VP Shoots Photography: Blog http://www.vpshoots.com/blog en-us (C) VP Shoots Photography vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:59:00 GMT Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:59:00 GMT http://www.vpshoots.com/img/s/v-5/u72374969-o284808826-50.jpg VP Shoots Photography: Blog http://www.vpshoots.com/blog 120 101 Pet Photography - Theme Birds View http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/pet-photography---theme-birds-view 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.



vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) antique bed basket bed blue canine dog dog photography blog feather feathers pet photography blog poster bed puppies puppy http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/pet-photography---theme-birds-view Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Dupont State Forest, High Falls and Triple Falls http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/dupont-national-forest-high-falls-and-hooker-falls 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!


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) autumn brevard dupont dupont state forest fall falling water forest landscape river rock rocks state forest stone stones travel blog tree trees vpshoots water waterfall http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/dupont-national-forest-high-falls-and-hooker-falls Sun, 19 Nov 2017 22:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme Water http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/pet-photography---theme-water 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).



vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) abby canine dog dog photography dog photography blog female fire hydrant flood flowing hydrant outdoor pet photography pet photography blog river temple terrace water water hydrant water main http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/pet-photography---theme-water Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Moore Cove, Brevard, North Carolina http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/moore-cove-brevard-north-carolina 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!



vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/moore-cove-brevard-north-carolina Sun, 12 Nov 2017 22:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme Sun Flare http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/pet-photography---theme-sun-flare 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).









vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) aperture canine dog nature outdoor park pet pet photography petie portrait star burst sun flare vpshoots water http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/pet-photography---theme-sun-flare Fri, 10 Nov 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Looking Glass Falls, Brevard, North Carolina http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/looking-glass-falls-brevard-north-carolina 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!


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) 276 autumn brevard fall forest glass looking looking glass creek looking glass falls north carolina pisgah pisgah national forest river shining rock stair stairway stone transylvania u. s. 276 us 276 water waterfall http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/looking-glass-falls-brevard-north-carolina Sun, 05 Nov 2017 22:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme Bold Colors http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/pet-photography---theme-bold-colors 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).

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) abby animal photography canine dog maxx and me ollie pet pet photography portrait puppy rescue rue vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/11/pet-photography---theme-bold-colors Fri, 03 Nov 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Campbell's Covered Bridge, Landrum, South Carolina http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/campbells-covered-bridge-landrum-south-carolina 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.

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) alexander lafayette campbell autumn bridge campbell charles irwin willis covered covered bridge creek fall greenville county grist landrum mill red south carolina water well willis wishing well http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/campbells-covered-bridge-landrum-south-carolina Sun, 29 Oct 2017 21:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme Unusual http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/pet-photography---theme-unusual 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).

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) animal animal photography boat canine crab trap dog mix mutt pet photography puppy rescue vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/pet-photography---theme-unusual Fri, 27 Oct 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Watson Mill Bridge State Park - Comer, Georgia http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/watson-mill-bridge-state-park---covered-bridge-comer-georgia 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.




vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) 1885 bridge comer covered bridge georgia hike hiking nature outdoor river rock state park swim waterfall watson watson mill bridge state park wood wooden http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/watson-mill-bridge-state-park---covered-bridge-comer-georgia Sun, 22 Oct 2017 21:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Brick http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/pet-photography---brick This week's pet photography theme is "Brick".  In recent blog entries I have used brick as the background for my pet photographs.  If using brick or anything with lines as the background, the trick is to either blur the background enough to make it abstract, or make sure you have the camera level to ensure the bricks look straight.  As this particular theme has been featured in several blogs recently, I decided to find an old building that has bricks as part of the background.

Here's Abby sitting in front of an old building from the turn of the century with bricks as part of the background. Abby is sporting her "Easy Walk" harness as the road nearby was a little busy and we needed to be able to leash her up quickly.

My next challenge with brick is to find one of the old brick streets in town and see if I can get a photograph using brick as the 'ground' for a photograph with one of the dogs.

This week I am not in the pet photography blog as I wasn't able to complete the blog by the deadlines.


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/pet-photography---brick Fri, 20 Oct 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Celebrating 5 years with Jimbo, our potcake dog from the Voiceless Dogs of Nassau http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/celebrating-5-years-with-jimbo-our-potcake-dog-from-the-voiceless-dogs-of-nassau As October 16th rolls around, I recall the evening that Jim and I drove over to St. Petersburg to pick up Jimbo - he was coming home to us after having spent time with Chella in Nassau, Bahamas and making the long trip via private airplane to Florida.  They arrived here at our house late in the night and with another dog.  We never intended to have a second dog, as our Dolly was sick and needed a lot of attention and care.  It appeared that Jimbo had bonded with Jim by the time they made that flight and drive home - I wasn't prepared to take a dog in at 10 pm when I had to go to work the next day.  We decided to let Jimbo go to St. Petersburg as planned, give us a day or two and we would go get him to begin the next part of his life.  That was 5 years ago!

