Thursday, June 30, 2011



Dog Blog Post #369: Many thanks for all the warm welcome backs! I promise to start making the rounds again soon - Soooooo far behind on everything, it's practically hopeless.

Daily Shoot for today:

Illustrate choice in a photograph today. Be obvious or subtle. Your, ahem, choice.

Guess Zachary's Choice won't come as much of a shock to anyone...

Choice (the answer)

And here's a few other pictures thrown in to spice up an otherwise short post...

Water Droplets


... and I thought I was behind before!

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On Order

Dog Blog Post #367: Bits ordered. Should be able to pick them up and be up and running in...

... a week.

A looooooooong week (ie: might be a few more than 7 days)

(twiddle twiddle twiddle)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

RIP Hard Drive

Dog Blog Post #366: Thank you for all the good thoughts, but alas, not even a Genius could save her.

Looks like I'm going to be off-line (and shopping) for the next few days.

(I feel so disconnected.)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Out of Order

Dog Blog Post #365:

Hard disk crashed.

Mind, screen blank.

Let's hope the Genius Bar lives up to their name....

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sniffing out Shadows

Sniffing out a Shadow

Dog Blog Post #364: Ah yes... the shadow assignments. Ya'll know how much I loath love those Daily Shoot shadow assignments...

Make a photograph that features a shadow as your subject today.

Today wasn't too bad, as I got a very late start, only to realize (Do'h!) that shadows are more fun in the late afternoon...

Or maybe it's just the lighting is more fun...

The colors are more fun?

Certainly the dogs were more fun, as we're a good 10F cooler than we have been!

Up top was my favorite - that's Zachary sniffing for... for... I haven't a clue. He was just sniffing.

Below is Henry looking hot (I said cooler, not cold!) and Zachary lurking over his shoulder, licking his lips, wishing he had the lovely ball...


... and then the ubiquitous orange Lacrosse ball taking center stage. See anything in the upper left corner?


And then we have a "just because" shot of Henry being a pest...

My Ball!

And finally (yes, finally, it's Frantic Friday, remember?) we have some sort of cactus. I'm consider using it for "Opposites" (spines vs. soft flowers) but also wishing I had seen it about 10 minutes earlier as I'm sure it was beautifully backlit then. I might have to go back and try again tomorrow. But I do love the background... decisions, decisions...


© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Tired of Orange

Tired of Orange

Dog Blog Post #363: It's not that I hate orange (although florescent orange is admittedly not my favorite color) it's just that... that...

Ok... I really don't like bright orange. I love the rusts and peaches and salmons and all those other warm and rich colors of fall - but the color orange in its raw form? Not.

(And it doesn't help that orange does the boys' coloring no glory.)

So you can imagine how (cough) thrilled (cough cough) I was when the Daily Shoot popped up...

The color of the day is orange. Make a photograph that is full of orange today.

Really? Again? We just did orange not that long ago, and it looked something like this...


... and so I ran through all the orange things I could think of (revenge of the shoe boxes, the wheelbarrow, Zachary's head in a halloween pumpkin) and even pulled out the cheap sports cones (see above.) But in the end I went with the box I "borrowed" from the snack room (it was almost empty anyway) and it became my "winning" shot, below...

The Original

... altered just a bit to be more accurate. I picked this mainly because of the surprisingly crisp focus on Zachary's muzzle. Lighting was horrible, so I can't really explain it. Perhaps the "color gods" were trying to make it up to me.

That said, as I told houndstooth - if we get orange again I'm going to take a picture of one of the boys and push sliders around until he turns orange and submit that!

Now here's some colors I do like, submitted for Our Daily Challenge ("Yellow")...


... and Scavenge Challenge ("shades of a favorite color")

Fall Colors

I happen to love Fall colors, and that tree seemed to be doing a pretty good of impersonation (sadly minus the rich reds) despite it being early summer here.

And finally... "Never Ending"

Never Ending

Editor's Note: Housecleaning continues. I have great confidence I'll have my "studio" (ie: Living/Dining Rooms) back by the end of tomorrow!

