VP Shoots Photography: Blog http://www.vpshoots.com/blog en-us (C) VP Shoots Photography vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:12:00 GMT Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:12:00 GMT http://www.vpshoots.com/img/s/v-5/u72374969-o284808826-50.jpg VP Shoots Photography: Blog http://www.vpshoots.com/blog 120 101 Ulele - Fairy Land (similar to Lowry Park Fairy Land) http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/ulele---fairy-land-similar-to-lowry-park-fairy-land Recently I visited the Tampa River Walk - this time starting on the northern most tip which is north of downtown Tampa and the interstate.  As we approached Ulele restaurant, I noticed Humpty Dumpty! There he was sitting on top of the brick wall of Ulele on a wall similar to what he did so many years ago in Lowry Park Fairy land.

I remembered when we toured this exhibit at the Tampa History Museum that several of these characters had been purchased and were being refurbished to be on display at Ulele - I just didn't expect it to be a miniature Fairy land - it's very nicely done!  Humpty Dumpty can be seen from the river walk - if you walk up close to him, you'll see the little book stand that was with each of the characters back in the day at Lowry Park.

The other characters that are on display are on the east side of the building near the road, but tucked away in a secluded place.

Warnings are posted - TOUCH ONLY WITH YOUR EYES!  Security cameras are watching over the little fairy land.

Three little pigs....and the house.

Cinderella and her characters.

Hickory Dickory Dock


And Jack and the Beanstalk

If you remember the old Lowry Park Fairy land, this is a wonderful tribute to what once was an iconic place in Tampa - stop by and visit.  Have a drink at Ulele (the patio area is pet friendly) or perhaps have a meal.


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) cinderella dickory display dock dumpty fairy fairyland hickory hickory dickory dock house humpty humpty dumpty iconic jack jack and the beanstalk lowry lowry park mouse park pet-friendly pig three little pigs ulele http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/ulele---fairy-land-similar-to-lowry-park-fairy-land Sun, 22 Apr 2018 21:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme 'Head shots' http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/pet-photography---theme-head-shots As we enter the middle of April, we are showcasing 'head shots' of pets.  I doubt they are using them to apply for an acting job, but some may be using them to apply for a forever home.  Here's Norman, a young male coon hound who is very active, high energy and a sweet boy.

And little Bailey is coming in at about 35-40 pounds, a black cur mix and sweet little girl!

Tristian, a male chow mix posing for the photographer.

For more pet photographers sharing their take on this theme, head over to visit Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching family portraits in Coppell, Texas and surrounding communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and then head around the rest of the blog circle.

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

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) canine closeup coon hound dog dog photography dog photography blog dogs head maxx and me maxx and me pet rescue pet photography pet photography blog portrait rescue vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/pet-photography---theme-head-shots Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Tampa Armature Works on the Hillsborough River http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/tampa-armature-works-on-the-hillsborough-river Many years ago when we first started boating I noticed this old brick building along the east side of the river sitting empty.  I had no idea about it's past, just that the writing said "Tampa Armature Works".  The building sat on a curve of the river just past Rick's on the River if you're coming from Lowry Park ...or just a bit north of downtown Tampa.  One time I recall seeing they had a sunken boat in the water just a short distance from this old red brick building.

A google search gives some additional information as to the history of this old brick building - it's actually over 100 years old.  It dates back to 1910 when there were electrical street cars in this area for transportation. TECO (Tampa Electric) used this building to store and maintain the old street cars.  Eventually in 1946, the street cars faded from the landscape of Tampa in favor of the automobile and this building no longer had a purpose in life.  The building remained, it was then purchased from TECO in 1960 by a phosphate machinery manufacturer.  They used this building for a number of years.

The building sits very close to the river - these photographs were taken while boating along the river in September 2016.

To the left (west) of the building the space is open, waiting for it's next purpose (not sure almost 2 years later what this will be).

Construction is beginning in this area now as the chain link fence has blocked off access.

Now, this is a busy place again - with lots of food places inside as well as a bar or two.  The outside has a dog friendly patio area where you can sit along the river and enjoy the scenery. The east side of the building features the Heights Public Market.

This is the side of the building that faces the river taken from the beginning of the River Walk which begins/ends here (depending on where you started).


Many of the old features of the building have been preserved with the repurposing of this building.  It's very popular especially with some of the younger generations - expect it to be loud and crowded - but it's a great addition to things to visit in Tampa!





vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) armature bar dog-friendly downtown downtown tampa food hillsborough river restaurant river tampa tampa armature works water works http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/tampa-armature-works-on-the-hillsborough-river Sun, 15 Apr 2018 21:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme "Get Close" http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/pet-photography---theme-close-up This week's pet photography theme is 'get close' so I decided to grab my macro lens and take some close up photographs showing just part of a dog. I started looking at Jimbo - he's my old soul in a dog body - I've always thought that way about him.  He came to us about 5 1/2 years ago and both Jim and I looked at him soon after he was settled in and thought the same thing.  A rough life before he came to us, but now he has it much easier - just has to put up with all the critters I keep bringing into our home.  Anyway, here's a few closeups of Jimbo.

