Puppy Love

I’m not sure where August went but the shutter on the camera seemed like it was under going stress testing.  I’ve had so many fun senior/kids/dog sessions that I thought now is the time to go back and catch up with some of my activities and share them.

What a better topic to start with than puppies!  More specifically, 3 week old Australian Shepherd puppies from Integrity Aussies.  Can’t you just smell that puppy breath and fur??

One, Two, Three, . . .

I had photographed Jennifer Stagg and her dog Folly (not pictured above) about a year earlier when I recently saw a Facebook post that Folly had a big, beautiful litter of puppies.  Off to Jennifer’s house I went when they were just 3 weeks old and had just opened their eyes.  We took them outside for their first time in the grass and watched them sniff around and then cuddle into one big, sleeping puppy ball.

Sweet Faces

 

What's that?

 

My Sleep Comfort number is . . .

 

I'll Take Two!

 

Needless to say, these little fur balls were all spoken for already so even if I wanted to take one home, I couldn’t.  Oh well, photographing them was the next best thing!

Equipment used:  Nikon D3s, Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens & Nikkor 50mm 1.4mm lens

 

 

Snow Dog

Luck was with us this past weekend when the owners of Kaya and I scheduled our outdoor session for the morning after one of the most beautiful snow falls that I’ve seen in a long time!  With 7 inches of snow that fell heavily and set itself up the exoskeletons of the trees, the scene was “Christmas card” perfect for Kaya to show off her propensity for fun in the snow.  As a Long-Haired German Shepard, she had plenty of fur-power to keep her warm in the cold snow.

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After a few shots of Kaya with her owners, Marielle & Ryan, we decided to bring out the toys and Kaya gravitated to the bright, orange ball.

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We started by working on her more “classic” leaps that mimicked an Olympic diver, with her paws held together.  You’re a perfect “10” on that Kaya!

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Next was the “freestyle” portion of our shoot with that “I enjoy life to it’s fullest” pose.  I think she was just showing off her good ‘core’ muscles.

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After playing in the deep snow it was time for a real “cool down.”  Nothing like a long snoot into the snow to start that process!

So now it’s your turn!  Just contact me to sign up for my SNOW DOGS sessions coming up on Feb. 23rd from 9:30 – 3:00.   I’ll be photographing your dog(s) outside in a local park and enjoying the fun in the snow.  Bring your favorite toy, fashionable coat or snow booties and away we’ll go!  For $65 you’ll receive your 30 minute session, an 8×10 and 8 wallets.   This could be your answer to 2014’s Holiday Card!

Birding in Orlando Wetlands Park

While in Florida, I always make some time to go out birding with a friend and wonderful, local bird expert – Don Chalfont.  I met Don through my mom, who spends 4 months at New Smyrna Beach, FL each winter.  Of course, I have to come and visit and after the first time of birding with Don, I wanted to come back for more.

Yesterday Elza, another fine birder, joined us as we visited the Orlando Wetlands Park.  It’s a vast area of managed wetlands where treated sewage (cleaner than the water in the St. John’s River!) is pumped into the wetlands.  Around 25-35 million gallons a day is pumped 17 miles to this location and the natural process of water settling through the wetlands removes excess nutrients from the water and provides an amazing habitat for raptors, wading birds, ducks, warblers and sparrows.  Besides birding, you can enjoy walking and bicycling on flat, dike roads and hiking through woods.

Don & Elza looking for a King Rail

One of the first birds we spotted with a fine Carl Zeiss spotting scope, far out in the distance, was a Crested Caracara.  A while later it came closer to us and I was able to capture it with my measly 70-200mm lens with NO tele-extender.  I sure wished I had a 500mm with me!

Crested Caracara

Another fine bird Don and Elza spotted was a Purple Gallinule.  It moves around in the reeds and didn’t give us a nice open shot.  However, my determination kicked in and I waited and was rewarded with a somewhat plausible image in flight.

Purple Gallinule coming in for a landing

If you’re a Limpkin fan, Orlando Wetlands Park offers numerous opportunities for not only viewing them, but listening to them.  Being a newbie birder, Elza shared a story that the Native Americans said the Limpkin sounds like a crying boy.  I heard a lot of crying!  This one let me get pretty close and stuck it’s ‘tongue’ out at me.

Limpkin

While many of you back home are also enjoying record, warm weather and seeing robins and other birds returning, I got excited to hear/see the Red-Winged blackbird – usually the first bird of spring for us.