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 16, 2011



Dog Blog Post #362: How do people stay caught up with blogging and reading and Real Life and... ???

Today I'm going to spend more time reading than writing, and as the Daily Shoot assignment...

Make a photograph today that either contains motion blur or conveys motion in some other way.

... needs little explanation, it should work out just fine.

Happy Dog

Editor's Note #1: If you didn't understand yesterday's foil hat pictures, watch the movie "Signs". :)

Editor's Note #2: If you've noticed a decrease in dog pictures, you are correct, but only because the heat has finally showed up (slashing outdoor photography time to just a few minutes) -plus- we are doing round one of "summer cleanup" and my "studio" (ie: the front half of the house) is full of stuff that normally lives in the back half of the house. With luck, at least the indoor things should be back to normal by the weekend. Alas, outdoor things are toast (pun sadly intended) until winter.

And a few non-dog pictures for Our Daily Challenge, this time for "Backlit".

Rose Leaves


© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Bloopers

(Ok, not a Blooper, but too cute to pass up)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Second Verse Same as the First

Sweet Henry

Dog Blog Post #360: Quick! Somebody give the Daily Shoot a nudge, before I run out of dogs!

Make another beautiful shot today, but pick a subject that’s completely different than yesterday’s.

And here's what I wrote in flickr...

Yesterday we saw Zachary in his best form, ears pricked and eager for me to throw the Lacrosse Ball. Today it is sweet Henry, in the late afternoon sunshine, who really is just as sweet and gentle in real life as he looks in pictures. Two very different dogs, portrayed as best I can.

(If Daily Shoot makes it a three-peat, all bets are off...)

Oh dear, it seems the aheader I go, the behinder I get.

I still haven't fulfilled my part of the Versatile Blogger award, and along comes a lovely Inspirational Blogger award from My Life with Flyball Dogs. Some versatile inspirer I am!

Tomorrow... yes... tomorrow... (I guess that means you can cross "prompt" off as a possibility for "something you don't know about me")

Frog Prince?
 Anyone in need of a kiss? - Nursery Rhyme/Fairy Tale (Frog Prince)

But before Versatile Blogger and before Inspirational Blogger we had houndstooth asking... "What the heck is flickr Explore?" Ok... that's not quite how she phrased it, but it was so long ago that I can't seem to find the post that had the comment (too long ago?) to see what the comment actually said.

But it was something like that.

Anyway, every day flickr automagically picks the 500 most "interesting" pictures of that day. No one is quite sure what makes a picture "interesting", but flickr goes out of their way to tell you it has nothing specifically to do with the quality of picture, rather it has something to do with how many comments and favs a picture gets, and the closer in the time the better, and the sorts of groups they come from (award groups or groups that require comments are considered "bad") and who knows what else.

These pictures are displayed in the flickr Explore pages, and as people see them there, and comment on them, they move up and down the rankings, sometimes falling out to be replaced by others. The guess I read is that there actually around 2000 pictures that get Explored every day, and the ranking can change as days pass and pictures grow or fade in popularity.

Considering the huge volume of pictures uploaded to flickr every day, 500 or even 2000 is still a pretty small number.

And then there have been a few comments asking if I ever plan on training my dogs again. Ok... probably not phrased that way, but the short answer is Yes. In fact, training goes on in the background, you just don't hear about it.

No one is in a class at the moment and I do not yet have Sue's new Steps to Success book (successor to Training Levels) as she wants PayPal, and I don't have PayPal. I've been asking around to try to find a local friend who does, but have so far come up empty.

I hate to discuss a training program that I don't have much info about, so, for the moment, all is quiet on the training front. At least formally. The dogs are always working on something in the background, and at the moment, the leading item is "Stay".

Enchanted Forest
World in Miniature  - "Yellow lichen threatens to breach the wooden ramparts and spill down into the verdant valley bellow."

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 13, 2011


Throw It!

Dog Blog Post #359:"You are so beautiful, to me..."

Sorry... that rather sappy 70's song has been running through my head all day, after reading the Daily Shoot assignment:

Don’t over-think it. Make a beautiful photograph today. And tomorrow. Keep at it and discover your own view of beauty.