The nose, it went white many years ago - a good portion of his face is white now - but regardless of all the white fur that now covers most of his face - he is still our big gentle boy.

The eye lashes - Jimbo has always had very visible eye lashes and often we were asked if he was a girl.  He has a nick just below this eye, he came to us with several 'battle wounds' that had healed - I'm sure there is a story behind each of them that only he knows.

The tail - on Jimbo's tail there is a little bit of black fur - no where else does he have black - should he ever get separated from us, that is definitely one of his identifying traits.  If Jimbo is 'happy', his tail will curl - it's one of the ways I can tell what his mood is.  When I talk with him if I say the right word(s), the amount of tail wag I get tells me when I have said the correct word.  Course, when I say snack (others call it cookie or treat), Jimbo will go into a happy dance - a lot more is moving than his tail.

If your curious what a 'dead stare' looks like from Jimbo - here it is!  This close up was taken focusing on his eyes with a shallow depth of field.  He does have a long nose - and it's long enough to be blurred in this portrait.

As for Abby, she is a cute hound mix and has spots in various places - here she is gazing off while I am working on getting closeup photographs of the dogs.

I think one of Abby's most unique features (other than the big white spot on the back of her head) are the little black spots on her paws.  I have to say, I have never really looked at the detail in a dog's toe pads until I took this photograph.

In this photo of Abby's eye, I see two little specs of darker color on the bottom right of her left eye.  I've never noticed it looking at her, but it definitely shows up in this close up.

My thoughts to you are - what makes your pet unique such that if you had to pick them from a lineup of similar looking dogs - would you be able to do it?  Have you noticed the little details on your dog, cat, rabbit, etc that make them unique from every other animal?  Take a few minutes to do that - you never know when you may need that information.

For more pet photographers sharing their take on this theme, head over to visit Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching family portraits in Coppell, Texas and surrounding communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and then head around the rest of the blog circle.

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



vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) abby animal photography canine dog dog photography dog photography blog eye face jimbo nose outdoor pad paw pet photography blog profile senior vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/pet-photography---theme-close-up Fri, 13 Apr 2018 08:00:00 GMT
A dog photo session with Bailey http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/a-dog-photo-session-with-bailey This week's blog post is about a dog photograph session.  Sometimes we arrive to photograph a pet aka dog and find that they aren't really up to the task of being a model.  Part of working with animals is to realize that we as humans are trying to get photographs of the pet - but your pet didn't have any input as to whether they wanted to be a part of it or not.  It's totally a human decision.  As such, when we go to photograph a pet, it's much like a young child - you go with the flow and capture the best photographs possible keeping in mind the 'model' may have other ideas.  There is never any reason for you as the owner (or foster) to apologized for your dog - they are what they are and we allow time for each dog to figure out what's potentially going to happen - some are easier than others.  In most cases, we have been able to capture beautiful photographs. 

Bailey, whom we met on Thursday, is a sweet dog currently in foster and available through the Maxx and Me Pet Rescue.  Her expressions through out the photographs almost seemed funny as we reviewed them and I thought you might enjoy hearing more about how our pet photograph sessions are done.

First, we talked a little bit with Bailey's foster mom.  Bailey really listens to her and tries hard to please.  Next Bailey sees the camera and isn't quite sure what to make of it. "What are they doing?"

Bailey is listening to what her foster Mom has to say - "So, you want me to pose for these people and let them take my photograph?"

Here's the next photograph of Bailey.  "Ok, I'll show them my funny face - maybe that will make them go away".

"Hummm, I must not be doing this correctly.  Mom is talking to me again about what I am suppose to be doing."

"Ok, I think I have figured out what exactly this modeling is all about. I will give them a classic sitting pose - I think I saw 'Old Yeller' do something like this."

"Or maybe a sitting pose where I'm looking directly at the person with the camera, a slight head tilt - she is making funny noises!" 

"I stood up, I thought maybe they were done - but nope, now they want some of me standing!"

The last photograph of Bailey is showing her beautiful face to the world.  If you're interested in a female dog, about 30-35 pounds - this one looks like a great one!

Hopefully, this gives you an idea of a 'single location' photography session with your furry friend.  Let Maxx and Me Pet Rescue know if you would like to adopt Bailey - they are always looking for fosters as well.

If you're interested in a photograph session for your pet, now you have an idea of the photographs we capture of your furry friend.




vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) bailey black cur black cur mix canine dog dog photography dog photography blog female florida foster greenery outdoor pet photography rescue http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/a-dog-photo-session-with-bailey Sun, 08 Apr 2018 21:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme Leading Lines.... http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/pet-photography---theme-leading-lines As we continue our weekly pet photography blog, this week is the 14th week of 2018!  Can you believe how fast this year is going by?  It's already the beginning of April - some places in the United States are still getting snow and we are topping out very close to 90 degrees.  This week's theme is "Leading Lines" which is a photographic concept used to lead the viewer's eye to the subject.  Often this is a road, path, stairway or something along these lines.  I decided to take a slightly different approach this time for my leading line.  Our small city has several gazebo's and this one has rails leading up the stairway.  Placing Jimbo near the end of the railing, something caught his attention, and I took this photograph. 

Here is the color version.

