Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mischief Monday: The mischief is all mine

Those of you who are on Flickr may have noticed that I stopped doing the Daily Dog Challenge. It wasn't on purpose. I got busy, then I got hurt, then I just never really started it up again. But, I want to. I had fun taking the pictures, I had fun talking with the other DDC people via the comments, and I enjoyed seeing everyone's take on the challenges.

Sadie and her tongue

I am going to try to start participating more. I am starting with today's challenge and moving forward from there. Catching up with the current ones from the previous week makes me tired thinking about it.

Chloe yawning

Plus, I am going to try to get more pictures of dogs other than my own. For the DDC, I want to try to do mostly my own dogs, because lets face it, they are mine and I love them and they are the easiest to get pictures of. But, it is fun taking pictures of other dogs.

King, laughing about it

Focusing on other dogs gives me a chance to get some pictures that I would never be able to do with my two. It also helps me figure out how to actually be a better photographer. My dogs are both relatively easy to take pictures of, not just in that they both pose pretty well, but both have light faces, distinct facial markings, and light colored eyes that show up nice in photographs.

Jet and the hose

And I'm going to finish off with a picture counter the theme above (which was "Open Mouths" if you didn't realize there was a theme). But, I just had to include a picture of Cassie. She is an adoptable senior dog available through Senior Dog Rescue locally. She is completely blind and deaf (though she appeared to be able to partially hear some sounds). She was a complete love bug; the hardest part of getting a picture of her was to get far enough away, since all she wanted to do was lay right next to me, just enough to touch, and get petted.

Cassie, an adoptable senior lab

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Visit To Cristom Winery

I met up with a friend on Thursday at Cristom Winery. She wanted to get some pictures of her dogs, and of her with her dogs, and asked if I would take some pictures of them in exchange for wine tasting and a bottle of wine. SOLD.

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Cristom has both beautiful vineyards and a beautiful garden. Their garden was in full flare, green, bright pops of color from the flowers, wonderful winding brick paths leading through it, and a pair of awesome metal benches.

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Since we were at such an amazing location, I needed to get pictures of my own dogs as well, of course. And Nancy volunteered to take some pictures of me with my dogs, since that is a rare occurrence for me to get.

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Despite my head being partially cut off, I love this picture she got of the dogs coming down the stairs into the garden area. Of course, a person sitting on the ground at the bottom of the stairs was a great motivator for my dogs to CHARGE.

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Even the tasting room was amazing. They have an entire outdoor area with tables of various sizes, and these gorgeous French doors. Indoors is all wood, barrels, and wine.

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And of course, I did get some pictures in the vineyard. I pulled out the blue chair again, and I still am loving the color it provides.

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Each of the dogs got their turn on the chair. It was blaringly hot, since the only time that really worked for both of us was meeting at 11. With full sun, it didn't provide the best lighting for portraits, but we worked with it.

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And then I had to shove both of my dogs onto the chair. The chair, by the way, has a rather teeny tiny seat area. The good part about having a corgi as one of my dogs is that he, in fact, fits underneath Koira's belly.

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I'm going to share some of the photos of my friend's dogs later. If I pulled out all my favorite pictures and put them all in one blog post, it would be HUGE.

After finishing up at the winery, I went to PetSmart to kill some time and then we headed to flyball practice. Both dogs did relatively good. I did run Pallo. I am now wondering if something just scared him at some point, if it is the heat, or if it is my injury over the past two months that has him freaked out, because he just seems reluctant, not like he is actually in pain. Also, the pain medication we had him on for a week did not seem to change his behavior at all.

Koira did her normal inconsistent thing. She had some really good turns. She had some really bad ones too. It seems like, by putting the front of the box up on a box jump prop, then doing "hit its" with no ball. When she does a few good ones, I have a ball put in the box. Then we do a few of those. Then switch back to hit its with no ball. I'm not sure how much forward progress we are making... (Her foot, by the way, was fine. She is still limping a little with it, but I think it is more an irritation or slight tenderness more than actual pain. It is healing really well.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Lure Coursing

Well, almost wordless. We went lure coursing on Sunday afternoon. This is the only half-way decent picture I got of Koira. Pallo stayed home again, as he did from the DaVinci Days disc dog.

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Unfortunately, Koira was the first run of the day (I always get the worst pictures of the first dog or two). And, she cut her foot open on something in the field during this run and pulled up lame. She's healing fine, but is taking the week off and I, once again, have a lack of pictures of her lure coursing. Normally the dogs each run 2-3 times, so I have a chance for plenty of pictures.

In other news, enjoy the pictures.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Disc Dogging at DaVinci Days

On Saturday morning, I headed over to the annual DaVinci Days celebration, where they hold a disc dog competition with free entries. I've entered almost every year, though sometimes with a friend's dog (the border collie Possum, before she moved away). Even though my dogs have no chance of beating the teams who spend a lot of time practicing, it is fun to get out there, compete, and, of course, watch all the experienced teams.

A few of the more experienced teams also did a freestyle demo during the half time break between the two rounds of toss and catch. It is a ton of fun to watch a good freestyle team at work.

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The toss and catch part of the competition is pretty straight forward. Each handler/dog team has one minute in which to gain as many points as they can. The field is sectioned off into different point zones, with the farther zones being the most points. The handler must throw from behind the line; it doesn't matter where the dog is when the handler throws.

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To get points, the dog has to catch the disc before it hits the ground. The dog gets an extra half point by catching it while jumping with all four feet off the ground.

