Thursday, January 31, 2013



I haven't had much luck with High Key of late, so after Henry was done I reset with a black background for Zachary's shots.


Dog Blog Post #949

Photography Assignment

"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

Our first dog Beau (darker dog in the second image in the right sidebar, above, the lighter being a young Zachary) passed away suddenly and quite unexpectedly a few years ago.

It was the weekend and our regular vet was closed. So we drove to the 24 hr Vet in the next town so we could have our beloved boy cremated.

A few days a later a lovely card arrived, compete with a tenderly worded hand written message of condolence, of considerable length, from a vet I had never met.

Included on a slip of paper was the quote above, which I added to the bottom of my blog as it gave me great comfort at the time.

A few weeks later we brought home baby Henry, just 8 weeks old, the son of Beau's half-sister.

I remember watching the puppies play at the breeder, hoping Beau would help us pick the right pup to join our family.

The Big Dog didn't let us down.

Daily Dog Challenge "458. Undying Love"

Our Daily Challenge - Jan 31, 2013 - "Immortal"

Behind the Scenes

I'm still working on off-camera flash high key shots. These certainly came out much better than my last efforts (which you never saw - yes, they were that bad!) but I'm still not there.

It didn't help that I forgot to turn off the overhead (incandescent) kitchen lights, so I had to do Color Balance Battle back on the computer.


Today I positioned the CFLs, with their umbrella's, to either side and just in front of the white background, pointing AT the background at about a 45 degree angle.

They gave a nice, even, bright wash over the background, which seems a definite improvement over my first botched effort.

The flash was sitting near center, in front, on a stand, and bounced off the ceiling with the bounce card extended but directing the flash away from Henry. This seemed to eliminate shadows on the background which plagued my first efforts.

At least I remembered to off the overheads when I switched to Zachary (and white to black).

Oh well, there's always next time.

Best of the Rest

"Four score and seven years ago...."

"Cookies, please?"

Golden Glow
"Ooooohhhhhhmmmm "


I miss my Big Dog.

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© 2013 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What A Tangled Web



Say Ahhhh!

Fluff and Stuff


Dog Blog Post #948

The stars aligned and produced a "Bitey-Face" prompt.

Photography Assignment

As always, the pictures look far more…

Daily Dog Challenge "457. Dramatic"

… than it actually was.

How …

Our Daily Challenge - Jan 30, 2013 - "Intricate"

… plays into things depends on the picture you are looking at. Sometimes it's their tangled position and sometimes it's pattern (fur, roof of mouth, nose...)

It's Mine!

Yes, Virginia, sometimes Henry actually gets the Lacrosse Ball.

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© 2013 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

That Explains It


What are you doing with all those single socks???

That Explains It
Zachary: "Socks? What socks?"
The ones on your paws?

The ones I've been looking for.

My fuzzy socks.

Dad's Argyle.

Son's Scull-and-Crossed-Lacrosse-Sticks sock.

(Scull-and-Crossed-Lacrosse-Sticks stock???)

That Explains It
Zachary: "It's all Kitty's fault. She did it. And she even has... a Spooky Sock!"

That's not a Spooky Sock.

That's a Holey Sock.

That Explains It
Zachary: "Really? That's amazing! Call the church. Call the press!!!"
Henry: "I bet it's worth a lot of Cookies!"
No no no... not Holy... Holey.

As in full of holes.

That Explains It
Zachary: "Oh.  I knew that."
Henry: "No Cookies."

Dog Blog Post #946

Photography Assignment

I've always wondered where The Other Sock went.

Now I know, as I spotted the boys with…

Daily Dog Challenge "456. A Curious Mix"

… of single…

113 Pictures in 2013 - "#35. Socks"

… today, including one that Kitty found that qualified for…

Our Daily Challenge - Jan 29, 2013 - "Faces in Places"

(What it is about kids? You buy them fresh socks and they just won't give up the old ones???)

Ah, retrievers - always parading around the house with some article of clothing in their mouth.

And in this case, on their paws!

That Explains It

Dog Photography Tip of the Day

*** Just Do It ***

Yup, that's it.

Today I was about to turn the camera off and call it a day when I decided I give just one try at putting socks on somebody's paws.

I figured it would be a total bust, but hey, it's digital, so what did I have to lose?