This one has more leading lines going to my subject, Jimbo, but his expression is not one of my favorites.  Jimbo just doesn't care to be a model - he would prefer do his own thing and not what I am asking of him!

For more pet photographers sharing their take on this theme, head over to visit Kim with BARKography serving the greater Charlotte NC area and then head around the rest of the blog circle.

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


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) brick canine dog dog photography gazebo leading lines line lines outdoor pet pet photography pet photography blog stair rail stair railing stairway temple terrace vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/pet-photography---theme-leading-lines Fri, 06 Apr 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Happy Easter - 2018 http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/happy-easter---2018 This Sunday is Easter - wishing all of you a happy Easter!  Here's photographs from the Sacred Heart Church in downtown Tampa.  This church is located at 509 N. Florida Avenue and was built in 1905.  It is one of the oldest churches in the city of Tampa built with Romanesque structure predominantly.  It is open to the public except during services (church, weddings, funerals).  If you visit, please be respectful of those that may be praying at the time you visit.

Have a Happy Easter!

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) alter catholic church cross downtown tampa easter jesus lily religion sacred heart sacred heart catholic church sacred heart church tampa http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/4/happy-easter---2018 Sun, 01 Apr 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme "Day in the Life" http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/pet-photography---theme-day-in-the-life This week's pet photography theme is "Day in the Life" of a pet.  I'll have to say that there are days where I see our pets sleeping and that seems to be about the only thing they do.  It's there way of passing the time as there isn't much else to do.  However, when I start walking around the house - it seems like they follow me everywhere!  Sometimes I am lucky and they don't, but seems that they are always wondering if I am going to do something 'good'.  There are several words our dogs really respond to and two of them are "Ride" as in, "Do you want to go for a ride?" They are very smart and know this means we are going someplace in the car.  They start to get excited and they really don't care where they are going.  The other word is "Walk" and all they need is that word or the sound of their leash and they are ready to go.  

So what's a day in the life of one of our pets?  Well, it's changed somewhat now that we have more than one dog, but if you ask Jimbo, a good day is one where he gets to go somewhere whether that is a walk, a ride - or better yet - both! Course, it's always better if it's just him and I that are heading somewhere and I do that with him now that all the 'puppies' (first Abby, then Rue and Ollie) have grown up a bit.  This particular day, we went over to Wilderness Park - and with the help of Jim - we managed to take the WHOLE family.  Here's us at the beginning of the Nature Trail.

We found a fallen tree and let the kids climb around a bit.

Ollie jumped up on this log all by herself and Abby is standing on the ground. You can see size difference here! .

Ollie says "Watching birds is always fun."

And when we get home from an adventure, it's time to nap.  Jimbo jumps up on our bed. 

The puppies often curl up together, especially when they are real tired and not just taking a light nap.

Abby prefers to sleep on our bed providing Jimbo isn't there - otherwise she just find anything around the house that seems comfy!

For more pet photographers sharing their take on this theme, head over to visit Nancy Kieffer Photography serving Central New York, the Adirondacks and Beyond and then head around the rest of the blog circle.

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

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) canine dog dog photography hike multiple nature nature trail outdoor park pet photography pet photography blog sleep trail walk wilderness park wonder woods http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/pet-photography---theme-day-in-the-life Fri, 30 Mar 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Beauty of trees... http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/beauty-of-trees I recently read an article in one of my magazines that arrived - the article was about trees.  Specifically, it was about a forest ranger in Germany who wrote a book about the "Hidden World of Trees".  After a couple of weeks of this single title continuing to come back to me as I walk through our neighborhood with all the large old oak trees - I decided I needed to purchase this book and see what this was all about.  Hence this week's blog post and probably a few more in the future will include photographs showing the beauty of trees.  I'll share little tidbits about this book - I don't think I will ever think of trees in the same way.  They will have a new respect that perhaps we should all have - but for now, let me share.

I asked "What's the difference between woods and forest?" - Do you know?  Don't google it - do you know without asking some one (including technical gadgets!).  "A wood is an area covered in trees, larger than a grove or a copse. A forest is also an area covered in trees, but it is larger than a wood. The trees in woods and forests grow thickly, and the space between them is overgrown with grasses, shrubs and underbrush."  Source: https://sciencing.com/differences-woods-forests-jungles-8377449.html  Of course, if you want to get even more technical about the difference between these words, there are other articles on the internet found with a google search.  This one indicates the difference has more to do with the language the term originated from.  The article states that the English language is a combination of two language branches: Germanic and Italic and the difference in these words is because of that - if you're really interested, here's the link to that article Read more: Differences Between Woods and Forest | Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.net/language/differences-between-woods-and-forest/#ixzz5AhjblK7U

Bottom line is 'Woods' is a group of trees that is smaller than a 'Forest'.  The next google search I performed is to see what "National Forests" exist in Florida - and this returns three forests, Ocala National Forest, Osceola National Forest and Apalachicola National Forest of which I can say I have spent a little time in the Ocala National Forest but I can't say that I have visited the others (perhaps I need to add that to my bucket list).  I have been to a very beautiful place located north of Atlanta called the Big Trees Forest Preserve and this place is beautiful.  I've been here a few times now, never in fall (hopefully sometime soon!) and I love the beauty of it.

