Project 52: Leash Removal

It’s been a while since I’ve been here. Found out my blog was damaged, if that’s the proper way of explaining it. Finally, everything is on track and I will, hopefully, be regular in my submissions. This week is “Leash Removal.”

When I started taking photos for clients, I felt that everything had to be done in-camera and the heck with all this post-processing. Boy, was I naive. Below is one of my first photos for a client. And, as they say in the South, “bless her heart”, it was of three dogs! It was a challenging session. I was nervous, it was hot, the dogs were moving all over the place. But, I at least did do the right thing by tying their leashes to the gate of the fence.

I was delighted that I had captured them calm and looking forward. But then I took a good look. OMG. How am I going to get rid of those leashes. I had never done something like this. I quickly googled some You Tube videos on how to remove them. Fortunately, what I found was Charlotte Reeves’ videos on that very subject. It took me days to remove them. Why days? Well, I would start and be at it for about 30-45 minutes and then get frustrated. Rather than save it (’cause I really didn’t know how to in Photoshop), I just closed and came back later and started from the beginning. Well, I eventually did it and the result is below.

I learned a few things by doing this. First, make sure the leash is behind the dog, not in front. Also make sure that “behind” is at the least visible location, not tied up at the top for the world to see!!! Second, if you have access to a skinnier lead, use it. That’s why I now carry thin show leads whenever I do a shoot. Much easier to remove in post-processing.

Now to a more recent session. I take photos for a local shelter and, once a year, they have a Mardi Gras walking dog parade, complete with a king and a queen. It’s their major fundraiser for the year. Below is this year’s queen. She is young and happy. While she would stand still for a while (thanks to help from the owner), it was especially challenging to place and keep that crown on her head. She would instantly shake her head and knock it off. What we decided was that, as soon as the dog sat, I would give the OK, and my assistant would put the crown on her. As soon as she did that, I would take the photo. What I had hoped was that I would get the photo right after she placed the crown on the dog but had moved her hand away, even if it was only inches from the dog. While the dog’s expression here is great, she is looking up and very regal, it wasn’t exactly the way I had hoped. I needed to remove, not only the leash (note, it’s a thin show lead), but my assistant’s hand. But it didn’t take me days. In no time, it was done.

Below is the post-processed photo. Other than removing the leash and hand, there was very little to do. Looking back on where I was several years ago shows me how far I’ve come. I really need to do that more often.

Let’s roll on to Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati, the San Francisco Bay Area, and destinations nationwide and see how she removed her leashes.

Project 52: Doorways

This week’s theme is “Doorways”.  When doing outdoor shots, it’s always good to offer some with a frame of some sort… between trees, amid flowers, between posts, or, very simple, in a doorway.

Below is a recent photo in front of the owner’s french doors.  It was a challenge because of the windows, but I think it frames the big guy very well.

One of my first clients was a cute frenchie.  When I came to the house, the husband directed me to various locations in the backyard.  He was proud of the hard work his wife had done with their yard and I attempted to accommodate him.  However, I finally said, let’s go in front of your front door, which caught my attention as soon as I came to the house.   It may not be a true “frame”, but that door certainly spotlights the dog.

Time to move on to Lynda Mowat from Heartstrings Photography, based in Hamilton, New Zealand and see how she interpreted this week’s theme.

Project 52: Head Tilts

As a pet photographer, one of my goals, especially for my shelter pictures, is to get the dog (and sometimes a cat) to give the cute, adorable, all-appealing head tilt.  No one can resist that, and that’s what we want to see an adoptable animal be – irresistible!

I can usually achieve a great head tilt with an interesting noise; however, not all dogs react.  At the shelter, I have a couple of favorite noise makers and if I can’t get attention and, hopefully, a head tilt, with them, I usually move on as the dog is probably a bit timid and fearful.  But sometimes you can get some great ones.

Below are what I call decent head tilts:

This is client Corey with a great head tilt.

This is Piper with an ever so slight tilt.

