Pet Photography - Theme Birds View

November 24, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This week's theme is "Bird's Eye View" and I'll admit between pet sitting this week and having a holiday, I've been pretty busy doing other things and this just happened to be a rather challenging week to try and determine what type of photographs I wanted to create for this particular theme.  While this is a little different than I wanted to create, at least I was able to incorporate feathers. Our foster puppies are growing up, but I went back to find some that we had taken while they were "in the feathers" for this week's blog post.

Rue got caught trying to eat some of the feathers...

And Ollie, she is surrounded by feathers and appears to be wondering what to do next.

Rue cleaned up the feathers from her mouth and took a moment to pose just before she jumped out of the basket and started running around again.

For those of you that might be curious, this is how our Thanksgiving morning started rather early (poor Jimbo got a rude awaking) as the puppies are a little larger and getting into a lot more things now.  Just before this photograph, Jimbo was telling them what he thought of the rude jumping on him, hence neither Ollie nor Rue were looking pleased!

Shortly after this, the puppies ran out to the computer room, started playing and eventually Abby decided it was time to settle down and put her paw on Rue as if to pin her down (course, she stopped but soon started running again!).

That's all for this week's theme and hopefully I will be able to get back into the blog circle with Pet Photography photographs next week but if you want to join into the circle, here's the link Susannah with Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

 


Dupont State Forest, High Falls and Triple Falls

November 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Our next stop was an afternoon hike at Dupont State Forest - a very popular place this particular weekday!  We arrived at the parking lot where the visitor center is located and drove around that parking lot for many rounds before finally we found someone leaving and could park.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and not to hot but never realized that so many people would be out hiking at noon.  We met up with some friends, making our group 4 adults and 3 rather large dogs.  Off we go down the trail to visit High Falls.

We arrived after walking about .6 miles (which took us a while with dogs checking out all the smells) at the vantage point to view High Falls - it's a very big waterfall!   This waterfall is about 100 feet and has several short falls and some long cascades.  The sun was high when we arrived early afternoon, so definitely not the best time of day to photograph - but a great time to hike and enjoy the view. There were a few trees having yellow colors, but there was no orange or red.  GPS location is 35°11'36" N 82°36'54" W with an altitude of 2723.1 feet.

This is a busy place as people stop to enjoy the view and take photographs.  We set up our tripods to take a few photographs of this waterfall even though this is probably my least favorite time of day to take landscape photographs - particularly on a sunny day.   It was interesting to see how each of our dogs responded to this little break in the walk (we were probably there for 30 minutes).  Abby, our young dog, just under 2 years stayed alert and watched everything that was going on.

Jimbo is probably about 11 years old now - in great shape for a larger dog but he is more seasoned at this than Abby.  Jimbo has learned, the humans have stopped to do something, this is a great time to catch a nap in the sunshine!  He curled up and took a break enjoying the warm sun (it was probably in the 70's by now).

After a little while, we continued on down the trail and caught a view of the next grouping of water falls known as Triple falls.  This is another large water fall that has three tiered series of falls and cascades.   The river flowing through here is Little River and was featured in the film, The Last of the Mohicans. We have all been to this particular waterfall before and remembered there are quite a few stairs to get down to another vantage point.  Two of the dogs hiking with us (Jimbo and Jackie) are older dogs and stairs are hard for them (and us), so we didn't climb down the stairs this time.

Triple Falls is at GPS coordinates 35°12'1" N 82°37'2" W and an altitude of 2677.2 feet. There are many other waterfalls in the Dupont State Forest as well as many different trails  and that you can hike on.  These trails are very well maintained and traveled a lot by many each day.  If you like doing either of these outdoor activities, take some time to stop in this area and enjoy!

 


Pet Photography - Theme Water

November 17, 2017  •  4 Comments

This week's pet photography theme is water.  As we are in Florida and surrounded by water, the challenge I faced was what should I do?  I could take the dog photographs at the beach, in a pool, getting a bath - so many options - it's still sunny and warm here - not much hint of winter.  I've actually done photographs of my own dogs doing all these things including going off on our boats - and some of my favorites are when we are out boating on the water.  However, the last few weeks in my neighborhood have presented what may be a very limited opportunity - we have had two different water mains in our area break!  Yep, break and one of them was today.  So, when I saw all that fresh water flowing out of the water hydrant, I immediately thought - "Let's go get Abby, she will love it!".  And so she played in the fresh water running at a pretty good pace out of the fire hydrant and I took some photographs of her.  Are these my best photographs of her? No - but it does show her having fun and sometimes maybe that's more of a story.

