Happy birthday Izzy!

Birthdays are a good time to reflect on the past year and dream about the year ahead. And since Izzy turns 6 today, I thought I’d take a moment and look back on the last 12 months of her life. I’d say she has a pretty fantastic life! While there were a couple of bumps in the road, mostly though, she’s living, well, a dog’s life! 

It was just about a year ago that we found a small tumor on Izzy’s neck. You can read more about that HERE. I’ll never forget when the vet came out and told me surgery (to have it removed) went well, but was dicey for a while. Turns out the tumor was right over her jugular vein, so she had to make her incision very very carefully. The biopsy revealed that they got all of the cancerous cells. I’ve been very diligent with checking Izzy to make sure there are no other tumors. So far, I haven’t found any. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed in hopes we never find another one again.

Those of you who know me, know that Izzy and I run as a team in agility. Two years ago Izzy was having issues with the teeter. It got to the point that she no longer wanted to run agility at all. She was fine with all the other obstacles, but something about the teeter really scared her. So I took a step back and re-evaluated our training. After a brief break, we started training again, by going back to the basics. It wasn’t long before Izzy was having fun and slowly but surely, I helped her overcome her fear of the teeter. She enjoys it so much now that sometimes she runs onto the course looking for it, other times, once she’s gone over it, she runs back to do it again! That’s quite the change from the last trial when she ran out of the jumpers ring because she was so paranoid the teeter was on the course. We’re still working out a couple of small kinks, but I am considering entering her first standard trial in the fall. In the meantime, this process has made us a better team, and we both have enjoyed the time we’ve spent together training.

I’ve been considering offering a limited edition “Dog days of summer” mini session. Each dog would get an ice cream cone (suitable for dogs of course!) and I’d photograph her before, during and after eating the cone. You can get some really funny expressions! For Izzy’s birthday, I thought I’d do this for her and give this concept a trial run. I think it turned out great! If you are interested in having your dog participate in this event, let me know. If there is enough interest, I just may put something together and make this happen. Needless to say, Izzy enjoyed her birthday treat! Here’s to another year of, well, living the dog’s life! Happy birthday Izzy!

Trina Bauer photography | Happy birthday Izzy!

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may enjoy reading what I did for Izzy’s 5th birthday. Click HERE to find out what that was!

Project 52: Week 9 - Learn to Isolate

I'm back with another week of Project 52. Continuing to work from David DuChemin's book "The Visual Toolbox", this week's lesson is Learning to Isolate. When making an image, it's as important to decide what's going to be included in the photograph as it is what's not going to be included. David covers a couple of different ways we can do this.

The first is to consider our point of view. Sometimes just shifting our feet a few steps in any direction can change what is and is not include in the background, thus isolating a subject.

The second is to consider which lens to use. A wide angle lens used closer to your subject makes it more prominent in the image, and the background more diminished.

The third is motion. When your subject is in sharp focus against a blurred background, it makes the focus of the image the subject and the background less dominating.

There are other ways to create isolation in creating compelling images, but these will be covered in future lessons. When I think of isolating my subject, I never considered using a wide angle lens and changing my point of view. So for this assignment, I went out and did just that. I took Izzy to a park with a creek. Since it's winter, it's much too cold to get in the water, so I had her stand along the edge. I got down low, really low, and shot wide just a short distance in front of her. My intention was to make her larger and have the background be less prominent. While I was successful in executing this, I think there are too many elements in my background to really make this a compelling image. I'm glad I tried though. It's something I will consider in the future when I want to isolate my subject.

Now, go see how everyone else isolated their subjects, starting with See Spot Run Photography, Charlotte NC. Keep clicking on all the links until you get back here.

Project 52: Week 3 - Ask Better Questions

Our second lesson from David DuChemin's book "The Visual Toolbox" is "Ask Better Questions". David writes that beginners are so full of questions...what lens did you use, what camera did you use, what were your settings? He says this isn't bad when you are trying to understand your craft. But he wants the reader to to see photography not as a technical art, but an aesthetic one accomplished through technical means. Using the images we choose as our favorites from lesson 1, our assignment is to ask better questions. 

