The theme for the final week of 2015 is “Year in Review”. Since I only started several weeks ago, I don’t have a lot to share. However, I went back to some of the previous themes and decided that, if I had been a member of this group earlier, I would have chosen certain photos. First, below, I’ve selected some from when I joined at Week 47, with the theme that the photo projects.
Now, below, are those I might have selected for earlier themes if I had been a part of this group.
Looking forward to next year’s projects. Keeps me on my toes. Now click on over to Suzi Pix Photography to see her Year in Review.
If you live on the Gulf Coast – Alabama, Mississippi, Florida – contact me at Ono Pet Photography to see if your 4-legged friend can be part of your 2016’s year in review.
This week’s theme for Pet Photography 52 Weeks is “Celebrate”. The year is winding down, everyone – including me – is busy with the holidays and it’s almost an understood that “celebrate” translates into a holiday theme. Needless to say, no time to take a new photo, but recently took photos of pets with Santa that raised money for a local shelter. Most had the owners with Santa and the pets, and it worked out great. The location was a corner of the courtyard of a local restaurant. So, there was very low lighting. I brought my TD6 stand and softbox that was on one side of Santa, and my 5′ panel reflector on the other side. The coordinator of the event decorated the backdrop. I practiced and practiced to get the right settings by trying to replicate the location in my house. I’m glad I did ’cause I realized that the aperture I tend to use would have been too soft. I tried very hard to keep everyone on the same plane and it worked out pretty well. For every group, I’d say, “Now get really, really close to Santa!”
The photo below is an example of one of the “get really close” photos. This wonderful couple was just so much fun and they were all on the same plane to keep all in focus. The Mrs. just LOVED her babies, who, being typical small dogs, would boss around the bigger dogs.
This next one is a photo of the organizer of the event with her two dogs. I loved the angle of the black dog and, even though it wasn’t possible for him to be on the same plane, it worked out.
And isn’t Santa wonderful. He was so sweet and calm. Everyone loved him.
“Dressing Up” is the theme for this week’s Pet Photography 52 Weeks group. Personally, I do not dress up my pets. The closest I come to it, is to put a sweater on them if the weather during their morning walks goes below 32. They don’t like it. Doesn’t happen too often here in southern Alabama, but it does happen occasionally.
Where I do some sort of “dressing up” are with my shelter photos and, on occasion, a client. Below is a photo of a recent client, Molly. She is 15 years old, walks very slowly, but my last-minute addition of the pearls really added a sort of dignity to her. The owners loved it.
The two photos below are how I “dressed up” two shelter pets. Sometimes adding something like this makes the animal appear more appealing to any potential adopters who are then more inclined to see them as part of their family.
LOW LIGHT is this week’s topic for Pet Photography 52 Weeks. For many years, I’ve always admired the drama of low light and thought I’d need so much equipment to do it. Not so. For the cat photo below of my sweetheart Momi, I put a piece of seamless black paper on the wall, had my TD6 continuous light stand with only one light on at the left of this photo, and turned off all the lights in the room. Of course, the cat was very cooperative. And Voila! There’s my girl. To me, pure drama.
At about the same time as the above photo, I put my Chloe girl on the bench with the same set up to see how she’d look. While there is drama, I really love the cat’s photo because it’s black on black with those beautiful golden eyes.
This week’s theme for the Pet Photography 52 Weeks group is Urban. The dictionary definition is “of, relating to, or designating, a city or town.” I live in a small southern town on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay and I chose to escort my Chloe around town at various spots. Trying to get a clean shot can be a bit of a challenge when the background one way is cars and busy streets, while the other way is a parking lot. In addition, it’s equally challenging to take photos and hang on to a dog who’d rather explore her surroundings. But, I managed a few. Opening the aperture wide to get a really blurry background helped eliminate – somewhat – the unwanted stuff.