(And the camera was waaaaaaaaay over on the other side of the next room in case things got... interesting.)

The result is the shot at the top of the post. I got that one, and one more, then quickly took the socks off before I had Zachary skidding around the hardwood floor.

I guess Nike was right after all. :)

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© 2013 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 28, 2013

Which One's First?

Which One's First?

Dog Blog Post #945

Photography Assignment

One dog is obviously first and so the other is...

Our Daily Challenge - Jan 28, 2013 - "In Second Place"

… but in honor of National Puzzle Day (1/29) they made me promise to leave puzzling that out to the viewer. :)

As for...

Daily Dog Challenge "454. Sculptural"

I tried.

I failed.

Oh well, on to tomorrow's challenges!

Which One's First?

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© 2013 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 27, 2013

No Food?

No Food?
Henry: "Momma!"

No Food?
Zachary: "You've GOT to be kidding."

Dog Blog Post #945

Photography Assignment


113 Pictures in 2013 - "#18. Circle"

… with a line through it, Daily Dog Challenge "454. Symbolic - Take a picture of your dog with something that is a symbol."

… of the word "NO".

As in, NO Food, or at least NO Food in that quantity.

Poor boys, the diet continues...

Behind the Scenes

You might recall me waxing poetically at the bottom of the You Can Never Have Too Many post a few days ago, about my new found love - a blue microfiber cloth that I use as a drool rag.

Here is the very same rag in action (taken so I can keep the camera from falling asleep.)

Behind the Scenes

You may also note my rather scrunched position here. That's because I'm tucked in the corner between the backdrop just a foot or so behind the canister, and yet more cabinets just behind me on the right. Next to me (toward the camera) is the light stand with the light/flash and umbrella.

Yup - there was whole lot going in those few feet of my kitchen!

Finishing out the lighting is the silver reflector leaning against the fridge behind Zachary and little bit toward the camera.

Mischief Monday

No Food

Since I needed a prop, the high key shot above is actually the first one I took today.

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© 2013 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 26, 2013


So close and yet...
"So close and yet..."





Dog Blog Post #944

Photography Assignment

Peanut Butter - the ultimate...

Daily Dog Challenge "454. Tasty"


Our Daily Challenge - Jan 26, 2013 - "Snack"

…. at least according to the boys.

Pet Photography Tip of the Day

I love getting "tongue" pictures, but always seem to snap the picture at exactly the wrong the moment.

Using a remote makes it even worse, as there is a small but noticeable lag between when I click the button and when the camera fires.

Today, however, I did something different.

I let Zachary get a lick or two in with the spoon held about 6-8" higher than what I wanted, then I lowered the spoon and clicked the remote.

Whether because it was a good idea, or I just got lucky, the proportion of tongue to no tongue pictures shot up dramatically.

Your milage may vary.

Heck, my milage may vary the next time I try it!

Got Milk?
"Got Milk?"

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© 2013 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 25, 2013

You Can Never Have Too Many

All Mine

All Mine
"All Mine."

All Mine
"Got it?"

Dog Blog Post #943

Photography Assignment

Zachary is your classic ball obsessed Golden Retriever, and his ball of choice is the Lacrosse Ball.

Here he is, with 50 brand new Lacrosse Balls, fresh from the bucket.

Our Daily Challenge - Jan 25, 2013 - "All Mine"

Daily Dog Challenge "452. "Hoarders - So what does your dog like to keep all to him or herself?"

113 Pictures in 2013 - "#57. Three or More of the Same Thing"

Truth in Advertising: Neither boy is possessive over anything. Zachary's intense look in the picture above is the result of me just having finished tossing him several Cookies in rapid succession, and he's primed for the one I'm still holding in my hand.

Split Lighting - Revisited

Henry didn't really fit into today's challenges, but as he puts up a huge fuss if he doesn't get his modeling time (and Cookies!) I decided to try again with split lighting.

This was the best of the bunch.


Once again, my Speedlight was hitting Henry broadside.

This is essentially the same setup I had last time, except THIS time I placed my reflector - black side out - against the white fridge, which sits directly opposite the flash on the left side of the image.

(Yes, my "studio" is my kitchen, so everything that goes up must come back down at the end of the shoot.)

