52 on Friday - Exposure

This week we are exploring the exciting world of the Histogram!  Simply put, a histogram is a graph that photographers use to determine exposure.   Generally, a good exposure is shown by a peak in the middle of the graph.  An underexposed, or dark image, is represented by the peak on the left.  Conversely an overexposed, or light image, is represented by the peak on the right.

Histograms are mostly used in Photoshop when editing, but a lot of photographers will refer to the graph that can be displayed on the LCD screen on their camera.    I have not been reffering to the histogram on my camera, instead I look at the image.  This helps me to review composition and sharpness.    In reading this week's chapter I was reminded that the LCD screen on your camera does not accurately reflect the RAW exposure since the camera does some processing before displaying it in JPG.

So this week, we were tasked with using the histogram, not the display image, to determine a good exposure.  David Duchemin, prefers shooting so that the peak on the histogram is far right, but not too far right. This was a new concept for me, but I gave it a go! There is also a feature on DSLR's that will display the "blown out" areas or overexposed areas.   We have given it a very technical term called the "blinkies".   This lesson called for us to turn this feature on.

Below you will see an example of the histogram  and what the "blinkies" look like for this particular image of Cashew.   Cashew was a good subject for this exercise since he has mostly white fur, but also some tan and black.

 Post processing in Lightroom

Post processing in Lightroom

In the upper left image, the blacked out areas represent the "blinkies" and the blown out white areas.  I have discovered that I prefer to shoot with my histogram more in the middle.  I did have to tweak highlights and shadows quite a bit in post processing.   You will also notice that the fur on his chest has lost a lot of detail.    This technique might work with darker toned subjects, but for pets with white fur you will lose that fine fur detail.

These three images represented very different histograms on my camera.   Cashew was definitely more to the right with his light fur.  But this resulted in loss of detail with the fur on his head.   Lucy, in the middle, was very difficult to move the histogram to the right simply by her having black fur.    And lastly Huck (aka: Mr. Derp), usually gets a spot in the middle histogram due to his medium toned fur.

This was a great learning and discovery lesson for me!   Now lets move onto Charlotte, NC pet photographer, See Spot Run Photography.  Continue to click on the links until you circle back to this blog!

52 on Friday - The Zone System

Project 52 is a group of professional pet photographers who are provided a new theme each week.  We then interpret that theme through our pet photography and post a blog.   We link to each others blog posts to create a "circle of pet art".  It is very inspiring to see each photographers take on the theme.  It pushes me to think more creatively and to try new photography techniques.

This weeks theme revolves around achieving proper exposure.  Cameras record tones ranging from black to white.   If you underexpose, the image turns out too dark.  This is represented by the blacks.  If you overexpose, the image turns out too light.  This is represented by the whites.  In order to get an evenly exposed image, not too dark and not too light, you want the camera to record tones in the middle.   This is called 18% grey.   Many photographers use a grey card on the first image to help establish proper exposure for the entire session.

With the advent of digital photography and processing in Photoshop, Lightroom and other programs; it's easier for a photographer to "fix" exposure problems after the fact.  This is time consuming and one is not truly learning the science and art of photography.

Ansel Adams, probably the best known photographer to date, co-created a system for achieving correct exposure in any lighting situation called The Zone System.

The Zone System

Since I was shooting in the evenings, I used my studio as my "lab".   Lucy was my subject!  This was not going to provide an accurate example of this system, so I'm using before and after pics of post processing.

The first example I used a white piece of paper on Lucy to help with establishing my exposure.  This is the image on the left, straight out of camera (sooc).   The image on the right is after I quickly adjusted exposure and color balance in Adobe Lightroom.  Lucy is between III and IV on the system.

For the next example, I used an 18% grey card.   Note how thrilled my model looks!!  The sooc image looks better exposed than the one using plain white to meter.  Lucy is better exposed, between Zone IV and V!

This whole concept is very involved and very complicated.   Plus, there are other factors to consider; are you shooting RAW or JPEG, is your monitor properly calibrated, etc.   Professional photographers spend a lot of time researching, learning and taking continued education to provide their clients the highest quality photographic art they possibly can.  

Next up, check out my very dear friend, Shelley Castle Pet Photography in Washington, D.C.  Remember to follow the blog circle until you end up back here!

52 on Friday - Ask better Questions

Project 52 is a group of professional pet photographers who are provided a new theme each week.  We then interpret that theme through our pet photography and post a blog.   We link to each others blog posts to create a "circle of pet art".  It is very inspiring to see each photographers take on the theme.  It pushes me to think more creatively and to try new photography techniques.

This weeks lesson in our quest for improving our photography is, "ask better questions".  I am going to revisit last week's blog photo's and go in depth on the aspects that I like about the photo's, what I was trying to achieve with my settings.

My goal for this photo was to freeze action, which I achieved.  I knew that I had to crank up my ISO in order to get a high enough shutter speed to do that.  I also wanted a shallow DOF to create a creamy bokeh in the background.  This also put Huck slightly out of focus which, in my opinion, helps to tell a better story.  What if I had the aperture set to a higher number? That would have opened up the DOF and Huck most likely would have been more "in focus".  I think that would have detracted from this photo.   

I took this photo in the evening, and at that time felt it should have been taken mid-day with brighter light.  But, I would have lost the beautiful evening light coming in through the trees and it would not be as appealing.