Jimbo's home prior to coming to the United States - photo courtesy of Chella, Voiceless Dogs of Nassau

My old dirty homeMy old dirty home

Heading to the airplane for the ride to Florida - probably a very scary time for Jimbo - it is good that he had Jim to help him along. photo courtesy of Chella, Voiceless Dogs of Nassau

I met this man....I met this man....

Loaded into the crate for the plane ride. photo courtesy of Chella, Voiceless Dogs of Nassau

What did I get into ?What did I get into ?

With us - our first family photograph taken five years ago before we brought him home.

His new bed consisted of a large doggy bed along with a comforter.  He sleeps in our bedroom every night.

And sometimes sneeks into our bed after we have gotten up for the day.....

Jimbo just under five years ago - one of his first outings with us.  Dolly was with us in November 2012.  Jimbo had a little white on his face and was definitely thinner than he is today.

And five years later, he isn't as fond of having his photograph taken, but he still loves to travel and we love to take him!

It's been a wonderful learning experience having our potcake dog, Jimbo with us.  We love this guy and he has been a wonderful addition to our family. Here's to you Jimbo - and thank you to Chella for letting him come to us.

If you missed the video we created after Jimbo's first year with us, here's the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPtZUPGU30Q

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) bahamas adopted adoption anniversary canine dog jimbo male nassau potcake rescue voiceless dogs of nassau http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/celebrating-5-years-with-jimbo-our-potcake-dog-from-the-voiceless-dogs-of-nassau Sun, 15 Oct 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme High Contrast - Black and White http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/pet-photography---theme-high-contrast---black-and-white This week's pet photography theme is 'High Contrast' and I decided to share black and white images of dogs.  Our guest dog this week is "Korra" who belongs to Jim's son.  Korra is a black and white King Charles if I recall correctly and she spent several days with us this summer along with during the Hurricane Irma days.

Initially when I took these photographs of Korra, they seemed to 'busy' with all the various colors around her in the garden and on the bench. A black and white dog really shows off much better with the photograph being in black and white without the distractions of all the various colors.

Abby, another black and white dog photographed at the dog park while she is running with a ball in her mouth.  Once Abby finds a ball, it's often hard to get her to let go unless you have something better than the ball (like food).

Here's a photograph of Jimbo, he is a brown/gold colored dog - the black and white has a totally different effect on this color of fur.

For more 'high contrast' pet photographs head over to visit  Kim with BARKography on location in Hilton Head SC 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).

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) abby black and white canine dog dog photography high contrast jimbo korra outdoor pet pet photography photography vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/pet-photography---theme-high-contrast---black-and-white Fri, 13 Oct 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Pumpkin Patch in Hyde Park, Tampa, Florida http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/pumpkin-patch-in-hyde-park-tampa-florida Tis the season for the pumpkin patches - we have several around town but I think the closest is Hyde Park for us.  They have plenty of pumpkins if you're in the market!

They created a 'scare pumpkin' riding a bicycle.

Looks cute until you look closer at the face and it looks a bit more scary.

Most of the pumpkins are orange, but they do have some white ones too.

They have created a nice display for the pumpkin patch - lots of 'dead corn stalks' and some scare crows (or scare pumpkins).

The pumpkin patch is open Monday through Friday from 12pm till 8pm and from 9am till 9pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Last day open is Halloween!

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) 2017 hyde park orange patch pumpkin pumpkins tampa http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/pumpkin-patch-in-hyde-park-tampa-florida Sun, 08 Oct 2017 21:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme Orange http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/pet-photography---theme-orange Week 40 of the Pet Photography Blog Circle - this week's theme is "Orange".  I have to admit, my first thought was pumpkins! I guess it is because it is now the beginning of October and it has been a bit breezy and cooler!  Wow, maybe it is actually becoming a little bit like fall although I know we will not see any fall colors in our trees.  I found a pumpkin patch in Hyde Park, so we went there to capture some pumpkin photographs.  This experience was definitely interesting as the traffic was a mess trying to get there (I have to wonder how anyone gets to work in our city).  Then we arrived to find that Hyde Park is getting a very big makeover and there is a ton of construction going on down there.  Lastly, we were mid-morning and delivery trucks were dropping off things and well, it didn't make for capturing the attention of either of our dogs - to many loud noises and things going on.