Here is one of the fire hydrants free flowing water, they were releasing pressure so they could work on the broken water main. This wasn't that exciting from Abby's perspective.

I showed Abby the water coming out, no real reaction other than "Is there where you want me to stand?".  So, we moved on to where the water was a bit deeper...by now she has run down the entire area of the water gutters with clean water and is a bit wet.  I left her leash and harness on....they got drenched.

Running back and forth this stretch of water - it's now several inches deep.  Time to shake a bit of the water off.

You can see the water is pretty deep here, paws are wet for a good three inches - it's almost up to her heals and she isn't a small dog!  She loves to scoop up water with her mouth which is what she was doing just before I snapped this photograph.

Water dripping from her mouth and whiskers, she was having a great time.

...then the man came and shut off the fire hydrant and the river of water dried up pretty quickly so we jumped back in the car (covered in towels) and went around the corner.  Look, another fire hydrant free flowing!!!  We stopped again and she enjoyed running through the field flooded with fresh water.

Then the men came and shut off this water flowing out of the fire hydrant and the fun was over.

Now the good thing about Abby's fun being over is that we once again had water at home after being pretty much without for several hours.  Then about 3 hours later, the water went down to a dribble again and reports through the neighborhood said that another break has occurred but it's dark now so no playing for Abby this time.  Hopefully the water will be on again and this will not happen again soon.

For more 'water' pet photographs head over to visit Danyel from Wag to my Heart Portrait Studio. Serving the Portland, OR Area and then head around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session, send an email to vpshoots@gmail.com or give us a call at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Florida).

 

 


Moore Cove, Brevard, North Carolina

November 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

After stopping at Looking Glass Falls, we continued on US-276 a short distance and found our next stop, Moore Cove.  There is a small parking area by a stone bridge on US-276 that allows for a few cars to stop and enjoy this trek through the Pisgah National Forest.  They also have an information board there indicating that you have indeed found Moore Cove.  This is a nice hike, being 3/4 mile one way - a total of 1.5 miles round trip.  The dogs were looking for some walking time and this was perfect.  Early morning, still a bit on the chilly side - great hiking weather.  This is dog-friendly, but please keep your dog on a leash and pick up after them.

Of all the photographs I think my favorite is of the stone bridge before we started our hike.

Depending on the direction you are travelling on US 276, the parking area is before this bridge (if coming from the Looking Glass Falls area) or just after this bridge.  This sign is the main clue that you have found Moore Cove.

At the beginning of the trail, there are several large boulders, but eventually it will become little streams going through here and there.  This is a relatively easy hike without many rough spots in the trail.

Small bridges have been built over some areas, all look relatively new and well maintained.

The rain has not been plentiful in this area and if Hurricane Nate hadn't dropped water the week before, I don't know if Moore Cove would have had much water flowing.  The hike is very nice - easy for families, children and dogs to complete.  We had our 11 year old dog and 1 1/2 year old dog and neither had any issues hiking along with us.  The stairs were minimal (they do have a few at the beginning).

By the time we arrived at this waterfall, the sun was already hitting this area - not making it the best photographic opportunity.  If we do this hike again in the future, I think we will opt for doing it in the late afternoon with the sun being blocked by the mountains by this time.

That's it for this particular hike - there are many beautiful waterfalls to see in Transylvania County and this is one of those should you be looking for a nice hike on a beautiful day!