I had my husband throw the tennis ball right at me for this shot.   Even though I used my 70 - 200mm lens, I still had to crop in.   This is most definitely not the most technically correct image, but the viewer can really get a sense of Huck's intensity for that ball!   What if I had cranked my ISO just a little more?   This would have given it a more "grainy" feel but perhaps it would have been a sharper image?

So many questions to ask on this one!   If I had shifted my angle and been higher up, looking down on her, been a better perspective?   What if I had changed my position so the entire wood pile, and not the bench, was in the background? (This can be removed in post processing but is very time consuming).   I can try to recreate this image incorporating the options, but capturing the moment of her sass would be difficult.   This image may not be perfect, but it captures Lucy perfectly.

This is an image of Cashew I quickly took this weekend because of our bitter cold temps.  I wanted to tell a story of textures with this one.  His scruffy fur, the snow on his snout, and his colorful coat.  Using a 70 - 200 lens allowed me to zoom in on the features I wanted to showcase.    Setting up a shot requires asking a lot of questions: where is the light, what angle would be best, where do I need to  stand for the best background.  Of course, this is not as easy with a dog who is a moving target.  So the other part of a good shot requires luck!

Let's see what Ono Pet Photography of Fairhope, Alabama is asking in this weeks blog!

52 on Friday - Consider Your Vision

Project 52 is a group of professional pet photographers who are provided a new theme each week.  We then interpret that theme through our pet photography and post a blog.   We link to each others blog posts to create a "circle of pet art".  It is very inspiring to see each photographers take on the theme.  It pushes me to think more creatively and to try new photography techniques.

The rest of our weekly themes are based off a book, "The Visual Toolbox" by David Duchemin.  This book contains 60 lessons to help build your vision for a stronger photograph.  This is not a nuts and bolts tutorial book, this makes you think about the kind of photograph you want to create.

Our first lesson/assignment is Consider Your Vision.  David asks his readers to look back on past favorite photographs and look at common elements, what makes them your favorite,  what you are trying to express and how they form and reflect your style.

Some of my all time favorite photo's is a set I took this past fall.  I was working on action shots, trying to stop and capture movement.   I was fairly successful, but they are not the most sharp or technically correct.  Sometimes that just does not matter.

 Cashew and Huck playing in the backyard

Cashew and Huck playing in the backyard

For me, this captures the essence of my dogs.  It expresses their pure joy of running free, ears flying, kicking up dust, their eyes bright and a "smile" on their little faces.

Huck intense on the prize.

This one of Huck cracks me up.  He is so intent on that ball.  All of his squishy Beagle skin, ears and tongue are just everywhere.  It makes him look crazy, which he is a little!  But in a good way.

 Lucy telling me off

Lucy telling me off

I have beautiful portraits of Lucy.  Ones where she has a regal look on her face and the lighting is gorgeous and the bokeh is perfect.  But this image of her giving me lip is precious to me.  She is full of personality and sass.

And I guess that is what my style is.  Capturing personality.  Telling a story.  Evoking emotion.  I portray it in a more traditional and classic feel.  I want the viewer to feel something when they look at my images.  Joy, amusement, love.   I think all of us artists want to stir something in the viewers soul and leave a lasting impression.

Instead of including a new photo, I want to end my blog with this.   Lucy in the light.  This was taken after we had a house fire and had lost our 3 cats and 3 dogs.  Lucy was the only survivor.   We used to take the dogs on hikes at this local nature center so this first trip with just Lucy was very emotional for us.   And then we came upon this ray of light and I knew I had to get a photo of Lucy in the light.  At that time all I had was my iphone, but you use what you have.   For me, viewing this is almost a religious experience. It is so beautiful and still evokes so many emotions, both good and bad, but it's a part of our lives that we've moved past and come to terms with.   

I'm so excited to see the vision of Jodi Pholi Images , Ipswich Queensland Pet Photographer! Keep clicking the links at the end of each blog until you circle back here!

 

Project 52 on Friday - New

Project 52 is a group of professional pet photographers who are provided a new theme each week.  We then interpret that theme through our pet photography and post a blog.   We link to each others blog posts to create a "circle of pet art".  It is very inspiring to see each photographers take on the theme.  It pushes me to think more creatively and to try new photography techniques.

Our first theme for the year is very appropriate...New.   January is always a time for fresh starts, new beginnings and promises to ourselves through New Years Resolutions.  Whether you are a believer and participant in established resolutions, I think we all take part in some form.  Whether it's organizing your desk, purging unwanted and/or unneeded items, or living a healthier lifestyle.

For my 3 dogs it also means lots of new toys that they received for Christmas!  Our family room is filled with new stuffies and chewies.   Most of the stuffies have already been silenced and eviscerated, leaving little piles of white fluffy polyester on my floor.  Like a little winter wonderland in my family room!  How sweet!   The chewies will hopefully last for a while. 

 Cashew wallowing in his stash.

Cashew wallowing in his stash.

Another new aspect this year is the newest addition to our family, Cashew.  He joins Lucy and Huck in the Locey House of Hounds!  Cashew was a foster failure.   But, I feel like a winner having adopted him.   His scruffiness is also new for me to photograph.  I'm used to smooth-coated hounds so I love the texture, length and unruliness of his fur.

 Cashew giving some loving to one of the stuffies.

Cashew giving some loving to one of the stuffies.

