Happiness is finding Mom in the crowd, and then getting a drink.
Being happy is one of those life things that is hard to define. Happiness means different things to different people. This week, I am using my interpretation of "happy" and my own life experiences to show you what I think it might mean to some I've met along the road.
Happiness is finding Mom in the crowd, and then getting a drink.
Happiness is growing up with a good horse.
Happiness is going for a ride on a beautiful day.
Happiness is being with your people, no matter where they go.
Happiness is what you make it. Go out and be happy this weekend. But first, check out the blog circle for more happy things. Start with Lynda Mowat from Heartstrings Photography, based in Hamilton New Zealand.
The color brown happens to be one of my favorites. There was a point in my life where almost every piece of clothing I owned was either brown, or had brown in it. Something about this earth tone really attracts my eye.
This week's blog circle theme is "brown," which can be interpreted in a vast number of ways.
After the green of summer, we are coming up on browner landscapes as autumn approaches. I have been using more earthy backgrounds in the studio as well.
Here is what I have come up with this week for brown.
Our little Luke in a reflective mood in a brown toned portrait. His coloring lends itself well to the browns around him. He is not a huge fan of the camera, but every once in a while, I can catch him being quiet. Think big, expressive movements wrapped up in a little dog, and that's Luke. So I was lucky to get this photo.
I think mostly white colored dogs show up well on earthy tones. I added a texture to the background of this photo. Burton does have one brown eye and one blue eye, so you are not seeing things. He is typically cooperative for photos.
Even kitties show up well with a brownish treatment. The brown flecks in Barney's coat are highlighted much more in this toned setting than they are on a white background.
There are many different options for earthy tones in the studio, and soon nature will follow with her own palette. I also sometimes use digital backgrounds in earthy tones, like the one below.
For more on the brown theme and to see what's going on in the circle, start your trip with Darlene of Pant the Town Photography serving MA and NH. I'm happy to be back in the circle and hope to continue now through the end of the year! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!
Many people do not realize that beyond the studio portrait work, I also photograph events. Whether public or private, I have the most fun when large groups of people gather.
Several weeks ago I published a blog on a Native American event I attended and photographed. While hard to believe, I don't just attend animal-related events, although I specialize in pet portraits.
Most of my event work revolves around good candids and "relaxed" posing situations. I want to capture people doing what they love to do and having fun, so you won't see stuffy poses or staged photography work in my results.
I was happy to photograph a private event for Penelec recently. Their Family Safety Awareness Night had so many fun things to do and try. Employee family members were invited to learn more about how things work as part of the job at a utility company. The bucket rides were an especially enjoyable feature of the night.
Followed by the dancing mascot! And Mannings ice cream truck!
The Penelec linemen and women are some of the hardest working folks in our region. We have all experienced lines down and power outages, and these crews are often out there in the worst weather bringing back all things vital.
And, they sure know how to put on a grand event!
Of course it's all fun and games until someone has to be carried home...because they are way too tired to walk!
The most enjoyable part for me, as a photographer, is meeting the people behind the images. I want to be sure to cover your event in a way that showcases all of the fantastic things you have worked hard on, and all of the people involved!
If you are interested in finding out more about event coverage, and what it includes, head over to the contact page and fill out an on line form, or simply give me a call at 570-575-1705. I will be covering more events of the season as they arrive, so check back here for additional event photos!
When I got my first lens, a 50mm 1.8, I was very excited. I thought it would be the be-all-end-all of lenses, giving me a great bokeh, and shallow depth of field to really hone in on a single-focus subject. The 50mm will do all of that, but not without practice and a steady hand.
Shooting photos "wide open" means setting your aperture to the widest point. This is a good setting if you do want to focus on a piece or portion of your subject, and have the rest of the photo be a dreamy, soft blur.
Lilah's nose and smile are featured in the photo above. (I should have used an image like this for the "nose" blog!) I used that same 50mm 1.8 that I purchased as my first lens six years ago in making this photo this past week..
