Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunset at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Busy week

I've been trying to take a dog or two to the park every day. While there I try to get in a little jogging on the trails. Since I have been doing most of my running on the treadmill, I need to work on strengthening muscles the treadmill misses, and the only way to do that is to run on the ground more. It's slow going, but I have faith it will continue to improve.

I've also been playing tennis every other day with Dave, which is great fun. And I've been trying to do strength training every day. Sore abs! But it's a good habit. Yesterday I got hit int he eye by a ball at tennis while playing with Dave and Sherry (Sake & Sitka's mom). We were doubling up on Dave, and I went to pick up a ball and he didn't notice and hit a ball over - what luck! So today I have a headache still and my eye is a little swollen and blurry. Much better than last night, so I'm sure it will be back to normal soon.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pit Bull Rescue Photo Day

I had a great time at my first photo session - taking portraits of dogs to benefit the pit bull rescue.

I was setup inside the Everyday Dog training center while the rescue had a BBQ going on outside, so it was nice and peaceful inside. Everyday Dog is where I take my dogs for training, so I felt right at home :) I had made a PVC frame for the backdrop, and everything else was really portable anyway, so it was an easy setup. I started out with a few test shots of the owner Alison's dog Figgy.

Some of the dogs were pretty nervous at the idea of being asked to sit still for a picture, and the lights, and being in a strange place. We only had a few customers, but I made everyone happy, so that's what counts.

Getting two dogs to sit still without one being blurry was really challenging - but this was close enough!

This hyper black lab was another one that required a LOT Of shots to get one that wasn't blurry - thank goodness for shooting in digital!

Once the time was pretty much up I invited the rescue folks to bring in their foster dogs for a shot so they could have them to use for publicity.

The last one, was there with her sister, who already had a home, so they wanted a picture of both of them together.

So that was my photography day. Lots of fun, great dogs, nice people, and a lot of challenges I hadn't quite planned for - like taking pictures of two dogs, or dogs who didn't like the stand and wanted to sit on the floor. In those cases I had a little trouble hiding the back light, and I didn't have enough fabric to cover the floor or hide all the cords. Getting one more piece of that fabric to put on the floor would help.

Everyone was friendly and patient. The hardware all worked perfectly, I downloaded the pictures to the laptop, flipped through them with the owner looking for the best shot that they thought really captured their pet, printed it out on a 4x6, slipped it into a paper frame with a thank you sticker and my info on the back, and away they went. So it was a good experience and I learned a lot, and I can't wait to do it again!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Much harder to light two at once!

Beware the Two-headed hell-hound!

Sure, they look cute now...


Home Studio works on cats too!

The home studio works on cats too!

Particularly if you give them a little scratch on the head...

But they still reserve the right to look annoyed!

Thanks, Mouse!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A good time at the barn

This evening the barn held a session for volunteers to get together, socialize a bit, and then get some lessons on handling the horses. We got a demonstration on working with the horses in the round pen and 'joining up' with them, and then we got to try it. I got to try it with Ashley, one of the horses I work with regularly. Then another volunteer got to do the same with her, and we could see the difference in how she reacted because of the differences in the energy we put out - I'm a very calm and quiet person, and she reacted differently to that than she did to the young man's higher energy motions.

Then we got longe line demonstration, and talked about handling the horses on the ground. It was all very good stuff that I hadn't heard before, so I was paying close attention. Then we all got a chance to ride. I sat out the first round to let the teens go first, and most adults rode the second round as well. I got to ride a horse that was new to me because he belonged to one of the staff, and he was just visiting to help out with some big events they were having this week. I had a bit of trouble getting him trotting - his mom said he was lazy - but once we got him going I really enjoyed it, and felt like I was starting to get the hang of riding the trot. I wish I could have kept at it! But since the horses had already worked all day toting kids around at the ranch, we didn't ride too long before giving them a break, cooling them off, and sending them out to pasture to relax for the night. They have a full day of work to do tomorrow :)


Monday, July 18, 2011

Portrait Studio - blue backdrop

Today I sewed together my blue backdrop and tried it out. I think I like it even better than the neutral/grey one.

(And Yes, Barclay is just as huggable as he looks!)