 

I realize how lucky I am to be able to spoil my little pack of hooligans.    As rescue dogs they may, or may not, realize how lucky they are to be in a home where they are loved, cared for and treasured beyond measure.  Our lives are certainly more complete with them.  I hope one of your resolutions is to get involved with an animal rescue near you.   Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue is my choice for volunteering, donating, fostering, adopting and spreading the word!

Personally, I'm very excited for a new year and what it may bring.  I choose to believe laughter, friendship, family, photography and continued learning are what is in store for me.  And rescue.  Always rescue.   I hope you choose to travel this new path with me.

Now click on Sydney & MAC Creative Designs - Portraits for Pets and Their Humans in the Washington DC Metro Area, and see what is new for them!

 

2015 Top Ten Rescue Photo's!

It has been a momentous year, both personally and for the volunteer work I do for Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue.   I have taken photos of approximately 400 dogs, puppies, cats and kittens this year!  It has been a challenge to find the time from my full-time job and from my family.  I'm extremely grateful for the other volunteer photographers who stepped in and stepped up when I was getting burned out.   They are all extremely talented and so very generous.  

Picking just 10 out of the hundreds that I've taken has been really difficult!   I give you my "Top Ten" favorite rescue photo's of 2015!!!

10.  Abby and Missy

 Young Volunteer, Abby, and her foster dog Missy.  Missy has been adopted.

Young Volunteer, Abby, and her foster dog Missy.  Missy has been adopted.

I love when kids get involved with volunteering, especially with rescues.  We have a number of teenage volunteers/fosters that do amazing work for Louie's Legacy.  Abby stands out as one of our youngest Volunteers.   Her moms refer to her as their very own Dog Whisperer!  Abby has an enormous heart when it comes to animals.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for Abby!

9. Donut

 Donut has been adopted!

Donut has been adopted!

Cats and kittens are really hard to photograph.  They do not respond to treats and noises like dogs do, so trying to get them to look at the camera is very challenging.  Donut has the most beautiful eyes and I was so thrilled to capture the connection.

8. Wonder Midge

 Midge has been adopted!

Midge has been adopted!

Midge is a special needs Pomeranian that was found fending for herself in rural Eastern Ohio.   Midge's back legs are deformed and twisted like pretzels, but she still manages to move like nobodies business.  I thought this costume appropriate for Midge since her determination and will to survive is nothing short of a miracle.  And she is so stinkin' cute!!

7. Scruffy

 Scruffy has been adopted!

Scruffy has been adopted!

Scruffy is a man with the moves!!  His foster mom got him to stand like this for a treat, but she said he would walk around on his back legs at times!   Watch out "So you think you can Dance"!!

6. 3 Little Kittens

 All kittens have been adopted!

All kittens have been adopted!

As I mentioned earlier, photographing cats and kittens is not easy.   Taking 3 at the same time will drive you crazy!   I managed it with the help of the foster mom waiving a toy in front of them.

5. Delilah

 Delilah has been adopted!

Delilah has been adopted!

Every once in a while a puppy or dog comes along that is so photogenic I just want to swoon.  Delilah was one of those puppies.   She received dozens and dozens of applications but her forever family ended up driving hours and hours from South Carolina.  She is definitely living the good life now!

4. Hardy

 Hardy has been adopted!

Hardy has been adopted!

Hardy came to my home studio for his photo session and I wanted to keep him so bad!   Just a little bitty guy he was full of charm and character.   His foster mom and I had so much fun with different props and chairs; but this one was my favorite.   Such a sweet little puppy face.

3. Babette

 Babette has been adopted!

Babette has been adopted!

Babette was in foster care for a very long time.   None of the other volunteers could figure out why.  Babs was sweet and wiggly and incredibly well behaved.  She got all "googly eyed" over men (as her foster mom put it).   We decided to do a stylized photo shoot with Babs to try and get her more attention.   So we had a birthday party for her!   I could not get over how well behaved  around the cupcake.  My dogs would have wrecked everything to get to it!!!  I had fun with Babs and I think she had fun too!

2. The Basset Babies!

 All Basset puppies have been adopted!

All Basset puppies have been adopted!

What else can I say but 8 incredibly cute Basset mix puppies all piled together!  Just look at them!!

1.   Tippy's adoption!

 Tippy with his new parents!

Tippy with his new parents!

Sometimes an adoption happens that was just meant to be.   Andy and Amy are the perfect forever family.   They took their time in making the decision to adopt, waiting until they were ready for that commitment. They looked at many dogs and met with Tippy numerous times. Finally they filled out an application and Tippy, now T.C. found his happily ever after.  This was by far my most favorite rescue photo of 2015!   Thank you Andy and Amy for choosing to adopt.

Honorable Mention

 Cashew has been adopted!

Cashew has been adopted!

There is one more rescue photo that I have to include as an Honorable Mention.  This is Cashew, a little Terrier mix that my husband and I fostered.    And we made the decision that our family could only be complete if he were included.   We adopted Cashew earlier this year.  We love him so much and he gets along great with our Lucy and Huck.    There is something so special about adopting a rescue.  Knowing you provide security, kindness and love to a dog or cat that was once neglected, abused and/or discarded like trash.  I highly recommend it!

Stay tuned for 2016!  It's going to be a great year!