Anyway, I was really surprised by how much the anti-reflector darkened the dark side of Henry, and I think it made for a better image.

As with most on-black pictures, this one looks better in lightbox.

Pet Photography Tip of the Day

Meet my new favorite photography tool.

Drool Rag
Drool Rag

It is a microfiber cloth by 3M (I think) sold in 3-packs for under $5 at the local hardware store.

Advertised as soft and highly absorbent, I picked them up last weekend in hopes I could reduce the amount of time I spent cloning away drool specks.

They did not disappoint.

I don't have one with me at the moment, but I'm guessing them to be 8"-10" square.

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© 2013 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Battle of the Bulge

Battle of the Bulge

Dog Blog Post #942

Strange challenge for Our Daily Challenge today.

Photography Assignment

Our Daily Challenge - Jan 24, 2013 - "Our Parents War"

My Mom was ever vigilant about her weight when I was growing up, and her good example of controlling portion size so you could still enjoy your favorites without feeling guilty have stuck with me all these years.

Daily Dog Challenge "451. I Wish… - What's something you or your dog wishes for?"

Henry wishes Zachary would FINALLY be done dieting so treats would appear more frequently.

I'm pretty sure Zachary wishes the same.

Alas, the poor boy seems to gain weight just by looking at food.

The Rest

Here's Zachary in just about the same pose. What sold me on the shot above was how Henry seemed to be planting his feet as though trying to back away from the Call of the Food Bowl.

Battle of the Bulge

Zachary, practicing Dieting Zen?

Battle of the Bulge

Henry, you do realize that is not the most slimming of poses.

Battle of the Bulge

Battle of the Bulge
"More please!"

I am powerless to resist him.

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© 2012 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

How To Get More Cookies


Dog Blog Post #941

Photography Assignment

Zachary, studying…

Our Daily Challenge - Jan 23, 2013 - "Directions"

… on "How To Get More Cookies".

As if he really needed any help!

Daily Dog Challenge "450. Parts Make A Whole" We all have parts of our dog that are our favorites. Take a beautiful picture of one of those parts today!"

I love all his parts, but today I was focusing on heads.

What sold this shot for me was the cute way his ears tipped forward.

In case the document is a bit hard to read up there...


Split Lighting
"I already know this stuff."

Editor's Note: These were essentially botched efforts at Split Lighting, which is exactly what it sounds like - half the face is lighted while the other half is dark.

While the setup was simple - one Speedlight positioned to hit the boys broadside - getting the boys positioned properly relative to the camera and the light turned out to be quite fiddly.

I've done this using the window for light, where I was looking through the lens at my subject so I could make sure I had what I want...

Late Afternoon Light
Zachary - taken in May 2012

... and it was simplicity itself.

Trying to do this without looking through the lens (as I have no helpers to position the boys) was... not.

But it's a cool effect when done right, and worth trying again to do so.

For the record, the shot below was the best of the bunch, and the first shot I took. Alas, I was still just setting things up and had yet to break out the prop (paper).

I'm thinking my light is too high (or the boys were too low) and trying to include the paper screwed up their location relative to the light.

Oh well, there's always tomorrow. :)

Split Lighting
Henry, wondering when I'm going to stop fiddling the camera and break out the Cookies.

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© 2012 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 22, 2013



Dog Blog Post #940

Photography Assignment

Daily Dog Challenge "449. A Day In The Life"

… of the boys always includes at least one, and often many, games of Bitey-Face.

Above is my favorite of 20 shots, with plenty of...

100 Pictures (2013) "#62. Body Parts"

… crammed into a small space.

There's Henry's left rear leg (center top) bent at a…

Our Daily Challenge - Jan 22, 2013 - "Right Angle"

… with his eye neatly framed by the bend.

We also have Zachary's mouth and his front left paw, also bent at right angles.

Editor's Note: After yesterday's Monday Morning post...

Monday Morning

... I figured I needed to show some action!

The Best of the Rest

Say Ahhhh!
Zachary: "La la la!!!!!"

Yoda Returns
Henry: "May the force be with you."


Actually, they are completely silent when they play, other than their paws thumping against the wall now and then.

Above, the Fearsome Face is Henry, as is the head on the right, below.



Any takers on guessing which dog is which, above?

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© 2012 BZ Training - All Rights Reserved