Monday, March 31, 2014

Today's Walk

This pretty much sums things up.

Coulee found a ball so she kept dropping it at my feet and stared happily at me waiting for the throw.

It doesn't matter if the throw never comes. She never loses her optimism.

And Lacey brought us dead body parts. This was a nice little bit of deer she decided to bring me.  I keep asking for flowers (heck I'd be happy with twigs!), but she never seems to listen.  ;)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Play Time

Coulee's activity monitor registered this walk as "play time" instead of a "walk". :) Maybe there should be a "bully time" setting

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Keeping it Fun

Have I mentioned how much I'm enjoying my 52 week project this year?  I've had the occasional frustration, but for the most part I'm really enjoying trying new things, going new places and finally taking pictures I've been thinking about for a while.  Some weeks are more creative than others, but I'm trying to do learn something new each week - or at least 3 out of 4 weeks per month. :)

This week the theme was "Budget" and you had to take a photo using props while remaining within a $20 budget.  I've been wanting to photograph bubbles for a while and it turns out that Lorelei has a bubble machine (of course she does - she has everything!) so I borrowed it.  It wasn't the best day for it because within a few minutes the bubble solution cooled and started to freeze. But I managed to get one that I liked before that happened.

A well timed outtake.  :)

I tried taking pictures of just the bubbles too - it is pretty cool to see landscape reflected in them.  Would be fun to try in a more scenic location.

In case you are wondering what frozen bubbles look like. Here's one with 2 that have already popped floating nearby.

Last week the theme was silhouette.  I've taken lots of silhouette pictures in the past so I decided to try some in a "studio" setting instead.  So I set the lights up to shine on the background.  I also tried some bubbles in the background to see if it would add some fun texture. I think I prefer the plain but this one of Lacey didn't turn out too badly.

Chewy helped me when I was setting up. She didn't really understand the whole modelling concept so this was hard to get!  The red one on the end was the original - I then just changed the hue in Lightroom to get the other 3 colours.

Coulee's image for the project...

On Sunday before I took everything down, a few friends came over and we tried some stuff with them too.  This is Zack.

And Paisley.

And I can't forget Miss Molly!  We also tried shining a light straight on them instead of on to the background. It had a pretty cool effect.

I'm glad to have this week's project done already - it leaves me more time to figure out next week's plan!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Winter Walking

A week or so ago there was a nice sign waiting for me at my favourite winter walking place.  It "reminded me" of what the rules were - no dogs off leash.  I always knew this, which is part of the reason I go when there is no one else there.  But now they've put a sign right where I park - I feel like it was left there just for me as I'm pretty sure I'm their biggest "customer" in the winter.  There are rarely other tracks in the snow and it is even more rare for me to see someone else parked there.  I think there has been 2 times this fall/winter where I had to use a different section of the park to avoid people.   But with the sign there, it makes me feel guilty.  AND I won't be able to feign ignorance if I do get caught with my dogs off leash.

On really "yucky" days mid week, I still go to our usual park, but I've been going farther afield lately.  When I have time, we've been heading out to Fort Macleod - a town about 30 minutes from here with a dog park that is very under used - so under used I don't have any qualms about bringing Lacey.  We are more likely to come across wildlife or someone on horseback than we are to run across another dog.

When I don't have time to spend an hour driving, we've been doing walks in the neighbourhood.  I've been trying to walk the girls on leash a little more regularly...  It really isn't nearly as much fun for any of us though.  It's kind of like eating your vegetables - you do it because it's good for you.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Headshots

Just because they make me smile.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Difference

This is how Coulee waits for me on a trail.

This is how Lacey waits for me on a trail.

Can you see why Coulee tends to get more photos taken of her?

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Nice Walk

We went out to Fort Macleod this weekend for a walk.  It is one of my favourite places - there are actually shrubs and trees there.  :)  The girls have tonnes of stuff to sniff (some times too much - Lacey is often bringing us back delightful gifts) and it's just nice to have a change of scenery every now and then.  :)

We are pretty sure there were a couple of moose nearby.  We didn't see any tracks on our way out, but we did on the way back. The dogs were also acting like they suspected something was near but thankfully they couldn't quite pinpoint where it was. Lacey cracked me up by sticking her nose deep into the footprints and sniffing.  She reminded me of those trackers you see in the movies taking a pinch of poop and estimating how old it was.  If she could talk, I'm sure she would have been telling us how old the tracks were based on their scent.

 Judging by the tracks it was a momma and her baby.  They would have been pretty cool to see but I'm glad we didn't - I wouldn't want to come across an angry and protective moose with our dogs off leash.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lacey on Things

Every month the Lethbridge Photography Club has a photo theme. Anyone who is interested, enters a photo and they will critique it for you. It can be a great opportunity to learn but it can also be an opportunity to stretch your wings a bit. I usually enter a photo from my archives but this time, I couldn't think of one that would fit the theme.