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I'm not a very consistent thrower. Koira is not a very consistent catcher. I am pretty sure she deliberately bumps the disc back into the air the first time, rather than trying to catch it and hold it. The best way to get her to catch the disc is to do a long, low throw that she can't get underneath of in order to nose bump it back up. I am, unfortunately, not all that good at long, low, fast throws.

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For me, though, one of the most fun things is to take pictures of the dogs at the event and then look at them afterwards. Some spectacular facial expressions are captured.

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Pallo did not get to come along to the disc competition. He has been off for a while. I'm not sure what is wrong with him. He had a full blood and urine panel done, which revealed nothing wrong other than a few urine crystals (for which the vet said to up his water intake, so he now gets some kibble floating in water a few times a day to get him to drink more). There is no limping or obvious signs of pain or discomfort.

The big thing is really that Pallo isn't being obnoxious. He isn't bugging me constantly to throw a toy for him. At flyball, he has been very off, refusing jumps, running around the course, not even going down all the way to the box, etc. For Pallo, this behavior is very, very strange. Hopefully it is nothing serious or long lasting. We have him on pain medication for now (to try to see if he gets better with it, which would indicate him actually being in pain from something). He is also on leash walks only, crate when I am not home to supervise, but is allowed to be pretty free in the yard with supervision.

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That photo above of the little border collie is probably my favorite of all that I took on Saturday. It definitely has the best focus with the dog's eyes and face.

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I still say the bloopers photos are some of the best though. As amazing as high jumps and awesome in-the-air grabs are, the bloopers just make me laugh more.

And, to finish off the post, a picture of Koira, taken with my camera, thanks to my friend Nicole. She does flyball as well (though on a different team) and drove down to my town here to participate in the disc dog competition with her dog (her's is that wire haired black beast with the crazy expression). Another flyballer was with us as well, with her two dogs (both have pictures up above).

You can tell that Koira isn't going to catch this frisbee. Instead, as she snaps her mouth shut on it, the disc will rocket forward and up from the power of her closing jaws, giving her the chance to chase it down a second time. We would need to seriously work on that if we had plans of major competition in disc dog. But, I've pretty much decided that as much as she likes this sport, it is just not something I am motivated enough to put time, effort, and money into really succeeding in. We will, of course, continue to head out to the local competitions for some fun!

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Entering the Fair

I'm debating entering some of my photos into the local fair this year. Mostly, it would be for the thrill of seeing my photography displayed publicly. A little part of me thinks I may even be able to sneak away with a prize or two.

But, I need opinions from you, faithful readers. You are probably the most familiar with my work.

The fair has thirteen lots. You can enter once per lot, in one of three classes. The classes are color, black and white, and groupings. I am almost thinking that groupings is the way to go if I want prizes. My guess is that way fewer people enter the groupings class.

Here are the lots, with the photos I am thinking of entering in that lot grouped with them (some photos may work in more than one lot, but entries are limited to one photo per lot per person, so I am trying to get the best photos into the lots that work the best for them).

1.  Landscape
139. "Leading Lines" - Take a photo with some kind of leading lines today. They can be natural or created. - last day Mar 24

2.  Seascape/Coastline

3.  Sunrise/Sunset
Pallo sillhouette
Three silhouettes
Pallo sun

4.  Waterscape (i.e. rivers, lakes, raindrops, waterfalls, etc.)

5.  Flowers/Plants

6.  Animals
121. "Leap Day" - It only happens every four years! Let's see your dog leaping or otherwise celebrating Leap Day in some way. Feel free to interpret it as you like! - last day Mar 6
Pallo brick drool

7.  Architecture

8.  Portraits and People
Portrait, Action, or Around Benton County

9.   Action
Portrait, Action, or Around Benton County
Action or Around Benton County
173. "What a Character" - If your dog were any kind of character, what or who would he or she be. You can show us with some sort of natural shot or feel free to use costumes and props. Just please have fun with it! Show us what endears your dog to you in
168. "Studious" - Our dogs all get fascinated by things from time to time. Take a picture of your dog being studious! - last day Apr 22

10.  Altered/Abstract Images
Altered/Abstract (possibly in a grouping of three with the two similar photos)
Altered/Abstract (possibly in a grouping of three with the two similar photos)
Altered/Abstract (possibly in a grouping of three with the two similar photos)
114. "Cover Dog" - Take a picture of your dog that you'd see on the cover of a magazine. If you are so inclined, you can create your own magazine cover, too, but the photo is all you have to take. It can be Footloose Fido or Canine Couture, just have fun

11. “Life in Benton County” people or activities
Around Benton County
Portrait, Action, or Around Benton County
Action or Around Benton County

12. Pattern & Textures
148. "A Day in the Life" - Be your dog's photojournalist today and capture a picture of some part of your dog's day for us. Feel free to add a creative spin to it! - last day Apr 2
185. "How's the Weather" - Take a photo today that shows us what the weather is like in your corner of the world! - last day May 9

13. Still Life

Probably the hardest one to decide will be the Animals lot. After all, most of my pictures are of animals, be they my dogs or other animals. I figure I may be able to get away with a great Action picture of an animal, if I can find one. And I think I have a candidate for the Altered/Abstract image. The rest of it all, though... I'm not sure. Of course I don't have to enter every lot, but I figure, why go halfway with it?

Here is the link to my full Flickr album of photos I am thinking of entering in the fair. Please comment on the photo or here on the blog and let me know what pictures you think should be entered!