business said that photographers need to have a plan (or at least a list) in order for sessions to run smoothly. While this might be great for classic wedding or portrait photographers, I quickly discovered that this would not work for me and my photography objectives. With the exception of finding out what my client's goals are and learning as much as I can about their pet, my sessions are rarely ever planned (and this both scares and excites me). With a "blank slate" each session literally creates itself... with a little help from the pet of course.
To see the words, wisdom, and works of other photographers in this project start with Elaine Tweedy of I Got The Shot Photography located in Northeastern PA.
Have a great weekend!
Ever meet one of those dogs when as soon as you say hello you just know he's where he's suppose to be? Cosmo is one of those dogs.
Cosmo's mom scheduled a session so that she could make a little brag book as a surprise for Cosmo's dad when he deploys. As soon as I met Cosmo I could tell that he was such a happy dog and knew that he felt he was truly part of a family. He was rescued by dad and I'm told he is most definitely a daddy's dog, but he's just as keen on mom when it's just the two of them. Cosmo is 11 years old and wasn't in perfect health when we did his session, but he never let on. He smiled and played through the whole thing! (Well, ok, there might have been a piece of McChicken sandwich involved at one point during the session).
We took Cosmo to one of his favorite walking parks. He was so happy to be there and seemed to want to show us all the best spots. He was a little confused when I'd ask him to "pose" though - it was like he was trying to tell me to hurry up, there was more to see just up ahead!
Cosmo, smart dog that he is, helped me get mom into some of the pictures for dad's book, too. She never even knew what he was up to. (wink, wink)
Cosmo, it was great meeting you! I know you're a snuggler so you and mom take care of each other while dad's away. I wish you all the best that 2018 can bring.
These little balls of fun are quite the trio. They are very different from each other, well except for Lilly and Ruthie looking so much alike (or maybe that's just me; ok, probably just me) and their personalities seem to balance each other out in complete harmony.
Sunshine is the older-wiser one. She celebrated her 17th birthday just before these pictures were taken and still, she didn't miss a beat. She may not be as active as her sisters, but that doesn't mean that she isn't right in the middle of what's going on (even if "the middle" means on the sidelines somewhere simply because she can't see that well). Sunshine, you are beautiful!
Lilly is the little princess. She prances around showing off her long beautiful hair, but she's a gift giver, too... she likes to share kisses with the other dogs in the house (it doesn't matter that some of them are about 10 times her size).
Ruthie is the baby of the family and is very enthusiastic. She loves to play in the water hose and she'll run around the yard at top speed like it's the best place ever! Want to race? Ruthie will take you on.
I can't decide if it's the playing, or the snuggling, or the outings, that make Sunshine, Lilly, and Ruthie so happy. They are so devoted, and so loving. Honestly, I think these little girls are a perfect example of...
It's not what you're doing,
it's who you're with.
These girls live with three other dogs, and I don't know that I've ever seen a more comfortable group. If they aren't as loving and amicable during their normal day-to-day life, then they sure have great manners when strangers come in with a camera. :)
It was so fun to get to know these three. They don't say much and they don't take center stage, so I've found myself wondering, what makes them tick... and is it the same thing that makes them so sweet?
It's tough to keep up with the energy of a golden retriever, much less three of them. But, oh my gosh the fun! ... and, the connection that these girls have with their owner and their housemates is so wonderful to witness.
Lola, Maya and Bea are three of six dogs who share a home. At first you might think, six dogs in one family? But, after spending a few hours with them, I can tell you that they are one big happy family, and if even one were absent for a night the others would notice and miss her. (Oh, and did I mention they are all girls?)
Lola got her name from the phrase, Lots Of Love Always... and, it shows. She is pure and she is golden and I'm pretty sure she will never run out of love for anyone and everyone who becomes part of her family. She's a social butterfly and will make you feel welcome simply by being near you. (and oh, that smile!)
Maya is the younger of the three girls and can be a loner of sorts, taking her toy off to her bed away from the others. Don't let this fool you though, she has lots of energy and is an amazing frisbee player (ok, catcher... for you more literal people like my husband). Maya is that kid who would rather explore by herself than play cards with the rest of the family, but she's right there with them when it matters. (Honestly, I think it's more that she doesn't have time to wait on anyone else once she gets it in her head that she wants to see or do something. I get it, Maya!)
Then there's Bea. Bea is the older-wiser sister who was not sure about me being in her house at first. She would lay on the couch with her favorite blankets and watch as I introduced myself to the other girls. When we went outside Bea seemed a little more comfortable, but once we hopped in the truck to go for a ride, her spirits came alive. It was all good times from then on.
These girls are so beautiful and fun. Just look at those faces!
I had such fun getting to know these three and I'm pretty sure they had fun, too. This was the last image that I took before I left their house and I think it confirms "the fun." ;O)
There once was a little princess. Like any other one year old, this princess rules the house, but only under the watchful eyes of her royal canine playmates, Sir Maverick and Dame Ally. These two love the princess. She reads to them and serves them tea!