Babette's birthday wish

In my experience, a birthday party for a 4 year old can get kind of crazy!  So, when Babette came over to celebrate her 4th birthday I was expecting it to get pretty rowdy.

Especially considering that Babette is a dog.

Babs bday.gif

Babette, or “Babs”,  is a Boxer/AmStaf mix and was rescued by Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue in Cincinnati, OH.     Babs is an extremely well behaved, self-controlled, wiggly ball of adorableness.    Don’t get me wrong, Babs certainly was curious and wanted to explore everything.  Like the cake…

Cakesniffer_CLP
Whatcake_CLP

We really did not have to worry about her tearing up her birthday photo set, or devouring her birthday cupcake.   Babette’s most favorite thing in the whole wide world is to snuggle with her human friends. As her foster mom put it she is a “world class snuggler”.  If that happens to be a human male friend then that is the icing on the cake for Babs.  See, Babs is kind of a flirt and will make “googly” eyes at any man that provides attention to her.   She also loves to run and play, (she is a Boxer mix don’t you know).    She has the best time with her foster dog brothers and even enjoys the occasional foster puppy.    Babette would prefer dogs her own size, which is about 45 pounds, or larger.   Small dogs and cats are not really her cup of tea.   Did I mention she loves men??!!!   It’s almost a little embarrassing to her foster mom how brazen she is to get attention from men!

The only thing Babette would like for her birthday is to find her forever home.  We don’t know why that hasn’t happened in the almost 2 years Babs has been in foster care with the Rescue.   Her foster parents love her dearly, but want so much for Babs to have her very own family.  Babs would need an owner that can establish firm boundaries and introductions to any other dogs in the household (remember no small dogs or cats for Babs).   Ideally, her new family is very active and includes a man so Babs can get plenty of exercise and make googly eyes until the cows come home!!

Please join me in wishing Babette a “Happy Birthday” and spread the word that she is taking applications to meet potential adopters.   (www.louieslegacy.org)

Now blow out your candle Babs…I hope your birthday wish comes true soon!!

Babette_CLP

Project 52 - January

Week 2 of 2015!   This week's theme for our Beautiful Beasties 52 Project is...January.  We are supposed to capture what January represents to us.  We have members all over the world.  For some it means we are smack-dab in the middle of winter.   For other members who live in the Southern Hemisphere, they are experiencing their summer weather.

To me, January brings a multitude of emotions.  It's the after Christmas "let-down".  The frenzy of gift buying, decorating, baking, parties and spending extended time at home with family (and pets) is over and done.  It's a disappointment and a blessing at the same time.   It's also the start of a new year, which can mean new possiblilites.   It's the act of transitioning from the past to the future.  This January is a bittersweet month for me.  Some things I am happy to leave behind in the past.  Other memories I am not ready to let go of just yet.  There will be lots of milestones to mark in 2015.

For my dogs it means less time outdoors.   This week, Cincinnati, Ohio is experiencing frigid temperatures and the year's first snow fall.  Lucy and Huck are not built for the cold weather.  They have short coats that don't provide much insulation and long ears that get cold very quickly.   We don't take them for walks or hikes as frequently (or at all), and their time spent in the backyard is closely monitored.

January represents a month of hibernation.  Drinking more hot chocolate (humans only), wearing silly coats (dogs) and snuggling under blankets and with each other (humans and dogs).   And, if we are lucky, a big snow fall to curse at and romp in.

Lucy wistfully looks out the backdoor (covered in frozen nose smears); waiting for trespassing squirrels and the brief moments of time spent chasing them out of the yard.

Huck would rather spend his January cuddled on the sofa, napping the winter away.

Click on Kelly Wolfe Photography from Hamilton, New Zealand to read their interpretation of January.  I have a feeling it's much different than mine!  Keep circling the blog until you end up back here.

Lucy, Huck and I wish you all a safe January filled with warm furbaby snuggles.

Project 52 - Introductions

Happy New Year!  2015 is upon us and I, for one, am so happy that 2014 is behind us.

Our very first blog post of the year for Beautiful Beasties Network is Introductions.  So, I'd like to introduce you to myself, and more importantly, to my 2 dogs that you will be seeing a lot of in the coming weeks.

I am Carol Locey of Carol Locey Photography.  I've lived in Cincinnati, Ohio my entire life.  I'm married to my wonderful husband, Dan, coming up on 35 years.   I have two children, Emily and Chas, and an incredible daughter-in-law, Sarah.   They have pets of their own so you may be seeing them from time to time as well.

For those that don't know, my husband and I experienced a devastating house fire last June.  6 of our 7 pets died in the fire and our house was totally destroyed on the inside.  We are still currently living with our daughter until our house is rebuilt.  We are hoping that will be in the next 2 - 3 months.  Believe me, you will know when that happens!!

And now, I'd like to introduce you to my 2 precious dogs, Lucy and Huck. 

First off is Lucy, the only surviving pet from our fire.  She is our miracle.  We don't know how she survived but we thank God everyday that she did.  Lucy is 4 years old and so very sweet. Her favorite past time is herding squirrels.

We recently added Huckleberry "Huck".  A 10 month old Beagle mix boy.  Also a rescue from Louie's Legacy.   We were not planning on adding another dog to our family until we were back home.  But when we met Huck, it was just meant to be.   He was exactly what all of us needed to help with our healing.   He is a goofy little guy that loves to snuggle and play with his big sister.