I wish we had this kind of trees and stuff here in Florida - but if we do, it's not near the Tampa Bay area! 

Now reading the book about the "Hidden World of Trees" I want to visit places like this more just to be able to visually see things that are discussed in the words on the pages within.  As for places within an hour of us, here's some of the trees (woods) that we have.  This photograph of the large old oak tree with resurrection ferns growing along the big limbs and moss/fungi growing on the trunk in the foreground has it's own beauty.  This tree is part of the The Withlacoochee River Park located in Dade City.  

Coming closer to home, along the Hillsborough River at Wilderness Park are cypress trees growing in a forest like environment.  They have a trail that goes along the water and if the water is low enough, you can cross over to a deck that is nice to watch wildlife.  If the water is high, either wade through or turn back and take another trail to this view.

At Blackwater Hammock Nature Park just about sunrise there are oaks and other trees along the water.  This is on the west side of the Hillsborough River a small park with a few trails - but at this time of day, it's pretty much just you and nature.

That's all the trees for this blog post, look for more in coming weeks!




vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) big trees big trees forest preserve blackwater blackwater hammock nature park cypress cypress tree dog-friendly florida forest georgia hammock hike hiking hillsborough river nature oak oak tree park path preserve sunrise trail trails tree trees water wilderness park withlacoochee river park wood woods http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/beauty-of-trees Sun, 25 Mar 2018 21:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme "Re-Processing of older images" http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/pet-photography---theme-re-processing-of-older-images This week's pet photography theme is looking back at older photographs and reprocess them using new and/or different techniques than you might have done in the past.  As I began to think about how my pet photography has changed over the last 5-7 years I realized that a lot has changed.  I photograph dogs more frequently than cats and I've learned a lot about the body language dogs are providing during a photo session.  Pet photography is about creating a connection with the animal(s) such that they are comfortable with you and the energy you are providing.  As such, I've learned to keep my energy levels calm - provide a 'happy energy' where the animal will feel comfortable and not anxious. If the dog is outgoing and immediately wants to greet me - and I've had some come at me with tails wagging and tongues ready for kisses - then I focus my attention on them immediately (without the camera).  They get a good bit of love, petting, scratching - let's have fun.  If the pet is shy or a little less outgoing, then I spend a few minutes talking with the owner/handler and let them pet get used to my presence.   I watch the dogs ears, their tails, and whether they are happy or perhaps panting or yawning when it's not hot (a sure sign they aren't comfortable).  Cats for sure need their space in most cases, so I let them come to me on their terms providing of course it doesn't look like it's going to take all day.  All these things have added to my having a better end product when the photograph session is completed.

After the photo session has ended, more 'magic' happens on the computer.  Most all photographs I process have several steps (not in a specific order):

  • lighten and sharpen the eyes
  • clean up the eyes if needed 
  • color checks (white should be white, black should be black - the most challenging fur colors but also applies to the overall photo)
  • removal bright spots that distract from the subject(s)
  • removal of the leash
  • depending on the photograph, add a slight vignette

There may be other things that I will do to a given photograph, but these are the key things I look for when I am processing a pet photograph.  In some cases, I will do a 'composite' where I will replace a background or remove a large amount of what may have been in the original photograph - however, this is not a 'typical' post processing photograph.

Here's a photograph of a white "Tom" cat - while his fur is white, he was not a clean white as he is an outdoor tom cat.

In the below photograph, the eyes are lighten to be a brighter yellow, the fur a little whiter and provides a better overall photograph of the cat.

For the below photograph of my first dog, Dolly I made several changes.  Here's the original taken of Dolly back in 2011 with older equipment and intended to just be a 'snapshot' not a full blown photo session.  She was my first "pet model" and I'm blessed that she was so willing - I only wish my pet photography was a great as it is now back when she was young!  We lost our beloved Dolly almost 5 years ago shortly after our boy, Jimbo, came into our lives.

Here's the post processed photograph. I'm sure you can see the difference - I cropped the photograph to remove some of the lighter background colors, I increased the overall exposure of the entire photo, lightened and sharpened her eyes.

For more pet photographers sharing their take on this theme, head over to visit Elayne Massaini - Pet Photos - Sao Paulo - Brazil and then head around the rest of the blog circle.

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


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) animal photography canine cat cat photography dog dog photography dolly feline green older outdoor pet photography pet photography blog post-processing senior tom cat tree vpshoots white cat woods http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/pet-photography---theme-re-processing-of-older-images Fri, 23 Mar 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Lithia Springs Park on a cool spring day http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/lithia-springs-park-on-a-cool-spring-day Continuing on our trek to do the Hillsborough County Hiking Spree, we headed over to Lithia Springs Park this week.  First, we visited the spring - it's beautiful - crystal clear water - a cool day (very few people in the water) - although the water levels appeared pretty low.  We walked around a portion of the fenced swimming area.  There is a major portion of the swimming area to the right of this photograph - but the sun was coming straight at the camera (late afternoon) so I aimed the camera down river.

This spring is the major attraction for this park.  The natural spring flows year round with cool, clean water into the Alafia River. Wikipedia states "The spring, officially known as Lithia Spring Major, is located 500 feet from the Alafia River, into which it discharges an average of 35 million gallons of water per day."  As with most all springs in Florida, the water is a refreshing 72 degrees year round.

