Monday, April 30, 2012

Dog & Butterfly


Dog Blog Post #674: Today's Daily Dog Challenge was...

182. Simple Background - Yesterday we went with an interesting background. See how a simple background changes your perception of things!

... and you can't get much simpler than black!

I combined this with an item from the newly posted May Scavenge Challenge list - "2. Cute critter of the month: butterflies and caterpillars"

(And got to trot my origami $10 bill butterfly again! - spent forever folding that thing.)


Our Daily Challenge - April 30, 2012 - "Animal"

I wasn't planning on putting Henry "to work"...


... but he voiced his displeasure at being left out while I was photography Zachary, then ran into "position" as soon as I let him into the kitchen.

What can I say, the boys love their work. :)

The outline of his hot spot clip is clearly visible, but at least the hot spot itself (not visible) is continuing to heal.

Cat & Butterfly

Since when did Kitty become a "regular"?

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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Still Recovering


Dog Blog Post #673: Today's Daily Dog Challenge was..

180. Interesting Background - Take a picture of your dog with an interesting background. Pretty, scenic, or even unusual - how you interpret is left to you!

I wanted to use Zachary for this, as Henry is still convalescing from his hot spot (his right cheek, under his ear flap), but as soon as we went outside, all Zachary could think about was The Ball. Part of this is just who Zachary is - and extremely smart, eager to please, Golden Retriever. And for all his brains, it is beyond his comprehension that anything can be more important than that age old ritual of

You throw it, and I bring it back

It doesn't help that Henry hasn't been very interested in playing with his Uncle, no doubt because bitey-face when you have an open sore on your face loses some appeal.

In any case, Zachary was being a ball brain, and so modeling duties - at least if I wanted to take the shot outside - was going to fall on Henry's furry shoulders.

These shots were taken in the one (and only) scrap of backyard that doesn't look destined for the compost heap. Alas, the lighting was a terrible mix of harsh dapples, and these shots were the only ones that were worth saving.

Puppy Poparazzi
"Can't a guy recover in peace?"

Henry's ear fur is looking scruffy because Zachary keeps snuffling around to keep tabs on his buddy's recovery. There actually isn't anything wrong with his ear flaps, but in order to investigate the problem area, Zachary gently noses the flaps out of the way, getting them wet and, well, snuffled, in the process.

Where's Zachary?

Behind me, "bouncing" his Lacrosse ball in hopes I'll notice and throw it.

Yes, he bounces it. He drops it, catches it on the rebound, and drops it again.

Over and over again. Very persistent.

Yes, I threw The Ball once the shots were taken.

Over and over again.

As for Monday Mischief - I'd say the nasty hot spot wins the prize this weekend, although I didn't have the heart to take a picture of it.

Henry does want to thank his well-wishers, and let everyone to know he's feeling a bit better already. Shaving the fur off was obviously worth it, and things are starting to dry out and heal over around the edges.

He's a brave pup, and doesn't seem to mind me tending it.

He clearly appreciates my cleaning off the underside of the ear flap covering the hot spot. Every couple hours I take a warm, wet paper towel and "melt" away the sticky, crusty goo that ends up on that ear with gentle stroking motions, then dry and fluff the fur with more paper towels. He leans his head against me the whole time, then looks bummed when I'm done.

I'm actually not sure if he finds me fiddling with his ears soothing in general, or if the sticky crusties bug him.

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Poor Henry!

Nikon D7000 (and Henry)

Dog Blog Post #672: Poor Henry - that thick luscious coat of his became his downfall yesterday, as a hand-size weeping hot spot developed in just a few hours under his right ear.

Of course, I noticed it Friday night, and when I called the vet on Saturday they were "full".


My dog face looks like a slimy waterfall and you're "full"?!?!?!

"Try some cool compresses with hydrogen peroxide."




Off to the internet to search for "hot spot peroxide". Yes,  I did find something, rather nicely written, too. Is it right? Does it work? I have no idea. But the instructions seemed clear and doable.

And started with "1. Using the clippers and scissors, try to trim away as much hair as possible from the wound."


Into the kitchen with scissors in hand.

"Oh, Henry!"

(blink blink blink)

Such trust. I'm not sure I would have sat there blinking so happily if there was someone leaning over me with scissors.

"Ring Ring..." goes the phone.

"We have a cancelation, would you like the spot?"