As the sun rose higher in the sky, we pulled out some picnic lunches and decided to head back in for the King Rail.  Alas, it wasn’t to be today but while they were searching for it, I’m always looking around for another image.  I noted a small raindrop on my arm and I looked up behind me to see ominous clouds mixing with fresh, wildfire smoke.  The scent and scene took me back to the summer of 2000 when I lived in MT and the whole state was on fire from wildfires.  I’ll NEVER forget the acrid smoke smell and to this day, I’m very sensitive to detecting it.  This fire was likely a controlled burn and it was fun to see that it caused local rain drops to form.

Wildland fire darkens the sky

Thanks to Don and Elza, I saw some ‘life birds’ on this trip.  Now to save for that 500mm lens!!

Cattin’ Around

In between photographing seniors, families and dogs, I’m cattin’ around the neighborhood these days.  OK, it’s not the most photographic blog I’ve posted recently, but it’s got me engaged and energized!

After our block party, a neighbor told me of the cat and her kittens.  I’ve seen the cat since winter and thought someone on a neighboring street owned it.  So I was surprised to see that she was a stray mother of three!  Kittens were cute but I don’t want her reproducing ‘in our neighborhood’ again.  Kinda like the ‘not in my backyard’ movement, if you get my drift.

I signed up and became a trained Trap-Neuter-Release volunteer through the WI Humane Society and this morning, momma took the bait!  At 6:00a.m. she got hungry and when I saw her beautiful, green eyes staring back at me from the live trap, I was glad to have her in there safely.  However, where was her kitten?  Another trap has been set to try to catch that one.

Cay Eyes!

Momma was dropped off at the WI Humane Society this morning and I’m about to return, on this same day, to pick her up.  She’ll be loaded back into the live trap, for my safety, and she’ll be sporting an ear tag that signifies she’s part of the Trap-Neuter-Release program.  She’ll also have vaccinations for distemper and rabies and between her shoulder blades will be a micr0-chip that will signify me as her momma!  After a couple of days in our basement ‘recovery room’, she’ll be released back into the neighborhood, where she’ll likely resume her residency in a neighbor’s garage.  Now come on little, kitty, kitty, kitty!

Momma’s off for a little ‘snippy snip!’

Make Your Dog Calm & Happy!

This Saturday, Feb. 5th, I’ll be exhibiting at the Great Lakes Pet Expo at Wisconsin State Fair Park Exposition Center.  It’s a fun day dedicated to pets and their owners!  Both dog rescue organizations and dog breeders will be on hand, with their dogs, so if you’re interested in checking out the various breeds and seeing which one is best suited for your family’s lifestyle, this is the place to be.  If you spot the one you’d like, it won’t be long before you find yourself on the other end of a leash.

Whooa!

 

As a potential, new owner/caretaker of a dog, there’s one thing I can suggest to you to make your experience with a canine companion one of the most rewarding relationships you’ll ever have.  One of the secrets to a wonderful relationship is an 8 letter word:  EXERCISE!   First – it acts as a cement in the bonding experience.  Your dog will listen to you if you’re the one that exercises it.  They will notice when you put on those winter boots because it means. . . . ‘we’re going outside!!!”  The other reason is obvious – it burns off that ‘jet fuel‘ young dogs seem to carry onboard and makes them calmer.  Endorphins!  Remember that science lecture in college?  Dogs produce those calming endorphins, just like humans, when they exercise for at least 30 minutes.

Zero to 60 in 4 Seconds!

 

Once you make it back from your long exercise session of 30-60 minutes, you will find a dog that needs some R&R time.  Got a big project for school or work to do?  Off to the dog park for a good 45 minutes of running and you just earned yourself at least 3 hours of UNINTERRUPTED time!  And the bonus to that is just put the dog crate in your office/study area and be soothed by the gentle sighs coming from that slumbering fur-ball that’s recharging it’s mitochondria while you work!

I'll Help You Study

You’ll know if you have a very relaxed dog if you’re given the full-monty-belly!  It’s kind of like ‘Doggie Meditation.’  Calmness in a family dog is a very desirable trait and regular activity is the password for getting it.  Hounds, Pointers, Spaniels and other field dogs are know to travel 7-8 miles without stopping when they are hunting in the field.  Exercise = calmness = balanced.  So if you’re looking at a dog breed to fit into your home and you exercise regularly, adopt a hunting breed.  It’ll be a perfect match for both parties!  If your weekend is sleeping in and heading to the movie theatre, a less active breed in the kind for you.

Doggie Meditation

Teri and her dog Bella came together when Teri, a 3rd year Veterinary student at UW-Madison, had to perform her first spaying procedure on a rescue dog.  Bella won her over and after the successful surgery, Teri took her home.  To make sure that Teri does well on all her exams, Bella helps her study.  After all, when your owner is the vet, you want them to ace every test they take!!  Thanks Teri & Bella.  I had an energetic and fun day with you!

She's Going to ACE The Next Test - I know it!