Well, duh. What did you think I was going to take a picture of? :)

Here's a slightly different shot...

Throw It!

... both of Zachary waiting for me to throw the Lacrosse Ball. While food will produce bright eyes and good expression for the camera, nothing lights up Zachary's world (and brings those ears up) like the Lacrosse Ball. Of course, holding the slimy, slippery ball in my "off" hand while trying to get a picture with my camera hand is... challenging... and I believe I'm going to have biceps like pop-eye if I keep this up.

It also means that I need to put the ball down if I have to change focal length (zoom in/out) which is when Henry usually steals the ball. Poor Zachary, the look on his face.

Speaking of Henry, here he is, distracted by some noise the neighbor made. Love the far off look in his eye.

Contemplative Henry

I liked all three, and in the end basically closed my eyes and clicked to pick the one to be tweeted.

No, that's probably not the way professionals pick photographs. They probably analyze histograms and use little magnifying glasses to search for noise, or specks, or a hair out of place.

Oh well, life's too short.

Speaking of time being short, the boys wanted to thank Greyhounds CAN Sit for the Versatile Blogger award, and I will try hard to fulfill my end of it (something about divulging family secrets and passing the award on) tomorrow.

Assuming I don't fall asleep on the sofa...

... like I did tonight.

For the non-dog pictures, we have Our Daily Challenge - "Change"


Change? Really? I went with the picture above because the flower cluster shows all the changes a flower goes through, from buds at the bottom to blooming in the middle to spent at the top.

And finally Scavenge Challenge - "Classic Landscape"

Storm Clouds

Love the storm clouds in this one. (Don't ask how many pictures I had to take in order to get this. Ugh.)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Good to Be Square

Quilting Henry

Dog Blog Post #358: Arg!!!

So I had this great idea today - not for the Daily Shoot (discussed further below) but for one of the other two flickr groups. All excited, I grab my stuff, hop into the car, drive to the one-and-only place that I know of where I can find my Object of interest, and commence shooting.

I'm crawling around in the bushes, crouching near the ground, hovering awkwardly over other Objects of non-interest... in short... making a fool of myself. Every so often I peer into my LCD and I'm pleased with what I see. Of course, the screen is only 2-3" in size, but things look clear, the composition is good, and so I leave feeling all warm and fuzzy inside...

... until I upload the pictures.

They're all green.

Jade green, to be precise. The sort of green you might turn after having eaten too many Oreo cookies or hot fudge sundae's. It seems I accidently spun some dial or pushed some button (most likely both) and ended up with a totally wrong (and I mean totally wrong) White Balance.


After spending way too long pushing sliders, I finally have to admit defeat. I either need to go with my best guess colors (and really, I could have made it lavender or puce pushing those sliders) or go back and do it right.

Guess where I'll be tomorrow?


Ok... I vented. I feel better now.

On to the Daily Shoot...

Make a photograph emphasizing a square or a grid today.

Quilting Zachary

This was a simple "Stay" exercise - something I need to be working on more with Henry, as he's showing the occasional teenager moment...

"Sure mom, I'll stay as soon as I'm doing sniffing here."

"Stay? No problem! Gee, look at that... be right back!"

Ah, teenagers.

And for the curious, I made the quilt a few years back using a design my son created for me. :)

And a picture for Out Daily Challenge - "Before and After"...

Pine Cone to Tree

(from little pine cones, mighty pine trees grow!)

Editor's Note: On the bright side, and in a glaring Discovery of the Obvious moment, I finally realized that four of those little focus points are neatly centered on my rule-of-thirds "power points". Yes, it's really obvious. No, I have no idea why this fact didn't hit me two months ago. I was sitting there staring at the little grid lines (which divide the viewfinder into FOURTHS, not THIRDS) and wondering who the heck designed that thing, when all along, those little focus points where sitting right there, screaming "Pick Me! Pick Me!" and I was oblivious.

Ah well, live and learn!

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Friday, June 10, 2011


Parallel Lines

Dog Blog Post #357: Frantic Friday, again. Today's Daily Shoot was...

Parallel lines draw the eye. Make a photograph with parallel lines today.

