Monday, February 25, 2013

Dr.'s Visit

I took Coulee to a vet that specializes in rehab medicine and pain management.  I had seen her once before to see if she had some options for Coulee's feet but what motivated me to visit her this time was Coulee pulling up lame 3 times in the past month.  It kept happening out of the blue in different circumstances and would fix itself in less than 20 minutes.  But it was still weird and obviously painful at the time for her.

Turns out she thinks it was a problem with her neck not her foot or ankle like I had thought.  She gave her some chiropractic adjustments in her neck so she thinks we'll have no problems in the future and gave us some super easy strength and stretching exercises to work on.  I like the super easy and fast part.  I'm not that good with homework.  :)

She also had some ideas to try when Coulee's feet start to go bad.  So we'll see how that goes as well.  I'm not a big "natural medicine" person - I like things to be scientifically proven - but at this point, there is no harm in trying.

She did suggest doing laser therapy on her feet for pain management but said that it would have to be done daily (which obviously isn't practical, even if she was in Lethbridge and not Calgary) so I might try and figure out if there is a way I can do it myself.  I've researched it a bit online though and it doesn't sound very scientifically proven, which if you know me at all, drives me nuts.  :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

TGIF - 53/365

It's 6:00 on Friday night.  The dogs have all gone home, and the hooks are all empty.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Freestyle - 52/365

Today's word was Freestyle - which I interpreted to mean "anything goes". Which for me means shooting from the hip. I love shooting from the hip. I get lots of crap, but I also get some gems that I'd never be able to get if I stopped, positioned myself and then tried to get the shot.

With dogs, so much of what they do is dependant on what you are doing - every action, creates a reaction. So every photo I took today was without looking through the camera - I just pointed it in the direction I wanted and clicked.  Most of them needed at least a little straightening.  ;)

I chose this one (above) as my official image of the day

This was my runner up image (above)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Project Life - Week 7 +

OK.  So I'm falling behind - in both my photos and my blogging. So I'm going to start blogging each photo instead of doing a weekly cap-up.  There may be more than one photo and lots of description or there may just be the one.  I didn't post Sunday because I haven't done Saturday's word yet.  I know what I want, but the world hasn't cooperated so I haven't taken it yet.  Now these last two days have been very uninspired and include pictures that I'm not in love with and would never have posted if it wasn't for the project, but I just need to keep going and get over the hump.  Two people that I know and/or have been following have dropped out of the project in the last 2 days so it isn't just me that is feeling the pressure.  Must keep swimming.  Must keep swimming.

Today will be a catch-up post, and then after this you can expect single days at a time.  :)

Day 41 - Lucky

She's lucky Coulee ran the wrong way.  It is the only way she can beat her to the toy.

Day 42 - Tasty

I asked her to get up on a picnic table so she was anticipating something tasty as a reward.

Dehydrated lamb lungs were on the "dessert menu" today.  And yup, they are as disgusting as they sound.  I didn't buy them.  The dogs love them though.

Day 43 - Good Times

When plans A and B fail and I start working towards plan C, this project no longer seems like a good time.

So then I tell myself to just forget it for now and do whatever I want… and that's when it all falls into place.  The good times are when I relax and photograph the world around me, not the world I try and create.

Day 44 - Steps

For just about 2 years now I have been obsessed with almost every step Coulee takes.  Her feet have a weird mystery disease that comes and goes.  Every cycle last for a different amount of time - sometimes we have breaks between them, and sometimes just as they are starting to improve, they start to get worse again.

We've tried everything the dermatologist can think of and are currently trying allergy shots (even though no one thinks that is actually the problem, it is better than doing nothing at all) and I can't really tell if they are helping, but they definitely aren't making things worse. Her last two cycles have been shorter than average and we've had at least 2 weeks of "goodness" in between so it is possible that it is helping, or it could just be coincidence.  Only time will tell.

She is just cycling into a good period (haven't seen any pain in 2 or 3 weeks and her pads are almost looking normal) so we've been slowly increasing her activities and this past week we've been walking almost every day.  The pain will show up before her pads show signs of illness, so I still need to be watchful.

Anyway, this isn't meant to be a pity party.  This is the best I've felt about her feet in a long time.  These past 6 months have been the least painful since this whole mess started so I'm actually feeling hopeful about the future.

Day 45 - Romance

Romance is all about the art of seduction.  Jack has that part down pat.

Note: Just me and the fur kids here!  Not much romance going on today so you've got to work with what you've got.  LOL

Day 46 - Reward

When you stop to think of it, there are rewards (and consequences) for every.single.decision you make.  Think about it...