Below is what I call an extreme head tilt – love it!:

This is Ace – isn’t he gorgeous. And he blends so nicely with the bone background.

With cats, I don’t usually use noise makers as cats are more visual and will react to some type of movement.  At the shelter, I have a great assistant and she knows what to do.  But, sometimes, even though I may not use a noise maker, I do get an occasional kitty head tilt.

Below is what I would call a decent kitty head tilt:

Karlos, a cutie kitten with a slight tilt

Below is definitely an EXTREME kitty head tilt:

This was Kimberly Hart. I’m sure she was looking at a moving something or other and just didn’t want to turn her body!

This was such a fun topic.  Now, move on to my friend Kim with BARKography based in Charlotte, NC and traveling the US and Canada for her entry.  I’m sure she has some great photos.



June 22: Take Your Dog To Work Day

One Week Away – “Take Your Dog To Work Day”

Ono Pet Photography Can Help

My sweet Chloe has been waiting several weeks for June 22 which is “Take Your Dog to Work Day”.  That’s one week from today.  Check out this link to see what this 20-year old celebration is all about.  Then look at the list of possible ways to celebrate.  I’m sure some of you will be inspired to make it a very special day.


One of the ideas on the list is to have photographs taken.  Ono Pet Photography would love to come to your working place and document you and hopefully some of your fellow employees with your dogs.  Ono Pet Photography will provide each pet parent with a 5×7 print.  In addition, you will be able to share the photos from the Ono Pet Photography Facebook page.  Contact me at if you would like to take advantage of this offer.  One stipulation:  you must actually take your dog to work.  If you work at home, you would not qualify.  (NOTE:  For the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, AL and surrounding areas as well as Pensacola, FL area only)  Notify me of your interest ASAP.

This beauty is Mylie and she’s looking forward to June 22.


Movie Soundtracks: Emotional Memories

I grew up before cable, video recorders, smartphones, and many, many TV networks.  Because of that, I went to the movies a lot.  I soon realized that I was drawn to many by their soundtracks.  Not songs, not dances (although I did enjoy the musicals, also), but the music that is played throughout the film as well as when the credits are listed at the beginning and end.  Rather than collect albums of the current popular singers, I collected soundtracks.

One that always evokes memories of childhood and the wonder they feel as the world opens up to them is “To Kill A Mockingbird”, composed by Elmer Bernstein (brother of Leonard Bernstein who did the music to West Side Story – did you know that!!!).  We here in Alabama are rather tied to this movie as Harper Lee, the author of the book, was a resident in Monroeville, and each year they hold a dramatization of that story.


Listen to the music during the opening credits of the movie.  Close your eyes, and imagine the wonders of a young child as the world unfolds before her young eyes.




I always strive to create feelings that evoke emotional memories for my clients.


Project 52: Day in the Life

This week’s theme for the Pet Photography 52 Project is “Day in the Life”.  Of course, it had to be my muse, Chloe, since my other dog goes into hiding when I bring out the camera.  The weather has been rather iffy, so we were inside most of the time.  But it was a good time to practice using high ISO’s and/or practicing using my speedlight, which I don’t usually use.

This is what I usually see when I’m trying to make the bed in the morning.  Chloe is so comfortable from her night’s sleep.

After I change cloths, wash my face, comb hair, this is what I see when I come out of the bathroom.  Chloe’s still waiting for me.  That white blob on the left is my senior westie, Bonnie.  If she knew I was taking a picture, she would be hiding instead of sleeping.

Then Chloe and I are off for the walk down our dead-end street and back which includes, ummm, her business. (These photos were taken with my iPhone; please excuse)








Now it’s meal time.  Twice a day, the two dogs and three cats get fed.  While everyone, like Misty, one of the cats, is watching all the movements, waiting for their turn, Chloe takes the waiting time to gnaw on her large nylabone (for super aggressive chewers!)



But, occasionally, Chloe will stop her chewing to see the status of the meal prep.