I tried two different things. The one tweeted is above, and the comment I put in flickr pretty much says it all:

Zachary posing in front of his woobie collection, which is drying in the sun.

They drag them outside during the day to play, and if left overnight by careless humans, get drenched by the morning sprinklers.

Bad humans. No biscuit!

It was a spur-of-the-moment shot, based on the pre-existing (and only slightly straightened) woobies with Zachary posed in front (wishing I'd throw the Lacrosse Ball again.)

My other idea, which was my original idea, was to use the vertical posts of Beau's old PVC practice jump hubby made for him for Agility. While the vertical posts proved to be too far apart to be effect for the assignment, and the bottom posts didn't make it into the thumbnail, I liked the resulting pictures and used the first one to satisfy the Scavenge Challenge item of "Use a fast shutter speed to freeze or slow the action of something in motion."...

Zachary in Motion

Zachary in Motion

Editor's Note: I obviously need to work harder to come up with a Mystery Object. Yes, indeed, yesterday's picture was of the bottom of an egg carton! I actually thought it would be easy to find a picture that would stump people, but after a few days effort I realized most "common" things are pretty recognizable from any angle.

Of course, I'm more than happy to be proven wrong if someone out there wants to give it whirl.

The rule was "Can you guess what this is? Present a common object in an uncommon point of view."

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved



Dog Blog Post #356: Today's Daily Shoot assignment...

Make a photograph of something smooth.

... was pretty easy. And since it was easy, I put practically no effort into it. Which is bad. And I know it. (sigh)

I wonder how folks (and you know who you are!) manage to turn out quality pictures day after day after day. Some days I feel like the camera and I and the dogs are one, and pictures flow forth, and my hard disk swells with things that please me.

And then there are days like today, when apathy sets in, and I glance around me, pick the first that half-way meets the requirements and call it day.

Ah well, tomorrow dawns another chance to make my hard disk proud. :)

Editor's Note #1: The fuzzy blobs in yesterday's shot were mold growing in the coffee pot. The theme for ODC was "Oops", and I'd say forgetting the pot needed cleaning and creating blue life forms falls into the "oops" category.

Editor's Note #2: I'm very much enjoying my "Nikon D7000 for Dummies" book, but them I'm a first time dSLR user. That said, I have picked up several neat tips that are probably buried in the manual (somewhere) that I had not realized, making it definitely worth the dollars for me already. Plus she is also doing a good job of explaining focus/exposure/aperture/ISO... etc. in ways that make sense to a novice like me. Just enough info to make it clear, without drowning me in details!

Editor's Note #3: Since it came a few times recently, I belong to many flickr photography groups (71, it seems) but I only intentionally create pictures for three: Our Daily Challenge, Daily Shoot, and Scavenge Challenge. Daily Shoot and Scavenge Challenge are open to anyone to join. Our Daily Challenge is actually three identical groups, with identical assignments, created to keep the number of participants "cozy" (about 200). Hopefully, at least one should be accepting new members.

My personal opinion, is that Daily Shoot covers the widest range of photographic topics (methods & composition) but repeats topics. Since I don't think my first high-key picture was the best I could possibly make, seeing it (and most other topics) again, isn't a problem. (Except those shadow assignments. I hate the shadow assignments.)

I also think it has more novices than the other two (a personal opinion).

I haven't been a member of Our Daily Challenge that long, but I feel it has the highest caliber pictures (on average) of the three, and people seem quite prone to leaving comments (love that!)

Scavenge Challenge is the most fun of the three, pure and simple. I love having a list and an entire month to take care of it. Gives me time to give each one thought. Plus the items are fun. Like the one I shot the other day, for the prompt:

"Can you guess what this is? Present a common object in an uncommon point of view."


© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 9, 2011



Dog Blog Post #355: The Daily Shoot for today was...

Illustrate time in a photograph today

... and I drew a complete blank. Lacking any better ideas, I went out back and played fetch with Zachary while Henry milled about smartly, stole the ball occasionally, and was (as usual) a pest!

