Sunday, October 30, 2011

In the Ribbons

In the Ribbons

Dog Blog Post #492: Sun was out, weather was glorious, the boys were looking particularly fine, and so I pulled out the old "Show Dog" tape for...

ODC - Oct. 30, 2011 - "Tape"

A VHS Tape, purchased years ago, which is…

111 Pictures in 2011 - "#46. Useless"

… useless in our DVD household.

And then because the light was sooo lovely...

111 Pictures in 2011 - "#21. light and shadow"

Glowing Zachary

... and finally a "just because" shot:

Precious Puppy
Portrait of a Precious Puppy

Editor's Note: Yes, I know he's technically not a puppy anymore, but I just don't have the heart to tell him.

Today was a good day for coat colors, as both boys look pretty close to real life.

For some reason, it is surprisingly hard to capture Henry's true coat color. Zachary often comes out Zachary colored and Beau always looked like Beau, so I have no idea what's up with Henry.

He either comes out washed out or too pink (not that there's anything wrong with that!) or too yellow or too tan or too... something.

I hate flash and rarely use it, so I understand that indoor pictures are going to be skewed by the lights, but you would think most outdoor shots would look pretty close - wouldn't you?

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Big Kitty

Big Kitty

Dog Blog Post #491: Today just sort of slipped away, and before I knew it, it was almost too late to get a shot.


111 Pictures in 2011 - "#38. Big"
Artistic Temperament Scavenger Hunt - "97. Must admit that it does scare me a bit"

Big Kitty
"What ARE you?"

Big Kitty
"There's a WHAT?"

Big Kitty
Henry's new best friend

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 28, 2011



Dog Blog Post #490: Because we all know how much dogs like lemons...

Our Daily Challenge - Oct 26, 2011 - "When Life Gives You Lemons…"
111 Pictures in 2011 - "#3. dessert (as food)"



... you make Lemon Meringue Pie!

Oddly enough, when the shoot was over, the boys actually wanted the lemons, and when I finally broke down and gave then a small bit of the pie filling, they went nuts over it.

I didn't even think dogs were supposed to like citrus.


And because you can never have too many pictures of a happy retrieving dog (at least I can't)...

111 Pictures in 2011 - "#26. Happiness is…"
Artistic Temperament Scavenger Challenge "#7. Joy"

Happiness Is...

... and one "Just Because"...

An Ear Full
An ear full

Yes, Henry has ahold of Zachary's ear.

No, I don't know why.

Yes, he grabs it as often as he possibly can.

No, Zachary doesn't seem to care at all.

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rock Paper Scissors

Rock Paper Scissors

Dog Blog Post #489: Yup, you read that correctly...

Our Daily Challenge - Oct 22, 2011 - "Rock, Paper, Scissors"

As Zachary only knows one sign (Rock!) you'd think I would have done better...

Rock Paper Scissors

Other than the random nature of when the camera (on tripod on timer) would take the picture relative to when Zachary would offer his paw, this was an easy shot.

Zachary has a well established "Shake" cue, and after warming him up with half a dozen shakes in rapid succession, he thereafter offered his Rock (paw) when I threw Scissors without batting an eye.

Editor's Note: While Henry does have a nice shake of either paw, and probably would have done just as good a job as Zachary, I'd spent soooooo long trying to get a good shot with Zachary (due to afore mentioned timing issues) that I didn't feel up to repeating the shoot with Henry.

And then we have...

111 Pictures in 2011 - "#70. Blue".

Artistic Temperament Scavenger Challenge - "#38. Blue by you"


Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor doggie a bone,
When she got there
The cupboard was bare
So the poor little doggie had none.


© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Going Green


Dog Blog Post #488: Today, Zachary got to show off his skills for...

Our Daily Challenge - Oct 24, 2011 - "Going Green"
Artistic Temperament Scavenger Hunt "#89. Reduced, Reused, Recycled"

He loves this trick, and once he figured out he was supposed to put the paper in the bag (in the past I've used a can) and not bring me the bag, he was off to the races.

I will admit, however, that did take a bit to make the connection of paper-in-bag.

In the end, after much confusion over multiple minutes that included him bringing me both wads and bag, me trying to demonstrate the wads were supposed to go in the bag (he retrieved them back out) and me making a variety of futile hand gestures - I finally just tossed a wad away from him.

