Field and Ranch Photography: Blog en-us (C) Field and Ranch Photography [email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Tue, 30 Nov 2021 22:00:00 GMT Tue, 30 Nov 2021 22:00:00 GMT Field and Ranch Photography: Blog 96 120 Explore Color Contrast How to use contrast in a photo, not the contrast function in your favorite post editor, but actually planning some contrasting colors in your composition to make your shot stand out. Contrasting colors are colors that complement each other, not clash, in an image. David Duchemin uses the color wheel, and instructs that colors opposite each other in the wheel are considered complimentary. 

He goes on to say that stronger color contrast in an image brings stronger "visual mass" to the element. Use it to pull an eye in a picture, it causes visual strength to something, it can give greater depth to an image by creating separation. The brighter and more saturated the colors the greater the contrast and depth, allowing us to be creative and express different things. Using contrasting colors can also make the other colors in an image more intense. The greater the contrast, the greater the effect.

So what to do this week? I went back to my shoot with Meg'n. There was this rose bush, just beginning to flower, in back of the field of bluebonnets. There were lovely red roses sprinkled throughout. Enter Meg'n. She is a dark dog, the bush itself is a bit darker with green leaves. Look for a place to put the old girl where she would be surrounded in the roses, but using them to make the image pop a bit more. This is using an element in the photo, other than the subject itself, to add some depth.

This past week, I have had the privilege of photographing a regional competition of Police Dog and Handler Teams. The first couple days were centered around narcotics and bomb dogs. The last two were about patrol dogs. The work these teams do in service to their communities is important. The time spent training these dogs, and the time learning how to handle them is life consuming. The bond these officers share, dog and human, is deep. They learn to depend on one another. On the end of the Obedience course, I was able to do some creative shooting with the teams. Their back was to me, and there was an American Flag in the background ahead of them. I wanted to use the contrast of the flag to show the commitment given to their communities. Here is one of those images.

For these next couple shots, also taken at the Regional Competition, I wanted to use the subject as the contrasting element. I focused on the dog, as they paid attention to their handler just before a field search. The Malinois is a bit more obvious due to his color, but I also wanted to show that a black dog in a sea of green can be just as much of a contrast if you don't have a lot of other color elements.


Please forward on to the next photographer in our ring to see another interpretation of Explore Color Contrast, Kim Hollis of See Spot Run Photography.


[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Fri, 15 Apr 2016 08:00:00 GMT
Consider Your Color Palette This week our theme was to learn about consistent color pallets. When doing a body of work, a photographic series, it can be powerful to think about a color pallet, with the images sharing a set of hues and tones. Per David Duchemin in his book, The Visual Toolbox, "This creates a flow when the images are presented together, creating a common mood or emotion through the work". He goes on to say you can choose the pallet as you photograph, refining it as you see what you are shooting, and you can further refine it in post process. As you work, you may find an evolution that leads to a stronger, unexpected work that you did not imagine when you started.

I started this week with the thought of using this time of year in Texas... Bluebonnet season! There is a color pallet for you... all those wonderful blue and purplish flowers that cover the countryside of every highway and field. True to Duchemin's experience, as I worked the shots morphed. I had wonderful late day sun. I had my old girl, 14 1/2 year old Meg'n. I really want to take as many pictures of her this year as I can, I'm not sure how much longer I will have this special friend. As I was taking shots, I began to notice this rim light and fill light I was getting. She is a black dog, with a lot of grey and white nowadays. Her eyes have cataracts and she squints in the sun, but I really liked the warming effects I was getting. I boosted it a fraction in post, not much, just a smidge and here is what I got. As with all old dogs, she ran out of energy pretty quick and by the last shot below she was pretty much snoozing in the sun.

So, I started out thinking I was going to have this sea of blue with an old dog. But, what I found was I still wanted the bluebonnets with my old girl, however I  found I really wanted to catch the warmth of the sun as she was in the flowers. I went from my original vision of a cooler tone to this warmer set after the first few shots. Yep, it evolved, and the series has a consistent feel no matter what old Meg'n was doing, standing or napping!

Next up in this blog ring is Dog Walker turned Dog Photographer, Kim Hollis, See Spot Run Photography in Charlotte NC.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) bluebonnets Border Collie Dog natural natural light photography on location outdoor photography pet photography photography Fri, 08 Apr 2016 08:00:00 GMT
Use Focus to Abstract This week our topic is "using focus to abstract" a shot. We were to use aesthetic possibilities of out-of-focus elements of a scene to abstract and make the image powerful.  Use slower shutter speeds, intentional camera movement, shallow depth of fields. We were asked to "not do it right" and see what happens. I was at a herding trial this past weekend with my dog Fionn, and used the opportunity.

My first try was to use a shallow depth of field, move the camera, yet use a high shutter speed. I wanted to see if I could freeze a dog in motion with everything else out of focus to draw attention to the dog. Here was the best result. I like the effect, it draws your eye to the dog as it seems to levitate off the ground as it is running. I used my 120-300mm f2.8 lens with a 1.4 teleconverter to be able to get distance on the field course. It was tricky. You can't hand hold this beast,  I used a monopod so I could pan, but keep the lens level.

There was a group of baby goats on site. I was able to get in the pen and have some fun. I used my 24-70mm f2.8 lens. Lowest depth of field I could get (f2.8) and a slower shutter speed. I had to kick up my ISO to get a good exposure, but had fun. One of these little guys insisted on chewing on my pants just above my muck boots... The first two are more in line with the assignment this week, but I could not resist upping the aperture for the last couple of shots. These guys were just too cute!

Hope you enjoyed my farm visit. Remember this is a blog ring, please follow the links to see all the interpretations of use of focus to abstract. The next in line is Trina Bauer Photography, State College, PA.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) border collie dog farm goats herding light location natural on outdoor pet photography ranch Fri, 01 Apr 2016 08:00:00 GMT
Learn to Isolate: Depth Of Field This week's topic is also about isolation, but using a wide aperture to turn the eye's focus to the subject. Using a wide aperture sets a shallow depth of field, causing the background to be less in focus. The lower the f-stop the wider the aperture, the fuzzier the background. With friend Peggy and her lovely Border Collie Bonnie we went off to the nearby yacht club for some nautical shots.

I used my 24-70mm f2.8 lens. I probably should have used a lens that would have allowed me to get a bit more length. It was quite sunny. I wanted the sun at Bonnie's back, which meant using a reflector to light her face. After putting reflector, person holding reflector, and Peggy between me and the dog, the shallow depth of field gave me shots a bit softer than I would normally like because I had to physically be further away from Bonnie.

These shots were taken with an aperture of f2.8 nice soft background of the sailboats and their masts.

As a comparison here is Bonnie at an aperture of f3.5, the masts and lines are more visible in back:

And another of Bonnie at F4.0, you can begin to see the sail cloth bag in back of Bonnie begin to be more in focus.

I want to leave you with the following shot of Bonnie (again at f4.0), looking out of the yacht club docks, wistfully wishing she was a sailin'. Can't you just hear Jimmy Buffett singing in the background....