The theme this month is "Balance". I'm pretty sure the intention is something more along the lines of compositional balance but I get to interpret it however I want and when I think of balance, the first thing that comes to mind is Maddie on Things. Maddie is amazing and I decided to see if I could get Lacey to balance on something. I scrolled through some of Maddie's photos looking for inspiration. In many of the photos she is pretty high up but I knew I didn't want to do anything that risky.  But then I saw one of her on top of a Nutella jar. So I decided to see if I could get Lacey on top of a peanut butter jar.

I thought I had 12 days to teach Lacey to get on a perch and Amanda assured me it could be done. I had my doubts. Turns out I only had 5 days (I had my meeting dates mixed up)! If I had known that when I started, I wouldn't have even tried so I'm glad I didn't know!

The first session was a disaster. I had a little plastic step-stool that I placed on the ground in front of me and tried to lure Lacey on it. She basically did everything she could to avoid it. Lol. She stood up like a gopher, she hopped around it, she leaned and stretched and contorted. The only way I could get her to touch it was to physically place her feet on it myself.

So that night I tried again but this time I started with a large step-stool that sits at the base of a chair she often hops up on. On that stool, she hopped up no problem.  I then tried again with the plastic one (about 1/3 the size)  and she finally put her front two feet on it quite willingly.

By Thursday afternoon she was putting all 4 feet on the plastic step-stool. By Friday afternoon she was putting all 4 feet on a small bucket I have. I was amazed at her progress.

Friday I went shopping for peanut butter. The largest jar I could find was 2 kg and the size of the lid was about 1/2 the size of the bucket. Gulp. I wasn't even sure all her feet could fit at once but we tried. It wobbled. A lot. I couldn't even brace it with my feet. It didn't take her long to completely stop trying.

Hmmmm. I found a bowl with a base the size of the jar. I turned it upside down and voila!  She got on it no problem. So I knew she could do the jar if we could figure out how to brace it.

Saturday, Marlin and I did some brainstorming. I decided to empty out the jar and screw it down to a sheet of plywood. It was still a bit wiggly, but it wasn't going to fall over. We practiced on Saturday and only got as far as 3 feet up but it was after a long walk so I was hoping she was just tired.

We went out bright and early this morning and... Ta Da!!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Week in Review

Whoops!  Sorry.  Didn't mean to do that you to again.  We had a pretty good week.

I had to do a "Collaborate" photo for my 52 week project and while I didn't quite interpret it the way the author probably intended, it sort of fits the theme.  I asked Amanda to help by bringing her crew to see if we could get a group shot of them.  As you can see things started off a little rocky.  LOL

But we eventually got it all straightened out. :)  The nice thing with the picnic table is that they were a) easy to line up and b) were forced to sit close together. The other times I've attempted group shots I just found the dogs too spread out so this was perfect.  Good thing Boone didn't come as he wouldn't have fit!

We also had a little more fun with the fisheye lens this week.  I still haven't quite figured out how to get exactly what I want... but I'm having fun learning.

I also went and helped a rescue dog burn off some steam on the weekend.  Unfortunately he cut one of his pads on the snow and was bleeding so we had to cut it short but we had a lot of fun.  I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed playing with and watching a really active dog.  Kilo is with Windy City Canine Rescue and is still looking for a home if anyone out there in the blogosphere is interested!

In other exciting news to celebrate her birthday Lorelei is doing a project with 55 things and she chose my idea to use 55 dogs.  So in a month or so, we'll be attempting a giant group photo.  It should be fun!  I can't wait.  Wish us luck.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Feeling Blue

There has been a few unexpected deaths lately and it has me feeling out of sorts a bit.  Its been a person and dog that I "know" but not well, so I feel like it is hitting me harder than it should.  Maybe it was the suddenness.  Maybe it is the fact that it was way too soon. Maybe it has hit just a little too close to home.

We took a little inspiration from Chuppy today to honour his memory.  There will never be another one like him.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Before It Got Cold Again

 The other day was gorgeous! I was actually out in just a sweatshirt.  I had to leave my jacket on the ground because I was dying of heat stroke!

We went to the beach - although I couldn't tell what was sand and what was ice. And neither could the dogs. :)  Lacey had a blast and I aimed my camera at her for the most part as I haven't seemed to have taken many photos of her lately!  Coulee and Amy have been stealing the show.

Not surprisingly we were out there all by ourselves. :)

It's now back in the -1,000's but at least we had a few days of "decent" weather.

On a complete subject change....  I've been trying to get a photo like the one below for a while. It makes me think of all those dogs that people just dump in the country and then drive away from. I'm not really sure what they expect their dogs to do... live of the land? find a friendly farmer? starve and die out of sight?  Anyway,  I have always imagined a sad dog walking down an empty road with the car driving off, dust billowing up behind it.  There is no dust, but it's probably as close as I'm ever going to get!