Here's Abby with the pumpkins.

As we walked around Hyde Park I noticed that a large number of the bricks were orange - time for a few more photos!  Abby jumped up on the bench, but then getting her to stay there became another bit of a push-pull relationship between us as I tried to get her to stay and she figured there wasn't anything to see, so why?

We did take Jimbo with us, but the more I try to 'force photograph' him, the more I realize he just doesn't want to be a model.  It is starting to remind me of my photo sessions with Dolly so many years ago when I was first starting with pet photography - she didn't want to do it anymore and wanted me to find other models!

As I thought more about this week's theme, I also remembered that cats come in the color Orange....but why they are called "Red Tabby" I don't know.  This is a friend's cat and she is beautiful with her bright orange fur and green eyes.

For more 'orange' pet photographs head over to visit Rochelle from Dark Sapphire Pet Photography, Nelson, New Zealand 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).

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) autumn blog brick canine cat cat photography dog dog photography fall feline fur hyde park orange pet pet photography pumpkin vpshoots wall http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/pet-photography---theme-orange Fri, 06 Oct 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Dragonfly - up close http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/dragonfly---up-close While walking the dogs one evening, I noticed a green dragonfly sitting in the gutter being taken away by ants.  I picked up the dragonfly and brought it home to photograph the details of the dragonfly.  As I setup my little studio to photograph the dragonfly, I also had to pluck off a few ants that I didn't want in the photo.  It was at this time, that I noticed the dragonfly was still alive.  I put a small brush with bristles under it's legs and it grabbed them.  Hmmm, so as I looked closer, I realized that one of the wings was damaged as well as a leg.

For those of you that might not have seen a dragonfly up close - this was taken with the Nikon 60mm macro lens - the detail and sharpness of this little dragonflies face is amazing!

The brush the dragonfly grabs onto.

Side view of the dragonfly.

One of the many wonders of our world....

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) dragonfly green insect macro nature outdoor vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/10/dragonfly---up-close Sun, 01 Oct 2017 21:00:00 GMT
Dog Photography - using textures in your photographs http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/9/dog-photography---using-textures-in-your-photographs Week 39 of the Pet Photography Blog Circle - this week's theme is "Textures".  I can't believe that it is already the 39th week of 2017 - this year is flying by rather quickly!  Using textures on photographs is something that I have done in the past with flowers and other subjects, but not specifically pets.  This past weekend, Jim and I fostered two of the little puppies that we had photographed earlier in the week for a couple of days.  Now, I have an appreciation for the amount of time one will spend when you have two little darling puppies about 11 weeks of age.  They are full of energy!  My personal goal while having these little bundles was to capture some more photographs.  I think the little puppies had a personal goal of having as much fun and run around time as possible since they had new territory and a bit more freedom than previously.

A good portion of our time was spent outside on our patio where the little puppies were introduced to cats.  They did well but my poor blind kitty had no clue what they were just that she didn't want them bothering her!

Onward to puppy photographs using texture.  The first one is of "two" (nicknamed "two" because she was the second puppy we photographed and they are waiting for the forever homes who will give them real names).  Two finally wore out enough to allow capturing her photograph - the texture in our wood decking provides a simple and non-distracting background for this little puppy photo.  "Two" is a very outgoing puppy who seeks out new opportunities to investigate just about anything within her reach.  She was the more outgoing of the puppies.

Next up is "Three" but we eventually started calling her "Red" as she has a beautiful golden, slightly red color fur.  "Red" is a bit shorter and more solidly built than her sister.  She loved to sit in my lap while watching her sister run around - but she was also the easier of the puppies to capture portraits.  The photograph below shows the texture in our concrete patio as well as the texture in the little chew toy.

The next two photographs show the soft texture of a blanket with the little puppies.  A quiet, thinking moment for "Two" as she rested nestled in the blanket.

This last puppy photograph took the longest to capture - how to get the young, playful and energetic puppies to pose in a single photograph.  It was not easy, but eventually after taking a large number of 'bloopers' we got one!  Two is on the left, Red (Three) on the right.

And for our closing photograph, our two puppies watching what is happening inside the house. Red on the left, Two on the right.

For more 'texture' pet photographs head over to visit Darlene with Pant the Town Pet Photography serving MA and NH 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).  Special discount if you're looking for an 'end of life' portrait.