Remember this is a blog ring. Please continue on to the next Pet Photographer, Susannah Maynard at Pet Love Photography, serving the greater Cincinnati and San Francisco Bay areas.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog dog photography natural light photography on location outdoor photography pet photography sailing wide aperture yacht club Fri, 18 Mar 2016 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Learn to Isolate Next up for the 52 Week Project is "Isolate". Where last week was about using wide angles, this week (paraphrasing from David Duchemin's book the Visual Toolbox) is about "including what we want while carefully excluding the rest (of the environment) to not dilute the impact of the elements we were hoping would make the photograph what it is". In our chapter for this week Duchemin introduces us to  two different methods photographers can use to isolate, Point of View (POV) and Angle of View (AOV).

I was at a herding clinic last weekend with my boy Fionn, and used the opportunity to photograph some dogs on the perimeter watching, on the porch chilling out, or dogs that were working. Thanks to all the clinic participants at Alamar Farm for your patience as I wandered around with my camera, sometimes looking quite silly as I got into that perfect position to get the shot.

Point of View is about moving your feet, your body and your camera to get rid of elements and isolate your subject. "What appears and does not appear in front of, behind and around your subject has everything to do with where you stand (or sit, squirm, lie down, get on a ladder...) and where you put your camera". For this first image, I got on the ground just off the porch, balancing my camera on the porch, getting on the same level as the puppy allowing me to exclude most of the busy background of chairs and people.

A friend brought her new Shiba Inu puppy to the clinic. What, do you ask, is a Shiba doing at a herding clinic?? Linda knew the venue was great for socialization. For this shot, I stood and pointed the camera down at the dog to isolate that Shiba Inu foxy face. I just had to get a picture of their quirky tail that curls tightly over their back.

Where "a change of POV means a change of position of the photographer or camera relative to the subject, a change of angle of view is all about which lens you choose". Maybe there is something about the light, the area, the subject that would change drastically if you physically moved, so you choose a specific lens to get the story you want. 

In the next two shots I used different lenses to snap the subjects without me being an element that would disturb the moment. For this next dog I did not want to walk up on her and have her look at me. I wanted to keep the dog concentrating on what was happening in the ring as another dog was working. The change of lens allowed me to isolate what I wanted without disturbing her. 

When a dog is working, sometimes you can't really move around, as the dog and handler are in a specific area of the field. In this case I found standing over the fence, either with or without a ladder just did not give me the view I wanted. POV was not working, I really did not have the latitude to move. I wanted to focus on the dog behind some sheep, showing how the dog was working by having some stock just off camera. I don't usually photograph through a fence, but I was not getting the posture or intensity I wanted. I sat in front of the fence using a panel to frame the dog, catching it just as it entered the open section of the fence. In order to make all this work, I used one of my mid range prime lenses.

While trying to think about doing the various exercises in the book we are following this year, I am also trying to keep in mind the first lesson, know your vision. I like a more natural, photojournalistic style. It's been fun these past three weeks especially, as I could try some techniques, while staying close to my vision. It broadens your perspective on what you can do, taking you outside of your routine, to give you more creativity. Sometimes you just need to be challenged to look at your craft differently.

Remember this is a blog ring. Please continue on to the next Pet Photographer, Susannah Maynard at Pet Love Photography, serving the greater Cincinnati and San Francisco Bay areas.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Aussie Australian Border Collie Dog Herding Inu natural light photography on location outdoor photography pet photography Shepherd Shiba Fri, 04 Mar 2016 09:00:00 GMT
Wide Angle This week is about wide angle Lenses. Although most think of using wide angle in nature, I like to use mine in an urban setting. I am able to grab more information, scene. Think of it as a camera's peripheral vision. There are some things to think about when going wide. 

  • Unlike a zoom, which compresses elements in the frame, a wide angle lens widens the view
  • Wide means more visual input. If you have a subject, remember it can get lost in all that extra scene. You may have to get closer to keep the subject a focus and to maintain lines
  • Wide lenses can distort an image, which in itself may not be bad, but an artistic element of the image itself


There is a neighborhood in Dallas I have always wanted to shoot. It is called Deep Ellum, and has all this wonderful wall art. I put out a casting call for a dog that is good with traffic (both foot and vehicular) and set out for taking pictures with a dog and wall art. I used my 17-35mm f4 lens exclusively for this time out. A friend volunteered her border collie (of course) that I have used in the past, named Pogo.


This first shot is a nice image of Pogo with a mural depecting some of Deep Ellum's history. I am able to get much more of the art than I would with a shallower lens, yet you are still able to see Pogo in the shot. Kind of fun. I wanted more of a mural, and not just some graffiti, so I could utilize the inclusiveness of the wide angle to pull in more of the artist's vision on the wall. ISO 1250, 32mm at f/16 and 1/200sec.

These next two shots are to show, basically, the same shot of Pogo, but at different focal lengths to pull in more of the wall art. First is ISO 1250, 26mm at f/16 and 1/125sec, the second is ISO 1250, 21mm at f/16 and 1/200 sec. Note the second shot gets more of the artist's work with just a little more focal length. I did not move, and Pogo remained in the same spot. With the wider angle, I was also able to pick up a bit more of the mural next to Linus in Blue. Note also that Pogo kind of gets lost as the subject at the expense of the background.


This next shot shows how changing the camera from landscape to portrait and getting lower to the ground gives a neat angle, gets me closer to Pogo, but the wide angle gives me more of the wall art for a more interesting picture of the subject. ISO 1250, 17mm, f/16, 1/125 sec.

These next two show some of the distortion you can get with a wide angle if you get in closer. I like to play with distortion for urban shoots and a wide angle. You can get some interesting stuff. Both at ISO 1250, 17mm, f/6.3, 1/320 sec.

That's it for wide angle. It is neat that we have a place like Deep Ellum for wall murals, art and graffiti. Thank you to Lindsey Hinds and her dog Pogo. Remember this is a Pet Photographer Blog Ring and move on the the next in line at: Susannah Maynard at Pet Love Photography service to Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Areas. 

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Fri, 26 Feb 2016 09:00:00 GMT
Slow Shutter and Panning This week's Project 52 theme, from the pages of "The Visual Toolbox" by David Duchemin chapters 7+8, are slowing your shutter speed and panning. This was a tough topic for me since I am all about stopping motion! Wow. We were asked to slow our shutter speed down to 1/20 to 1/60, and use our ISO and aperture to adjust our exposure, then set things in motion. Use the slow shutter to show and enhance motion in our shots. Show how some items of the photo move in relation to other aspects. Have one item still with other items in motion around it. Keep the camera still, then move the camera in other shots. Up and down, side to side, zoom in and out while keeping the shutter slow. Look for interesting effects. Next was to "pan" the camera. Focus on an element and move the camera with that element thereby blurring the environment even more. All this takes a fair amount of practice. Given the amount of time we have to execute, I know I need a lot more to pull some of this off. But, I like the technique, just need to perfect it more.

