New Hampshire Snow
After two weeks of fairly geeky photoshop blogs I am thrilled to indulge myself with something far less intense. It is important not to get obsessed with the technical aspects of photography and to remember that the most essential element of a great image is a great subject. Fully embracing this concept, this week’s blog is, of course, about my dog Nellie.
|Retreat Farm, Brattleboro Vermont|
Faced with the perfect subject but unacceptable backgrounds, I had no choice but to throw Nell in the car and head across the Connecticut River. My plan was to photograph Nellie around as many of my favorite, authentically Vermont, locations as I could manage? Calendar pictures are generally supposed to look like classic representations of seasons they depict. My problem was that, on Friday, I was saddled with "Winter Without Snow Season". Given the uninspiring surroundings my solution was to zoom in on Nellie’s soulful face and include just enough softly focused background to establish location and to provide framing.
|West River, Dummerston Covered Bridge|
|Newfane Country Store|
Nellie is a great model for this kind of work. She almost always
accompanies me on shoots and has learned the importance of staying when told to "stay". Usually the "stay" is intended to keep her out of the shot, but in this case the goal was to fix her to a location while I clicked away. The trick was finding ways to get her to look at me without inducing her to run in my direction, tail wagging, for a touch or a treat.
Newfane Country Store
Nellie did great. She was remarkably patient and irresistibly cute,
|Callie Needs a Home, Windham County Humane Society|
but it can be difficult to appreciate her superior qualities without photographs of other, "lesser", dogs for comparison. On the way back we stopped at the Windham County Humane Society in Brattleboro. The folks there were happy to have some of their guests photographed and I have to admit the dogs were almost as beguiling as Nellie. Photographing dogs who are anxiously awaiting new homes is a challenge. These animals are generally
|Chase is very friendly|
thrilled to get out for more human contact. The trick is to get them settled long enough to grab a couple of pictures. They seemed alternately scared of the big intimidating camera eye and insistent on licking it. In the end I got a few nice images which I hope might help support the Societies efforts to find families for these wonderful creatures. I especially want to thank Anna Mefford of the Society who was a great help and showed remarkable patience as I tried to capture these frenetic fuzzy balls of energy.
I think Nellie had a good time on her photo shoot. I don’t think the experience has spoiled her. Although she nearly emptied my bag of doggy treat rewards, she seems just as excited as ever to root around in the garbage at home.
Thursday night our latest fizzled snow storm left a dusting of white on the hills of southern Vermont. I couldn't resist dragging poor Nellie out for another shoot. The early sap run provided an additional opportunity for nice backgrounds. Now I have more work to do.