 

 


Pet Photography - Theme Sun Flare

November 10, 2017  •  3 Comments

This week’s pet theme is “Sun Flare”, a unique technique where the subject has the sun behind them and the camera is pointing into the sun.  This is a technique I have used within my landscape photography, but not with pet photography.  The technical aspect of creating sun flare is based on controlling the aperture of your camera lens.  Use a narrow aperture such as f/22 (or one of the smallest apertures your camera lens allows).  The blades inside your lens will close down to create a very small opening for the light to pass through.  Lenses have different numbers of blades, so this effect will be different depending on the number of blades your lens has - the more blades the lens has, the higher the number of points on the sun flare.  If you're using the sun (as opposed to another light source such as a light), consider using a UV filter on your lens to protect the camera sensor.

For this weeks pet photography, I choose to use the sun and shoot in the later afternoon - just a couple of hours before sunset.  The sun is lower in the sky and not as bright at this time.  It's not 'winter' here in Florida, but being mid November, the sun is lower in the sky than in summer time.

These photographs of Petie were taken with a Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G.  This particular lens has 7 blades (referring to the sun flare/star burst as mentioned above).  I choose this lens because Petie is a small dog and I did not have an assistant for this photo shoot.  It allowed me to stay close to Petie while still getting some great photographs of him.

The first photograph I took using the sun flare effect is using f/19, ISO 200, 1/180 sec (and 35mm since it is a prime lens with only one focal length). In this photograph, the sun is positioned just above Petie's ear and has the star burst and sun flare coming across his face and body.

In the next photograph, the sun is positioned directly above Petie providing some nice back lighting against his fur.  The photograph is almost a silhouette as Petie is deep in the shadows.  A small sun flare spot shows in front of Petie caused by the bending of the light in the camera.  ISO 200, f/4.8, 1/8000.  The star burst effect on the sun is almost non-existent due to the shallow aperture.

Moving a little further away from Petie, changing the camera settings to f/22, 1/250 sec - the sun star burst comes more alive and still have the sun flare spots of rainbow colors just in front of Petie.

The last photograph of Petie shows the sun's rays shining through the sky towards his head.

When I finally told Petie that we were done for the day he gave me a cute look - I guess he enjoyed his 'alone' time from the larger dogs he shares his home with.

There are many different ways this type of photography can be done.  In some cases, placing the sun itself behind an object and having just the sun burst showing can create an interesting effect.  Another option is to have the sun at the edge of a building/tree/object and have it partially obsured. We didn't have the opportunity to try some of the other ideas but perhaps in the future.

For more 'sun flare' pet photographs head over to visit SamAdele Pet&Equine Photography covering the Lancaster and Morecambe areas and then head around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session, send an email to vpshoots@gmail.com or give us a call at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Florida).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Looking Glass Falls, Brevard, North Carolina

November 05, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Whenever I get a chance to go someplace that has waterfalls - I'm in!  I love photographing them as well as just enjoying the sounds of the water falling.  We recently went back to a waterfall that we had visited for a few minutes in summer 2016.  This time, it was 'autumn' although not the beautiful colorful autumn that I would have loved to have - it was a different season which always makes photographs look different.  We arrived early to this waterfall - it's popular since it is right along the roadway and you need to get there early or there could be quite a line just to park.  I don't recall exactly how cold it was - but I'm thinking it was about 36 degrees out - COLD.  Very few people were there, but we weren't totally alone on this brisk cold autumn morning.

This photograph shows the stairway down towards the bottom of the waterfall.  Probably the most photographed place for this waterfall and it's very popular so there are many of these around the world by various tourist and photographers.  For the photographers in order to blur the water of a waterfall, you must use a 'slower shutter speed' - this is often based on the size of the waterfall as much as how fast the water is flowing.  My photographs are typically around 1/2 second, sometimes 1/3.  I did use a polarizer and we were there early before the sun came over the mountain area to put any sun on the waterfall or rocks.

If you go on down from the top of the waterfall (go down the stairs), this photograph can be taken from the landing point.

Continue on down and find yourself a place on the rocks and you see another vantage point of the waterfall.

In case you're curious, if you look down river from the waterfall - this is the view.

In case you want to visit this waterfall, it is located on U.S. 276 - roadside.  There are signs to guide you to the waterfall - it's popular, so you'll most likely have others there with you.  The water falls a good 60 feet, so it's a bit loud with the roaring water - but a great view especially for those that cannot go hiking to see a waterfall.