Together, they love to do what hounds LOVE to do...smell all the smells!

There you have it!   I hope you will follow me, and the other wonderful pet photographers, as we take on weekly photo challenges and blog about them.

Next on the blog circle is Denver, Colorado pet photographer, StinkDog photos.  Just click their name and you will be traveling through our blog circle until you end up back here!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy new year filled with the love of your furry friend.

Project 52 - Cliche

This week's theme, for the Beautiful Beasties weekly Project 52 blog project, is all about being silly.  The theme is cliche; as in putting your own spin on a Photographic "cliche".

So, I turned to Pinterest to do some research!   Lots of people are turning to Pinterest prior to photo sessions to come up with suggested poses for their photographer to duplicate.   Don't get me wrong, if there is a specific image a client is really wanting, then I would go out of my way to make that happen if possible.   However, the reason one pays for a professional photographer is because one is drawn to my specific style, vision and creativity.    I want to create a unique image that is inspired by you and your pet.

But, here is my take on a cliche image that is posted all over Pinterest!  

hands and paws

Normally, this is done with a dad, mom and little child hand; but this paw belongs to my grandpup Koda and the human hands are my son and daughter-in-law.

Click on fellow Cincinnati Pet Photographer, Suzi Pix Photography to discover other cliche images, and keep clicking through the links until you end up back here.   Due to the holidays, it will be a small blog circle this week!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Project 52 - Props

Week 50 of our Project 52!!  I can't believe we are winding down 2014.

The theme for this week is props!  I'm so excited since I love using props.  However, most of my props were destroyed in our fire.     So, I am improvising this week!   Since it's Christmas season, of course I'm using props revolving around the Holidays.   For me, simpler is better, less is more,  which you will see in my photo's. 

I bought Lucy a big, red bow and I found the cutest little red, "lumberjack" hat for Huck.  We went to their favorite place, Cincinnati Nature Center.   It was sunny but a bit chilly, so we dressed them in their Christmas sweaters.

 Lucy in her Christmas sweater and red bow

Lucy in her Christmas sweater and red bow



 A not happy Huck in his adorable hat

A not happy Huck in his adorable hat

After we got home, I removed the dreaded sweater from Lucy, put the bow back on and sat her in front of the huge pine tree in the backyard.  I absolutely love this image of her!!  

 Perfection

Perfection

Click on Sydney and MAC Creative Designs out of Fairfax, Virginia to check out her pawsome props this week!  Continue to click through the blog circle until you end up back here.

Project 52 - Family

After taking a break for the past two weeks due to travel and the Thanksgiving holiday, I was really itching to get back to the blog!

This week's theme is family.  If you are really lucky, like I am, you were able to spend Thanksgiving surrounded by family and loved ones.  This year was very different for me.  It's the first Thanksgiving without my mom, without our dogs and cats that perished in our fire, not living in our home and the very first Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant. 

But, I consider myself to be very blessed and I'm grateful for my family who has provided support, love and a home to live in these past 5 months.

This Thanksgiving is also different for my Lucy and Huck.  It's Lucy's first Thanksgiving without her sister (and brothers) and also not in her home.   For Huck, it's his first Thanksgiving ever.   And I'm so happy he is spending it with us, a family that loves him so much; instead of in a cold, scary shelter.

I thought it was fitting for the photo's in this week's blog to include the dog family that is no longer with us.   And to include Huck who makes our family complete again.  The composite I've included in the photo's was created and gifted to me by a very dear friend, Jen Powell, who is the Ohio Volunteer Foster Coordinator for Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue,  the rescue I work with and where we have adopted all of our dogs the past 4 years.  I will treasure this gift forever.

LuckyLucy

 

After much cajoling and handing out of treats, I finally was able to get a shot with Huck.   He looks like the typical kid in a family photo, who does not look happy at being made to sit still!

Dogfamilyphoto

Please click on Khanya Photography of Poughkeepsie, NY and continue clicking through all the posts to meet everyone's family!

Project 52 - Catchlights

Beautiful Beasties is an online resource and forum for professional pet photographers where we can share and learn from each other.  52 Project is a group that is provided a different theme each week to stretch and grow our creative minds.

It is now week 46 of this year long project!  I have been on a self imposed hiatus from participating, due to a tragic house fire this past June.   But, it's time to move forward and attempt to create a sense of normalcy in my life.  Taking part in this weekly photo/blog project is a big step for me towards that end.

The theme for this week is catchlights.  This is a term commonly used by photographers.  For those of you not familier with it,  Wikipedia's definition is: "Catch light or catchlight is a light source that causes a specular highlight in a subject's eye in an image."   It's the "twinkle" in the eye and is really what brings life to a portrait. Be it human or pet. 

There are many different ways to create catchlights.  If the photographer is using artificial lighting, then the type of light diffuser or modifier she uses can affect the shape of the catchlight. 

In Greater Cincinnati, summer is long gone and Autumn provided one last (we think) glorious weekend of weather.  We headed out to Cincinnati Nature Center since the dogs love going there and smelling all the smells.

I decided to start breaking Huck in as my new little model.  Let's just say he is a work in progress.   This first image is how not to capture catchlights! 

 Cute Huck derp face.

Cute Huck derp face.

I was finally able to coax him to look at me.   Since I wanted to capture natural catchlights from the sun, I made sure it was situated at my back.  This would be critical if you want to capture natural catchlights in your subjects eyes.