I also found that hand holding a camera at a slow shutter, especially while trying to let the motion in the shot do the talking and not the motion of the camera was challenging. A tripod with a good ball head would be a huge help, and I use some big lenses for the field work.

I asked a couple of friends to help me this week. First try was out herding at Rocking C Border Collies. I used my 70-300mm lens, set my ISO at 100 and went to work. With a fast moving Border Collie, I found a shutter speed much below 1/60th was a real challenge. The darn dogs are just too fast. Panning with anything much slower was a dismal failure for me. I could use a slightly slower shutter when not panning. I took a lot of shots, another thing I found when using any of these techniques with slow shutter, take lots to get a few!

This first one is an an attempt to show how fast the dog has to move some times to move the sheep. In this case the start of a clockwise flank to turn the sheep. ISO 100, f/20 at 1/60 sec. Good depth of field, dog in motion, and you can see the sheep's hooves moving a bit, especially the ones in front as they turn.

This second one was kind of fun, I moved the camera up and down to create some blur. ISO 100, f/20, 1/13 sec.

I like this effect, zoom out as the dog and stock moves away. This is where a tripod would have helped. I could have kept the center more in focus as I zoomed. ISO 100, f/20, 1/30 sec.

Last of the herding shots was me panning on just the dog. ISO 100, f/20, 1/40 sec.

I wanted to try something different, so I called a friend who had a large bird. Thanks Marion Montelongo! I used my f/1.8 50mm lens. In this first photo, as the bird flapped it's wings, Marion's arm moved with the motion, so the head is not in focus either, but I love how the beating of the wings at this super slow shutter almost has an x-ray effect! ISO 200, f/2.0, 1/15 sec.

I love the etherealness of the tail feathers as the bird moved. Same exposure as last shot.

Hope you enjoyed this week's topic(s). I sure had fun, and put myself way outside my comfort zone. Please continue through our blog ring to see how other pet photographers used their slow shutters! Next in line is Jodie Pholi of Jodie Pholie Images.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) bird Border Collie Dog Herding McCaw natural light photography on location outdoor photography pet photography photography shutter slow Fri, 19 Feb 2016 09:00:00 GMT
Optimize Your RAW Exposures This week is about RAW files and optimizing exposure to give us the best possible success for post process. Think of a RAW file as a digital negative. The more information you can get on that digital negative, the better off you are in post process. The more data, the more flexibility you have to edit before quality loss.

Some photographers use JPEG. JPEG is an image compression algorithm. It takes your RAW digital negative, and using a mathematical algorithm "compresses" your file making it smaller. No mathematical formula can do this compression without image data loss. This is not acceptable to professional photographers that want every pixel from their sensor. Beware of editing JPEG files, without making a copy first, as you will again have some image loss as your editor works directly on the digital file. With RAW files, image editors actually add "what" you did in the editor to the original digital negative, thereby saving the original image data. You can see how RAW images can get even larger via post processing. This takes storage and processing resources, which is why some photographers use JPEG.

Two items can give you the best RAW file for post process, use the lowest ISO you can to eliminate noise (areas where the sensor hardware and software have to "guess" causing anomalies in the image), and, use  your histogram. What is a histogram? Think of a bell curve. The middle of the curve is a balanced image from the sensor, lights and darks. The far left is black the far right is white. Too far to the left and your image is seriously underexposed (blacks and shadows). Too far to the right and you are overexposed with blown highlights. But, no exposure will ever be a perfect bell curve. So how do you err to get the best possible outcome? Swing to the right of center. The majority of RAW "image" data from a sensor sits to the right of the histogram, therefore making it easier to adjust and not loose image quality.

We are not talking about sensor data, that remains constant. For my camera that is 12 Mega Pixels. We are talking about how much of the "image" the sensor can pick up. That gets better as the exposure improves. As sensor technology improves with newer cameras, the amount of image data at lower exposures gets better, but the concept of how much useable data in the RAW image still improves as you move across the histogram towards the right. Don't depend on the image you see in your viewfinder on the back of your camera, it does not really display the image well. Depend on the histogram, it is showing you what the image data is directly telling you.

Having a scene with shadow and bright light can cause some issues. On one side you have dark shadow, on the other you have clipped highlights. To help you decide if you are going too far to the right of center to get all that data, photographers use "blinkies" in their camera settings. If you have any blown highlights in your image, part of your rear screen "blinks" in those areas that are blown. Too much blinky, too much of your image is blown to recover on the high end. Setting your exposure to be near center or to the right of center, rather than the left, yet minimizing blown highlights gives you the best amount of data for post processing. So a mixed scene in partial shadow, partial sun, may need a few takes on exposure, adjusting aperture and shutter speed to minimize those blinkies and ISO setting.

This is what I did this week. I took my favorite cast of characters: Bonnie Border Collie, Wisp her son, with an appearance by Ginger Sorta Collie and let the fun roll. I used Bonnie's back yard which has a fair amount of shadow, with brighter light on the right side later in the day.

First, here are a selection of photos, shot in manual mode, and exposing for extremes, left and right of center, and one pretty near center. All of these photos were taken with Wisp in the same area and keeping the exposure close to ISO 500, and slight adjustments in shutter speed and/or aperture to move the histogram left or right (underexpose/overexpose). None were edited except for cropping. Wisp is a good one to experiment with, as his dark red and light white shades seriously contrast making for an interesting exposure dilemma.

Histogram far left and left of center:


You can see how the sensor can't get as much information. You loose image details, especially in the darker tones, even the higher tones in the grass. One could say the second photo might be nice with a little bump in the exposure to catch more of the rim light around his head... but it will not be as tack sharp, as the upcoming photos. 

Histogram as close to "bell curve" as I could get:

You can see more color data, and less shadow. His whites are brighter, you can see more grass detail. I did have a small amount of blinky around his forehead. But I could do some subtle editing to bring out detail, more so than the last two exposures.

Histogram Right of Center and Far Right:

I like the detail I see in the just right of center and know I can work more detail on his head and his eyes in post and change tones and contrast. Again I had a few blinkies around his bright white head. The final shot had all sorts of blinkies due to the blown background and you can hardly tell his whole white tail lost in the light. If your editing software has a hard time distinguishing from blown to white, you will lose edges in post.

Anyway, you can see how close to center and right of center histograms really do give good color and due to how the sensors are designed, the shots also give you more to work with. Win, Win.

Now just some fun shots, with very little editing, all at close to center or just right of center! Enjoy!


Wisp LOVES his Christmas present. This jolly ball is spent carrying, rolling and thumping around the back yard. He likes to put his paw on it (Mine!), stick his nose in it (I just KNOW there is another ball in there!) and carry it (look, it's a headless BC... or a red ball with a dog body and ears!)

Finally we add Bonnie and housemate Ginger into the mix along with a Frisbee. Wisp and Momma Bonnie Border Collie do this "we is both going to bring it back Mom" thing. Tonight was a bit of a first as Ginger Sorta Collie started picking up the frisbee and she and Bonnie actually started tugging with it (with Wisp on the side going... How can I get in on this action!).