But let's take this a little further.
When shooting wide open you have to remember that it is your proximity to the subject that will dictate your depth of field (how much of your image is in focus). So using the ever reluctant Harry, below are a series of photos taken at different distances from Harry.
About a foot away you can see that I focused on the eye closest to me and that eye, and a very small area around it, are in focus. This photo was taken outside during the day. The fact that Harry stood still for a millisecond is remarkable.
Back in the house, later in the evening, I am now about two and a half feet away from Harry, focusing on his head. You can see much more of him in focus, and a nice, creamy background.
In this final photo, I have backed up to almost four feet away from Harry. A large part of his body is now in focus, as is some of the surrounding area of the kitchen island near him, but much of the background is still soft.
There are many creative things you can do by photographing with a wide open aperture (in this case at 1.8 for my 50mm 1.8 lens). It's often suggested that you use a tripod to keep the camera extremely steady when shooting at the widest aperture level, because the slightest movement can cause problems. I did not take the time to set up a tripod, so my images are not "tack" sharp, but for the purposes of illustration in today's blog, they work.
Let's see what others did this week with wide open lenses. The blog circle is waiting. Start with Susannah Maynard and Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati, the San Francisco Bay Area, and destinations nationwide. I hope your weekend is grand!
When I am driving along, or going for a walk with one of our dogs, on a huge puffy cloud day, I am constantly scanning the sky thinking "I should have my camera with me." Big cloud days, for me, are the best days to capture some great sky photos.
I also like small, wispy, patterned cloud days.
I still hold to the theory that the best big sky photos are done at the beach. Many photographers like to use wide angle lenses to capture big sky photos. Sometimes that works for me, too. But if you don't want too much distortion, and you don't need a close up, using a prime portrait lens still offers you the chance at capturing big sky. The photo above is a landscape photo with a dog in it. There are many things to see here, including the big sky. This particular photo can tell whatever story you want it to. Ask yourself the questions: Why is the dog on the beach? Does the dog belong to the umbrella? Did the dog come down the path along the dunes?
On the otherhand, the photo below is clearly about the dog, and there just happens to be a good sky behind him.
Sky can be an integral part of your photo for sure. I like to experiment with sky as my backdrop and a few different lenses to see what I might prefer when working with pets. Giving their owners different options with various photo angles involving the sky has always been a wise strategy.
My next set of experiments will involve the night sky. Maybe someday soon I will be blogging about that adventure!
For more big skies, remember to visit the blog circle and take a peek at how other photographers interpreted the theme. Start with Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography, presented by Shae Pepper Photography . I hope your weekend is dry and sunny. I hope mine is too. Pennsylvania has been under siege of some angry clouds with water guns, and a warm, dry weekend is on everyone's wish list.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania region has a rich history of Native American tribes. There are a number of Pow Wows held each year in our area. I had a chance to attend the Inter-Tribal Native American Pow Wow in Drums, PA this past weekend, where beautiful regalia could be seen everywhere.
Let me be clear--these are not "costumes." Regalia, which can be very elaborate, are very unique to the individual. They signify the spirit and soul of the culture. Each Pow Wow dancer reflects not only tribal history, but also their own personal style.
There are a number of accessories that are worn or carried as part of the regalia. These items can reveal family heritage, tribal affiliation, spiritual quests, or may have been a gift to the dancer by other members of their group. Some of the items may be "earned" by completing tribal milestones.
Many women carry shawls. The shawl is traditionally carried over the left arm.
Powwows are intertribal social gatherings. Begun in the 1880's, they became an important way for Native Americans to stay connected to their tribal cultures and identities. This was at a time when Indians were experiencing great upheavals in their communities, due to the assimilation era, when tribes were forced onto reservations.
Participation is a family event, with a variety of age groups taking part. I am always happy to see the young people at a Pow Wow. I believe that tradition is very important, and to have this rich heritage practiced and handed down is a beautiful thing indeed. (Click on small gallery images above to enlarge.)