Then everyone gets their meal… Chloe finishes hers in about 1-2 minutes! (iPhone shots)








Since I’ve had her, Chloe has gone into the master bathroom after eating to pick up one of the cat dishes (my cats eat at various locations in the house).  She’ll lick it (even though the food has been totally eaten by the cat) and then, I guess ’cause it’s plastic, she starts chewing on the rim.  I’ve had to replace so many dishes because of that.  Eventually she will take the dish into the kitchen so we can wash it. (This photo I used a speedlight that was pointed back and up to the ceiling).  Note that to the right is Chloe’s crate… which hasn’t got much use lately!

After she’s been fed, especially in the morning, it’s time to check what’s going on outside.  Many times, the sassy cat down the street prances on our neighbors’ yards, which drives Chloe crazy. 

Once I go on to my computer, she curls up in a small bed next to me.  She’s always there.

A couple times a day, everyone gets a treat.  Chloe is great at catching what I throw her.  Of course she has to sit first before she gets anything.

Several times a day, she goes out into the backyard to sniff my husbands’ vegetable garden (sometimes to dig it up, too), bark at the next door neighbor’s dogs through the fence, or just sit and enjoy the weather.

After a busy, busy day, Chloe is ready for bed…. even before we are!  I’m so glad we can be there to make her life so smooth and easy!

You can now check out The Hoof and Hound Photographer covering the Lancaster UK area to see how her dog passes the day.



Ono-licious: A Healthy Hawaiian Recipe

If you are into food and what’s happening out there, epicurean-wise, have you ever heard of Dr. Terry Shintani?  Well, in Hawaii, he started his popular “Hawaii Diet” in the late ’90s.  He developed this diet especially for native Hawaiians who, unlike their ancestors, were obese (many morbidly), had high cholesterol and blood pressure.  He feels that people spend too much money fighting the results of a poor diet.  He looks on proper food as the best medicine and he promotes that medicine.  You can go to Amazon to check out his books, shown below (click on each one)


What I want to share here is, not the philosophy or science behind his diet which you can check out on your own, but one of the recipes (shown below) that I re-discovered.  You will notice that he doesn’t cook with oil or high-fats.  While getting used to this may take time, both my husband and I enjoyed this one from the get-go.  Try it…. it’s ONO-licious!

POTATO ZUCCHINI STEW  (from the  “Eat More, Weigh Less” Cookbook)

1-1/4 C            Onion, chopped

1 stalk             Celery, chopped

2 C                  Potatoes, cubed

¼ C                 Carrots, sliced

½ C                 Broccoli

½ C                 Zucchini, sliced

½ C                 Kale

¾ C                 Vegetable broth

1 clove           Garlic, minced

½ tsp               Salt, or to taste

½ tsp               Paprika

½ tsp               Dill

¼ C                 Red Wine

1-1/2 Tbsp      Tomato Paste

Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Spray nonstick skillet with olive oil cooking spray and heat.  Saute onions for 5 minutes in 3 tablespoons of vegetable broth.  Add remaining ingredients and cook for 10 more minutes or until done to taste.  Makes 2 portions  (1 portion – 338.9 calories, 1.4 grams fat, 12% protein, 79% carbohydrates, 4% fat)



Project 52: Revisit & Re-Edit

This week we are revisiting and/or re-editing a past project.  I initially was not going to participate, but last week I took photos at the local shelter where my camera volunteers, using a woven basket I’ve used in the past.  It’s a small basket, so the animals, usually kittens, have to be fairly small.  The shelter doesn’t get too many that small, so it hadn’t been used in a while.  But they had three tiny kittens and we took a photo of each one in the basket.  So cute!

I then recalled a similar photo I took about 4 years ago when I started taking photos for the shelter.  Looking back, it was a horrible picture.  I think I had my camera on auto, didn’t really focus it on anything important, and then snapped!  As soon as you see it below, you’ll understand what I mean.  Before I posted it here, I used the lightroom plug-in you can install to see where the focus point is, and, as you can tell, it was on the basket.  It’s so bad, I didn’t even watermark it.