Well, I certainly jumped on that one! Now I have a mountain of meds (ear cleaner, yeast killer (as he had an ear infection as well), hot spot spray, steroid pills) and a complex chart of what is given when and for how long that puts any training chart I made to shame.

And Henry has a shaved cheek. You can just make it out in the picture above in the upper left corner.

After all that, I did manage to get a shot with a dog (above) to keep my 365 going and finish off the Scavenge Challenge for April, but not the Daily Dog Challenge - I figured Henry wasn't up to visiting a Landmark, but wouldn't be happy if I took Zachary and left him behind. We'll find a time later this week to get it.

I also didn't get my blog post out until... well... now.

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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tug or Chew?




Dog Blog Post #671: Frantic Friday!

Nope, not a one of those shots are from today.

Those are from yesterday's Scavenge Challenge Rope challenge, which I didn't have time to process until now. Hence the Frantic!

This poorly lit shot was from today...

My Buddy

For Daily Dog Challenge "179. With A Friend" PLUS Our Daily Challenge - April 27, 2012 - "Paths/Pavement".

My poor flowers don't stand a chance.

New Toy


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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Road Trip?

Road Trip!
"Oh - he he he... Hi Mom!"
"Eh hem... and where do you two think you're going?"

Eh Hem...

Road Trip!
Good answer!
(Where did I put that number for the Puppy Sitter???)

Dog Blog Post #670: Hmmm... todays Daily Dog Challenge was a toughie, as Real Life prevented me from getting together with camera and the boys until it was already dark.

The challenge was...

178. On the Road - Take a picture of your dog going somewhere today! It can be in a car, on a walk, or anything else that strikes your fancy!


Our Daily Challenge - Apr 26, 2012 - "Just Three Colors"

I'm not actually sure if Black counts as a color in this case, because if it does, then I have four. But if Black isn't then perhaps White shouldn't be either.

Oh dear.

Perhaps we aught not think about it too much.

So what is really going on in the second shot? Well, there was a ramekin of treats sitting on the table out of view behind the big canister. That's what Henry was dutifully staring at, as I had just moments before pointed right at it, then gave the stay signal to "freeze" the pose.

Zachary was staring at it, but flicked his gaze up at me just as I took the picture.

I was standing just off camera to the left (dogs right) with the camera remote, waving my arm around (probably what caused Zachary to look up) trying to get the remote to see the camera past the light umbrella.


The end of the month is fast approaching, and there are still a few Scavenge Challenge shots left to take. Here's the shot for "14. Tie up your photostream with rope 1/2" (12-13 mm.) or larger." -

Yes, that is in indeed a large tug toy - brand new - bought special for this shot!
After this shot was taken, the boys played tug for a minutes and then Henry started to shred it.

... and finally the stuffed buddies gave me hand with: "8. Open your closet and make an interesting, imaginative shot. Think creatively!"

Caught in the Act
Caught in the act!

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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Oh, Henry!

Oh, Henry!
Oh, Henry!

Dog Blog Post #669: I'd love to say that I have Henry trained to stick his tongue out on cue, but alas, not surprisingly, that wouldn't be true.

Nope, the Precious Puppy is fond of grazing on the "lawn" (practically a meadow at this point) and often gets a piece stuck on his tongue or in his teeth. This prompts a good deal of licking, not unlike that old Got Milk commercial with the dog and the peanut butter.

Anyway, this resulted in an otherwise random shot being perfect for...

Our Daily Challenge - Apr 25, 2012 - "Expression"

... and acceptable for...

Daily Dog Challenge 177. Natural Elements - Take a picture of your dog with or in some kind of natural element today!

... as the Backyard is clearly the natural habitat of the Suburban dog.

Of course, even "professional" models have the occasional bad pictures..

Not exactly the "expression" I was looking for

Well, except for Mr. Zachary, of course.

Suburban Dog

While it didn't meet the challenges, my favorite shot of the day was actually the one below...

Suburban Dog

... which I had some fun with in Aperture, pushing sliders around:

Artistic Fetch?

Editor's Note: Actually, I don't brush/comb the boys before pictures. Their fur just looks that way. Zachary is always Mr. Impeccable, with perfectly straight fur that seems to be made from teflon as everything falls right out of it. 

Contrast that with Henry, who seems to have perennial Bed Head except for his ruff, which is thick and nearly straight. At the moment, the fur on the ridge of his back is all standing up and curled toward his head. I have no idea why. That's just Henry for you!