Since this is a pet photography blog ring, please visit the next photographer in the ring and see her blog about this week's topic: Jodie Pholi Images Pet Photography, Ipswich Queensland.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) and ball Border Collie Dog editing exposure frisbee light location natural on outdoor pet photography play RAW Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:00:00 GMT
Consider My Vision I'm back participating in the Pet Photographer 52 Week Project. This year we are going to follow through with the lessons in the book, "The Visual Toolbox, 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs" by David Duchemin. It will stretch us as photographers even further. I'm excited.

The first lesson is about Considering Your Vision. We are asked to sit down with our photos, find our favorites. Not what everyone else likes, but OUR favorites. They may not be technically good, but what moves us. What do they have in common? This gives us hints about the way we see the world. We need to recognize our vision of the world, become comfortable with it, own it. Mr Duchemin says "You are obligated to no one but yourself to make the photographs you do, so make them your way. And when you get overwhelmed by all the buttons and dials, and -- God help you -- the voices of other photographers, come back to this as your North Star". 

For me, as I went through years of photographs, I found a pattern. Early on, I shot what I loved. As time went on, I started to shoot what others wanted. I have not been happy for the past year or so. I felt the pressure to do what clients "wanted". So and so photographer does this, can you do that for me? I should be saying... if that is what you want, I suggest you contact that photographer. Here is what I do.

What is it I like? Connection, interaction, activity, a story, a mood, a behavior. I'm not happy with just posed.  I want to see a dog work, a horse doing it's thing, a person connecting with their pet, an animal expressing. I want to see life, I want to feel the animals state of mind. I want to go back to my sports and photojournalistic roots. I don't mean I won't do portrait sessions, it does mean I'm going to look for play, interaction, connection. The pet with that look the owner always wants to remember. The same for my rescue photography. As I looked at my earlier work, I found more personality in the various animals. The other thing I found, although I have been doing more studio work in the last year and half, my favorites really tended to be from my outside sessions and candids at various events.

Bear with me as I go though the shots! This is my vision, my style, my strength.

Dogs, well, being dogs. This is the most fun for me. I love what dogs do, the fun they have. Some are just pure out takes, but those are ones that I love. You capture the dog in the moment doing what they do!


Dogs and Their People, letting them interact. Getting that connection. Don't pose, run with it. Let them play, have fun, do what they do with their pets. Get those memories. That's what I want.

Portrait, I want expression, a mood, a feeling. This is where I really need to pull from my more natural work. I have some success, but strict portraiture is outside my comfort zone. Technically, I've become much better at portrait lighting, now I need to figure how to take the art form of grabbing a moment, and build it into my form of portraiture, especially in the studio.

I hope you have enjoyed my quest for my vision. I sure have. The  next photographer on this quest is Kathie Ono of Ono Pet Photography, Fairhope AL. Please continue through the blog ring, and enjoy the talented pet photographers that make up our group.


[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Dog light location natural pet photographic photography studio style vision Fri, 15 Jan 2016 11:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Eyes It was not until after this past weekend that I saw the topic for this week: eyes! I spent the weekend at a herding clinic. You can't herd, unless you have talked about a dog's "eye". There are strong eyed breeds like the Border Collie and Australian Kelpie. Then there are the loosed eyed breeds like the Collie, Australian Shepherd and German Shepherds. Strong eyed dogs "intimidate" the stock by using "eye", or, stare and are supposed to work silently. Loose eyed breeds run, bounce and bark, sometimes biting, to get the stock to work.

Me, I like the strong eyed breeds. Of course! I have Border Collies! I have watched many of these dogs work and I can tell you, sometimes it's down right creepy. Shut your eyes, imagine you are a sheep, goat or duck. Now open them and imagine you are inches from one of the dogs below in their working shots. I've chosen pictures that show the dog when working and when not working. See if you can see the change in their eyes. 

This is Baron. He is new to herding, just been at it a few weeks. Even at "rest" his eyes are so stunning.

Next up is my Fionn's brother, Dodge. He has been working and learning for about 3 years now. Look at how much more intense his gaze is when working!


Here is Pebbles, another Fionn Relative. She is a sweet, fun girl, but pretty intense. Look at the difference in her stare on and off the stock.


Here is Sam another younger dog. He is almost always "on". If he looks like this when not working... check out when he is!

So, the eyes have it, in herding! Again, close your eyes, pretend you are a duck and open them up to Sam's photo above....  wish you were a duck now? Hope you have enjoyed seeing another slice of my passion for these dogs. For the next in this series of blogs, check out the following link: Marianne Cheery from Sydney and Mac Creative Designs, Fairfax VA.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) bluebonnets Border Collie Dog Herding natural light photography on location outdoor photography pet photography photography Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:47:32 GMT
Project 52: Bloopers So, this week it is all about "Bloopers". We all get them, those moments in a photography session where things, well, just don't go quite as planned. In the case of photo sessions with Border Collies, who never do anything half way, it usually amounts to "epic fail".

So, gather the usual cast of characters, Meg'n (who will be 13 on the 9th of September), Frisbee and Ball crazy Bonnie, and her just as fetch anything that flies crazy boy, Wisp. The plan, get shots of some awesome catches! With balls and frisbees flying and 3 Border Collies focused and racing around, something was bound to happen! These three did not let me down. I want to say, no dogs were hurt in the making of this photo session....

First up is Meg'n. She just does not get the need to chase after something in the air. I know, just not Border Collie-ish... So as the ball flew in her direction... you get the following. And yes, since she was locked on the the other two, who were locked on the ball, she did not see it coming... BONK.

Then you have Wisp, who is so focused on getting the frisbee first, did not see momma Bonnie coming in like a cruise missile, taking his feet out from under him. Oh, and Bonnie most likely did not really see him either, until it was too late, as she was doing the missile thing, locked on the frisbee over Wisp's head...

I had to include one from the last shoot I did for the project... When getting air for the catch, and leaving the ground too late... you again get Border Collie epic fail... all that air, and no frisbee in sight!

Then there was this BC at a charity agility event, who simply did not want to share her photo with her sibling... "you are in my shot, I say, you are IN MY SHOT"!

There you have it, Border Collies being Border Collies. All revved up and ready to fool their humans into that false sense that they can do nothing wrong! After all, they are so athletic and smart... and... focused. Right... uhm... which way did it go... sigh.

Hope you enjoyed Bloopers with Border Collies. Next in the ring this week is Kelly Baugh of Amyranth Prt Photography, San Francisco CA.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie dog play fetch frisbee natural light photography outdoor photography pet photography photography Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Beautiful Sky This week's theme is "Beautiful Sky". I prayed for a nice Texas morning, that did not look like a super cell or tornado was going to blow in. I got what I asked for! Beautiful blue skies, with lots of sun, about 1 hour after the magic hour (we got started a bit late...). My friend, Emily Hurt and her 3 dogs met me at a wonderful little park of her choosing. It has this pond, and fountains, and large pavilion areas with HUGE sun shades that look like sails and all sorts of colored walls. My theory was to have her athletic dogs do some jumping and I would catch them against the sky. But I just had to use those fountains and sails! I also had a couple of firsts for me on this shoot. I bought a new rectangular reflector, my old triangular hand held was just not making for me. I also had my new Sigma 17-35mm wide angle lens. For post, I have a new editing package, that is more intuitive for me. I like the results so far.