More waterfalls will be shared in the coming blogs, stay tuned!

 


Pet Photography - Theme Bold Colors

November 03, 2017  •  7 Comments

This week’s pet theme is “Bold Colors” so I began my quest with a few google searches to get some ideas on what ‘bold colors’ actual means.  Capturing bold colors can be an especially powerful way to create mood in a photo.  Capture pet photography with strong, bold colors they should be deep, saturated colors.  The composition should be simple, potentially using several blocks of bold color or let one color dominate the photograph.  The effect of a bold color is stronger when the dominant color is a primary color – red, yellow or blue.

Blue is a cool, relaxing color.  A clear blue sky is a great example.  Blue can also be a cold, frigid color – as in a dark, wintry scene with snow and ice.

Red is a warm color but often thought of with danger (blood) or anger.

Yellow is a warm color representing fun, joy and sunshine – often thought of with happy feelings.

Green is an earth color, fresh and vibrant like plants and trees in the spring.

After doing my searches, it’s time to create some photographs for this week’s blog.  Abby is usually my 'go to' dog when I need a specific type of photograph and she was a great model against some bold blue backgrounds.

And each of the foster puppies were happy to stop running around for a few seconds (yes, seconds - either they are running around or sound asleep).  They are about 15 weeks of age - little girls - 9 pounds (Rue) and 11 pounds (Ollie - short for Olive).  They are very bonded and looking for their forever home.  They belong to Maxx and Me Pet Rescue - maxxandme.org if you are interested.

Rue - taller and more slender than her sister, Ollie - she is the outgoing adventure seeking puppy - but also very sweet and loves to curl up in your lap.

Ollie - the more solid built puppy, she is fast to figure out what you want (i.e., Sit) and happy to stop for a photograph a little longer than her sister, Rue.  Coming in at 11 pounds, she is a small bundle of energy and joy.  She is looking to have a forever home with her sister, Rue (if possible) as they sleep together, play together and spend all their time together. They belong to Maxx and Me Pet Rescue - maxxandme.org if you are interested.

 

For more 'unusual' pet photographs head over to visit  Cahlean Klenke serving the Twin Cities and St. Cloud areas - About A Dog Photography and then head around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session, send an email to vpshoots@gmail.com or give us a call at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Florida).


Campbell's Covered Bridge, Landrum, South Carolina

October 29, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I've always loved covered bridges.  It's from a time period long ago, but they are a favorite to photograph - so I'll seek them out when I get a chance.  This one was painted 'classic red' - always a great way to add color to the photograph (and bridge).  We took a side road a bit off our path to visit this covered bridge called "Campbell's Covered Bridge" located in Landrum, South Carolina (the official address is  171 Campbell Covered Bridge Rd, Landrum, SC 29356).  Campbell's Covered Bridge is a wooden covered bridge in northeastern Greenville County, South Carolina, near the small town of Gowensville, and crosses Beaverdam Creek off Pleasant Hill Road.

This was our first glimpse of the bridge as we got out of the car and walked a very short distance.

A quick google search indicates the bridge was first opened in 1909 and is 38 feet in length (much shorter than the bridge in last week's blog). The bridge is open to foot traffic only now and runs over a river.  It is mid-October, but not much in terms of fall color has started in the trees here near the mountains in South Carolina.  As we walked up the walkway towards the bridge, they have a well and an open field available for walking and enjoying the view.  I suppose you could also have picnics, play games (although it's a hill) and do other things - we sat down on the closest bench and enjoyed the view.

Campbell's Covered Bridge is named for Alexander Lafayette Campbell (1836-1920), owner of a nearby grist mill who allowed his property to be used for the bridge's construction.  The bridge was built by Charles Irwin Willis (1878-1966).  There is a historical marker on the other side of the bridge. In case you're curious about the construction of the bridge on the inside, here's a photo showing how the interior is built.

The bridge looks like it is leaning a bit, but was definitely safe for pedestrians to walk across.

I walked down the little slope on the far side of the bridge to see what the view was and how the bottom portion of the bridge looks.  Not much of the bridge itself is visible with all the trees, but it does show the stones holding up the end of the bridge.