The reward for getting up early is getting more stuff done.
The reward for sleeping in is feeling more refreshed when you get up.
The reward for walking the dogs is tired, happy dogs.
The reward for not walking the dogs is more time to do other things.
The reward for eating chocolate is yummy goodness in your mouth.
The reward for eating an apple is better health.
Etc., etc.

This morning I watched a video on understanding the difference that a focal length can make.  It reminded me how much I LOVE the look of a long focal length.  So I popped on the extender and went out to get some dreamy background shots.

The reward for watching that video are photos I never would have taken today if I hadn't watched it.  I'll try not to think of the consequences - the photos I would have had if I'd chosen to do something different.  :)

Day 48 - Shared Space

The only shared bed in our house is ours.  You can almost never have it to yourself.

Day 50 - Best Dressed

Neither Marlin or I are what I consider well dressed people.  Clothes are not our thing. Dressing up is not our thing. Shoes are not our thing.  I'm pretty sure Coulee owns the most expensive pair in the house.  :)

Day 51- More

I made the mistake of temporarily putting my clean laundry on the bed.  Apparently it is even more comfortable to Lu then.  To me, it just means that I have even more fur on my clothes than usual.

Day 52 - In My Bag

Copped out and did a super easy, unoriginal photo for today's pic.  I have a small purse for a reason - I don't like to carry a lot of stuff with me.  Just the bare essentials, random receipts and a few dog toys.  It made me laugh that I had a "good" and "bad" cuz in there you never know when you are going to need one.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Project Life - Week 6

Hmmm.  Another pet filled week.  I just can't seem to help myself.

Bedside - Day 34
Coulee will launch herself on to the bed without asking when we aren't on it, but if we are, she usually politely rests her chin on the edge and waits for us to call her up.

Daily Life - Day 35
This is a pretty typical day at work.  I didn't have the patience to let the dogs settle back into their routines (snuggling, wrestlying, running, playing, etc.) but it is pretty accurate in terms of always having some dogs curious with what you are doing and hanging out at your feet, while others are off doing their own thing.  It is the prettiest of pictures, but neither is the building itself.  :)  I wanted to do an indoor shot and include as many pups as I could as that is where we all spend most of the time.

Travel "Arrangement" - Day 36
This is how we roll....

After decent fuel efficiency, fitting the crates inside the vehicle was our number one priority.

I wish Coulee was in a hard plastic crate (they do better in a crash) but visibility is also important and I can see through this one - even when she is in it.  And yes, my car is horribly dirty.  The line-ups at the car wash have been crazy long and I just can't bring myself to wait 45 minutes just to wash the car.

Saved Up - Day 37
I hate waiting in line at the recycling depot, almost as much as I hate waiting in line at the car wash.  By the time we FINALLY go it looks like we drink - a LOT!  Although in my defence, these are very small and very tasty.  ;)

My View - Day 38
I was imagining a sweeping prairie landscape for today's image, but in reality, this is probably a more accurate depiction of my daily view. Whether I'm at home or at work, there is always a furry critter near by. It's no wonder they are the subject of most of my photos.

Center - Day 39
Feeling a little uninspired for this theme so here is Coulee in the centre of the road.  :)  I need to get back out here in the fall though - I think it would make a gorgeous picture.

Adventure - Day 40
According to Wikipedia, an adventure is an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking with an uncertain outcome.

I truly believe that every day is an adventure for a dog. You can walk in the same place every day for years and they will still be excited to go.  Going for a car ride is an adventure.  Heck, getting up and eating breakfast is an adventure - it is definitely exciting anyway!

And when they have a giant grin like this on their face, there is no mistaking that today, is yet again, an adventure in the making.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Project Life 365 - Week 5

This week, I appear to have fallen back into my comfort zone.  Six out of seven photos include an animal.  Ooops!  My creativity was definitely lacking this week.

Outside - Day 27
Lorelei invited me along today to photograph some horses.  I've never spent a lot of time around horses before (other than the occasional touristy horseback riding trip) so I was a little concerned as I know nothing about them or their body language.

I had nothing to worry about. These guys were sooooo friendly.  A little too friendly actually.  It wasn't uncommon to have 8 of them around me all breathing down my neck.

I'm not done going through all my photos yet, and I don't think I'll have any great works of art, but it was sure fun!

I couldn't resist this quirky shot for my picture of the day.  I swear this was all I could see for most of it.

Inside - Day 28
Against my better judgement, I put Lacey inside a trunk.  She actually didn't seem to mind it.  I had to clone out an awful lot of cookie crumbs on her head though as I kept tossing them at her to keep her happy in there.  :)

Ironically this is very "outside" my comfort zone. Posing and especially with props is not something I do.

