Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Dog Blog Post #400: Alas, no hats today. Today the Daily Shoot assignment was ...

Make a photograph featuring the color yellow today.


The boys are already yellow. Yellow doesn't really do them any glory.

I did try to find a yellow hat.

I checked the craft store.
I checked the big box party store.

And I came up empty - at least for anything in the "cheap" range.

That left me shooting in the "cheep" range. :)

Here's another, this one with "golden" color desaturated, and yellow enhanced...

Yellow Bird

And some Our Daily Challenge shots...

"Wind (verb)"

Winding Cords

Winding Cords

... son's traditionally strung Lacrosse head that he strung entirely himself. I was really impressed!

"Too many/Too much"

Too Many Droplets

Too Many Droplets

... and yes, the last two made possible with the mist bottle. :)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 29, 2011

More Hats

Engineer Zachary

Dog Blog Post #399: Frantic Friday...

Today's Daily Shoot assignment...

We all have some sort of hobby or favorite activity. Make a photo that shows something you enjoy doing.

Gee. Hmmm. Let me see...

Yeah, like anyone wonders what I'm going to take a picture of.

Brand new hat - a Target clearance item, $6.99. There were probably a dozen other patterns of the exact same hat selling for $9.99, so I'm guessing that folks don't want to look like Train Engineers?

They're loss, my gain!

Up top is Zachary, who doesn't mind hats one bit.

Below is Henry, who didn't remove the hat, so I'm counting it a success!

Engineer Henry

... note that there was no way this hat was going to actually going to fit their heads and it had no strap, so I just folded the back end under and balanced it on top. I thinking the "balancing" part was why Henry held his muzzle up so high.

Here's Henry looking quite solemn, sans hat. He seems to be taking this "Big Boy Now" stuff a bit too much to heart!

Engineer Henry

How about a view of a happier (albeit wetter!) Henry, right before he rubbed up against my leg (like a cat) then squeegeed between my legs to get a ball...

Wet Dog

And finally, one more of the itty bitty shiny blue hat...

A Hat for Henry

Ok. I admit it. I laugh every time I see it!

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Happy Birthday Henry

Happy Birthday Henry

Dog Blog Post #398: Yes, hard to believe, but my little ball fur turned one year old today.

On the outside.

On the inside? He's still all puppy to me. :)

The Daily Shoot even cooperated, throwing us...

Go meta and make a photo of a photo today. Don't just be a copy machine, however. Get creative with composition.

Thankfully, I do print out pictures from time-to-time, and riffling though my collection turned up a pair from when Henry was a wee babe.

Baby Pictures

(Look at those ears!)

I put them in plastic slip covers (to protect from the inevitable dog drool) and put those into a plastic binder as though pages in a book. A few pieces of rolled up tape held everything where I wanted it, with the switcher for the ceiling fan being temporarily repurposed to elevate the top end of the "book" to cut down on the glare.

After getting everything set, with the camera on tripod with a two second timer (so I could drop the shutter speed a bit despite the low light in the house (caused by the high heat outside forcing most blinds to remain closed and lights off except the ones on the above mentioned ceiling fan))) I pushed the button, slid in front of Henry just out of range, and held my hand (with cookie) down low for expression.

(As Henry doesn't quite have Zachary's "look at the cookie" skill if my hand isn't there, getting him to appear to look AT the pictures wasn't going to happen.)

Anyway - ta-da! Presto, there it is.

The remaining shots were taken in the kitchen with the ubiquitous white backboard being stretched out flat, having Happy Birthday wrapping paper butterfly clipped to it, and then the ends of the clips taped to the kitchen counter (right behind were the ottoman sat in yesterday's daily shoot picture, with the camera in roughly the same location, on a tripod, once again to drop the shutter speed a bit.)

Here's another of Henry...

Happy Birthday Henry
Smile, Henry. It's your birthday!

... and one of Zachary...

Party Animal
The original Party Animal

... always up for a party, even if mom doesn't get the focus quite right.

(In my defense, BOTH dogs were actually sitting together, facing each other, but my aperture was just too big (as light was low) to get sharp focus on both.)

And what did Henry get?

He and Zachary split 1/2 of a grocery store rotisserie chicken, fresh and steaming hot when I deboned it (cooled a few minutes, of course, before I gave it to them.) They'll get the other half tomorrow.


And as I don't have anymore Scavenge Challenge shots until August rolls round, he's a few more baby pictures of Henry...

6.5 Weeks

8 Weeks (first week home)

Was he really that small?

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cool Paw Henry

Cool Paw Henry

Dog Blog Post #397: Yes, I'm having way too much fun taking hat pictures.

Just to catch up, here is yesterday's Daily Shoot assignment...

Illustrate the word equality today with a photograph that shows your favorite interpretation.

... and the picture that went with it...