At this time of year, the water is shallow, clear and a green tint.  On weekends (particularly during the summer), the swimming area is filled to capacity. There is a rope across this ends the swimming area just behind the sign shown below.

At the end of the area is a fenced off spring - you can see the hole where the water comes up near the bottom of this photograph.

Here's a better view of the actual spring where the water comes up and the fish are all hanging out. Several varieties of fish are swimming around.

This park does have a campground that is available on a first come basis (no reservations).  The entrance fee is $2.00 (similar to many other parks in Hillsborough County).

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) cold dog hike hiking lithia lithia springs lithia springs park park playground river spring springs swim swimming trail vpshoots walk water http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/lithia-springs-park-on-a-cool-spring-day Sun, 18 Mar 2018 21:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme "favorite song" http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/pet-photography---theme-favorite-song This week's pet photography theme is "favorite song".  I've thought a lot about this and gone through lots of songs that are my favorites - starting back in the days of my childhood where songs like "Black and White", "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", "Though the Years", 'Yesterday", "If" were songs I really love and still do - and when the song comes on whether the radio or live music - funny how all those words you memorized decades ago come back with such ease. 

Next, I thought about songs that I pulled together more recently as I loved the lyrics, music and these songs are "Circle of Life", "Home", "I Love You This Big", "Please Remember Me"....and as I think about all these songs, I realize that each of them has lyrics that mean something to me...whether that is some little part of the song or the entire song, or maybe even just the song title.

I also realized, I don't have a single favorite song, so this blog post is featuring some of my "favorite songs". I'm going to give you a throwback song, by a well known country artist, I hear the song in my head...."On the road again"...and here is Ollie guest starring for this song!


All of us that love and care for our pets, know that they have a shorter life than we do and there are many great memories along the way, but then one day no more new memories are created.  This is the case for a friend a while back and I captured this moment in time because I've never experienced such a moment as we completed the good bye for one furry friend, another takes a few moments to pay his respects.

Alaska came to my friend as a senior rescue dog who was expected to have a short time before he crossed the rainbow.  He flourished at her home with all the canine buddies and had many happy moments as a senior.  We remember all those that cross our paths, "Please Remember Me".  This song has been recorded by Tim McGraw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA9Z2teKB0A) and Scotty McCreery (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvRN4NZdzGM).  Here are the links to their songs on You Tube. 

All our tears have reached the sea,Part of you will live in me, Way down deep inside my heart, The days keep coming without fail
New wind is gonna find your sail, That's where your journey starts

You'll find better love, Strong as it ever was, Deep as the river runs, Warm as the morning sun, Please remember me


Remember me when you're out walking, When snow falls high outside your door, Late at night when you're not sleeping, And moonlight falls across your floor, And I can't hurt you anymore


Please remember me

Songwriters: Rodney Crowell / Will Jennings

Please Remember Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

For more 'Favorite Song' pet photographs head over to visit Ursula M. Garrison Photography, serving Northern Wisconsin and the Chequamegon Bay Area and then head around the rest of the blog circle.

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




vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) alaska animal photography burial canine car death died dog dog photography dog photography blog grave ollie passed pet photography pet photography blog sad senior song vpshoots window http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/pet-photography---theme-favorite-song Fri, 16 Mar 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Spring at Trout Creek, Wilderness Park http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/spring-at-trout-creek-wilderness-park We all loaded up in the car this week on a beautiful spring day and took our little family over to Trout Creek - one of several areas associated with Wilderness Park here in Hillsborough County.  Jimbo and Abby are just about always ready to go for a car ride and wait to see where we stop.  Rue jumps right into the car with the big dogs and is ready to go.  Ollie, being the smallest of the group (although heavier than Rue), always hesitates.  I've taken to just picking her up and putting her in the car - she seems fine with that. Probably a habit I don't want long term - but haven't figured out why she doesn't care to jump in when she can jump on our bed which is a lot higher!

As we pile out of the car (I'm sure it's a sight to see) with all four dogs - we headed over to the river and saw this beautiful overlook.  It was a cool, lovely morning and very few were here.

We walked on over to the area where the boat launch is - lurking on the other side of the river was an alligator - so no stopping there nor getting close to the water.  Time to cross over the parking lot to the other side away from the water.  We decided to take the nature trail.  It was light and airy with all the oak trees covering the walkway for the trail.  The dogs loved it - we were the only ones on the trail at this time.

Here's another darker version of the same photo, I prefer the darker image - what about you?  Feel free to leave a comment and let us know.

So our trail started with palmettos and oak trees (which are very heavy on pollen right now). Jim had the little dogs, I had the big dogs.  Ollie and Rue didn't stop as much for smells as Jimbo and Abby - so they got a little bit ahead of us.

Here's our crew stopped at the sign leading the direction for the nature trail - a jumble of leashes!

As we continued along the walk, the palmettos disappear and are replaced with ferns.  The trees are more diverse, not just the scrub oak trees.

We came upon a dead tree, but didn't find any woodpeckers there.  Then we saw the downed pine tree, and Ollie thought it was the perfect perch to see what the big dogs can see!