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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On the Move

On the Move

On the Move

On the Move

Dog Blog Post #668: Almost Wordless Wednesday...

Daily Dog Challenge "176. On The Move"


Our Daily Challenge - Apr 24, 2012 - "Change"

... gives Henry retrieving his favorite stuffie instead of Zachary and his beloved Lacrosse Ball.

Talk to the Tail
Talk to the tail

Had to have at least one Zachary With Ball picture

The Eyes Have It
Here's looking at you, kid

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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Fast and the Fuzzy

The Fast and the Fuzzy

Dog Blog Post #667: Got an excuse to play with shutter speed today, as the Daily Dog Challenge of...

175. Fuzzy - Take a picture that shows us your dog's fuzzy side today! If your dog isn't fuzzy, think outside the box on this one.

... collided with...

Our Daily Challenge - April 23, 2012 - "Fast"

For reference, I usually shoot at least 1/250s when the boys are retrieving; 1/500s is even better, but my yard is dappled shade for all but the dead of winter, with only two small areas of full sun, and if I shoot that fast I end up tossing a lot of shots due to poor exposure as the boys run in and out of the shade.

The shot up top was dialed down to 1/125s, which gave Zachary's coat a nice "flow" and the picture what I hoped was a sufficent amount of fuzz. It's probably not something I'd choose to for a photo album, but I think it worked here (i.e. was the best of what I'd shot.)

It helped that the camera closed down the aperture to f11 (I was in shutter priority and Zachary was in the sun) giving me fairly good depth of field that somewhat compensated for the fuzzy bits.

The Fast and the Fuzzy

The shot above was shot at 1/500s. The fur has been pretty cleanly captured on Zachary, but to keep my "request" of ISO 100, the camera opened the aperture up all the way. Since I was at full zoom (200mm) that put the aperture at f5.6 - leaving some of Zachary and all of Henry out of focus. Even fully open at that zoom range, the camera still had to tweak the ISO up to 110 to get good exposure.

Happy Henry
Happy Henry

Henry wasn't hurrying anywhere today (above) and the 1/500s I was shooting at that point was serious overkill. (ISO 100, f/5, 75mm)

That Tail

A terrible shot (above), as it managed to be both over- and underexposed, and blurry to boot. But I love Henry's tail, and it shows the strong extremes of light my yard has. Henry's tail is in the south sunny spot, you can see the north sunny spot in the middle of the picture, and Zachary is standing in the shade between. Total distance pictured? Perhaps 60 feet. I could have backed up another dozen feet, but that would have pushed me back into shade. (1/500s, f/5.6, 130mm, ISO 110)

Speaking of Henry's tail...

That Tail

It just seems to have a life of its own.

Happy Zachary
"You throw it, and I bring it back."

Photographically, the shot above was the best of the bunch - although neither fast nor fuzzy. (1/500s, f/5.6, 200mm, ISO 250 -- focus point right on Zachary's nose.)

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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 22, 2012



Dog Blog Post #666: Hmm.... rather ominous post number. But we press on...

Today has got to be the easiest Daily Dog Challenge yet -

174. Ready To Go - Dogs show excitement differently, and about different things. Show us how your dog reacts to whatever excites them - walk, toy, car ride...

So I got out the camera, added the flash, then laid in wait for hubby to appear and grab the leashes from the leash basket. Right on cue, hubby entered the room, walked toward the bookcase (containing said basket (containing said leashes)) and then asked what has got to be the stupid question a dog owner asks their dog...

Hubby: "Who wants to go for a walk?"

Yeah - we all say it, and I'm as guilty as my better half, if not more so, but who are we kidding? Do we really think either one of the boys is suddenly going to lay down and say, "Not me."?

Do we really think they are going to suddenly lay down and say, "Not me."?


But I digress.

There I was, laying in wait, when hubby headed toward the bookcases. There was a flurry of furry, as the boys spun, twirled, and bounced across the floor...

.... bouncing right out the top of the picture.



Zoom out.

Hubby was still standing there, dangling and jangling the leashes.

It sounded like the Budweiser Clydesdales were trotting through the family room.

Zachary was still spinning.

Henry was still bouncing.

Rats - I was still cutting his head off.

Zoom out.





... (sigh)

Who would have thought that Henry could jump that high?


In other news...