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) adoption canine concrete cute dog photography female girl maxx maxx and me puppy puppy photography red rescue sheltie sheltie mix texture three two vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/9/dog-photography---using-textures-in-your-photographs Fri, 29 Sep 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Nature's Classroom http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/9/natures-classroom It's been many years since I was a 6th grader, but I still remember our week at Nature's Classroom.  It is a really cool place where we got to go fishing for shrimp, target practice with bow & arrow, learn about the various things in our outdoor classroom.  A while back, there was an open to the public day at Nature's Classroom and I wanted to recall those childhood memories.  I don't really remember all the details from childhood, but I did enjoy the walk through the woods on a newly built boardwalk as well as viewing of the various wildlife.

I love owls, so having the opportunity to photograph these was fun.  Here's the great horned owl.

And little screech owls...

They also had several different types of raptors.  This one is missing an eye which is why it resides here.

And they have deer....

There are many things for the children to do so if you see an opportunity to visit on a public access day - it may be a wonderful outing for you and your children.


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) boardwalk deer florida great horned owl nature nature's classroom outing owl screech owl tampa trail wildlife http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/9/natures-classroom Sun, 24 Sep 2017 21:00:00 GMT
Dog Photography - it's all in the eyes http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/9/dog-photography---its-all-in-the-eyes This week’s Pet Photography theme is “Eyes” which in the world of dogs, are typically some shade of brown but there are occasions, when you run into a blue eyed puppy!  Yes - I got the opportunity to photograph some darling puppies this week and this little girl has blue eyes.

Many of you know, I do a lot of dog rescue photography for a local dog rescue.  This litter of puppies is among those that are within the care of our dog rescue.  Photographing them was a total fun event - but it was obvious that these little pups really just wanted to be held.  Course, we did a lot of that, but that wasn't our goal in getting great photographs to find them homes.  Eventually, we put this little girl in a little basket and covered it with a blue blanket.  She has a lot of different expressions as we tried to capture her personality.  Many of the photos show her fear, uncertainty and other emotions that must come when she is separated from her siblings.

Ear back, eyes piercing - she is afraid.  This was at the beginning of our shoot.

Little bit of talking and a side ways glance at the camera as she still isn't sure about this whole event she has been signed up for.

She is getting a little more comfortable now, but still giving us a look (she is precious and never did anything but give us the look).

Is this closer to what you people are looking for?  There were three of us photographing her and working with her while she was the only puppy out at the moment. Course, staying still wasn't her best attribute and she quickly learned how to move faster than I could get the focus locked on her eyes.

Finally she learned how to get out of the basket and it was tipped over so she sat on the blanket with a little encouragement.  In case you're curious, here's her sister.  This sister learned how to get out of the basket in record time making it very challenging for us.

And her other sister who has a bit more red to her fur than her sister siblings.  This little sister was an absolute ham for the camera and very happy to sit there letting us photograph her!

And last, their brother who looks nothing like her sisters!

For more 'eyes' pet photographs head over to visit Cahlean of 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).  Special discount if you're looking for an 'end of life' portrait.

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) blue eye blue eyes canine dog dog photography maxx and me maxx and me pet rescue pet photography photograph photography puppy rescue sheltie vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/9/dog-photography---its-all-in-the-eyes Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Hurricane Irma - getting through the lost of electricity for over 4 days! http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/9/hurricane-irma---getting-through-the-lost-of-electricity-for-over-4-days Hurricane Irma threatened us all in Florida - the entire state - over the last weekend.  As we spent the week prior getting ready - it definitely changed my plans for the week after returning from scalloping and fishing in Steinhatchee, Florida.  A nice, peaceful weekend - we returned home with little food in the refrigerator and just about no gas in our truck.  Little did I know that the entire town of Tampa was in panic - we have to get hurricane supplies!  I just needed food to get through until the storm came on Sunday night.

We picked up things, we froze large containers with ice, we made ice non-stop all week, we wore ourselves out.  As our crew of three humans, three dogs, three cats all waited.  The cats in their crates to make sure they didn't run away, the 'storm' rescue dog from Maxx and Me (Flower), our 2 dogs all waited.  We watched the big screen television non-stop with hurricane Irma coverages (we did walk away as it was repeating itself).  We ate dinner early - scallops and pasta - it was very good - no left overs please - it can't go to waste.

It's getting dark outside....get the flashlights, get the candles, get the matches, get the generators close by, make sure we can get to the gasoline containers.  And wait....  Thump, Thump - it's only 5 pm and we hear the thump on our roof - it's raining - has been most all day - it's windy - what is that?  Ugh, the branches on our live oak are hitting the roof - so soon?  Jim and his son, Matt - climb up on the roof and start using a hand bow saw to cut the limbs and throw them to the ground.  Hopefully, we will get lucky and nothing else will happen.