 Cute Huck with catchlights and derp face.

Cute Huck with catchlights and derp face.

Click through the blog circle to check out everyones take on catchlights!  Next up is MJ Photography!

The Red Ball

After a self imposed break, I'm back.   The past almost 4 months have been the most difficult, sad, darkest and hopeful I've ever experienced.   The fire that tore through our house and our lives, on June 19th, changed me forever.  Some bad changes and some good changes.  I've been trying to focus on the good.

We are still displaced from our home while it is being rebuilt.  Living with our adult daughter has been good.   We all needed to lean on each other through this.   Having my son and daughter-in-law close by has also been instrumental in our healing.   At the end of September we all took a family vacation together and, for a brief moment in time, were able to laugh, play and relax.  And forget.

On October 12th we adopted little Huck.  A 7 month old Beagle mix who has brought innocence, trust, joy and light back into our lives.  We feel like a family that is going to be okay.

 

 Huck and Lucy

Huck and Lucy

Going back to the house today, we took Lucy and Huck with us so they could enjoy our backyard in the beautiful Autumn weather.   Sitting there, greeting us as usual since the fire, is a little red ball.   We received this in our first monthly shipment of the Barkbox subscription I had signed up for.   It is the only surviving dog toy we have since it was the only one Peanut Butter and Jethro took outside.    It's a sad reminder of sweet, innocent lives lost.

The Red Ball

 

Today I was feeling especially sad and melancholy.  Even seeing how much fun Lucy and Huck were having chasing leaves, digging in wood piles and generally being happy dogs.  I couldn't help but think of Buttercup sitting on the bench and how she would be soaking up the warming rays of afternoon sun.   Or of Peanut Butter chasing Jethro through the tall weeds and being barely able to see either of them.  But being able to hear their racket.

We are having a beautiful water feature created in the backyard as a memorial to our lost pets.  I anticipate the sound of water gently cascading out of boulders specifically chosen to represent each of the dogs.   But more, I envision that the little red ball will always play a larger part of our remembrance of the pets that we still miss so much.

 

 

52 Project - Reflections

Beautiful Beasties is an online resource and forum for professional pet photographers where we can share and learn from each other.  52 Project is a group that is provided a different theme each week to stretch and grow our creative minds.

This week's theme of "Reflections" is incredibly important for me right now.  On the morning of June 19th, right after I left for work, a fire broke out in my home.   Within 30 minutes I lost 6 of my 7 pets.   Buttercup (my 52 Project muse), Jethro,  baby Peanut Butter, Sabrina, Wilson and Geraldine.   All gone.  It still does not seem real to me.    Thankfully, our local fire department was able to save my beautiful Lucy.   Miraculously, Lucy did not suffer any significant injuries.  She is doing really well, but like her mom and dad, she misses her pack terribly.

This week I will be reflecting on my sweet angel babies.   I want to remember their unique personalities and incredibly good temperaments.  I will not be participating in the 52 Project for some time.  All of my camera and editing gear needs to be replaced.  And I need to heal my heart.   Please look at these beautiful faces and make sure you have plenty of photo's of your own pets.   I encourage everyone to hire a professional pet photographer to help you do that.  

 Beautiful Buttercup.   Littermate to Lucy. Coonhound mix.  Age 3 1/2 years old.  Sensitive and loving.

Beautiful Buttercup.   Littermate to Lucy. Coonhound mix.  Age 3 1/2 years old.  Sensitive and loving.

Buttercup was my sensitive one.  She was very tuned into my feelings and mood.  She loved to burrow under blankets and a couple of times I caught her pulling the blanket over her with her teeth.  She would also lay her tail over her nose when she slept.  I loved when she did this.  She was my Southern girl through and through and would race to the chaise lounge and sun herself when let outside.   She also would sit in a chair like a human and stick her belly out.  I'm going to miss the way she would snuggle up to me on the couch and place her snout on my shoulder.   I had a silly, made up song for each of my dogs and Buttercups was sung to the tune of "Lollipop".  "Buttercup, Buttercup, who loves my Buttercup?".  Of course I always ended the song with "ME"!

 

 Handsome Jethro.  Beagle Hound mix. Age 2 years old.  Sweet and Sassy.

Handsome Jethro.  Beagle Hound mix. Age 2 years old.  Sweet and Sassy.

Jethro was a true Beagle.  He was loud and proud but we loved his baying (most of the time).  He was the instigator of play and was fast as lightning when being chased in our backyard.  He could out maneuver the best Running Back but would come to us for protection when the play became too rough for him.   He loved resting on the recliner between his daddy's legs.  He was his daddy's boy.  But,  I loved when he would wiggle in between his brother and sisters to lay on his mommy's lap.  Jethros' song was all made up; but the words went like this, "Jethro Bodine is a bug-eyed Beagle, a bug-eyed Beagle".

 Baby Peanut Butter.  Cutest. Dog. Ever.  Basset/Lhasa Apso mix. Age 1 year old.  Adored his Jethro.

Baby Peanut Butter.  Cutest. Dog. Ever.  Basset/Lhasa Apso mix. Age 1 year old.  Adored his Jethro.