The leaves in the creek flowing under the bridge show small hints that autumn is coming as the leaves are different colors (not all brown and green), but still several weeks away.

If you're a covered bridge seeker, this is a nice place to stop and photograph.


Pet Photography - Theme Unusual

October 27, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This week's pet photography theme is 'Unusual' and several ideas come to mind when I think about this but being able to get a dog or puppy to do it is quite another challenge.  After returning from a trip, we are now fostering our little girl puppies again until they find their forever home (or another foster home happens to open up).

One of the puppies is more likely to help me out (the other one is more investigative) - so I set up one of our decorative crab traps by the boat trailer - giving a 'boat yard' appearance - then to keep little Irma there long enough to get a few photos I had to give her a little puppy kibble.

She is a cute little girl with lots of energy - about 13 weeks old and the size of a full grown chiwawa.

For more 'unusual' pet photographs head over to visit Kim with BARKography based in Charlotte NC and then head around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session, send an email to vpshoots@gmail.com or give us a call at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Florida).


Watson Mill Bridge State Park - Comer, Georgia

October 22, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The next several weeks will feature places we visited on our most recent trip up to the mountains - I hope you enjoy our adventure!  Our first photographic stop was Watson Mill Bridge State Park.  Our focus during our stop is the old covered bridge across the river.  This bridge is located in a small town known as Comer, Georgia - although our GPS seemed to think it was in Colbert, Georgia.  Either way, it is a rural part of Georgia located a short distance from Athens, Georgia in Madison County.  Hopefully some day in the future we can spend more than a few hours as this park has some beautiful areas to hike, have a picnic and during the summer I am sure there are many swimming in the river.

This is the longest covered bridge in the state of Georgia, spanning 229 feet across the South Fork River.  The original bridge was built in 1885.  The son of a freed slave and famous covered bridge builder (Horace King) this bridge was built by Washington (W.W.) King.  The bridge has a 'town lattice truss system' that is held together firmly with wooden pins.  This is a single lane bridge and continues to be used today - we drove across it slowly.

Based on information for this state park provided by the Georgia Parks systems, this is one of less than 20 covered bridges that still remain out of over 200 back in the day.  NOTE: There is a $5 daily parking fee for this state park at the time of our visit.

The actual address of the park is listed as 650 Watson Mill Road, Comer, Georgia 30629 in Madison County.  GPS Coordinates are: N 34.025000 | W -083.074983

Upon entry into the park, we found the covered bridge quickly.  Here is our first look after we got our dogs and gear out of the car.

Unfortunately, even though it is the middle of October, fall really hasn't started here in the middle of Georgia.  For the photographer folks out there, this particular photograph was taken at 9:16 am and the sun isn't to high yet giving us a chance to get some good lighting.

Looking directly into the bridge - it was safe as we seemed to be the only ones here at this time - the parking lot was empty except for our truck.

I always take photographs like this to help remember what we were photographing at the time.  This historical marker gives you some information on the bridge.  The bridge was restored in 1973 by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Taking a moment to look at what is to the right of the bridge down river.

At one time there was a functional mill located here.  One historical site found on Google says that the bridge was built to allow access to the mill built by Gabriel Watson in 1798.  This was about 300 feet south of the present location of the bridge on the south fork of the Broad River.  "A sluice extended past the shoals now below the bridge and provided water to power both a sawmill and grist mill. There were other shops in the small community that developed around the mill.  In 1900 the mill fell victim to technology. In place of the sluice, a raceway was built to deliver water from the dam to the turbine that generated electricity for Jefferson Mills (a textile mill) in nearby Crawford.  With the rise of electricity in rural areas in Georgia during the 1950's it was no longer economical to create power from the dam, and after stripping the site of everything of value the company let it sit until it donated the land to the state of Georgia in 1971." http://roadsidegeorgia.com/site/watson_mill.html

The paddle boats have a small area that is 'stoned' off from the flowing river allowing a leasure paddle for those that might be interested.

If you walk down the path a little bit, you'll see the stone wall here that separates the paddle boats from the fast flowing water.

After crossing the river via the covered bridge, you can walk down on to the rocks and get into the water or just relax.

Until next week.