Friday, November 30, 2012

Greyhounds Rock Fredericksburg Saturday

I spent the first weekend of November photographing the Greyhounds Rock Fredericksburg fundraiser in Fredericksburg, VA. The speakers for the event were Fabien Cousteau (son of Jean-Michel Cousteau, grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau -- remember "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" hour-long documentaries of his ocean research across the world? I was an avid watcher of those shows.) on Saturday, and Jim Nelson and René Agredano of Tripawds (I first learned of them in a PBS Nature episode Why We Love Cats and Dogs) on Sunday.

There were a few cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy passing by the area a few days earlier, but there was still a nice turn-out. Caryn Self-Sullivan gave a talk on clicker training:

Caryn Self-Sullivan

While she talked, and since Sadie and Katie weren't with us and I needed a greyhound fix, I took a moment to massage Beka's ear:

I felt the need to massage an ear

In between talks, Jim Nelson and René Agredano of Tripawds and the Sunday morning speakers stopped by with their tripod dog Wyatt. What a great dog he is:

Wyatt stands in front of Tripawds co-founders Jim Nelson and René Agredano

Patti Goettler of Greyt Hearts Service Dogs gave her talk about Greyhounds as service dogs:

Patti Goettler of Greyt Hearts Service Dogs

This is Liberty, a Greyhound service dog:


Dr. Nancy Gustafson talked about canine osteosarcoma:

Dr. Nancy Gustafson

After a nice dinner in downtown Fredericksburg, we returned to the hotel. I took a picture of TJ, who is 28 months post-amputation due to osteo. I was astounded when I learned that:


Then it was time to listen to Fabien Cousteau discuss man's relationship with the ocean and all the animals that dwell in it. It was interesting to learn that his grandmother often brought a dog along whenever his grandfather's research vessel Calypso sailed on a voyage with Fabien aboard. This only reinforced his love of animals, and in particular his love of dogs.

Fabien Cousteau

He is a  really cool and down-to-earth guy. We had a great time talking to him.

After his talk was over I took a group picture:

Front: Taylor, TJ, and RubyBack: Gale, Kim, Fabien, Connie, and Mary Ann

I'll share a few pictures taken on Sunday in the next post.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ava and Daisy at the Richardson House, Fredericksburg, VA

Ava and Daisy

(Shot with the Nikon D600 using the 70-200mm VR zoom and SB-800 flash; shutter-priority, shutter speed set to 1/500 second at f/5 at ISO 100; slow-sync; auto white balance; processed in Lightroom and DxO FilmPack 3.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Zoe (2001 - 2012)

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -- Will Rogers


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ava near the Sunken Road, Fredericksburg, VA

During my weekend at Greyhounds Rock Fredericksburg (GRF) in Virginia, I had a couple of hours free on Sunday afternoon to do a session. My customer had contacted me to ask a question about doing a session Greyhounds in Gettysburg (GIG) next year, and when I mentioned that I was going to be in Fredericksburg attending the event we arranged to hook up for an hour or so to photograph her two Greyhounds. She actually drove a couple of hours from her home in Maryland to meet me -- I'm still stunned that someone would do this. So I had better not screw this up.

Before we flew out to Virginia I was mulling over where would be a nice location to shoot and still be close to the hotel hosting GRF. I didn't really think the ponds adjacent to the hotel was picturesque enough. My friends suggested the Sunken Road a couple of miles to the east near downtown Fredericksburg. It was a great suggestion.

If you don't know your Civil War history, the Sunken Road (I didn't before I watched Ken Burns' documentary The Civil War), which runs parallel to a stone wall, is the site where, in December 1862,  Confederate troops under Brigadier General T. R. R. Cobb and General James Longstreet fought off numerous charges by Union soldiers in their attempts to take Marye's Heights, which overlook Fredericksburg. It ended being a disaster for the bluecoats, and ultimately led to the resignation of Union General Ambrose Burnside as head of the Army of the Potomac. Such was the slaughter of the Union troops that General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia commented during the battle, "It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it."

Although the sun was still somewhat high above the horizon, it was settling to the west, so the lighting was spectacular: low enough angle, nice long shadows, highlights not overly harsh. I took some photos of Ava and Daisy along the Sunken Road, and then we decided to walk up a driveway that led to a house atop a hill. After passing through a gate at the beginning of the driveway Ava stopped, turned, and looked to her left to see what was going on back on the Sunken Road.


I digitally removed the leash and its shadow, brought down the exposure, increased the Recovery slider to 100 to restore highlights I'd blown out, played with tone curves a bit to add more contrast, and added a vignette. I had a good time photographing these two; I'll share a photo of Daisy in a future post.

(Shot with the Nikon D600 using the 70-200mm VR zoom at 70mm; aperture-priority, with aperture set to f/2.8; camera chose shutter speed of 1/500 second at ISO 200; center-weighted metered; auto white balance; shot in RAW, converted to DNG format using Adobe DNG converter, and imported into  Lightroom.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In good hands


During a lull from the last retirement day at Fastfriends a few weeks ago I saw this freshly-washed hound getting some attention from a volunteer. The lighting was dramatic; the greyhound's eyes were dreamy, as if it was on the verge of falling asleep.

It's another one of those "hands helping hounds" pictures, I guess.

(Shot with the Nikon D600 using the 70-200mm VR zoom at 200mm; aperture-priority, with aperture set to f/2.8; camera chose shutter speed of 1/640 second at ISO 100; center-weighted metered; auto white balance; normal JPG.)

Dreamer, Star, and Jake

Dreamer, who was part of a retirement day earlier in the year, gets a hug from Charity:

Dreamer and Charity

Star, standing at the top of the ramp leading into the "barn":


Jake, lying down in the back yard:


(Shot with the Nikon D600 using the 70-200mm VR zoom; aperture-priority, with aperture set at f/2.8; center-weighted metered; auto white balance; normal JPG.)