Oh my baby Peanut Butter.  How I will miss your scruffiness and little beard that always seemed to be dirty.  Peanut would "wind up" to jump on the sofa next to me and would grumble at the other dogs if they jumped up next to him and disturbed him.  Sometimes I would pick him up in my lap and he would snuggle his little head on my shoulder and lay like a baby in my arms.  He was the only one allowed to sleep in our bed and if I stuck my feet out from under the blankets my toes would get licked.  He loved, loved, loved his brother Jethro and would try to chase after him in the yard.  But his little legs were just too stubby and short and no match for Jethro's speed.  He was always a happy little guy and had such fun on our walks.  Everyone that met Peanut Butter fell in love with him.  Peanut Butters' song was also all made up.   His went, "Peanut, Peanut Butter.  Mama loves you, like no other".

 Sabrina, the only cat we adopted on purpose.  Aloof but affectionate.  Age 11 years.

Sabrina, the only cat we adopted on purpose.  Aloof but affectionate.  Age 11 years.

Sabrina was the only one of our 3 cats that we adopted on purpose.  I wanted a mouser for our shed but I couldn't bare the thought of such a little baby kitten being outside with all the dangers of a wooded yard.  So she became an indoor cat.   She was my photo editing buddy and would sit on my lap for hours while I processed images at my computer.   I think I still have scars from her nails digging into my legs while she kneaded and purred and I petted.

 Wilson.  Mr. Social.  Age approx. 11 years

Wilson.  Mr. Social.  Age approx. 11 years

We found Wilson in the parking lot of our local Home Depot.  He was scared, hurt, starving and crying under a flatbed trailer in the parking lot.  Obviously abandoned.  I looked at my husband and he said, "we'll take him home."   Wilson was more dog than cat.  He would follow us everywhere and loved going in our basement which we were remodeling at the time.  He was the cat that came running to the front door (instead of away) whenever someone came over.    He loved going into the shower when I first turned it on and jumped on the bathroom counter to get his "kitty massage" every morning.  I loved his white whiskers against his black fur.

 Geraldine. The Enforcer. Age approx. 14+ years.

Geraldine. The Enforcer. Age approx. 14+ years.

We were only supposed to keep Geraldine for 10 or so days while my husbands Aunt recuperated from a broken hip (we think caused by tripping over Geraldine).   But Aunt Sally was not able to come home for some time and Geraldine grew on us.  Geraldine was the first cat I heard spit.  She was not used to other pets in her house and we had 2 other cats and our elderly Springer Spaniel, Hillary.   Geraldine would always come running if she heard yelling or carryings on.  We nicknamed her "The Enforcer" since it seemed she was ready to kick the booty of whoever was making the racket.  Be it human, canine or feline.   "Ger-bear" was getting very elderly and feeble.  But, she always wanted to be petted by her mommy and every morning I would pick her up and carry her around while I made breakfast for everyone.

My intention for my "reflections" is not to be maudlin or sad.  But to honor each pet, briefly, and to give you a glimpse of what they meant to me and brought to our family.  Each one will be deeply missed for their own uniqueness and light.   I wish I had had more time with them.  They were all taken way too young and that is my deepest sorrow.  I used to dread thinking of them growing older; but now I realize it's an honor and privilege to be able to make that journey with them and to provide loving words and comforting arms as they cross the bridge.

My biggest regret is that I did not get my photo taken with all of them together. I always thought I would have more time.  But, we never know how much time we will be gifted. Again, I urge you all, whether you are a pro photographer or not, to have a family photo taken by a professional.

I have one more image to leave with you.   This is our Lucy, the last remaining of our pack.  For some miracle, she survived.  I'm sure it is to help my husband and I overcome our grief and to help us move forward with our lives.   She is missing her 4-legged family but we are all helping each other get through it.  Day by Day.

 Lucky Lucy.  Our miracle.  Littermate to Buttercup.  Age 3 1/2 years.

Lucky Lucy.  Our miracle.  Littermate to Buttercup.  Age 3 1/2 years.

Until later, hold your babies close to your heart.

Please continue through the blog circle by visiting Emilee Fuss Photography of Sarasota, Florida, and keep following the circle until you end up back here.

 

52 Project - Fun time!

Beautiful Beasties is an online resource and forum for professional pet photographers where we can share and learn from each other.  52 Project is a group that is provided a different theme each week to stretch and grow our creative minds.

I've been out of the 52 Project for a couple of weeks now.  We've had a lot going on and as much as I wanted to, I just have not had the time or opportunity for the weekly themes.  I've missed being a part of the blog circle big time!   

 

This weeks theme is "Fun Time"!!  We have had a lot of rain this week and I was worried I wouldn't be able to get the pack outside to make some fun.    But, the skies cleared in the nick of time and what better way to engage in summer fun time than...BUBBLES!!

Lucy and Buttercup have played with bubbles before, but it's been a long time.  This was the first experience for Jethro and Peanut Butter.

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Lucy and bubbles
Buttercup and bubble stream

At first, Peanut Butter was intrigued.  But when the bubbles started touching and popping on him, he got a little freaked out.   Silly Peanut Butter.

Puppy and bubbles

Surprisingly, Jethro was not a big fan. At all.

Beagle and bubbles

Lucy is by far the biggest bubble fan.   She really enjoyed chasing and biting after them.  And waiting for more!

Lucy and bubbles

After a while, Buttercup became bored and just watched the shenanigans from a safe perch.

Beautiful Buttercup

I must thank my daughter, Emily, and husband, Dan, for being the bubble makers for this session!