We started with some frisbee near the pond, where one of her dogs could get some air. There was a cool streak of sun coming in from the left near the fountains and some of the very light, faint morning wisps of clouds were still in the sky over there. Got some interesting subtle lens flair.

Next we met up with her husband and her little Pom for some cuteness in front of one of the sets of "sails". This little girl just had to come over and check me out.

I just had to get some more of the sails and this section of colored walls. I love how the sunlight reflected off the white sail and lit up a bit of the red wall while more frisbee madness was going on. This Border Collie girl sure can fly!

Last but not least were the two Border Collies showing how good they can be by posing, one on top of the other. Things were going great until the one on top finally stepped on the other's tail! Used my reflector to get some sharp fill light. You can see the other two locations with the sails, in the background.

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful blue cloudless Texas Sky, and Emily's girls. 

"Beautiful Beasties is a network with forums, blogs and chats for professional pet photographers, where we can get advice, share images and support each other". One such forum is the 52 Project Challenge. Each week, a new theme is chosen by a forum member, then we have a week to go out and shoot our interpretation. The themes allow us to stretch our creativity and shoot something distinctive. There is nothing better to improve our craft than to go out and practice/shoot. Results are then posted to our individual blogs and linked to one another to form a blog ring. We use blog comments or the forum to leave feedback. This is a wonderful way to get peer insight and ideas from one another. Each week, please go to the end of each blog and click on the link to the next one in the circle. You will not be disappointed.

Please follow the ring to the next member blog about "Beautiful Sky":  Susannah Maynard of Cincinnati OH  Suzi Pix Photography.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog frisbee natural light photography on location outdoor photography pet photography Texas sky Fri, 15 Aug 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52:Sleepytime This week's theme: Sleepytime. 

I could not resist taking my camera and getting a shot of my Wisp at his acupuncture session. Wisp has a number of problems and is my special project. Part of his care is focused on alternative therapies for his anxiety and pain. He has come a long way in the past month and a half. When we first went for a visit at the Animal Medical Center of Forney, Wisp would not allow Dr. Hartai to get near him. I've put in a lot of training, using techniques I learned for my KPA-CPT certification, and with some help from me at the second appointment, Wisp allowed Dr. Hartai to touch him and finally do the needles.

That first actual acupuncture session was tough for Mr. Wisp, he fought us all the way, but he finally settled down and got droopy. This week, Wisp walked right up to Dr. Hartai, and he was able to do even more and finally get the needles he wanted into the little boy. Wisp got droopy and sleepy the moment Dr. Hartai left the room. Amazing how acupuncture works. So, out came the camera to catch this special sleepy time with Wisp. Since I did not want to disturb the little guy, I did not use flash and had to adjust for the horrible lighting in the treatment room, but you can see Wisp sleeping inside of a couple minutes after the last needle was inserted! He had needles in his head, shoulders, back and feet!

After the needles were removed, Wisp was still a bit "drunk" and staggered around, clearly still feeling the effects. When we got home he found one of his favorite spots in the office as I went to work and Wisp fell asleep again. When Wisp sleeps he likes to jam himself into corners, like this one between the cabinet and sideboard... You will notice he also likes to stick the tiny tip of his tongue out when he sleeps.

This ends this week's story and pictures from the Corl pack, incorporating the latest Beautiful Beasties 52 Week Project theme. 

"Beautiful Beasties is a network with forums, blogs and chats for professional pet photographers, where we can get advice, share images and support each other". One such forum is the 52 Project Challenge. Each week, a new theme is chosen by a forum member, then we have a week to go out and shoot our interpretation. The themes allow us to stretch our creativity and shoot something distinctive. There is nothing better to improve our craft than to go out and practice/shoot. Results are then posted to our individual blogs and linked to one another to form a blog ring. We use blog comments or the forum to leave feedback. This is a wonderful way to get peer insight and ideas from one another. Each week, please go to the end of each blog and click on the link to the next one in the circle. You will not be disappointed.

Please follow the ring to the next member blog about "Sleepytime":  Susannah Maynard of Cincinnati OH  Suzi Pix Photography.


[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) acupuncture alternative Border Collie Dog holistic on location pet photography sleep Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Details As soon as this topic came up, I KNEW it had to be all about my old girl who will be 13 at the beginning of September. There are so many things I want to remember about her, and she is getting, well, so, GREY. On a mostly black dog, it is QUITE noticeable. Meg'n is my snuggle bun. She was a foster "failure" from Border Collie Rescue Texas. I picked up the whole litter from a guy who had a failed ranch in East Texas almost 13 years ago. I ended up fostering 3 at one time or another. Meg'n never left. She had an intuition as to when anyone needed a snuggle. I am a firm believer one must always have a lap "border" in the house. That's her job, just keep me in lovin'  and kisses when I need them most. She came to my life at an opportune time, as I did not know how much longer I would have my 13 1/2 year old Border Collie, Princess, who filled that roll (turns out Princess lived to 15 1/2 and brought Meg'n along quite nice as her backup).

Since every other dog in my house has had a job (agility, herding etc), Meg'n never got to go on many trips in my busy show schedule. She spent most of her life happy at home. Now, it is my job to keep my senior girl happy, as she has done for me for so many years. She is having more trouble seeing and hearing (although I believe a lot of that is selective....). She does not, however, have any trouble jumping up onto her favorite chair, my bed or a lap. 

I have talked in past blogs how Meg'n is my "cheerleader". When everyone else plays, she romps around barking at them. She closes her eyes, screws up her face and makes an "O" type shape with her mouth and, BARKS. As she barks, her front feet bounce. Here is my detail of Meg's cheerlead.

She never quite got both of her ears to stand up straight. Her right ear spikes up, then just flops partially over. It has always been part of her charm.

She has always acted more like a sheep than a Border Collie in tall grass, since she would rather crop grass than chase sheep through it. In fact, this girl, when I wanted to see what she would do with sheep, just for fun, just looked at me like "Uh, and what am I supposed to do with these dirty, smelly things???".  She pranced back to me and promptly sat. From that time forward she was my "Valley Girl", even if she was not "blonde", as she was pretty useless for anything but attention. So here are some grass shots I took. When not in the sun, you begin to see her grey. The first shot shows how the grey is running down her neck onto her back! I love her grey eyebrows and how the grey us running up her muzzle and nose.



After letting her run around with her buddy Bonnie Sue Border Collie, She finally settled into the shade for some paw shots and a really close shot of her grey face. She has always had the fuzziest, white toe'd feet, and now you can see the white flecks starting to show up on her leg feathers. Of course I have been horribly remiss in keeping the fur trimmed 😊. You can really see her white brows and cloudy eyes now. I tried to find some items that had some texture for the paw shots, an old cedar bench and a river pebble sidewalk worked great.