I wonder if the boys realize that Kitty has been studying enemy tactics?

Cat Chasing for Dummies
Definitely mischief in the making
Editor's Note: No worries Tucker (BIGDAWG AND FREEWAY) if the boys knew anything about Cat Chasing, Zachary wouldn't have needed to buy a book!

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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cat Chasing for Dummies

Cat Chasing for Dummies

Dog Blog Post #665: I don't know what's worse, that Zachary actually bought this book for his young nephew…

Scavenge Challenge April 2012 - "21. Create a "product shot" (advertisement) for a real or imaginary brand." (spare)

112 Pictures in 2012 - "#99. Gift"

… or that he used my credit card to do it!

In either case, it is certainly…

Our Daily Challenge - April 21, 2012 - "Recipe"

… a recipe for disaster!

Daily Dog Challenge 173. What a Character - If your dog were any kind of character, what/who would s/he be? Go natural, or costumes and props. Show us what endears your dog to you.

Zachary is an intellectual and a born mentor. He seems to feel responsible for Henry, and wants him to grow up to be "proper dog".

Apparently, this includes Cat Chasing, and what better place to learn the basics than in a "For Dummies" book?

As for Henry, while he certainly listens to his elders, how much actually sinks in is hard to say.

Which makes him a pretty typical teenager. :)

Three Amigos

Three Amigos

Editor's Note: Believe it or not, there actually is a web site that let's you easily create your own "For Dummies" cover image, and even upload your own picture to go with it - although I had to create the "spine" myself.

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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 20, 2012

Going Wild

Growing Wild

Growing Wild


Dog Blog Post #664: The Daily Dog Challenge for today was...

172. Shadow Play - See if you can make an interesting capture of your dog's shadow today!


Our Daily Challenge - April 20, 2012 - "Growing Wild"

... and I had about 5 minutes to take it. So I grabbed my camera, a few cookies (in case Henry actually comes up with the ball, he expects to be paid for it) and ran out into the backyard.

I threw the ball, Happy-Snappied a few shots, and I was done - much to Zachary's dismay.

Later (MUCH later) after reviewing my shots, I composed the following...
Dearest Husband,

Not to be a nag or anything, but have you seen the backyard lately?

You know that green stuff that is supposed to look like someone laid verdant green carpeting on the ground?

Well it's well past the shag stage and is nearly as high as a Retriever's eye.

As for Henry, he provided the best shadow of the day...

Skinny Shadow
"Look momma, I'm a svelt dog!"
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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tea Time

Tea Time

Dog Blog Post #663: Today's Daily Dog Challenge was...

171. What Time Is It?" - Isn't it funny how our dogs all know when it's time for something important to them. What time of day does your dog love?

... and while nothing beats fetch or a walk, photo shoots might well come in third - no doubt to the high quality (and quantity) of treats that goes along with it.

Today they invited Baby Chick to join them as they enjoyed their treats on a...

Scavenge Challenge April 2012 - "20. The metal copper has many uses. Show one which is not related to coins."

… copper coffee/tea set that we were given as a wedding gift many years ago.

Frankly, while lovely to look at, it made for a terrible set as copper (the sleeve) and brass (the handle) are both excellent conductors of heat and so you couldn't pick up the cup.

It also came with a pot with a copper cover, but as it was domed, it reflected the entire room, and was quickly booted from the table today.

Tea Time


Editor's Note: On a trial basis, I have once again removed restrictions on comments for posts up to two weeks old. Here's hoping the spammers have moved on.

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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 18, 2012









Dog Blog Post #662:

Daily Dog Challenge "170. Sharp - Make a sharp picture of your dog today, using any interpretation of the word that you like!"

Our Daily Challenge - April 18, 2012 - "Washing"

While there may have been a time or two… or three… or more… where my pictures have been, shall we say, staged?

Today was NOT one of those days.

Nope, today you see the boys actual pre-photo shoot routine, all captured thanks to time delay with a 3 second delay between shots.

I must say the look of surprise on their furry faces was pretty funny when I promptly turned off the camera after having given them such an extended and thorough wipe down.

Here's Zachary's shoot...




There's something to be said for maturity. :)

Editor's Note: So - did I miss a memo? Why is more and more blogs that I used to comment on are now requiring a Wordpress account/password to comment? An account/password I don't have? And it isn't even all Wordpress blogs - just some. :(

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© 2011 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved