First, I was lost in a quagmire of days and not knowing really what day of the week it was, or what blog topic I should be writing for the circle group of professional photographers.
I blame my grandkids. They were visiting at odd times due to school days off, when they usually only visit on the weekend. So, naturally, when they went home, it wasn't Wednesday--it was Sunday in my mind.
Once that was straightened out, I noticed the blog topic was about "snow" and we had none. A small clipper system had deposited just a bit of white stuff last week, but it was already trampled and not even looking like snow anymore.
Then Mother Nature came to my rescue. Or not.
As I sit here writing this blog, we have 4 inches of snow on the ground, with a two day storm that will last until tomorrow, and drop about 8 inches total.
Talley and I went out to play in the snow late this afternoon.
Depending on the dog, and just like with bodies of water, some dogs either do or they don't like snow. We have had dogs in our life who took great joy in the white stuff, and other dogs who wanted nothing at all to do with it.
For dogs who love snow, it's a fun thing to watch them interact with the white stuff.
But, if your dog is one that does not like winter, there are a few things you can do to make snow a better experience.
- Use snow boots for the dog who hates cold/wet paws. This also protects from chapped/cracked paws.
- Find a comfortable, warm doggy sweater or coat that your dog will wear at the coldest times to keep the chill out, but to also keep him/her dry and free of snow clumps.
- If your dog is prone to ice and snow balls getting stuck to their fur, there's a great tool to easily rid them from the dog: a wire whisk. Yep, you read that right. A wire whisk rubbed briskly back and forth on the fur removes the ice balls in seconds.
- Give your dog a small treat when they go out into the frozen tundra. This is a good association and will help you when you say "anyone want to go out?" again and there is a mountain of snow on the ground. A dog that associates snow with a treat, is a good thing.
Cameras are strange and wondrous things. They always want to get it right for us, to the point where sometimes they get it wrong. This is why snow photographs can often make the snow look every color but white.
You have to figure, that white stuff is reflecting all over the place, so your light needs may be minimal. The photos you see here were taken around 3:00 p.m. during the cloudy snow storm, but I did not need any type of light to capture the images. They were all taken at ISO 400, f/3.5, 1/500, with a +2 exposure for snow. That extra exposure told my camera: "no, you can't turn the snow gray," which it is want to do in order to "get it right."
I used a 105mm lens, but it was what was on my camera. It's a portrait lens, but not a fast/action lens. Normally I would use a 70-200mm lens to capture the action shots I need, but my studio was ALL THE WAY OVER THERE, and I didn't want to traipse through the snow to get another lens. I do, however, feel it did a nice job on the falling snow in the shots.
- try to keep it dry, unless you know it has weatherproof housing (I sometimes improvise with a Ziploc bag)
- keep it warm or against your body if you are going out for long periods in cold weather (I will use a shoulder camera bag if I am going to be out longer than 15 minutes)
- take extra batteries (they go quickly in the cold)
The most important things dogs who enjoy the snow can teach us, is how to have fun in it.
I have videos of her making her own snow tunnels and running endlessly through them.
I do try to keep our dogs from eating too much snow. If the snow is clean, it's fine to eat, but if they eat too much, it can lower their body temperature. We have a number of geriatric dogs in our household, so I will often watch that they are not chowing down on cold snow, and will make sure they do a quick turn-around of out/in if the weather is extremely frigid.
Paws up for snow in our household: Talley, Lilah, Billie
Paws down for snow in our household: Luke, Danny
Undecided: Piper (although he is easy going and it just depends on how his arthritis is doing on any given day).
I am part of a weekly blogging group of professional pet photographers located all over the planet. To see what others have blogged about in this week's topic, up next is Syracuse Dog photographer Nancy Kieffer, who shares some tips for enjoying a snow-day session with your dog.
Then find the link at the end of each blog to click on to the next photographer, until you find yourself back here. Enjoy! Have a great and snowy weekend!