To see more of the fun times theme click on my good friend Kathryn Schauer Photography and keep following the blog circle until you end up back here!

If you'd like to schedule your own custom session contact me at carol@carolloceyphotography.com.  We will have our own fun time!

52 Project - Paws

Beautiful Beasties is an online resource and forum for professional pet photographers where we can share and learn from each other.  52 Project is a group that is provided a different theme each week to stretch and grow our creative minds.

This weeks theme for our 52 Project is Paws.   I have multiple sets of paws with 4 dogs and 3 cats in my house!  But, I concentrated on the dogs, all 4 this time.   And, let me just say that I need a more powerful vacuum cleaner in my house after editing these images!

I used my macro lens and ring flash for this week's challenge.  It was a challenge getting close enough for detail, while keeping muzzles out of my gear (and eyes away from the ring flash) and trying to keep the dogs in one place long enough!   

Lucy had a last minute toenail injury as witnessed with the bandaged paw.  Poor girl split her nail in half somehow.  She tears down the deck steps so fast, I'm afraid she may have injured it in her eagerness to get after a squirrel.  We took her to the vet immediately after discovering the injury and they were able to put it right.  I love all the vets and staff at Milford Animal Hospital!  Thank you all for keeping my babies healthy!

Cincinnati_Dog_paws

It's hard to tell, but Jethro knows how to "High 5" like nobodies business!   Buttercup needs a pawdicure (like her mama) and Peanut Butter is the fuzzy, wookie paw in the upper left.

I love each and everyone of these paws.

For more pawsitively pawsome shots (sorry!) click on Hudson Valley, NY photographer, Khanya Photography and keep following the blog circle until you end up back here.

To book your very own custom session with Carol Locey Photography, contact me at carol@carolloceyphotography.com.                 

52 Project - Wide

Beautiful Beasties is an online resource and forum for professional pet photographers where we can share and learn from each other.  52 Project is a group that is provided a different theme each week to stretch and grow our creative minds.

Wide is the theme for this week's project.  We were encouraged to "shoot as wide as you can" and to be creative.  I immediately knew where I wanted to show-off Buttercup in a wide angle shot.

This is a local garden shop, The Olde Garden Shack, and it is a beauty with their lush, full flowering baskets and planters.   It was perfect for a wide angle shot

There was an explosion of color and texture no matter we turned.

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I seriously could load this blog with photo after photo of Buttercup in a sea of flowers.  

There was one other location I really wanted to see if it would work for this theme.   And it did.

This is the playground of a now defunct elementary school in my little town.  The tires were almost as colorful as the garden setting.   But, Buttercup could climb on these and explore.

Thank you for joining Buttercup on her wide world adventure.   Click on my fellow Cincinnati, Oh photographer, Suzi Pix Photography to see her take on the wide theme.  Keep clicking the links until you end up back here!

To schedule your custom session in your own unique setting, contact carol@carolloceyphotography.com.

52 Project - Angles

Beautiful Beasties is an online resource and forum for professional pet photographers where we can share and learn from each other.  52 Project is a group that is provided a different theme each week to stretch and grow our creative minds.

Angles is the theme of the week.  This makes me think of Old European paintings with stairs and doorways cast in deep shadows with stark highlights.   It also make me think of modern architecture with sharp lines.

I have nothing like either one!

I went with different perspectives in my images.  Not necessarily through light and dark, but with point of view angles.   So, in the photo above, I peaked around a tree trunk to get a surprise angle on Buttercup. 

I stood directly over Peanut Butter and shot down in the next image.  I got him to look up at me while holding the chewy toy they were all playing with moments earlier.

I'm so interested in seeing everyone else's interpretation of angles this week.  Click on Portland, Oregon's For the Love Pet Photography and continue clicking on the links until you return here!

Contact me to schedule your custom session, carol@carolloceyphotography.com.

52 Project - Doors

Beautiful Beasties is an online resource and forum for professional pet photographers where we can share and learn from each other.  52 Project is a group that is provided a different theme each week to stretch and grow our creative minds.

This week it was my turn to choose the theme of our project!   I picked doors because I kind off have a thing for doors.  No matter where we go I'm always taking photo's of doors and gates.  Aged, worn wooden antique doors; peeling painted vintage doors; rustic barn doors; massive iron doors; it doesn't matter to me. I love doors!  To me they represent unknown possibilities and adventures.  You never know what is on the other side of a closed door.

This week, I'm introducing Jethro, our Beagle-mix boy.   He is not as used to modeling as Buttercup and I don't think he is quite the modeling diva like she is.  But, he is still a very handsome boy!

I have images of two very different types off doors.  The first, with Jethro, is my own front door. Very traditional.

I love the color and symmetry of my urns on either side.  And I love the simplistic formality.

The next door is the complete opposite.  It is the door of the rustic barn that belongs to the original farmhouse on the property where our subdivision was built.   

Even though I love my front door, I have to admit this is my favorite for a backdrop.   You can't beat the texture, patina and overall scenic value this provides.   It certainly showcases Buttercups beauty!

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I could post lots more photo's of Buttercup and this rustic barn door, but I also want to see what's next on the blog circle!   So lets click on Windsor Ontario Pet Photographer, Candid K. Nines, and keep following the door blog posts back here.

To book a session incorporating your own front door, contact me at carol@carolloceyphotography.com.