One Sunday morning in October 2016, I opened the Living section of the area newspaper and this horrible photo was staring at me.  Wondering if that was really mine, I went to my computer and searched for it.  Yep, it was mine.  (see below).  Even though it’s a bad picture, I kept the newspaper (why not!).  Notice that the credit was “ file”.  During the time that I took the photo, the shelter I work with was submitting a pet of the week to the local newspaper (when they were truly “daily”).  That’s the only reason I can think that the newspaper had it.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t get the credit.

Compare that to the one I took last week.  Same basket, different cat!  The focus point is on the right eye.  And it’s a photo I’m proud of, hence, the watermark.

I need to do more of these comparisons.  Makes me see that, every year, I’m getting better.

Time to move on to Sandra McCarthy Photography to see what she has highlighted from her past.

Heart-Tugging Stories: Lassie Come Home

Because I love animals, I will watch most of the movies out there about them.  Most will move me to tears, every time.  But, you cannot beat the original “Lassie Come Home”.   Below is a clip from the ending of that movie.  For those who have never watched it, in the beginning of the movie, Lassie is sold to a wealthy landowner very far from where she lived since her young master’s father could no longer afford to maintain her.  But Lassie was determined to return to her beloved companion.  This scene I’ve selected opens after she has returned but, upon hearing the clock chime the hour, she realizes that it’s time to go into town, as she always did, to greet the boy she loves as he comes out of school, even though she’s hurt and exhausted.  If you have never seen it, grab some tissues.  One person commented, “If this doesn’t move your heart, you’re not human.”  Like this movie, I strive to move people with stories I create of their beloved companions.


Lassie Come Home

BTW, (a little trivia) Lassie was always a male dog.









Some of you may not know that, for over 30 years, I lived in the Land of Aloha, Hawaii.  Besides the great weather and people, there are plenty of small little drive-ins, cafes, restaurants where you can eat some of the local food.  This is especially important since Hawaii’s primary industry is tourism and all those great people want to experience the local cuisine.

The locals love their “plate lunches”.  What is that?  If you go to one of the small drive-ins, you could probably get a plate with two scoops rice, macaroni or potato salad, and some kind of protein such as teriyaki chicken, meat or fish.  There’s also sushi, poke (pronounced po-key) which is actually raw fish mixed with vegetables, and perhaps some kind of marinated vegetable like seaweed or kim chee.

Typical Hawaiian Plate Lunch

One thing that Hawaii people love is spam!  Yes, SPAM.  In fact, Hawaii has been called the spam capital of the world.  There are aisles in grocery stores just full of different flavored spam.  OMG!  But my favorite use of spam was always spam musubi.  Basically, it’s seasoned rice formed into a ball or square, topped with a slice of cooked spam, then wrapped with dry seaweed.  Below is a recipe if you are adventurous enough to try.


  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) container fully cooked luncheon meat (e.g. Spam)
  • 5 sheets sushi nori (dry seaweed)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. Soak uncooked rice for 4 hours; drain and rinse.
  2. In a saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in rice vinegar, and set aside to cool.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Slice luncheon meat lengthwise into 10 slices, or to desired thickness, and marinate in sauce for 5 minutes.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Cook slices for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Cut nori sheets in half and lay on a flat work surface. Place a rice press in the center of the sheet, and press rice tightly inside. Top with a slice of luncheon meat, and remove press. Wrap nori around rice mold, sealing edges with a small amount of water. (Rice may also be formed by hand in the shape of the meat slices, 1 inch thick.) Musubi may be served warm or chilled.

When you go to Hawaii, make sure, after you have eaten one of these plate lunches or spam musubi, you say “ono-licious” or “broke the mouth”.  Both mean that you particularly LOVE what you have just eaten; that it was delicious; that your mouth is tingling.  Personally, I like ono-licious – I’m sure you can figure out why. (HINT:  my last name!!)