To show their gratitude, Sir Maverick and Dame Ally play with the little princess, protect her, and do their best to keep her clean (well, mostly clean).
When the princess has had her fill of fun for the afternoon, it's time for a little nap so she can dream about adventures with her royal playmates. (Although, on this particular day that part may very well have happened on the car ride home.) Take care of her, royal canines, for little princesses grow up way too fast.
Judging by my wet clothes, this year's dog swim had a record number of dog paddlers. Some of the dogs were in their glory and others were a little intimidated (and I don't blame them) - that'a a lot of splashing when you are down at splashing level with 4 paws per splash!
Because of the enthusiasm of the furry attendees, there was a little less in the way of story-telling images this year, but I was able to capture these single frame "short stories" if you will. (I live for this stuff). ;O)
Then there was Charlie. She wins the title of "most improved" from one dog swim to the next. Last year her human was trying to teach her to fetch in the water. She was a little hesitant.
This year was a different story. Charlie, you've got style.
You can see more images from this year's swim on the Events page (and even more on our Facebook page).
You would never know it by watching her, but this golden girl was not always a happy go lucky pup.
Molly is a dog who was passed from one shelter to the next until she ended up in Garden City where her mom found her. She was told at the shelter that Molly was one of Michael Vick's dogs, and that the scars on her face are the result of her life as a bait dog. But, for some reason when you're around Molly, you really don't notice them. They seem to just be part of who she is... a senior dog with the most infectious smile who really does enjoy life.
Molly is almost 15 years old now. She was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago, and still, she smiles, she runs (sometimes showing her affection for tall men by chasing them, ehem) and most of all she's happy. Molly loves to be around people and even watches movies with her family. What's her favorite? The Secret Life of Pets, of course.
You know how some dogs will plant their paw on you whenever you're near? They like you! Well, look at Molly's tail in this next picture....
"because every picture tells a story"
Molly is such an inspiration. Despite many obstacles (starting with being born a pitbull) she has been through a lot, but still it's obvious that she loves being a dog. She loves to play ball, she thinks rolling in the grass is the next best thing to sliced bacon, and she loves being with her family (and two doggie siblings). They love you, too Molly... and I'm honored to have met you.
August 17th is Hermes' birthday and he will be 11 years old! Where does the time go??? This is the day that I let him pick out something fun from Woofs and Waves and then try and come up with a gift for my clients and future clients as well.
This year it's a Win-Win!
Some of you might know that I have been working with Dogs on Deployment for a few years now. Being in an active military family for 30+ years I feel that what they provide to military pet owners is something that you can not put a price on. Dogs on Deployment provides a database of fosters who are willing to board military pets while their owners are fulfilling military obligations, deployments being one of those situations. Because of Dogs on Deployment, military pet owners now have options other than having to give up their pet when duty calls.
Dogs on Deployment is sponsoring a "virtual race." Their 1st Annual Pet and Family Trot can be done with your dog, your family or friends or even your co-workers during lunch. You can run, walk, use the treadmill, bike, skate, pogo stick... whatever you want, wherever you want. (There will also be fun challenges for you and your dog throughout the month with prizes from two of their sponsors.)
During the month of August, when you and your dog both sign up to participate in the Pet and Family Trot you will both receive a medal from Dogs on Deployment, AND . . . You will also receive a free 8x10 (or smaller) desk print from me as a gift for your support. If you are a past client, you can choose an image from your previous session. If you are a new client, then an 8x10 will be complimentary with your booked session.
(If you are not able to participate in a virtual race, but would like to donate, that option is available as well and would result in the same gift of an image of your choice.)
To make things simple, Hermes has his own fundraising page where you can register or donate. If you'd like to create your own team, please do so! You can just let me know the name of your team.
Hermes (and Dash) and I look forward to running with you! (Ok, truthfully, there will be no running on our end, only walking... but then you won't really know that will you?) ;O)
*This birthday special is good for sessions that take place at any time, but they must be booked during the month of August.
This little princess is described as a "diva" by her humans and she does her best to live up to the title. She loves her kennel, loves her humans' bed (and I'm guessing she steals the covers), loves every one of her toys, and has her own little seat on the couch. She will only eat out of white bowls, she's a big fan of cheese and peanut butter, and she feels quite special in her little diva hair bows.
Billie has such a fun personality. She's so very interested in being part of the action and the camera didn't bother her a bit. A couple of times I thought I might have to talk to her about personal space with my camera, but she just smiled and trotted off to mom whenever I said, "Billie, you're too cloooose!" She seemed to get a kick out of running up and back actually. ;O)
Billie Jean turned 10 this year and to celebrate she was given a new tutu that Grandma made and a special doggie birthday cake. She didn't react quite like we had expected (I swear they are just like little kids). We thought she would rip into that cake, but instead she acted very lady like. ;O)
Billie is such a sweet, sweet girl and I think she's the perfect little princess. Enjoy every day, Billie Jean. Ten looks good on you!