So, this is my Meg'n. I hope I still have a few more years with her. We at BC Rescue TX think she is the last of her litter. We had Birthday parties for them at a local park for the first few years.... then we all eventually moved on. Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to do some Blue Bonnet shots with Meg'n and her sister Raven. Dagmar lost Raven during the following months, shortly after we found out her brother Aiden also passed. Earlier this year, her sister Willow passed on. Willow's Mom, Georgann is coming over tomorrow for some Meg'n time.


I love you Meg-a-roo 🐾 💕. (And yes, that IS a piece of grass hanging from her mouth after her "graze"... this is about Details after all...).

"Beautiful Beasties is a network with forums, blogs and chats for professional pet photographers, where we can get advice, share images and support each other". One such forum is the 52 Project Challenge. Each week, a new theme is chosen by a forum member, then we have a week to go out and shoot our interpretation. The themes allow us to stretch our creativity and shoot something distinctive. There is nothing better to improve our craft than to go out and practice/shoot. Results are then posted to our individual blogs and linked to one another to form a blog ring. We use blog comments or the forum to leave feedback. This is a wonderful way to get peer insight and ideas from one another. Each week, please go to the end of each blog and click on the link to the next one in the circle. You will not be disappointed.

Please follow the ring to the next member blog about "Details":  Kelly Baugh of San Francisco Bay Area CA Amyranth Pet Photography.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog natural light photography outdoor photography pet photography Senior Dog Fri, 11 Jul 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Looking Out "Beautiful Beasties is a network with forums, blogs and chats for professional pet photographers, where we can get advice, share images and support each other". One such forum is the 52 Project Challenge. Each week, a new theme is chosen by a forum member, then we have a week to go out and shoot our interpretation. The themes allow us to stretch our creativity and shoot something distinctive. There is nothing better to improve our craft than to go out and practice/shoot. Results are then posted to our individual blogs and linked to one another to form a blog ring. We use blog comments or the forum to leave feedback. This is a wonderful way to get peer insight and ideas from one another. Each week, please go to the end of each blog and click on the link to the next one in the circle. You will not be disappointed.

This week's theme is "Looking Out" on our pet's world. I went back to my boy Fionn for this week's work. Instead of using my DSLR, I chose to play with my Nikon Coolpix P7100 "Point and Shoot". It's not really your average consumer model, as it allows me to go to manual mode and take control of White Balance, ISO, shutter speed and aperture. It is the one camera I always have with me, small and portable, but with the flexibility that DSLR's have with respect to controlling aspects of exposure.

Here is Fionn, at herding practice. While on the deck, waiting his turn in one of pens or the fields, he is perpetually "Looking Out" on "his" livestock and keeps track of what the other dogs are doing.

Please follow this link to the next forum member's approach to this week's theme: Cahlean Klenke of About a Dog Photography from St. Cloud Minnesota.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog Herding natural light photography outdoor photography pet photography Fri, 20 Jun 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Fun Time This week's 52 week project theme is "Fun Time"! For Fionn or Belle that would be working sheep. Since it has been raining and muddy at the field, sheep/ducks were not an option. I grabbed Mr. Wisp and visited Wisp's Mom, Bonnie Border Collie. Then Meg'n, my 12 year old, put up a fuss, so I decided to take her along for the ride. For Wisp and Bonnie it's all about fetching and catching, anything. Meg'n, at her age, is all about being the cheerleader.

Bonnie never does ball chasing or frisbee catching half way. She goes full throttle, stops on a dime, flips around, sets grass and dirt flying, and is generally amazing. Mr. Wisp (red border collie) races Mom to the thrown toy, usually losing the race to Mom, and chases her back. If he gets the ball, he hoards it, playing keep away from Bonnie. No problem, there are always multiple balls in Bonnie's back yard! When it comes to frisbee time, they both grab the disc, or take one another out trying. If Wisp manages to get ahold of it at the same time as Bonnie, neither will let go, racing back to us with both fighting for control of the frisbee. It's rather cute.

In the meantime, Meg'n races around, not quite able to keep up, but doing her best to stay involved, barking the whole time. For a dog who will be 13 in September, she is still pretty agile. We threaten to buy a little cheerleader skirt and get little pom poms for her front paws...

Conditions were not optimal, it was quite cloudy, then it started to rain. I don't typically use Auto anything, but opted to use Auto White Balance since the light was horrible and inconsistent. I did not take one of my fast lenses and opted for my older 70-300mm so I could zoom in on the dogs as they raced around. With the poor light, long, slower lens and fast shutter speed for moving dogs I had to make some decisions on exposure. I was not looking for depth of field so set my aperture lower than I normally do and stepped up my ISO and  popped up my shutter speed. It was quite like shooting a football or soccer game, on a nasty day.


What a fun morning this was, and a great way to wear out a 1 year old Border Collie, even if I did get a bit damp! Many thanks to Bonnie's owner Peggy who noticed I left my open camera bag on the outdoor table when it started to rain, rolling her eyes at me and running it inside!

Please follow the Beautiful Beasties Project 52 Network Ring to the next member's "Fun Time": Susannah Maynard of Suzi Pix Photography, Cincinnati OH.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) balls Border Collie Dog dog play dog toys fetch frisbee natural light photography on location outdoor photography pet photography Fri, 13 Jun 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Siblings It has been almost a year since my friend Trisha and I have been talking about doing some sibling shots. We have the interesting consequence of getting litter mates from two litters, seven years apart. First it was two Sisters, Ripley and Belle, then it was two Brothers, Dodge and Fionn. Dodge and Fionn are out of Belle and Ripley's sister, Lark, which means our boys are nephews of our girls. Confused yet? Of course that meant we wanted family portraits!

Thanks to another friend, Karen Campbell, who had a wonderful field of these bright post Bluebonnet blooms, Trisha and I finally managed to get our schedules together during Texas Indian Paintbrush wildflower season. It was a bit crazy, trying to get four strong willed Border Collie siblings to cooperate, but our litter mates got along better than we thought. 

The girls are so much alike, one is a rough coated version of the other. Belle is mine, the rough coat. Ripley belongs to Trisha and is the smooth coat. The girls are 9 years old now.

Next it was the Boys, Dodge has those amazing prick ears. My Fionn favors his mother's "airplane wing" ears. These two are a young 2 (almost 3) years old.

Then we put them all together near the barn for THE family shot. 


It was a fun morning, even if I did come home covered in chigger bites! Ah, Spring in Texas.....

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog littermates natural light photography on location outdoor photography pet photography photography Sat, 07 Jun 2014 05:49:01 GMT
Project 52: Reflectors I got to choose this week's theme for the Beautiful Beasties Project 52. I wanted something that would force me to use a different technique that I could then carry into my client sessions. I had played with reflectors in the past, and stopped using them as I pushed myself to learn off camera flash. I liked what I was getting for outdoor evening and indoor strobes, but was not as happy with the balance of light in my natural light outdoor work. I was getting too much variation in shadow on my subjects. So my choice for this week's theme was "Reflectors". 