He raced after it, picked it up, and dropped it neatly into the bag.


(Sometimes I can be such an idiot.)

After that, he was practically flawless.


Henry doesn't do recycling. He's more into reuse.


Editor's Note: (a) Yesterday's green raincoat is actually my raincoat, since the boys' coats don't have hoods (b) Precious Puppies don't wear raincoats with hoods, and (c) the boys are bathed twice a month and are most definitely NOT stinky! :)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Rain?




© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Go Sharks!

Go Sharks!

Dog Blog Post #486: For today we had...

Our Daily Challenge - Oct 22, 2011 - "Begins with J"… as in Jersey.
111 Pictures in 2011 - "#76. Clothing"
Artistic Temperament Scavenger Hunt "#62. Fan"

Go Sharks!

Editor's Note: Was saddened to hear that Lilac of Tales and Tails journeyed to the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. Seems like it's been a rough few weeks in the blogging world.

Each time I hear of another friend who has moved on, I read again the poem sent, by a vet I'd never met, when I lost Beau...

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle; easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we would still live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan."

-- Irving Townsend

... and then I hug my boys and cry.

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Color Purple


Dog Blog Post #485: While I still mourn the loss of the Daily Shoot (insert moment of silence here) there is one shiny up-side...

... I can repeat solutions to prompts without feeling guilty.

And so I did.


Our Daily Challenge - Oct. 23, 2011 - "Purple"
111 Picture in 2011 - "#85. Curved Line"

The purple part should be pretty obvious (and some might recall a shot I did very much like this, using an Orange ball.)

For the "curved line" prompt, I described it as follows...

While it's not hard to find a curved line on a dog (or a ball!) I find the line from nose to corner of mouth to be a particularly smooth one, as though someone broke out their french curves and carefully drew it.

And then we have:

Our Daily Challenge - Oct 18, 2011 - "Rule of Thirds"
111 Pictures in 2011 - "#35. Flowers"

Henry and the Lantana
(Love the "wink")

Yeah, the "flowers" part is a bit weak, but there just aren't that many flowers still blooming in the yard this time of year!

Editors Note: Ok, I've had it. I'm tired of scrolling through 111 threads in the discussion for the flickr group "111 Pictures in 2011" trying to find the right one to add my picture to. Soooo... I created my own linked list (below) and I will bookmark this post, and I will struggle no longer.

So there.

1. buttons
2. romantic
3. dessert (as in food)
4. icicle/cold
5. spicy
6. boat
7. memories
8. web
9. puddles
10. favourite season
11. old building
12. sad
13. handmade
14. blurr
15. holiday/vacation
16. damaged
17. new
18. street
19. high viewpoint
20. low viewpoint
21. light and shadow
22. black and white
23. two/twins
24. the written word
25. bridge
26. happiness is :
27. fruit
28. vegetable
29. leaf
30. up
31. down
32. steps/stairs
33. fence
34. sky
35. bokeh
36. water
37. small
38. big
39. earth
40. wind
41. fire
42. glass
43. numbers
44. sand
45. hand(s)
46. useless
47. humor
48. spooky
49. lock/key(s)
50. rustic
51. candle
52. sugar & spice
53. white on white
54. view from the window
55. minimal
56. distance
57. wood
58. metal
59. texture
60. relaxation
61. body
62. books
63. game
64. vintage
65. flowers
66. hobby
67. still life
68. motion
69. night shot
70. blue
71. red
72. orange
73. green
74. black
75. jewelry
76. clothing
77. childrens toy
78. vehicle
79. bicycle
80. machinery
81. household appliance
82. sunset/sunrise
83. self
84. straight line
85. curved line
86. converging lines
87. square
88. round
89. food
90. drink
91. portrait
92. celebration
93. flag
94. seat/bench
95. drip/drop/splash
96. pattern
97. tree
98. stranger
99. family
100. friend
101. bird
102. pet
103. in the workplace
104. household task
105. hot
106. favourite photographic topic/style
107. in the water
108. reminder of old times
109. unusual angle
110. on the road
111. the end

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Natural Texture

Dog Blog Post #484 Dogs were out of pocket most the day, so I relied on a late afternoon sunbeam and an easy prompt:

Our Daily Challenge - "Natural Texture"
111 Pictures in 2011 - "#59. Texture"

That's the top of Henry's fuzzy head, of course, after I'd pet it the wrong way a few times with a slightly damp hand to get the hair as up-on-end as it was going to get.

