Monday, May 24, 2010

Fender The (High Stakes) Elite Gambler

That old Kenny Rogers song comes to mind. At the Muddy Paws trial Fender (and Edie) showed us he knows how to play the game. If you are too young to know who Kenny Rogers is, well... respect your elders!

Congratulations Fender!

Some housekeeping: All orders from last week will go out in today's mail. I will try to get orders received over the weekend out before week's end.

I'm doing post-work on some sittings as well. Can't wait to share those but I wanna get the prints done first.

Enjoy this snowy May day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sun Dogs and Black Dogs

Sunday afternoon it appeared and all of a sudden -- while I was walking the course no less! -- I started hearing that I needed to grab my camera and shoot a Sun Dog. Being a pretty obedient guy, I did. I'd never seen one before but I think we all took it as a good omen that it came to our little ASCA trial. Phil Hahn explained it best when he told me "a Sun Dog is a rainbow-like spot in a cirrus cloud. Light shining through ice crystals in the cloud makes a sundog, much like the light shining through raindrops makes a rainbow." Phil's smart like that.

Black Dogs

I'm still a little miffed that some of the shots in the gallery are darker than they should be. Something's up. So just because I can, I thought I'd post a few of what those shots should actually look like.

OK, so Bingley is not all that dark. But I like this shot -- and a few others of him from this weekend. Judging from those images I think there's more to Bingley than meets the eye. He's intense in the weaves and in this shot, call me crazy, but I think he's smiling.

OK, Spur is not exactly a black dog either. I just like this shot of Robyn Garrett's baby.

Here we go:

And if you missed it from the last post, here's the link to the gallery: ASCA Muddy Paws

Sunday, May 16, 2010

ASCA Muddy Paws

OMG! Web Commerce Hell! I can now say I've been there. I had MAJOR problems with my online store but I think I have resolved them. Go me! Thanks for your patience at the trial and when you've gone looking for the gallery only to find nothing.

Big, big congratulations to Izzy and Little C for their ATCH! (Little C absolutley would not look at me so we took what we could get for this shot just after the big run.)

In the ASCA tradition this was a nice, mellow trial. Cool judge. Small field (entrants). All nice. Fun but a little challenging to shoot in some respects...

This shot of Pippi was one of my favorites of the weekend. Such a cute little lady! But then again I'm partial to corgis and Pippi is a Corgi-Westie mix. (Hope I get that right.)

Ginger Snaps was also adorable. Her tail is like a rudder and finds its way all over the place. And those ears have a mind of their own as well.

Important note when viewing the gallery: The images are darker than usual for some reason. (Quite possibly a remnant of the software woes I had this weekend.) And so some of the darker and black dogs in particular look too dark. They're not. So I thought I'd share a couple of images of dark dogs to give you an idea what they will look like as prints or jpegs -- both of the images below look way to dark in the gallery but they're really fine. If you have a question about a given image, just let me know.



That's it. Time to crash!

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jasper & Daisy

Jasper and Daisy live on our street, five doors down. They're a regular fixture of life in our great neighborhood; we see them on their morning walk with their human companions, John and Sheryl, just about every day. Since our little photo session a few months back Jasper (on the left) and I have become best buds; if we're out at the same time, he is gonna come say hello. Period. And there's a whole lot of hello in Jasper to go around. But I like that.

These guys are clearly best friends and are inseparable, so when we talked about what we were after in a photo, a two-shot made the most sense. But just sitting around and looking pretty for the camera wasn't something they were into. No, they'd rather play. So after a few posed shots, we brought out a toy and a game of tug-o-war was quickly on!

The toy never stood a chance.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jackson & Sadie

Paul Thiriot is a friend of over a decade. He happens to be one of the better cameramen in Utah if not the US. No lie. Paul can make a jar of mayonnaise look sexy. If you've ever seen Dateline, you've probably seen his work. A few times a year, we get the chance to work together.

On a job just before Christmas we were hovering over our iphones, sharing pix of our dogs. When I showed him a portrait of Wyatt, Paul got kind of excited and told me he wanted me to shoot his Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Jackson and Sadie. Talk about making my day! (For you 'agiliphiles', it would be like Susan Garrett asking you to run her dog.)

Sadie & Jackson

It was Paul's daughter Danielle that brought the pair into the family. (And what does Danielle do? Oh, she's 'just' a jet pilot in the US Navy.) Her fiance wanted to give her a photo for Christmas. We decided to go with a canvas gallery wrap of the image below. It'd be pretty hard to mess up a shot of this pair but it did turn out even better than I'd envisioned.

That musculature and their lines just blow me away. I would not want to be an African lion with a pack of these guys on my tail...

