Thursday, August 20, 2009

The 'And More' part of Uniwolf Photography

I love my dogs. I think that pretty much goes without saying. Like most people, I do have a few other interests and yes they usually include my dogs. As you might expect, these other aspects of my life find their way into my photography. Here are a few photos I've recently taken from my garden...and lastly a little visual lesson on the importance of lighting.

I am an avid gardener. When we moved here to SC we had one huge pine tree in the front yard and one in the back. That was it. I have worked for 6 years to build my own personal sanctuary on my single acre, I'm getting very close to not seeing any neighbors at all. :) I continue to add more every year.

Obviously, along with gardening come insects. I have a fascination with bugs. I don't necessarily like most of them, but from a camera's view they are pretty cool. Ever since I was a small child I have been able to sit and watch all of nature as it has gone on around me, fascinated at the interaction. I've watched birds swoop down to grab a waddling bug in the grass with lightning speed, lizards scurry across the pavement with unidentifiable legs in its mouth, spiders weave a delicate silk cocoon with miraculous speed around a cicada and ants march in formation for hours. Truly, I am that boring. Or that calm in nature.

I have several hummingbird bushes and naturally you'd expect to see hummingbirds at them, occasionally I do. However, more often lately, what I have been seeing is what is called a "Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth"

As you can see they are rather intriguing little critters...

About 2" long, and if you happen to be wearing an orange hat, expect to get buzzed by them. Insect photographer's secret. Want to attract butterflies? Wear bright colors. Keep in mind, that also works for bees, and it can occasionally get you buzzed by an actual hummingbird. :)

Ah yes, the importance of lighting... one of these photos is not like the others... look close. The one below, you can actually see the catchlight in its eye. What's a "catchlight"? It's the photography term for the light reflected in the eyes of the subject. The 'sparkle' that makes a subject reach out and grab you.

While the other photos are pretty good. It's this last one that makes an impact. Just because I popped up the flash on my camera. A little thing can make such a huge difference!

You can click on any of the pictures to make them larger to see detail. :)

If you have a DSLR and can afford a flash unit (there are several good ones out now that are under $200) they are much better than the popup flash. But in a pinch, if you left it in the house [looking at the sky and whistling] just hit the little button that pops up the flash and use it.

That's it for now. I'm off to play with the dogs for a bit I think. Then get my fingers in the dirt... and eventually on my camera...

Uni & The Underdogs

Friday, August 7, 2009

Look A' Me I's Onna Innerwebz!!!

The new GSD, who has been renamed so many times you'd think she'd have a personality disorder, has finally settled into her new name; Caoimhe... pronounced "Keeva" it is Irish for 'beauty'. You'll note all of our dogs have Irish names. For years, all of our animals had names from various Trek shows (yeah, we're geeks.) We have a cat who's going on 14 now, named Kerzon Dax. We didn't keep with any specifics on the names on the cats though, as we have Kerzon (aka Kooshball), Tigger 'TigTig' (my daughter's cat), Salem aka 'George' as in "George of the out for that tree!" he used to run and splat right into a wall *sigh* and Solo (yes, Hans Solo, leave me alone!)

So, unlike most people who talk to their animals, mine is often a two way conversation. Well most of the time it's a one way conversation as I'm constantly telling people "they have no clue what you're saying you know." I proved this to my neighbor recently when I looked at Connor and sternly said "Couch lantern spider filter!" and he calmly laid down, eyes looking directly at me, ears back but relaxed, awaiting his next command. My neighbor looked at me like I was crazy, well maybe he thought we both were. But it doesn't matter, I know how my dogs think, and they know how I think and we communicate fairly well, they are extremely intelligent beings and I pick up what they are trying to say well enough to do as I'm told. ;)

Recently I've had to start sharing the computer too, having to block the doggy porn sites is getting to be annoying, do you know how many are out there? ;) I thought I'd share a conversation we had a few days ago...

[Rock] Mom! Mom! Mom! MOM! Momma! MOMMMMMAAA!

"Yes, Rock?"

[Rock] Look Mommy, Keeva found a pickshur of meee! I's onna innerwebz! Izza pickshur of meee! Momma look!!!

"Why yes it is! That's the picture that was chosen of you for the cover of Off Lead and Animal Behavior Magazine."

[Rock] I 'member when you tooks it, I wuz swimmins an you pointed da big eye at me.

"Yep, that's the camera, the same one I'm always pointing at you guys."

[Connor] Shudda been me

[Rock] Shuddup Bonbonbutt

"Rock, don't talk that way to your brother"

[Connor] I'm much more handsome than a GSD, how stoopid, haffa have 'dog' inna name, cuz someone might thinkz he'z a weasel with that nose.


[Rock] Leas' I'z not a BOREDr Colic! All you do is whine about nuffins!!! hahaha!

[Connor] I do not! I killded an effelant!

[Rock] No you dint!

[Connor] I did! Momma tooked da pikshur of that too!

"Alright you two, that's enough!" [Rock] [Connor] Yes Mommy.

[Rock] Can we go swimmins now?
[Connor] Yeah, can we? [Keeva] I wanna go too! [Keenan]Me too! [Cailly] I wanna go! don't forget me! I'm right here! I gonna go too right? I go swimmins too k? [Banshee] I'd just as soon graze in the garden then find some shade, ok mom? [Pooka] I'm with you mom, wherever you go.

Gotta love'm...

Check out Rock's cover shot, along with the magazine including some kick butt articles online at
Off Lead and Animal Behavior Summer 09 Edition

Until next time...
Uni & The Underdogs