It's a trick that works well for Henry (but not at all for Zachary) and I've used it several times, like these...

ds428 - Soft
Six Months old

ds475 - Low Contrast
8 Months old

ds513 - Texture
Extreme closeup at 9 Months old

With the boys out of the house, I focused (cough) on my LAST Scavenger Challenge shot, and the one I had been dreading the most:

"25) This month's Education Center topic is Simplicity. First, you must find a piece of old wood (driftwood, for example). Display it on a dark background with no other obvious visual background element. You may use some small accents (a flower, a stone, etc.) to create interest, but attempt to create a still life with the style and elegance seen in Japanese art."


I don't care for still life shots, because (a) I'm never satisfied with how things look and (b) lighting is a pain.

Today, I was outside around 1pm taking pictures in full sunlight of piece I filched from the tan bark under a Crape Myrtle tree in front of an office building.

The background was the stretchy black velvet, which was a total pain to work with as it was extremely reflective in that light unless you positioned it "just so" compared to the sun - and even "just so" I still had sparkles. The fabric was draped over a kitchen chair, and held taught behind the chair with a butterfly clip.

The flower is a Lantana - one of the few things still blooming in my yard.

I took over 80 pictures, and of those 80 there were only two that I would even consider uploading. The other one is below, with a few of last years Crape Myrtle seed pots added for interest. Alas, I blew out the highlights on that one.


© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 21, 2011



Dog Blog Post #483: I set out to take a picture of "Texture", but it wasn't meant to be.

When I sat down at the computer, hours later, the pictures I had snapped in a hurry were both overly washed out and too dark (yeah team) and simply weren't going to work.

Plan B: See What Else was on the camera.

What Else turned out to be a series of washed out, murky, but otherwise decent shots of the boys playing fetch (who'd a thunk it?)

Hmm.... what to do with that?

Turns out the most recent prompt for Our Daily Challenge was "Black, White, and Grainy" - and thus you have the fairly heavily processed picture up top (mostly to bring out "grain".)

This also works for 111 Pictures in 2011 - "22. Black and White".

The rest of the shots were taken a few days ago, and have no purpose in life other than to (hopefully) make somebody smile...

St. Zachary

St. Zachary

St. Zachary

St. Zachary

I'm calling this the "St. Zachary" collection, as I'm pretty sure he is one of the world's most tolerant dogs.

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 20, 2011

(Not Really) Monday

Monday morning comes too damn early.

Dog Blog Post #482: No, I didn't get lost in the calendar. Today I tackled...

Our Daily Challenge - Oct 17, 2011 - "Monday"

Yup. Just one group today.

I considered using it for "Two/Twins" for 111 Pictures in 2011.

But I didn't.

That's not to say that if I get crunched for time I might not change my mind!

I also considered getting a shot of the boys "preparing for school" - complete with backpacks, lunch bags, and books.

But I didn't.

Just too much work for a "Monday" shot!


© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Method Acting


Dog Blog Post #481: I think the picture kinda speaks for itself...

Our Daily Challenge - Oct 16, 2011 - "Sleep"
111 Pictures in 2011 - "#60. Relaxation"

Is he really sleeping in that picture?


Would he be if I wasn't lying on my stomach on the floor a few feet in front of him with a camera going click-click-click?

Absolutely, and probably was moments after I left.

Aside: I love to watch dogs sleeping - they always look so peaceful and worry free. In reading the dog blogs, it's also clear that not all dogs sleep the same way. The greyhounds are all limbs, the fluffy lap dogs look like something you would see perched on a store shelf, and Basset Hounds are all ears (then again, they are all ears no matter what they are doing.)

One of my favorite views of a sleeping golden is the one shown above, when the lips are loose and lay on the floor like puddle drapes.

And then we have:

111 Pictures in 2011 - "#45. Hand(s)"
Artistic Temperament Scavenger Challenge "#100. A part of me"


As I made the description fairly long and detailed on flickr, I simply reproduced it below...