Rue didn't seem to have the same sense of adventure to jump up on the tree log.

And Jimbo, well - he's the only boy of the group and the elder for sure - so he just waited patiently but didn't care to have any photos taken.  Get out in nature while it's beautiful weather and Let your mind wander as you walk down this trail and enjoy nature!

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) bicycling dog dog-friendly dogs fern hiking hillsborough nature oak park path river trail' tree trout creek vpshoots walking water wilderness park http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/spring-at-trout-creek-wilderness-park Sun, 11 Mar 2018 21:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme Minimalist http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/pet-photography---theme-simplicity This past weekend I noticed another photographer at our local park - it's two blocks from my house and just about every day (as long as I am in town), one of my dogs will take me down the road to this park.  As I walked my little foster puppies around this park, I watched this photographer as he posed the two adults with a medium sized white dog.  The adults were lying down on the ground with their dog in the middle.  This all looked interesting, but I smiled as I saw the photographer trying to get the dog's attention by throwing some of the oak pollen pieces into the air (I couldn't tell that it was working - but who knows).  I did notice that the dog was very interested in my little girls even as we stayed a good distance - I decided that if I was going to help them at all, I needed to be directly behind the photographer even though I was probably at least 50 feet away.  Oh well, hopefully he got the photographs.

As we move into this week's theme for pet photography, the theme is simplicity.  I often think that the less 'busy' a photograph is, the easier it is for the viewer to stay focused on the subject.  A simplistic photograph, in the general sense, can be a difficult task - I looked at many different links as I googled through trying to come up with ideas for this week.  I realized that in some ways, I prefer the simple photographs but wasn't sure that I necessarily applied that to my pet photography.  Photographing pets is something that I love to do - each pet is different - each animal is different - whether it will be a photograph that fits into this theme - well, that's another question isn't it?

Here's an image from a while back, I used one of the watercolor options within the Topaz Impression software to create a simple yet beautiful image of this little dachshund.

The next photograph is one of my favorites of a young puppy at one of the adoption events that finally laid down with it's head on paws, tired from a long day of attending the outdoor event.

For more 'Minimalist' pet photographs head over to visit Ashley Blacker Photography Photographing throughout Scotland and then head around the rest of the blog circle.

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


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) animal photography canine dachshund dog dog photography dog photography blog maxx and me minimal minimalism minimalist outdoor pet photography pet photography blog portrait portraits puppy rescue simple vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/pet-photography---theme-simplicity Fri, 09 Mar 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Circle of Life - Spring has sprung here early http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/circle-of-life---spring-has-sprung-here-early It's now the beginning of March - hard to believe that two months have gone by this year already and we will soon be on daylight savings time.  It's very obvious that it's been spring here for several weeks - it doesn't matter that the calendar says "February" (and now March).  The oak trees have been dropping leaves like crazy - mine still are not done yet.  The azaleas have been blooming for weeks and it's kinda crazy that they will be done before true spring starts. 

Our milkweed plants survived the freeze we had - those in pots were moved to warm locations, those in the ground were covered carefully to protect them.  It's a good thing we did that, we have caterpillars all over the place and we are quickly getting to bare branches on the milkweed.  The monarch caterpillars are eating away very fast - definitely spring in the air.  

This caterpillar is munching away at the branch itself - they do eat those after the leaves are gone.

If I stretch, can I get across to the next milkweed branch? (seems like it would be much easier than walking down one branch and then over to the next branch).

Another photo where the caterpillar is hanging off the branch trying to determine where to go next. I'm sure the caterpillar knows, but I don't.

Here's the milkweed flower cluster on another plant that is a good distance away from those that are currently loaded with caterpillars.  We don't often see the flowers because the plant doesn't get a chance to flower before it is eaten by the caterpillars.

Here's another plant that has just a single bloom left.  These are fairly small flowers, so the bottom photograph is a potentially showing bigger than life size if you're viewing this blog on anything other than your phone.

Soon I expect that the caterpillars will move off the milkweed to start the next journey in life as they wait to become beautiful butterflies.


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) butterfly caterpillar caterpillars circle of life close-up florida flower life macro milkweed monarch nature outdoor spring vpshoots warm http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/circle-of-life---spring-has-sprung-here-early Sun, 04 Mar 2018 22:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme Wide Angle http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/pet-photography---theme-wide-angle This week's theme is "wide angle" which allows the camera to capture a large amount of the overall scene.  One factor to keep in mind - is what is a wide angle on a full frame camera vs a crop sensor camera?  Any lens with a focal length of 35mm or wider on a full frame camera is considered to be a wide angle lens.  If it is 24mm and wider, it is considered an ultra-wide angle (speaking full frame again).  For a crop sensor camera, this changes a little bit.  The angle of view is 65 degrees (28mm on a full frame camera), but the lens mm is dependent on the digital multiplier factor.  For Nikon/Sony/Pentax cameras, this is 1.5x, for Canon cameras, this is 1.6x.  A 35mm lens will give 23.3 on a Nikon camera (which is what I shoot).

I often shoot pets close to the wide angle if I am working by myself and need to be able to handle the dog as well as the camera - but if not, then I will use a longer focal length to allow for blurring out the background. 