Yes, real Big Cheeseburgers. Yes they sat there for a good minute and the burgers survived. No, I don't know what they were looking at - I figured they would look at me or the food and they looked at neither. Yes, they got to eat their burger after the shot was taken. Why the black? Because the Daily Shoot shows the tweeted photos on their webpage as square thumbnails, and had I uploaded the original, the only thing visible would have been the giant ottoman.

Today's Daily Shoot assignment was pretty open ended...

Rotate your camera today a bit and make a slightly off-angle photograph. Use the angle to emphasize your subject.

... either a plus or minus depending on how creatively inspired you feel for the day.

Today was not my day.

I blew off taking the pictures for most of the day. Temps are rising and I didn't really know what I wanted to do anyway. So late afternoon rolls around finding me clueless, pictureless, and running out of daylight.

Soooo... I grabbed the camera and some cookies, then went out back in hopes that inspiration would strike while I milled about smartly.

Did I mention that I grabbed a hat while I was grabbing things?

I grabbed a hat. A cheap woven grass hat - yet another big box party store find. This one came completely with ultra-tacky plastic "decorations" that I tried, and failed, to remove fearing the entire hat would unravel if I did anything to it. Will try again once I find the pliers.

And for the LAST (non-dog) Scavenger Challenge item? We have "Create a still life using only flowers, 3 fruits/vegetables and 1 vase/pitcher/cup/glass."

As I didn't have much to work with, I pulled 3 blueberries out of the freezer, snipped a few tiny feverfew flowers and leaves, grabbed a bitty glass container that I put measured spices in while cooking, and a 1 cup ramekin.


Still Life in Miniature

Done for July!

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Hot Dog

Dog Blog Post #395: The Daily Shoot certainly produced a weather appropriate assignment today - at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere...

Make a photograph conveying the feeling or thought of being hot.

... and while it wasn't as hot as it was a few weeks ago, it certainly was hot enough to get one Golden, after retrieving an appropriate amount of Lacrosse Balls, to start panting.

Any guesses as to what the "bait" was in the picture above and below: cookies or ball?

Hot Dog

(No, one isn't a crop of the other, although you'd be hard pressed to know that to look at them.)

Did some work on poses with the boys, and was so tickled at how they came out that I'm holding them for Wordless Wednesday (i.e tomorrow.) :)

And here we go with the last push of (mostly) non-dog Scavenger Challenge pictures. We have...

... things that go together (cup and saucer, shoes and socks...)

Golden and Ball
Golden and Ball

Yes, Henry does, in fact, retrieve. It's just that Zachary's faster (and/or more motivated) and thus is usually the one with the prize. There are exceptions, however, usually when the ball takes an unexpected bounce. Zachary is such a gentlemen, that he just stands there and looks pathetic until Henry drops it where I can reach it (a work in progress.)

Golden and Ball

... Splat!

Our FLOWERING Plum gifts us with copious amounts of marble-sized fruit.

... and the promised water droplet shot (for "something out of its normal context")

Catching Droplets

... not that I have the slightest idea where this inch-long cupid would be in context! Yes, this was another Mist Bottle shot, and royal pain, too, as Master Cupid kept sliding off his rather unstable flower.

That leaves me with just one more shot - a still life with 3 fruits/veggies, flowers, and a glass vase/bowl - and I'll be done!

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hello Beautiful

Hello Beautiful

Dog Blog Post #394: It was my kind of Daily Shoot assignment...

Find something beautiful and make a photo. Don't over think it.

What made it easy? The "Don't over think it" part.

Without that, I would have spent the day pacing around saying "beautiful, beautiful, beautiful" while staring at my possessions with a critical eye.

With it, I grabbed the camera, walked outside, turned around, and shot the picture above and below while Zachary stared so intensely (intently?) at the Lacrosse Ball he had just brought me that I'm surprised it didn't burst into flame.

Hello Beautiful

Zachary is so transparent. The object I use to get expression (cookie vs. Lacrosse Ball) is always reflected in his face, even if its not physically visible in the picture. The above picture, with the hard "pricked" ears, closed mouth, and locked-on gaze are all indicative of Lacrosse Ball. Flip back to yesterday's On The Rocks shot for a classic "cookie look" - soft eyes, relaxed mouth, droopy ears.

If I pretend to throw the cookie (meaning the camera is on the tripod and on timer) then I can usually get him to close his mouth (a bit counter-intuitive, but that's what he does) and his ears to come forward (is he listening for the cookie???) but I can never get the stare that goes with a Lacrosse Ball.

It's much harder to go the other way - get a relaxed look when using a Lacrosse Ball for expression. Mostly I just have to wait him out, and if he's been chasing the ball, he'll eventually have to open his mouth to pant, and his eyes will soften and his ears relax a bit at the same time.

The above thought popped into my head as I was in the bookstore today, browsing the photography books. On a whim, I picked up a Portrait Photography book and was flipping through the plethora of posing options when I realized both how different Zachary's expressions are when facing my two bait options (cookie vs. ball) -and- how limited both his expressions and poses are compared to all the poses I saw in the book.

Henry has even few posing options, but seems to show a wider variety of expressions, that I have limited ability to control.