Paul will have Sadie and Jackson at the Lure Coursing trial in Morgan over Memorial Day weekend (along with a bunch of other ridgebacks). I've never seen them run and I've never actually seen Lure Coursing, so I hope to make it up for the event and possibly shoot some runs.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Outdoor Agility Season!!

OMG! It's here! And man are we excited about it! Well, Josie's excited and Wyatt is... well, it depends on the day, the temperature, his bio-rhythms and... me. Sigh. More on Wyatt in a minute.

Josie at the April USDAA trial in Farmington

We've taken part in three trials so far. If Josie's results are an indication, she and Suzie are on their way to a nice season. Josie is hitting her weaves more consistently (a bit of a problem area) and she is getting more comfortable running ahead of Suzie -- a must for a fast girl whose legs are almost as long as her handler's!

At this past weekend's AKC trial in South Jordan, Josie got more Qs than not and in just her second trial, she's a leg shy of moving up to Open in both Standard and Jumpers. (I note here that AKC Novice courses are ridiculously simple. My humble opinion anyway.) And the great thing about Josie is that she just loves agility.

Wyatt at the UKI Fun Trial ~ photo: Carol Clawson

Wyatt, on the other hand, probably won't miss agility at all when he's no longer running. The summer heat only adds to his occasional on-course apathy. Try as I do -- and if you've seen us run you know I am as much cheerleader as handler -- I'm starting to 'lose' him (his attention) with increasing frequency. Still, he got an Excellent standard leg this weekend and was oh-so-close in two Jumpers runs. So I think we'll run this summer and then Wyatt's gonna get a big ole 'Retired' sign on his kennel. Perhaps he'll pursue that modeling career he's always talking about.

That EXCELLENT photo of Wyatt above was taken by our friend Carol Clawson. As cute as "Mr. Never a Hair Out of Place" is, the photo illustrates one of the banes of our agility existence: contacts. W just loves to hang out on top of the A frame before frequently doing a leaping dismount.

And me? I had so much fun shooting agility last year that I'm just excited, almost giddy, to be able to photograph in good outdoor light again. At the same time, I'll almost certainly shoot fewer trials than last year. I will be at the local ASCA trial this weekend. It's a nice, relaxed venue and Robyn Garrett and Linda Hahn were very supportive last year in allowing me to shoot when I was still trying to figure out how to shoot these wonderful athletes we're so lucky to have in our lives! (And I'll be running with Wyatt.)

Here are a few photos from the April USDAA trial. I shot very little at this show as I was running Wyatt and, frankly, just wanted to relax and visit with friends... But a few turned out nice and kind of reinvigorated me for the upcoming season.

Cesar - airborn and with a tailwind


Lock-step. Can you see it?

Pushing through the chute

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Icebreaker

Deb Sussman and Perk

We spent Friday and Saturday at a herding trial in Deweyville at the Goring Ranch. If there is an actual Deweyville, my guess is the sheep population far outnumbers the humans. It's absolutely beautiful country with rolling hills as far as the eye can see. I imagine when things warm up and green up over the next month it'll be all the more beautiful.

Suzie ran Josie in the Novice class. On both days Josie's outrun and lift were pretty -- even if her outrun does sometimes take her into the next county, as people like to joke. After the lift on Friday the sheep split and it didn't end so well. Saturday was much better with handler and dog in control.

That's Josie above taking off on her outrun on Saturday. You can just see the sheep, blocked by Suzie and between the panels in the distance. If you're thinking that's not a great shot, I hear you. I get nervous for Suzie and sometimes don't think about the most simple things -- like moving left then composing the shot to better see the sheep. On this run I'd asked Eric, a good friend and herding buddy, to shoot video of Suzie's run. He got caught up in the moment too; he kept saying 'oh my god, I'm doing a horrible job' or something to that effect -- and Eric is very good with video and stills. I'm certain it's because he was trying to watch the run and kinda forgot he was shooting it.

But if you herd, and can remember when you first started, and how nervous you may have been, then this moment should resonate with you; you've waited all day, it's your turn, your heart may just be in your throat... then you send your dog and it's on!

Fortunately, Josie was 'on' on Saturday. Here she's completed her lift and is bringing the sheep to Suzie at the handler's post (that orange pylon in the first photo) just out of frame.

Behind the scenes at the set out...

Trials are well organized. Prior to being worked, sheep are held in pens, off in the distance from handlers, and are 'set out' in a specific place prior to each run. After a run the sheep are put into exhaust pens. After so many runs the sheep from the exhaust are brought back to the set out area to work again, which is what is happening in the above photo. On Friday the sheep had been driven over that hill in the background and had just blanketed it. It was visually very, very cool. But my camera was in the car and I missed it! I wasn't going to miss it again. Here I'd gone through the trouble of climbing on top of a horse trailer... but the sheep came in a different way! And I missed it. Again.