For Native American people, everything has spiritual meaning even in the context of the modern world, and especially when it comes to the expression of culture and identity.
For dancers, not only is the act of dancing that expression, but the wearing of dance regalia is the visible manifestation of one's heritage. A dancer's regalia is one of the most powerful symbols of his or her Native identity and in that regard it can be considered sacred.
This is one reason why it is incorrect to refer to dance regalia as a "costume." Many of the elements that make up a dance outfit are items often associated with the ceremonial function, such as eagle feathers and parts, animal hides, items that have been handed down through generations, as well as designs that may have been handed down or were given in dreams and visions. (Source: Native-Languages.org)
(Click on small gallery images above to enlarge.)
I am, of course, fascinated with the men's regalia. Bustle's can be quite elaborate. Some carry shields. There are dance sticks. Buckskin is quite common.
The women's hair beads and embroidered regalia patterns are quite beautiful, as the string of photos below clearly shows.
Pow Wow gatherings often honor many, including veterans and POWs, families, and our own connections to mother earth. The dances reflect different cultures and subjects.
One of my favorites involves the jingle dress. A very healing dance, the jingle dance is associated with sending healing vibes to someone who is ill.
Below is a small gallery of other dance images. (Click on images to enlarge.)
I would encourage everyone to find a Pow Wow in your area and attend. There is so much to be learned and shared. There is much to see and understand. Besides the lovely dancing and regalia, there are vendors and craftsmen.
And finally, some images to end the day.
I was entranced for most of the day by the regalia at this particular Pow Wow. All were colorful and beautiful. My favorite overall, and from a photographer's standpoint, would be the regalia worn by the head male dancer. With that in mind, I created the final painted portrait of him in action below.
I invite my Native American friends to comment and provide more insight into their regalia, and/or anything you think we need to know. I hope you enjoyed this blog!
Both dogs and cats are great at head tilting, albeit they perform the tilt in different ways. The head tilt is coveted in the pet photography industry, because it is (1) ultra cute, (2) a way for a dog to close its mouth (most do in head tilt), (3) expressive, and (4) humorous (it makes me smile every time).
Dogs each have their own head tilting pattern, ranging from slight to extreme. Cats tend to twist their heads at an odd upside down angle, usually just before pouncing on something or running away (oh, a bug--head tilt--pounce).
I tend to like a middle of the road head tilt. I use a variety of sounds and noise makers to get the tilt, but each photographer has their own way of getting a dog to offer the tilt. Sometimes I will ask a client if there is a special word that might get the head to turn sideways. In our house SQUIRREL is that word. We can't even spell it. Sometimes TREAT does it as well.
This very subdued head tilt on our Bethy was achieved by my asking her: "Have you seen any turkeys?" For Bethy, TURKEY is a key head tilt word.
This backward, over-the-shoulder head tilt was achieved with a squeaker toy for a client's pup. Many times I will ask clients to bring along their dog's favorite toy to a photo session for just this reason.
This is a very slight head tilt from a pup that was really just humoring me. I'll take it. A true nonconformist, this pup also went against the grain by leaving mouth open during slight head tilt. Nothing worked, by the way. Not squeakers, not noises, not my animal sounds on my cell phone, no key words, nothing.
I took this one of our dog, Moe, quite some time ago, but it is a favorite of mine due to his Moe-ey head tilt. The key word here was TREAT, and he would have laid in this playground apparatus all day if I let him.
I am sure you will see many more tilting heads in the blog circle today. So why not head (no pun intended) there now. Start with Linda Perdue of VP Shoots Photography serving Tampa, Florida and surrounding areas. Have a great weekend!
This week's blog is all about noses. Dog noses are very different, and all a signature testament to breed and the individual dog. Did you know that each dog has their very own, unique nose print? Like fingerprints, dogs can be identified by their nose.
From cute little snouts to big-dog schnozzolas, noses are a thing of beauty.