The upshot is that I going to ponder on that further this week, and see if there are teaching opportunities there.

Speaking of which - a new (Bi-)Weekly Worksheet should be up on my BZDogs blog. The boys completed Sit and Down @ 5' (3 pictures each on 3 different days) although I really need to revise the rule as my own bad photography blew the last "sit" shoot and I'm going to have to redo it tomorrow.

Editors Note: Wandered through a big box party store (Party City) and came home with a few more "treasures" that will hopefully pop up in pictures in the near future. While I thought the options for boys were a bit limited, I saw tons of pink, frilly, shiny and/or fuzzy princess things, for those so inclined. 

Finally, the non-dog Scavenge Challenge shot (deserted buildings are so lonely)...


If you like water droplet shots, stop by tomorrow. :)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 24, 2011

On The Rocks

On the Rocks

Dog Blog Post #392: Yup, that's a real glass. And a real (full) glass bottle of Canadian Whiskey. And we all know how well dogs and glass go together. But that's what the Daily Shoot wanted...

Make a photograph of something made out of glass today.

This is "the set" (cheap cardboard backboard butterfly-clipped to the ex-pen and draped in 2 yards of fabric) with another 2 yards of fabric covering the floor and the small step-stool upon which the glass and bottle are resting.

The Sapphire top-hat makes an appearance, because the black one blended in too well with fabric on the floor.

The top hat isn't topping the Zachary, because in the shots where it was, things were too tall (too much distance from the top of the top hat to the bottom of the glass) and looked icky (technical term).

Had the camera on the tripod because the lighting was so low because the blinds were closed because it was hot out there.

(You'll have to wait for Wordless Wednesday to see Henry (or maybe all the way to Friday) although I'll freely admit that Zachary's picture (above) is clearly the better shot.)

I also put in Zachary's picture for Our Daily Challenge (ODC) - "Delicious". Maybe Zachary can get a job as an official Canadian Whiskey spokesdog!

Ok... non-dog shots. We have... Scavenge Challenge (SC) - "One of these things is not like the others"...

One of These Things...

(SC) - Transmission lines:

March of the Towers

... don't want to be climbing one of those spiny fellows!

and ODC - Nine...

NIne Little Flowers

NIne Little Flowers

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hip 2B Square

View through a Jar

Dog Blog Post #391: Warning... Frantic Friday ahead!

The Daily Shoot assignment...

Lose the rectangle today. Make a photograph with a square (1:1) aspect ratio and post it. Crop if needed.

Leaving me to ponder... Is it easy because it can be anything so long as it's chopped into a square, or is it hard because it can be anything so long as it's chopped into a square?

For a good part of the day I was thinking the latter, as I had zero idea what I wanted to do. I considered trying for another Canis lupis familiaris shot (this time trying to get Zachary not smiling) but it seemed too soon to upload such a shot, and then I found myself absent during the precious hours when the sun hits the yard Just So so that it would come out.

And then suddenly I knew exactly what I wanted.

See above

Ok... hardly a flash of brilliance, but it met the requirements and it came out like I was envisioning, so I'm counting it a success.

And finally, a few shots from yesterday (as it Frantic Friday)...


Guess Who?

... bet you can't guess who's in that last shot! :)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Canis lupus familiaris

Canis lupus familiaris

Dog Blog Post #390: Today's Daily Shoot assignment...

Make a photograph featuring nature in some fashion.

Stalking the Golden Retriever...

Canis lupus familiaris

... it might be more believable if Zachary would have stopped smiling!

Here's Henry's shots...

Canis lupus familiaris

Canis lupus familiaris

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crossed Paws

Crossed Paws

Dog Blog Post #389: Just a few comments about yesterday's Wordless Wednesday shots...

# 1. Henry was looking at me (probably hoping for cookies). Zachary was staring at the Lacrosse Ball that was sitting on the ground right in front me and a bit to my left - thus explaining his slightly skewed gaze. That was for Daily Shoot (DC) "Stairs and/or ramps", as well as CM101 "Sit @ 5 ft".

#2. Henry's head, nice and PRICKLY (per Our Daily Challenge (ODC) requirement) after playing in the water.

#3. (Sigh) Yes, Christmas in July, as Scavenge Challenge (SC) wanted "Rings a Bell" and it's the only bell I could lay my hands on.

#4. And finally, I believe the cute little critter SITTING (another ODC) on the rose sepal is a Katydid nymph.

As for today - we have for the Daily Shoot...

Make a photograph today that features the use of low contrast to create a mood or feeling.

Yes, I did position Henry's paws to be CROSSED (ODC), but as he kept them that way until I tossed him cookies, it must not have bugged him. I would have liked to have done this somewhere with a little more light, but the temps have climbed back up into the high 90's, keeping us inside and enjoying the air-conditioning.

Here's a few more...

Crossed Paws

Crossed Paws

And finally, for SC and my "wish for the world", we have...

Bee Happy
"Bee Happy"


© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 20, 2011