Red - Day 29
Every girl needs a fun red sweater in their wardrobe.  Especially when it is -27 C outside!

Innocent - Day 30
I'm not that innocent....

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get this picture today or not.

Coulee has a habit of stealing our socks, slippers and mittens but only when she is in a certain mood.  It happens often, but not daily.  She has to be feeling playful and mischievous, yet not frisky.

Thankfully today was one of those days and when I went upstairs to get something she grabbed two un-matching slippers.  I then had to keep up a running monologue to keep her in the right mood while I grabbed a camera card, found the camera, changed the settings and took the picture.

To get the bashful/innocent look we need to be jokingly scornful - hands on hips, finger wagging and lots of "Couweee"s in a certain tone. Her expression was hard to capture while also holding a camera as it is so impacted by what I'm doing.

I was unable to capture her most extreme expression when she basically turns her ears inside out and looks like a cow.  We call her Bessy when she does that.  :)  I guess that is another shot that is now on my to do list, but I'll need Marlin's help to maintain the body language, while I get the shot.  It will be so nice when summer is here and I don't need to get all my pictures done on my lunch break.

Grow - Day 31
Ironically I was a day late taking this one because I was too busy "growing" my knowledge to take a picture.  The photo club had a meeting last night and someone brought a multiple exposure image of a flag. His was much, much cool than this (and way easier on the eyes) but I couldn't resist giving it a try today.  I love how this project is helping me experiment more, even if those experiments aren't always that successful.

You Today - Day 32
As I was posting the picture, I realized that this was YOU today, not ME today.... hmmm.  I wonder what the proper interpretation of this was supposed to be.

Anyway, too late now!  This was meant to be a picture of me and Coulee.  Coulee posed great, was doing everything I wanted but Lacey wouldn't a) get properly in the picture or b) get out of the picture, so I had to change plans.  ;)

And yes, I realize I'm mean holding that up above her head where she can't reach.  ;)

Repetition - Day 33
I'm still trying to get the multiple exposure feature to work on my camera.  I think I've got it figured out now.

We were going to do this during sunset but during our practice rounds, Coulee pulled up lame again!!!  Gah.  She suddenly came back holding up her front right foot and wouldn't put weight on it for a few minutes.  We immediately headed back to the car and long before we got back (less than a 10 minute walk) she was walking normally again and was wanting to play.  This happened last weekend too.  In between there have been NO signs of anything what-so-ever.

Note: There are 6 Coulees in this image but you can't see most of them due to the crop.  Go here if you want to see the full image.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Gentle Critique

Every few months the "Casual Meeting" with the photo club is all about critiquing images.  Everyone brings a few images that they'd like some advice or suggestions on and everyone discusses them.  It isn't as painful as it sounds - everyone is very nice.  :)

With the 365 project, I'm trying hard to "purposefully" (aka have an image in my mind before I take the picture) whenever I can.  With candid pictures this can be hard as you never know what your subject is going to do, but with stationary objects, you can set things up and try again and again until you get it right.

So I brought a few of my "purposefully" shot images last night to see what could be improved upon and I've got some before and after's to show you.

Basically for this one they suggested that the crop be narrower from top to bottom.  The fact that the two strong horizontal lines weren't both level didn't seem to really bother anyone other than me.  It was suggested that the slight angle to the dark area at the base of the bed was slanted in the "right" direction and if it had been slanted in the other direction it would have been a problem.  The horizontal lines could have also been straightened (apparently!) in post.  I may need to try that one day.

With Max's photo they thought the wood was too light on the right hand side and was distracting and that there was a bit of noise on Max as well.  So I fixed those up.  It was also suggested that a crop where he was more centred would have also worked but I liked this one too much to change it. (The slight difference in cropping below is just because of the collage program I was using... I couldn't get the dimensions quite right and I was getting tired of trying to make it perfect.)

This one had the most suggestions.  They would have liked to have seen more of my thumb, the bowl in it's entirety and have the edge of the table straight.  To help make the spoon pop more (and working with what we have) they suggested a much tighter crop on the right.  It definitely did bring up a more 3D effect!  Oh and the milk should be whiter. Next time I'll have to buy some cream or something.  ;)

It was an interesting and informative night.  It is nice to see other people's photos as well - what they were thinking when they took them and what else could have been done to improve them.  I also got an idea to try with the multiple exposure feature on my camera to fix a problem I was having and I might need to try an abstract multiple exposure with a flag today....  I'll post it if I do it!