The photo below is several months old. I took it in Canada when I was mentoring with Scruffy Dog Photography. This lovely old girl is Charlotte who, I believe, is about 13! This shot was taken in an alley between two old brick buildings. Very Urban.
I was recently accepted into this group – Pet Photography 52 Weeks – that, hopefully, will encourage me to challenge my photography skills. This week’s assignment is “Depth of Field”. While many think that depth of field is when you have a very blurry background, that’s only one aspect of it. That is shallow depth of field. When everything is in focus, from foreground to background, that’s deep depth of field. As a pet photographer, I always strive for shallow as it will highlight the animal and, at the same time, blur the background or make it go out-of-focus. Many things can affect the depth of field. Normally, with a wide aperture (f-stop is small number), the better able one is to get that shallow depth of field. Landscape photographers want the photo to be in focus from foreground to background, so they opt for a smaller aperture (f-stop is larger number). That’s only one small aspect of depth of field, but it’s a start.
These three photos are of my dog, Chloe. I have two dogs, but I use Chloe most of the time for practice since my other dog is afraid of the camera. It’s November here in Alabama and some flowers are blooming, but they won’t last too much longer. We have knock-out roses in our backyard, so I put Chloe in front of each color – rosy pink, light pink and white – before they all start to die. I used my 70-200mm lens with an aperture at f3.5. Distance is also important in determining depth of field. Since I wanted a shallow depth of field, I placed Chloe about 3 feet from the bush, and I myself had to go back another 6-8 feet to get as much of her as I wanted. I might have been able to put Chloe a little bit closer to the bushes, but you get the idea.
This next picture was taken several months ago while I had Chloe tied to one of our front trees. It was sunset and I was facing in the setting sun’s direction. I again used my 70-200mm lens with an aperture at f3.2. I simply LOVE this picture with the grass so totally blurred as it does not indicate at all that it’s grass.
Click the underlined link to Cincinnati pet photographer, Suzi Pix Photography who will show her examples of this week’s depth of field project.
Those in the Gulf Coast Area, if you would like a professional photo of your 4-legged friend, click here at Ono Pet Photography to get the ball rolling. Have a happy holiday!
According to 365 Dogs Page-A-Day Calendar’s entry for today (October 29), there are 10 reasons why it’s good to be a dog – I particularly like #10
No matter where it itches, no one is offended if you scratch.
No one ever expects you to pay for lunch.
No one expects you to take a bath every day.
Others comb your hair and manicure your nails.
No one thinks you’re crazy if you chase your tail.
You never have to worry about table manners.
It’s not improper to look at a friend’s behind.
No one cares if you have hair growing in weird places.
Your family is happy to see you when they have a bad day.
If you gain weight, it’s someone else’s fault.
Can you think of additional reasons? Let’s start our own list. Click here and return to my Facebook page and indicate your own reason. Let’s see how many we can gather. Feel free to post your own photo! Let’s have fun!
My 2nd full day with Scruffy Dog Photography included three models that were fantastic, but more on that later. Since model shoots didn’t occur until about 4:30pm, Illona and I spent most of the day going over my photos from the day before. That’s when I realized that I had taken WAY too many photos, especially of Illona’s dog in the water with his favorite toy. Honestly, I probably wasted nearly 1/3 of the card – over 150 at least – on such shots. “That’s a lesson for you,” said Illona. Many of the photos were not in focus and we went over why that might be the case. But I did manage to have a few decent shots, which I shared in the previous blog. We then discussed marketing, specifically pricing. She gave me great ideas on how to price my products.
4:30pm came around quickly and the first client with their two dogs arrived. We initially went to a city setting. I sometimes think that one has to be in a beautiful floral setting, well-manicured yard, lovely architecture…. not so! This was located in an alley. Below are photos of the two dogs – absolutely beautiful Shar Peis. Charlotte, the light colored one, is a senior, probably about 12. Stella is still very young; I believe she is under 1 year old. By the way, as I started taking photos at this location, my camera suddenly froze. I could not press down on the shutter and there was an error message on my camera’s control panel. Well, I thought, certainly in line with the drama I went through getting to Canada. Karma again? Illona suggested I change lenses, but that didn’t work. Then, totally out of frustration, I pressed the shutter again and – voila! – back to normal.