I went back and found some good blogs on the use of reflectors when subjects were back lit, side lit, in shade, partial shade....  I was armed with my rarely used reflector set. After a seminar I had purchased one of those triangular shaped white with handle type reflectors. The base is white, you can alter it with silver, gold and black covers for various light modification.  First, I and my assistant found the base white reflector awkward. After popping it from the little storage bag, it would not stay flat. This caused issues with getting good even reflected light. After playing with it a bit my assistant (Peggy) found that cupping the bottom corners gave her some amount of consistency. I can honestly say, I plan on selling this set and getting a good old fashioned round set.

Second, where I was used to using reflectors below human face level to remove shadow from faces, this did not work with the dog. Our faces have dips and protrusions that dogs simply don't have. The muzzle of a dog, when a reflector is used from below, actually causes more shadow above the nose. We found holding the reflector directly in front of the dog, or slightly higher on the dogs head worked best for fill. We had to adjust that again when using the reflector as our "main light".

My 9 year old Border Collie, Belle, was very patient with us as we played with Peggy's placement and position of the reflector to get the effects I wanted. Then I found I had to move around a bit since the reflector has to be close to the subject and it had to be held 90 degrees to the ground, potentially blocking my line of sight to the dog. It is harder to hide the reflector from the shot as when a human is holding it flat at waist level or sitting on it bouncing light up rather than direct into the face. That in itself was tricky, how can you do this without causing the dog to squint? This was a great learning experience, and I was eventually happy with the results and techniques we used.

The first shot of Belle was direct sunlight at her back, which meant her face was in shadow. I wanted that wonderful rim light on her fur, but needed to fill her face with reflected light. We chose the white reflector held pretty much in front and a smidge to the right of Belle's face and approximately 3-4 feet from the dog. I tucked in below Peggy's right side to shoot. Look at how well it lit her face, pulling shadows away from her nose end eyes, but leaving just a hint of shadow on the left side of her face. I love the catch light in her eyes from the white reflector! By using the white diffused reflector we got a softer fill that did not blow out all that white fur on her front.

Next we went to an area where the sun was coming in directly from Belle's right side. This meant the left side of her would be in shadow. Because the foliage also blocked natural reflection from the sun, we chose higher reflective metallic covers for the reflector. First a warmer version then sliver for the 2nd shot below as fill light. Peggy found a pool of light off the Belle's left side, pointing the reflector directly at her, and held it such that the bottom was a few inches off the ground. She was about 5 feet away since the metal reflector throws harsher, less diffused light. Again I was pleased with the evenness of the light on her face.

For the next shot, Belle was tucked under a tree, sitting in shadow. There were some pools of light scattered around, but I wanted a strong light to focus on her. So we chose the the silver cover and held it directly in the sun to use the reflector as a main "light" rather than just a fill. It took some finagling with the reflector to get that direct light to land on Belle, and Peggy had to be directly facing the sun, then bounce the reflected light down to Belle. So she was to Belle's left and I shot from Peggy's left. We had to find direct sun rays that would allow Peggy to be no more than 5 ft from Belle. By holding the reflector a little high and bouncing the light slightly downward, we did not blow out all that white on her chest, although we were using the brighter reflector material. It did turn her little brown eyebrows a bit "white", but I was still pleased with the effect. The branch near her head even caught some of the reflected light. It also allowed for the catch light in her eyes as she looked slightly upward.

Finally, we put Belle under another tree with dark bark to her left and other, lighter, chunks of wood behind her to her right. The bark to her left would soak up any light we could use, and the light bouncing off the wood in back would unbalance the exposure. Once again we went for more of a direct "main light" effect, positioning Peggy and I exactly as we did at the other tree. This time, however, we moved the reflection a bit to Belle's left allowing us to light up that darker side of her face and spill onto the bark, and playing down the brighter wood to her rear right. I would want to play with this one a bit more, but the balance of light on her face is pretty good without bleaching the cut wood in the background too badly.

So this was a great learning experience for me. We did lots of experimentation, and I will definitely use these techniques for balancing light when outside.

For the next participant in the BB Project 52 Ring, check out Marna Niebergall de Rojas of Embracing Grace Photography in Chicago IL.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog natural light photography on location outdoor photography pet photography photography reflectors Fri, 30 May 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Paws This week's theme is "Paws" for our 52 week pet photography project. The timing of this theme was perfect for a personal journey what was coming to an end this past weekend. I have been in the Karen Pryor Academy Instructor Certification Program for the past six months. This has been a lot of work and time spent with 6 wonderful dogs and their trainers taking the journey with me.  Our final "exams" were this past weekend. For all of us, this was bittersweet. When the scores came through from our final assessments, all six of us passed (yeah!), but it also meant the friendship we all built over the months as we studied, struggled, trained and helped one another was at an end. Except for this past weekend, all of our workshops were on weekends where the Texas weather turned ugly. We traveled in rain, cold, ice and snow from LA, TX and OK for three of our 4 necessary get togethers. Thus our class name: "Storm Trainers (aka: Ice Twice Doggies)".

As a photographer, I wanted to put together a fitting gift for all my new friends, human and doggy alike. We had been forged through cold and ice into an amazing team of trainers. At our last workshop, I asked each dog/trainer team to give me a few minutes for individual shots. I took our theme of Paws and put together a collage as a remembrance of our time together.

For the next person on our pet photography chain, check out Jennifer Felman of Khanya Photography, Poughkeepsie NY.


[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Dog Karen Pryor Academy KPA on location paws pet photography photography Fri, 23 May 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Wide Each week, a group of professional pet photographers get together online. We push each other beyond our comfort zone, which allows us to learn and grow. We look at each other's work and learn from one another. We get inspiration from each other's unique strengths and creativity. This week's theme is "Wide".

For me, that means a wide angle lens. I always have one in my bag for outdoor pet shoots. Most people think of lots of landscape as they pull their wide angles from their camera bags. Me, I think close for creative perspectives. The wider, the more fun.


This is a hip shot of my Border Collie Belle. Using a wider angle lens gives you a better chance of getting the whole dog in the shot since you are not looking through the view finder. It gives a lot of sky and grabs any growth that is in the background. I especially love this if I can get the dog in front some long grass or bushes. This lens was around 28mm.

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I love getting real close with a wide angle. It maximizes the dog's face and head, while making the rest of the body smaller. These are always fun, and clients seem to like them. The shot of the shepherd mix was around the 24-28mm range, the Border Collie was around 16mm. Get down on the level of the dogs face. If you have an unusual ground texture (paving stones, bricks etc) shooting down to the dog from above, again closer to the dog's face is also fun.

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Using a wide angle lens from below, while the animal is on a small hill or a pile of rocks makes the surroundings look more immense. The second shot makes Dart look like he is mountain climbing, while in fact you can see the grass at the base of this pile of rocks in the lower right corner. The first shot makes him look like he is further away than he really was.  By using the wide angle and shooting straight up the piece of wood, you completely change the perspective of the shot. This technique gives depth to the front of these photos.