In general, using a wide-angle lens for any type of photography requires some consideration to what your subject is - it must have depth and you need to get real close to the foreground object in your frame.  Sometimes, real close, like on top of it.  One of my favorite (non-pet) wide angle photographs is this one taken at Cypress Point park.

This photograph was taken with a Nikon D7100, 22mm, f/16, 1/60 sec, ISO 200.  I found this scene very interesting and put the camera up to my eye and kept walking slowly until this foreground rock was right at the bottom of the frame.  How close was it? I was just inches away from it - literally on top of it by the time I got this photograph composed.  There are several factors that come into play to have a well composed wide-angle photograph.

1) Have a clear, dominant subject in the image, particularly in the foreground

2) Get as close as possible to your subject 

3) Use leading lines in your composition to draw the viewer into your photograph

Keeping all these factors in mind, how does this apply to pet photography?  One thing to consider is the longer noses on some dogs will look very distorted if it's to close to a wide angle lens.  But, if you have the dog turn their head a little bit and then take the photograph, some of that distortion goes away. Jasper, a rescue dog (now adopted), is actually not a large dog (about 30-35 pounds), but with him up high, using a wider angle (24mm on APS-C) he looks much larger than the trees behind him.

Jasper - male- adoptedJasper - male- adopted

This photograph of Ollie was taken with a full frame camera, 38mm - just shy of being considered a 'wide angle' photograph.  It's sometimes harder for me to get that close to the dog to fill the frame if using a wide angle.  Ollie is a smaller dog weighing in at about 21 pounds but her face is very dominant in the photograph because the camera is so close to her.

For more 'wide angle' 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.

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


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) animal photography beach canine cypress park dog dog photography dog photography blog jasper ollie park pet photography pet photography blog puppy rescue riverhills riverhills park rock rocks tampa vpshoots water wide angle http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/3/pet-photography---theme-wide-angle Fri, 02 Mar 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Fog in the country http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/2/fog-in-the-country This week, we go back to the country - rural counties up in the pan handle area of Florida where life seems to be slower than here in the busy metropolitan area of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater (Hillsborough and Pinellas counties).  Each week I have strived to create a blog entry that contains some photographs that I like - some are amazing to me, some are letting you know what we have been up to, some are what I love to shoot - either way - I appreciate you as the reader taking a few minutes of your time to read and take a look at the photographs - Thank you!

I came across a quote recently by John Grisham on someone else's blog - it's about writing..."Write a page a day or you’re not serious.” So, I wonder - does this also apply to photography?  I can honestly say, that I do shoot photographs of something every week - whether it is a dog, landscape or something else - I'm always looking to photograph my world.  But, I will say, that I do not take photographs every day - should I?  Good question - but some days are for post processing - maybe that counts?  

Sometimes I go back and look at photographs I took a while back - it's enlightening to see what you did and whether you still like the photograph or not.  In this particular case, I went back to look at photos taken on a foggy morning in rural Florida.  Have you ever gone out on a walk early on a foggy morning and taken the time to look at all the artwork spiders have created? If you look close, you'll find the artwork of spiders everywhere with dew making them more visible than normal.

If you're out in the country, then cows are usually out milling around in the pasture.  You can see the hint of pine trees in the background.  Pine trees are grown in many areas in this part of Florida for the timber.

Early morning fog on this day was pretty heavy - here's a grove of trees along the country road.

A few old homesteads, barns, buildings along the country road.

This is my favorite photo from this group showing the old building that may not even be standing anymore nestled among the trees, vines and fog.

Thanks for stopping by!

vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) barn building country dew florida fog foggy morning road rural spider tree trees web http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/2/fog-in-the-country Sun, 25 Feb 2018 22:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme Silhouettes http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/2/pet-photography---theme-silhouettes As February comes to a close, our pet photography theme this week is "silhouettes".  This is a type of photography where the details are lost, just the outline of your subject (hopefully a recognizable subject by shape) is depicted.  Wikipedia states the following about silhouettes: "A silhouette is the image of a person, animal, object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single color, usually black, with its edges matching the outline of the subject. The interior of a silhouette is featureless, and the whole is typically presented on a light background, usually white, or none at all. The silhouette differs from an outline, which depicts the edge of an object in a linear form, while a silhouette appears as a solid shape."

I very much wanted to head someplace a capture a beautiful sunset (I'm not getting up and moving fast enough for the sunrise at the moment) and do my silhouette photos for this week's blog.  Unfortunately, reality came into the schedule and I realized that probably wasn't going to happen - either I wasn't free to do it or the weather wasn't a beautiful sunset.  Either way, it wasn't going to happen in the few days I had available.  I can usually go to the neighborhood park and capture some photographs.  As I headed down to the park, I realized that this park is empty when I walk in the morning (perhaps everyone else is heading to school or work) but there are a LOT of people there in the evenings!  Typically, Abby and Jimbo are pretty good and I can either drop the leash or take it off and keep them under voice command providing no other dog comes into the overall scene.  The volume of people at the playground, boat ramp and park gave me a little concern this time - would Jimbo and Abby stay put?  Bottom line, once I put the camera to my face, I'm not actually able to see what is happening around me - I have to depend on the dogs to alert me if something interesting is happening - and that can be a bird, squirrel, dog, person and probably a few things I missed.