Only problem today was getting them up on the stand one at a time, because they were all clued into the fact that whoever is up there gets the most cookies!

So the other two got to practice down-stays while I worked with them one at a time. I need a wider bench for them to sit on, and try to get all three up there at once for a group photo!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Portrait Studio

A friend who is involved with a local pit bull rescue, Diamond Cut Loyalty, invited me to come to a fundraiser they are having next weekend and take pictures for donations. So of course I said yes, because it's a good cause and they are good people, and I LOVE to take pictures. However, I don't have any proper portrait studio equipment, so I had to get something set up.

So I went to the fabric store and bought some neutral looking material. When I got it home I cut it and sewed it into one big piece. While measuring and cutting I had some 'help'...

Thanks, guys!

I also went by Home Depot and got a couple clamp lights and some fluorescent 'daylight' bulbs. I wanted light I could leave on, but that wouldn't get too hot.

This one is a single bulb for lighting up the backdrop.

This one has a splitter so there are two bulbs in it, for lighting up the subject.

And all together it looks like this:

And with the lights on and a willing participant (with the help of cookies), it looks like this:

And the first test shots look like this:

Couldn't get Barclay to hold still!

I'm happy with the results so far, I just need to experiment more with positioning the light to see what works best, and I think moving the stool out farther from the backdrop so it will be a bit more out of focus. But a good start.

Update: A few more shots


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Barclay and the bird

This morning the dogs alerted us to something exciting going on outside, and we looked out in the backyard to see Mighty slinking past the back door with a freshly caught bird in her mouth - one of those little purple swallows. Bad cat! We thought she was taking it to go eat it, but a few minutes later Barclay went trotting by with the bird in HIS mouth! Apparently the cat had brought it into the dog run, and Barclay took it.

So now Mr B was running around the house with a bird sticking out of his mouth. We conered him after a short chase, and I took him to the bathroom where we could discuss this without the other dogs involved. Dave brought in the best treat we had to offer - sandwich meat.

He held a big wad of sandwich meat in front of Barclay and said 'Ok, Barclay, drop it and you can have this. Who wants some lunchmeat?' and as if to say 'I do!' Barclay snatched the meat out of his hand - WITHOUT DROPPING THE BIRD! So now Barclay had a mouth full of lunchmeat and bird (which he was pretty happy about) Dave was standing there shocked and lucky to still have all his fingers, and I was laughing so hard I about fell over! Luckily when Dave offered him the rest of the lunchmeat, Barclay went ahead and dropped the bird so he could eat, and we snatched it away. Poor bird! But I'll never forget Barclay snapping away that lunchmeat without giving up the prize he already had in his mouth - what a determined pup!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

My favorite picture from todays 4H meeting

Not even posed, I just happened to see him smooching his llama and caught it on film :) I think I've found my 'interaction' picture for Camera Club!

Here are some other pictures I really liked...


Saturday, July 09, 2011

Last night and my telescope

I spent last night at an astronomy meeting. I dragged out my telescope, barely knocked the dust off of it, and headed out to the meeting, a bit shy and not sure what to expect. My scope is big, but it's nothing fancy. Here's an old picture of us at Table Mountain Star Party a few years ago.

I shouldn't have worried. Everyone was really nice, and we all had one thing in common - a love of the heavens. Everyone enjoyed looking through my scope (yay - something new!) just as much as I enjoyed looking through theirs, most of which were as big as mine, and newer and fancier. But my old scope has excellent optics, which is all that matters, so even if it looks a bit funky, it still does the job just as good as the new scopes.

I have been out of it a long time because of my 'cold allergy' but now that I have that pretty well under control with Zyrtec I want to get the scope out more and enjoy the dark skies we have at our house. We also used to do lots of school science fairs and 'sidewalk astronomy' with it, and it's always great fun to give the general public a chance to look through a big telescope.


Sunday, July 03, 2011

Around the house


Sake, watching a bug!

Still watching the bug...

One of those swallows like the ones in our chimney, nesting in the birdhouses I gave them...


Sitka & Sake

Afternoon snacktime! From left to right - Sitka, Jack, Navi, Barclay (back to the camera), and Sake