Without further ado, here are some dog noses I think you will enjoy. Some I have used before and some are brand new. Can you tell what type of dog they belong to?
And now for a few quick facts on dog noses:
To see much more about noses, the blog circle is waiting. Start with Sam Adele of The Hoof & Hound Photographer, covering the Lancaster UK area. Enjoy your summer weekend!
Our area is rich in landmarks. As is typical of a small burg surrounded by metropolitan areas, you can find landmarks of all sizes and types in and around many of the historic areas in our region.
When this week's theme came along, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Instead of landmarks, I could have called today's blog "A Tale of Two Bridges."
The Nicholson Township Lenticular Truss Bridge is the first bridge. It was constructed in 1881 across Tunkhannock Creek in Nicholson Township. Constructed of wrought iron and spanning 110 feet, it is one of only four surviving lenticular truss bridges in Pennsylvania. Closed to traffic for nearly 10 years in Nicholson, the bridge was purchased by Tunkhannock Township, restored and moved to Lazybrook Park, where it now spans a swale in the park, making it easier for emergency vehicles and pedestrians to access parts of the park near the creek.
Naturally, I love this bridge for its photographic qualities.
Billie loves this bridge as well, because she can spot squirrels everywhere in the park from this vantage point.
The second bridge is actually a covered foot bridge over the creek near Christy Mathewson park. Our cat, Matty, is named for Chisty Mathewson, as we found him in the middle of a Factoryville road near where Christy Mathewson used to reside. Christy Mathewson was a Major League Baseball, right-handed pitcher who played 17 seasons with the New York Giants
The park is a lovely place to take a stroll, and has, appropriately, a ball park field as part of its attractions. This bridge is a great landmark, and as the entrance to the park, it stands out as an attraction used to view the creek as it meanders through Factoryville.
Billie, of course, helped me out here as well. She has gotten really good about staying in place if she knows we are going to look for squirrels afterward.
I thought about placing her all the way down at the other end of the foot bridge, where she would be teeny tiny Billie, but there were too many people in the park for me to take a chance of her leaving my sight, so instead I placed her at the mouth of the bridge.
If you are local to Northeastern PA and you have not visited each of these parks, I highly recommend a trip. If you are going to be in the area with your pooch, give me a holler, and I'll bring my camera and meet you there!
For more landmark discoveries, the blog circle awaits. Start with Nancy Kieffer Photography serving Central New York, the Adirondacks and beyond. It's going to be a scorcher this weekend, so I am going to find cover, and some air conditioning. Enjoy!
Time did not allow me to participate in the blog circle last week, but since I had covered HDR in my March 2017 blog, I didn't feel too bad about missing out on the activity.
This week, our topic is Selfies. I honestly do not take many selfies in the course of a year. I am not good at them, nor do I look good in them. So I decided to think about what most selfies look like to me.
Selfie characteristics tend to include:
Angled From Above:
If little Bethy took a selfie, it would be at an angle from above because she has the cutest head tilt when looking upward. If she were human, her paw would be stretched out, oddly to the left, to capture the image. Since she has no opposable thumbs, holding a cell is a problem, but at least the angle is selfie-worthy.
The above image is the only one taken with my cell phone, and I got very lucky. New, small kitten and babysitter were playing on a chair and I had to make all kinds of noises to get small kitten to even look at me. But it is a typical, unplanned, "I-was-trying-to-take-a-selfie-and-then-you-came-along" moment. If my cats could take photos, 99.9% of their pictures would look like this.
Too Big To Fit:
If our horse, Roo, could take a selfie, this is all that would fit in the photo...his eye and a little bit of forelock, and maybe a hint of his neck and back. He is a big guy. Roo always wants to eat the camera, so getting this photo was interesting and involved a carrot.
So there you have it. My foray into selfie-dom. Now onward and upward to more selfie interpretations in the blog circle, starting with Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography presented by Shae Pepper Photography. Enjoy!
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