I'll start with this image of Harley. Last summer I attended an event at a nearby town. As I was walking through town, I saw this church door and noted to myself this would be a perfect backdrop for a photo. When I was planning Harley's session, I asked her owner if she'd be willing to go here. What role does color play?  A big role. In fact, it's the main reason I wanted to photograph Harley at this church. What are the relationships between the elements, and can a shift in my position, or change in my lens, make those relationships stronger? I initially re-visited this location with my husband and asked him to pretend to be a dog. He did a great job, but I won't embarrass him and share those photos! Using a couple of different lenses and angles, I concluded that the look I was going for would require a wide angle lens shot up at the dog from a very low angle on the ground. In fact, when I took this photo, I shot blind because I couldn't get the camera low enough while laying on my back. The result is a very bold image that includes the entire door and shows off just how big Harley is. If I shot this with my telephoto lens from a distance, the image would have a different feel.

Moving on to my image of Milo. What would this scene look like with a wider or tighter lens? For starters, the entire fence wouldn't have been included. The lines of the fence draw the viewer's eye through the photo, to the back and ending up in front again with the subject, the dog. Without those lines, this would have been a completely different image. What is the light doing? I for one, love the light in this image. In fact, it's what drew me to come to this section of the park at this moment. Earlier, the light was strong and harsh. Later, the fence was in complete shadow. Do those lines lead the eye into the frame or out of the frame, and could I change them to better direct the eye? I already answered that, but you can see why I shot this as a horizontal image and not as a vertical. If I had, there wouldn't be any lines to direct the eye through the image.

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I won't bore you by going through all of the images I choose for lesson 1 and ask these questions. I did do it for myself as I think this is a great exercise. I mentioned in my last blog post that working on my style is one of my goals for 2016. I've focused so much on the technical aspect of my craft last year, I want to work on the aesthetic side this year. 
 

I'll finish with a photo of Izzy I took earlier this week. What thought or feeling am I trying to express in this photograph? I struggled with what to photograph for this week's Project 52, keeping in mind one of the points is to take new photos within the week of the assignment. I asked myself why and my answer was because it's January, it's cold, bleak, colorless and basically just blah outside. Then I realized I could convey that at just the right time of day and make an ordinary photo into something extraordinary. Just by photographing her in a rather colorless field as the sun was setting. And what happened? I captured gold tones which works so well with her golden coat. Are my chosen settings (aperture, shutter speed, focal length), going to change the look of certain elements, and do so in a way that helps me tell my story? I initially started shooting with my 70 - 200 mm lens thus cropping tight on Izzy and excluding some of the background. It does work, but I can't get Izzy to sit still long enough when she is that far away from me. So I switched to my 24 - 70 mm lens and included more of the background. When I compared the 2 images, I preferred the wider shot as you can see the little bit of snow we got, you can see the wind blowing Izzy's fur and the backlighting from the setting sun behind the row of trees. Do you agree with me that I captured what January in Pennsylvania looks and feels like?

I hope you enjoyed the commentary and learning how my mind works as I create my art. To see how other photographers asked better questions, be sure to follow the blog ring. Start with DC pet photographer, Shelley Castle Photography. Don't forget to click on all of the links until you get back here!

Project 52: Week 26 - Shadowed

Izzy and I took a walk the other day, the only sunny day we've had in a week. I saw this shadow of us on the road and thought it would make the perfect image for this week's Project 52 theme of Shadowed. 

Next up in the blog ring is Vintage Jar Photography. Be sure to keep clicking on all the links until you get back here. Have a great weekend!

Project 52: Week 25 - Sleeping

Sleeping is the theme of this week's Project 52. This is always a hard one for me. Every time I grab the camera to photograph the dogs sleeping, they inevitably sit up and take notice. Or it's too dark to get any detail in the images. So I thought I'd capture Izzy and Kita getting ready to take a nap. We don't normally let them on the couch, but I thought for a short period of time I'd make an exception. Fortunately for me, they got bored and showed me a few yawns too! 

I had a little fun with Kita and wrapped a blanket around her. I love how she poked her head out and then yawned as though she was getting ready to snuggle up for a snooze!

To see everyone else's take on this theme, click on all the links at the end of each blog. Start with Khanya Photography, Poughkeepsie NY Pet Photography and keep on clicking until you get back here.