The power flickers as nightfall comes. We grab the flashlights each time, and breathe a sign of relief as it came back on.  The television FiOS (cable) could not recycle fast enough for us to get it back on before we went to darkness again.  We turned it off.  Now what?

So that was the beginning of our power outage - it went out at 10:40 pm on Sunday night and we wait for it to come back. It's now Thursday afternoon and we see the glimmer of hope at the TECO (Tampa Electric) trucks are close.  Just as our generator sputtered as the rain storm put water in the gas...and it died... I yell to Jim "The Power is ON!".  A miracle - all in the same 60 seconds this occurred.

I've been through this before, back in 2004 and 2005 - lost of power for up to 7 days.  How do you get through it?  Here's some things I learned.

1) Fill your freezer - I mean STUFF your freezer with frozen containers - STUFF it so that things will fall out or almost fall out when you open the door.  The more stuff you have, the longer it will last without any assistance.

2) Fill your refrigerator - even water bottles help, the more it has in it, the better off it will be in the long run in keeping the food good.

3) Get flashlights - big ones are great to read, eat, cook, etc by - here's one of the ones we have.  It takes a lot of D cell batteries but it is a great flashlight we got when Sports Authority was becoming a part of history and selling all of it's inventory.

4) Your better get those batteries in APRIL, before the season starts - especially "D" batteries as they are gone very quickly.

5) Be prepared with some way to charge your cell phone - it's not going to make it very long with all the text flying back and forth.  I have a small battery pack with a USB port - it uses 6 AA batteries - that worked this time - but solar would be even better - maybe next time.  You can also use your car if you have the adapter.

6) A high grade cooler - you know, those expensive ones - they are expensive because they stay cold longer.  We got a Craftsman which has wheels and holds things cold for 5 days - so they say.  I think at least 4 days it does - not sure about 5.

7) It's going to be quiet and boring if you don't have something to do - especially when it is dark.  Grab a deck of cards - play those old games - Go Fish, Rummy, Gin Rummy, Poker, Crazy 8 - whatever works for you.  We played cards - and then broke out the Scrabble board game.  Yes - those old fashion games that don't require batteries.

8) For those of you that like your drinks - make sure you have wine, beer, alcohol, etc.  You may want it when the world seems to be coming to an end.

9) GET A GENERATOR and a high grade extension cord (get a spliter too so you can plug in several things on 1 cord).  You'll never regret that - we have a small portable one that we got many years ago for camping and it is wonderful.  Our little Coleman Powermate can be carried if needed although it is heavy.  It will run our refrigerator, a lamp, a fan and our fish aquarium.

11) Get fuel tanks - we got a few years ago - they typically stay good for decades so it's not something you have to replace very often.  You'll want these if you have a generator or if you decide to leave the state and traffic is backed up badly.  They are in high demand and disappear quickly from the shelves.

12) Get a fan - yes, remember those old things that your parents or grandparents had? You'll want one of those!!!  Since we didn't have air conditioning, I used this little battery powered fan and put it on the night stand by my face as it blew air all night long.  It uses 2 D cell batteries - ran for 8 hours each night.

13) Consider a Coleman stove or some other type of stove and the propane gas so that you can cook some of the food that will otherwise go bad if you can't keep it cold.

Things to remember - ICE will become a VERY valuable item and a very hard item to find.  Fill your gas tanks!  Those also will become very valuable.

We have 2 months left this year for hurricane season - make sure you're ready! and come next year - when they say Hurricane Season is starting....you should start your preparations then - not the week the storm is about to hit you! 

Two important things:

1) Start stocking food you like at least in May if not April! Yes - start to purchase a few things each week or each time you go to the store.  Put it in a safe place you won't raid when you're hungry.  Do this for water also!  It beats having to fight the crowd, because you're already ready when it comes.

2) GET OUT YOUR GENERATOR! If you don't run it to ensure that it is working properly.  I saw way to many generators (not ours) come here to be fixed either right before the storm (like Saturday and the storm was coming on Sunday) or right after the storm.  Your generator needs to be 'winterized' - don't leave fuel in it sitting until the next season - that will gunk up the carburetor.  Make sure this little item that can make or break you after the storm goes through is READY long before the storm is coming to you.

So what did I miss?  Cool air - yes, I can do without the television, I can do without a lot of things but having cool air sure would help.  So, for our next piece of "Hurricane equipment" I think one of those portable rolling room air conditioners will be perfect.






vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) batteries battery candle card cooler flashlight food game generator hurricane hurricane irma irma lost of power power scrabble survival http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2017/9/hurricane-irma---getting-through-the-lost-of-electricity-for-over-4-days Sun, 17 Sep 2017 21:00:00 GMT