I decided to trust them and one at a time, drop their leash and give them the 'stay' command.  It worked!  I'm sure there were a few people that watched from afar, as I had just let go of the leash for a 60+ pound dog. First, Abby - I got down low to put the sky behind Abby and get a few photographs - I stayed close using a 35mm lens.  This is Abby, she is actually wearing her collar and harness, but neither appear in the photo as I have used Adobe Lightroom to increase the blacks and shadows to remove all details of Abby.

Next up, Jimbo - this silhouette is of Jimbo.  Jimbo is wearing his collar, plus a flea collar and the shape of his head is definitely different than Abby's.  Course, I knew that, but it's more obvious in this silhouette photograph.

In the next silhouette, I positioned the sun with Jimbo's head and sun flares over his head.  This photograph isn't a true silhouette as you can see some details of Jimbo.

I'm actually noticing all the fur details on each of my dogs faces and heads.  In this photograph, Abby is actually turned away from me and looking at the sunset.  When the subject turns away as Abby has done in this case, the overall shape of her changes dramatically and is not showing much of her actual shape.  It's important to have the subject lined up such that you can see the overall shape and it is easily recognizable.

This photograph of Abby reminds me of a comic where the character is talking - I think this is because of her mouth being open and the sunset shows through.

For more 'silhouette' pet photographs head over to visit Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography, fetching family portraits in Coppell, Texas and surrounding communities in North Texas and then head around the rest of the blog circle.

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


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) abby animal photography boat canine cloud clouds dock dog florida jimbo outdoor park pet photography pet photography blog ramp riverhills silhouette sky sunset temple terrace vpshoots http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/2/pet-photography---theme-silhouettes Fri, 23 Feb 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Golden Lion Tamarin - Lowry Park Zoo http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/2/golden-lion-tamarin---lowry-park-zoo I love these little "golden lions" - they are small, active, bright colored and a joy to watch at the zoo.  They are a small primate found in a very small range in Eastern Brazil.  They live about 10 - 15 years and form a life long breeding pair.  Their diet consists primary of fruit, flowers, tree sap, insects and reptiles (I'm assuming small reptiles)!

They have a small 'cave like' area they can duck into when they aren't feeling up to the crowds.

Early morning sunshine...

Coming out to see what I am doing, notice the long tail on these little guys (they are small, their head will fit in the palm of my hand).

Beautiful orange fur with red tint.  They were curious when I was hanging out there for a while and gave me a variety of options to photograph them.


vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) golden golden lion golden lion tamarin lion lowry lowry park lowry park zoo monkey orange tamarin tampa vpshoots zoo http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/2/golden-lion-tamarin---lowry-park-zoo Sun, 18 Feb 2018 22:00:00 GMT
Pet Photography - Theme "Year of the Dog" http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/2/pet-photography---theme-year-of-the-dog This week's theme is "Year of the Dog" to coincide with the Chinese New Year...."The Dog is the eleventh of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Monkey, Rooster and Dog were in another country, helping a god defeat evil spirits. After, they set off to the party together. Because they arrived at the same time, the Jade Emperor went by the order they met the god in the other country. Thus, Dog became eleventh." Info from the website Chinese New Year 2018: https://chinesenewyear2018.com/zodiac/dog/

This past weekend Jim and I had an opportunity to push our pet photography into a new realm of "extreme action" - we went to visit a dog disc competition.  This blog post is including just a few of the photographs from that event - at the time of this writing, I'm still working to get this down to a manageable number of photographs.  This event (we went on Sunday) was the USDDN Qualifier hosted by Central Florida Dog & Disc Club in Spring Hill, Florida at Veterans Memorial Park.  These dogs were fantastic performers on a warm Sunday.

The events consisted of several rounds of "freestyle" where the dogs did amazing things with their owners - I've never seen anything like it - next time I will try to capture some video of freestyle as photographs just won't do it justice.  The other rounds consisted of the handler throwing the dog disc (looks like a frisbee) and the dog running to catch it (or at least retrieve it).  Above is a photograph of the dog after it has retrieved the disc.

This is a cattle hound dog mix.  It's not all the Aussie's and Border Collies that are doing this!  I did find that many of these dogs were pulled from shelters and rescued into a life they seem to love with all the exercise.  A perfect fit for the very active dogs to allow them run time and have such a strong bond with their handlers.

And here's one of the catch - up in the air!

More photographs will be posted in the gallery for this event, click here http://www.vpshoots.com/centralfloridadogdisc

For more 'Year of the Dog' pet photographs head over to visit Nancy Kieffer Photography serving Central New York, the Adirondacks and beyond and then head around the rest of the blog circle.

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



vpshoots@gmail.com (VP Shoots Photography) action canine central florida disc dogs central florida dog & disc club competition disc dog dog photography field florida frisbee outdoor pet blog pet photography pet photography blog spring hill usddn veterans memorial park vpshoots year of the dog http://www.vpshoots.com/blog/2018/2/pet-photography---theme-year-of-the-dog Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:00:00 GMT