I figured I'd play with shutter speed while I was out there, setting the camera to shutter priority and dialing it down as low as I thought I could hold it (1/30 from what I've read) and see if I could get "artistic blur".

Well, I got half-way there. I got blur...

How long does it take...

... but hardly artistic.


Then I tried just getting a wagging dog tail. How hard could that be. I mean, I have a picture of a dog in front of 32 cookies and another of him wearing a foil hat. Should be easy right?

I didn't even both to upload that one. (Arg!)


I finally (after taking a break) landed on the idea of the our shooting "schedule" - the list that keeps track of what assignments are due when for the ODC (Out Daily Challenge) and DS (Daily Shoot) flickr groups. I tweeted the one up top, but here are a few more...



The picture above was the one I had planned on tweeting, but I just couldn't resist the expression Zachary gave me in the photo up top (and for once, I went with what my heart told me!)

And now for a few things completely (and non-dog related) different...


Say Cheese!

(If you're curious what assignments they were for, you can click on them and see the assignment descriptions on flickr.)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Foil Hat

Foil Hat

(If you never saw the movie "Signs", then this probably makes no sense at all!)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rematch and a Question

The Rematch

Dog Blog Post #353: Well, it seems Zachary's desire for a rematch was fulfilled today. The Daily Shoot assignment was...

Make a photograph that features a grid of some sort today.

... and while I desperately tried to think of something novel, nothing came to mind. And so, out came the chess board once again. I did vary the game a bit, deciding that perhaps Zachary would rather try his paw at checkers.

He does seem much more confident in the pose above (todays) vs. last time's surprise defeat...

ds509 - A Grid (11/52)

Feeling lazy today (or rushed, if you want to put a good spin on it) I dragged the ottoman into the kitchen and set the chessboard up on it. I was so pleased with the height and general arrangement, that you will probably be seeing in again some time.

The was pure "Leave it!" + "Sit" when it comes to skills, and Henry was no where near the shoot. I only had 2 extra black cookies, and mishap would have been disastrous and I knew Zachary would leave the cookies be if I told him to, even if they were skittering all over the floor!

I actually like the previous shot a bit better, as it pertains the assignment. I like the position of the board relative to the camera better, as it brought out what shine there is in the old board. That said, I can't resist Zachary's happy face in this one. :)

Question: So what size of files do folks shoot? I've been shooting 3-6M jpegs (depending on the subject) and was contemplating going to the very best quality jpegs, which I believe pushes them up to 10-13M, but I don't know if it's worth it or not. My computer is older, and it already takes a few minutes to download from the camera to the hard drive. Just not sure it's worth it.

Any thoughts? Anyone out there shoot RAW?

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Good Chew

A Good Chew

Dog Blog Post #352: As I said in the comments on flickr...

Yes, folks. Another "tongue" shot.

But the Daily Shoot assignment was...

Make a photograph from an unusual point of view.

... and the ground was too icky outside after the recent (and continuing) showers for two freshly groomed goldens.

So there I was, lying on my tummy, camera on the floor, with my $800 lens mere inches from the boys.

(No, that probably wasn't the wisest thing in the world...)

Here are few other shots, taken in a similar fashion...

A Good Chew


Glad folks like the high-key shots. I'm sure there's a way to do it if you don't have a "high key" scene mode but I don't know what is. One of my (few) gripes is that I can't seem to find a technical description of what each scene mode does. Yes, I can figure out that "Sunset Mode" is good for sunsets, but what's going on behind the scenes to make it so? Would a list of the applied camera settings be too hard to produce?

I did pick up a new book today - "Nikon d7000 for Dummies". I've already learned a few things and I'm only on page 45, so I have great hopes for the book. Alas, the index doesn't suggest that details about scene modes will be forthcoming.

Finally, a Scavenge Challenge ("Rule of Thirds" in Black and White) and Our Daily Challenge (Inspirational) picture...

Lone Oak

My Inspirational quote?

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." -- Wayne Gretzky (a hockey player)

In this case, this shot was a "throw away" shot that I took while trying to get a good Landscape picture (also for the Scavenge Challenge). While it looks terrible in color, I rather like what happened when I turned it B&W. :)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved