As you can tell, Juno and Lola (the bulldogs) are quite used to me having camera in hand.
Their excitement is overwhelming. Truly though they are becoming pro’s after several catalog shoots for Land’s End and other sessions I have put them through. Hey it’s time they provide some income back to the family.
I recently shot some product and models (dogs and humans) for some friends who have a great pet business. (Mostly dog stuff for now). It’s called Red Hound Pets. Really some of the cooler dog collars I’ve seen. Much better designed, made, and worth a look. Here are a few shots from the session.
We had a lot of fun doing this and as always with pet action shots. It’s all about the guy tossing the treats. Assistants – take note.
I suppose getting under the skin is indeed the hardest part of a portrait. Animals or humans. You have to just trust the face.
A/s photographers we are there to be a muse as well. Indeed many portrait artists believe the painting or photograph is as much about them as the one sitting.
Sometimes it’s just lighting in a bottle when the skin and camera collide.
While the trend seems to be Black and White makes a portrait come to life, or is required for people, I subscribe that sometimes, just sometimes, color makes it work even better.
Then again…. I want to keep breaking the rules after I learn them.
Early as I took up photography, I seemed to be only inspired as I traveled to new places. Quickly this becomes difficult if you don’t have an unlimited travel budget. I needed to change my mindset and simply just go outdoors. I will now grab a lens or two and wander our property or other places I’ve found locally. This has really opened my eyes and helped me “see” differently. Since I tend to see a shot from the background forward, I needed to rethink background. I think now I see more amazing skies, walls, windows, textures, etc.. It sounds very cliche but I do indeed see more of the world right in front of me as I continually rethink the many moments I know I missed before.
The dragonfly shot was pure luck. I had a telephoto lens and got lucky as he perched for a brief moment and seemed to look like an old fashioned bi-plane teetering on a berry bush. (My forte is not identifying the plant!)
Walk. Just walk.
Santa Barbara. Ocean, glamour juxtaposed with the slow stroll of a real beach community and surf vibe. It’s been a favorite for all my life and brings fond memories of sand, weddings, wine, laughter, family and friends.
We have rented a house there occasionally since leaving California some years ago. Home of a very famous actress and her professional photographer husband. But we can never stay away too long without coming back to “Cali”.
I’ve always loved the Hispanic influence in California. Additionally, the history of the Spanish Missions in California leaves a rich cultural impact throughout the state and in Santa Barbara itself. As a young school kid I will always remember a bus trip throughout the state to tour the mission as part of a school project. Santa Barbara Mission is considered the “Queen of the Missions”. Much to photograph, and soak in.
Having seen some amazing images from the mountains and forests of North Eastern West VirginiaI decided to jump into a photo workshop that was held in Canaan Valley. A 12 hour drive from Madison it was to be a road trip, camera in hand, sunroof open to watch the sky, and many stops along the way as the images and the light came to pass.
It was that and so much more.
The first few days I was there before the workshop started. I enjoy just wandering through the forests and parks with camera ready and found many gems. Many times I found myself having to remind myself to shoot with the amazing scenes and light I encountered. From Seneca Rocks, Blackwater Falls, Monongahela & Canaan Nation Parks, Wildlife Refuge, to Spruce Knob, Dolly Sods, and every barn in between – the area did not disappoint.
The workshop was great and was put on by the Photographers Alliance Workshops. A collection of photographers from around the U.S.. It turned out to only be two of us as students so we were lucky to have good attention and direction. I learned quite a lot about the use of Neutral Density filters.
Instructed by David Muse, a boston area photographer who leads trips and photowalks in the local area. I found David very informative and he knew the surrounding area very well. We spent most of every day out on journeys to capture the light at sunrise and sunset. In between we scouted local eateries. My favorite was a place called Hellbenders Burritos in Davis, West Virginia. Great place if you roll through there some time.
I don’t think I can talk about West Virginia without suggesting you listen to her most famous supporter John Denver sing about one of is favorite places. (Yeah going real old school on you). A great old grainy version of him singing it live can be found on You Tube.
A true gem of Madison, Wisconsin is the University’s Arboretum. It’s also a favorite of mine for a dawn walk. Wildlife and color abound throughout it’s vast expanse.
The Arboretum includes the oldest and most varied collection of restored ecological communities in the world. This includes tall grass prairies, several forest types, wetlands, and savannas. Additionally a world famous lilac collection can be found.
More on it’s history can be found here:Arboretum History
With over 20 miles of trails throughout I am still exploring and discovering new things at each visit. This combined with the changing landscape as Wisconsin seasons redecorate often mens a never ending opportunity to capture some great moments on camera.
If you are in the area and plan to visit, here is a decent map to guide you: Arboretum Trail Map
I suggest parking at the visitors center as part of your first venture. Often on early morning walks I encounter Deer, Turkey, Owls, Crane, Muskrat, Rabbits, and the list goes on. Not to mention the incredible plant and tree varietals.
Enjoy. Bring a camera.