After surviving the drama of getting to Canada (see previous post entitled, “Is This Heaven?”), I finally made it to Kitchener and was greeted by Illona Haus of Scruffy Dog Photography and her much-loved companion, Merrick. It was 10pm, so only had time to get to the bed-and-breakfast. At 10am the next morning, Illona picked me up and we proceeded to her office, located in the basement of her home.
Over the course of 2-1/2 days, we covered so much. She was so helpful and patient with me. It was clear that I needed help in every aspect of photography – uploading photos to Lightroom (my method was rather slow), post-processing tips and shortcuts, how to expose quickly for a photo shoot, and just making sure I knew my camera. Regretfully (for Illona) I needed to be schooled in several aspects of my camera. First, there was the firmware. Had never given it a thought in the 2 years I’ve had my camera. She determined that I was off about 1 update (Note: when I got home, I found I was off by 2 updates – good grief!). I tried to absorb everything she presented, tried to take notes, but I found myself with my mouth open, trying to take it all in. “Take notes” she would remind me. Had to continually re-focus since I was in awe of her process and how quickly, and effortlessly, she went through it.
It wasn’t all looking at the computer and camera menu. We did have some live models. Illona said, for the first time, she had difficulty rounding up models. Considering the drama I had getting to Canada, I was positive it was because of my bad karma. But, we actually had great models. The first day, we used her own dog, Merrick.
We were at an area with water and Merrick had a ball jumping in the water and retrieving his favorite toy. It was hot; at least, that’s what Illona kept saying. When I left Alabama it was 95 degrees with a heat index of 110! I considered Canada at 82 with a heat index of about 90 to be very comfortable. At least I could breath. I wasted most of my photos on Merrick in the water. (See below) You can just take so many pictures of a dog with his head out of the water with a toy in his mouth. But I kept thinking I had to keep shooting. LESSON: Wait, study the situation, then determine the best time to take photos.
I had told Illona that I needed practice on my action shots, so she had Merrick run with his favorite toy down a path. (See below) Have to keep in mind that it was about 3pm which is not really a good time for taking pictures as the sun can be a little harsh, but the photo isn’t bad. She also used this time to show me how to expose quickly, especially if an animal is running and you just don’t have time to make sure you get the proper exposure. All this boils down to understanding your camera, something I realized that I didn’t fully and Illona definitely did.
Another type of photo is the blind shot – setting the exposure, holding the camera down near the ground (without looking thru the viewfinder) and taking the photo. She explained the best exposure for such a shot, which, by the way, was different from what I had been doing. Below is an example. Not great, but sometimes it takes several tries to get it right. I’m still working on it.
That first day was full of so much information for me, and it continued into our dinner, where I was told to bring my camera, and whatever marketing material I had. Discussions continued over salmon… which was excellent, by the way. She gave me some great ideas on marketing which I have started to implement. Day 1 ended with so much info rattling in my head, but was looking forward to Day 2.
What does a famous quote (or should I say, 1/2 of the quote) from “Field of Dreams” have to do with photography? Well, my friends, my first blog entry will explain that to you. Be forewarned, it will show me to be a rather bumbling hick when it comes to traveling, not very careful in reviewing airplane itineraries, and rather dull in catching on to “red flags” when they are presented to me.
In late July, I found myself in an airplane, heading for Canada to be part of a mentoring session with Illona Haus, the owner of Scruffy Dog Photography. To those of us in the pet photography genre, she is the be-all, the quintessential photographer of our chosen field. She takes fabulous photos of her client’s dogs, catching their personalities, whether they are static or running like the wind. She does not do workshops with 8-15 eager neophyte photographers in attendance. Continue reading Is This Heaven?