Zachary getting prepped for his "Nerdy" shot.

All the items were laid out, Zachary was on his mark, and the camera was on the high tripod in timer mode.

Over time, I have settled on the timer settings of a 5 second initial delay followed by 4 pictures, with a 2 seconds delay between each shot.

Any longer of an initial delay, and I might miss a hard to hold/arrange shot (think "cookies on the nose".)

Any shorter and it's not really a delay.

The number of shots taken is somewhat arbitrary, but I find after 5+(4-1)*2=11 seconds, the boys are usually ready for a break and a cookie reward.

THIS shot reveals (in addition to me) that 5 seconds isn't quite enough time to go from behind the camera to the ground and then position the glasses "just so" - and I (and more importantly for this prompt - my hands) were caught in the act.

After a few "fails" like this, I switched to staying in position and just reaching up and pushing the camera button to get the timer going, which bought me the second or two I needed to get the glasses on and me out of the way.

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011


Mosler MT900S

Dog Blog Post #479: Zachary is clearly taken with the Mosler MT900S, satisfying...

Our Daily Challenge - Oct. 12, 2011 - "Automobile"
111 Pictures in 2011 - "#78. Vehicle"
Artistic Temperament Scavenger Hunt "#87.Transportation"
Scavenge Challenge October 2011 - "17) Anything with wheels"

Hey, it's not my fault so many groups have the same prompt!

The rest of the shots will seem mundane after that - we have...

Our Daily Challenge - Oct 14, 2011 - "Luck"
111 Pictures in 2011 - #17. new"
Artistic Temperament Scavenger Challenge "#56. One Foot"


... surprisingly hard to find a shiny penny this late in the year.

WARNING: Did you know that US Pennies minted from 1982 on are toxic to dogs? The new coins are almost entirely zinc, clad in a small amount of copper. A single penny can lead to zinc poisoning and kill a dog.

(And on that cheery note, we move on to...)

Our Daily Challenge - Oct 13, 2011 - "Eyes"
Artistic Temperament Scavenger Hunt - "#17. The Eyes Have It"


... complete with a teenie-tiny little me, reflected in Henry's eye.

A lot of prompts, I know, but I was trying to put some distance between what I was working on when it was due, as my access to the computer has been iffy of late (son + school = homework) and Our Daily Challenge seems a bit inconsistent as to when they close topics off.

(Prompts are good for 7 days, but the exact hour they expire seems somewhat open to moderator interpretation.)

This has me working tomorrow (Tuesday) on the prompt that is due Friday. Hmmm... need to find a pair of glasses for that one. And a grid. Perhaps a pen or pencil of some sort. Hmmmm....

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 16, 2011

101 Uses...

Book Title

Dog Blog Post #478: Weren't we just here a few days ago?

As I wrote a rather lengthy description on flickr, I'm going to be lazy and paste it in here:

Our Daily Challenge - Oct 11, 2011 - "Book/Movie Title"

"101 Uses for a Golden Retriever" by Denver Bryan

And if unloading the drier isn't one of the uses in the book, it darned well should be!

Truth in Advertising: No, I don't actually ask Zachary to unload the drier, although he really does do it. I taught it as a trick two years ago in about 2 weeks time, and I'm not sure I've had him do it since!

111 Pictures in 2011 - "#66. Hobby"

Dog training (my own dogs, for fun) is one of my favorite hobbies. And in the not so distant past, I was very much into making videos of the boys learning and/or showing off their latest skills (the boys then were Beau and Zachary.)

Soooo if you want to see Zachary learn this trick, it is on their YouTube channel:


The final product is shown in last one, with a setup the same as you see above except for type of camera used.

Book Title

Book Title

The "official" picture is actually the last one, above. But it didn't make as much sense to show it first in the progression here.

I really was shocked that Zachary remembered exactly what he was supposed to do, given it had been so long since he had last done it.

Contrast this with Henry, who managed to forget what "Down" meant over a three day "Down" training hiatus - but only outside. Inside he's still quite snappy.


And here's a Scavenge Challenge shot...

Scavenge Challenge October 2011 - "21) By request, create a classic still life using ONLY a basket, leaves and two other objects."

Still Life

No, Still Life isn't my thing. No dogs in it. :)

© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved