Monday, March 31, 2008

Fun Canine Sports Weekend 3/29-3/30 2008 Bluffton, SC

READY!!!!!!!!! You could feel excitement in the air! I was watching happy dogs and happy owners! That's how my husband, three of our dogs and I spent this past weekend. I was fortunate enough to be offered the job to shoot the "Fun Canine Sports Weekend" in Bluffton, SC. at the astonishing Rose Dhu Creek Equestrian Center.

Oh, did I say fortunate? What a huge understatement, yet certainly true! As a photographer I take pictures to make money, just like anyone else, I go to work, I do my best. Sometimes the extra benefits are worth much more than any money can buy.

This weekend was so much fun to see all of the dogs and the owners give the name of the event real meaning! There was Agility for the beginner and experienced, the "Parade of Breeds", Frisbee demos, Freestyle Dance, Obedience and Rally presentations, rescue booths with info and much, much more. All the rage among the food was the wonderful creamy chicken salad sandwiches filled with grapes and nuts! Yummy!

I spent my time on Saturday mostly shooting the Agility, but occasionally getting the portrait shot in. A lot of time on my knees, up and down and getting the right spot (thank goodness for good kneepads!) This was my first opportunity at shooting Agility, so it was a true new experience for me (a HUGE thanks to Windi for her ideas and suggestions!)

Sunday was a lot more portrait and candid shooting, and admittedly a good bit of time I took for selfish reasons. One of the other offerings was CGC (Canine Good Citizen) Testing. It is a very basic 'title' for your dog, but certainly one that should not be underrated, as it proves your dog is a social and well behaved animal. The CGC title says he can be around other people, other dogs, noises, etc. and still be a Good Dog listening to his owner without distraction. I took my German Shepherd over and got him through it so he now has his CGC, I am thrilled that he has his first title!

I met wonderful people and gorgeous dogs. I learned the difference between breeds that look very similar, and I found information on a few more breeds I wasn't aware of previously. I had help to remain calm when Rock kept getting up from his sit/stay, and I'd like to think some of the advice I gave was taken well too. I am really looking forward to next year where I expect it will be an even larger event.

Dog people are a strange bunch. We love our guys and gals immensely. It is an incredible bond only another dog person can understand, it shows in the way we look at them, the way we are so happy when they complete a task, when they just do the most simple thing, and sometimes when they do nothing at all but lay quietly at our feet or give us those wonderful sloppy kisses. I hope that shows in my photography too.

The benefits to just being at an event like this is incredible. To shoot pictures? Priceless.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A little over a year ago

February of 2007 I made an investment that has changed my life and the way I look at things. I picked up a Nikon D200, a couple Tamron lenses and entered the realm of my dreams. Two weeks later, after a mere 30 or so pictures, our wolfdog, Odin, unexpectedly fell ill and passed through the veil. I have some very beautiful pictures of him now. I've learned a lot since his departure. I also think he hasn't gone far. But that is for another time, another blog...

My sense of photography is that it can be cold, senseless, in your face schizophrenic screaming paradoxical art, and beauty, softly caressing the delicate harmonics of life in still form. It is what you make it. I see things a little different. I try not to take pictures. I try to feel moments and freeze them for others to see. I want to bring emotion to my images. If you don't look at them and choke up, laugh, smile, or even frown because it's completely odd to you, then I am failing at my attempt. I'll just keep on trying. I will continue to do my best.

Since my D200 purchase a year ago, I have packed on the equipment to not only make my photography better, it makes it easier. I'm not going to lie, it serves no purpose. I've picked up a couple Nikon lenses that I feel are imperative to what I enjoy, the 105mm 2.8 and 70-200mm 2.8. I also have the 50mm 1.8. I do still have my Tamron lenses and I do not dispute the education I received from using them. But they do not compare to the Nikon lenses I now have. I also picked up the D300 when it came out last November. I love it. I've also managed to pick up a few props, lights, and "magic tricks" along the way, inexpensive ways to do things that other people do for lots of $$, I'll be sharing those occasionally.

After a year of taking my photography seriously, I realize there are many ways in which I have grown as an artist. A bit of a whirlwind actually. Taking everything that I knew and incorporating intuition, logic, know how and lots of today I will play with this, I can see how much my photography has changed in just a year since 'kicking it up a notch' to the D200 and D300. The difference is huge. I still have my Canon S70 p&s, I love that little camera. I think it was that one that convinced me to start taking my photography seriously.

Although I mostly photograph dogs, I also enjoy sitting in my yard watching the butterflies wisp their way by the flowers (until Rock chases them away) and the birds twitter back and forth among the trees. I like taking the opportunities as they present themselves for micro work on small creatures that most walk right on by without ever noticing. If I have a passion for something, I want you to feel it too.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My first picture the one I see in my head from childhood. The problem of course is that it changes with each memory. As I get older those moments seem to fade, although a few are so vivid I feel sometimes I could reach out and touch them. Babies grow, learn to walk and talk, and off to school they go. Before you know it they're off and the house is empty. The playful puppy you brought home so many years ago sits by your side now, that salt and pepper beard, the glazed eyes. He's slow to get up and pad behind you to the bedroom each night. Keep the memories. It doesn't mean going out and spending $5,000 on the latest and greatest Nikon or Canon equipment. You can use your camera phone. The importance is simply the ability to look back and smile, laugh, grieve, cry, allow yourself some time with your memories. Keep them where you can see them, in a photograph.