So, try using your wide angle lenses closer than you would usually be comfortable with. You do interesting things to the surroundings, yet keep the dog sharp and large. Using wide angle lenses with a dog to grab lots of landscape actually makes the dog look tiny and you loose your subject. Have fun experimenting!

The next group member in the ring is Denver Pet Photographer, Deanna Hurt of StinkDog Photography. Check out her interpretation of "Wide".

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog dog play on location pet photography photography Urban wide wide angle Fri, 16 May 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Angles I have been looking for an excuse to photograph a dog over at the Fort Worth Water Gardens. This week's theme, "angles", is a natural for this venue. The 4.3 acre Water Gardens was built in 1974 by New York architect Philip Johnson. The park features 3 pools of water: the aerating pool, the quiet pool and the active pool, where water tumbles down a series of angled terraces. This oasis in south downtown is an attraction for locals as well as out of town visitors. It is a must see if you are in the area.  Check out

For me, it was the appeal of all those angles in the active pool. What a treat for an urban scene. While there this week, a maintenance crew was working on the collection basins, which allowed us to crawl all over the walls of the active pool. It was kind of a good news, bad news, type of thing. We missed the water display, yet, it allowed us to take the dog down into the pit to maximize the angles for this week's theme! I still managed to soak my jeans and shirt in some standing water while getting into the right spot to get the sight lines I wanted! After all, it's not just about the angles of the venue, but the perspective angles of the camera, that makes a shot (therefore, sacrificing the dryness of the attire 😊).

You will see some wider shots to get the angles of this unique venue, and some closer shots at various "angles" of view, as well as some with a little of both perspective and angles of the architecture. I'll get back there some day to get shots with the running water, but I was quite happy with the results. I loved the play of sun and shadows on all the geometrics in the space, so I consciously decided not to use the reflector I brought that would take some of them out.

My model this week is a 10 year old Border Collie named Neo who was not at all happy with the sound of Bus brakes in the city! His owner and trainer, Lindsey Hinds (Star Dog Entertainment),  had to work hard to keep him focused! Just goes to show even an experienced dog can cause challenges during a shoot.

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Our next interpretation of the topic this week is by Boston dog photographer, Blue Amrich. This is a circle and we always have members of the Beautiful Beasties Pet Photography Network participating. Please scroll down to the bottom of each blog and click on the link, to visit the next photographer in the ring!

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog Fort Worth pet photography Urban Water Gardens Fri, 09 May 2014 08:00:00 GMT
2014 Texas Bluebonets In Texas, we know Spring is finally here when the Bluebonnets bloom. This wildflower carpets areas of the countryside and city parks in a deep blue. This year I even saw some white Bluebonnets mixed in with the  blue for a little variety. Bluebonnets are a religion in Texas (the Aggies, from Texas A&M, were accused of seeding the UT campus area with a hybrid that blooms in A&M's recognizable maroon!). The crops of Bluebonnets start in southern Texas and slowly make their way north through the state. When it is peak season in your area, the race is on to find the best, most dense fields, for the traditional photos.

You will find families by the side of highways in the flower fields all across the state. Those of us that are a bit more cautious, find patches off the beaten path, especially if you are photographing pets and animals. Yesterday, when out and about I saw a livestock trailer by the side of the county road with a photographer on a ladder taking pictures of a woman with her miniature horses. If you plant a thick Bluebonnet patch, expect to be invaded, nothing is sacred at this time of year.

Photographers and families stake their claims as the fields become peppered with adults, children, babies, and pets, not to mention the various types of furniture that find their way to that favorite patch. Part of the skill one learns is to get that shot without getting anyone else but your client in the frame!  We photograph everything in these fields, it is tradition. I imagine every domicile in the state has a Bluebonnet photo. If not, well, you just ain't a real Texan!

To learn more about the Texas state flower, visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website. Enjoy some shots below from my first week of BlueBonnet mini-sessions (yep, it's two weeks of craziness!).


[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) bluebonnets Dog pet photography texas bluebonnets Mon, 21 Apr 2014 23:14:36 GMT
Project 52: Repitition This week was a hard one for me. I just could not wrap my brain around "repetition". So, Sunday I just started to drive around after a shoot. City, then rural. Then I saw it. This most wonderful field of BlueBonnets with Juniper trees. You can't beat Mother Nature for repeating stuff! The junipers looked like they were in rows, and well, the bluebonnets were just "repeated" all over the acreage. So, my beautiful Border Collie Belle got to pose in this wonderful field. The flowers in this field were so tall, she all but disappeared when she was down and at 20 inches at her withers they were still up to her shoulders in a sit! Then I played a bit in post with some cool filters and plug-ins. Enjoy!




Our next interpretation of the topic this week is by Jayme Dukart, For the Love of Pet Photography, Portland OR. This is a circle and we always have members of the Beautiful Beasties Pet Photography Network participating. Please scroll down to the bottom of each blog and click on the link, to visit the next photographer in the ring!

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) bluebonnets Border Collie Dog pet photography texas bluebonnets Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Rural Last week was Urban, this week it's: Rural! I spent time with horses and dogs out in the Forney TX area. I love all my friends with small ranches and farms. From field, to stock pond, and back to barn I had a blast for two hours photographing Lindsey's crew! I tried to push myself by photographing horses in dark enclosures and back lit while under trees. I wanted close ups and scenic shots. I wanted to see how I would do shooting black and white dogs in full sun near the water and in the open, and make sure I was able to expose to see the dog's detail. I'm happy with the results, enjoy!

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Our next interpretation of the topic this week is by Kathryn Schauer Photography of New Haven, CT. This is a circle and we always have members of the Beautiful Beasties Pet Photography Network participating. Please scroll down to the bottom of each blog and click on the link, to visit the next photographer in the ring!

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Fri, 11 Apr 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52 Urban This week's theme was "Urban". I am so lucky to have brave and adventurous doggy friends and wonderful historical county courthouses here in Texas. I got to have some fun with Jody Lolich and Skillz, her handsome Border Collie (of course!) in the Rockwall TX Courthouse Square. Jody allowed me to have fun with wide angle lenses, weird angles, high/harsh key lighting, and creative editing for some edginess/grunge as well as your standard fair.

I am sure we got lots of strange looks as I pull my old wood Radio Flyer wagon around (carries all my lenses, backup camera, reflector, speed light(s), light modifiers, dog treats, water, water pail for the dog etc...), crawled on the ground and made funny noises. I always get some people stopping to watch and the trusty wagon also carries some business cards.


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Our next interpretation of the topic this week is by Blue Amrich Studios, Boston MA. This is a circle and we always have members of the Beautiful Beasties Pet Photography Network participating. Please scroll down to the bottom of each blog and click on the link, to visit the next photographer!

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie County Courthouse Dog edgy grunge pet photography photography street texas courthouse Urban Fri, 04 Apr 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Circles Thank you for following this weekly blog so far! This week's topic is "Circles". Along with some creative friends and their talented dogs here is my interpretation. Dogs doing circles! First up is Emily Hurt's Rikki executing the tire at All Fur Fun.


Next up is Lindsay Hinds of Star Dog Entertainment, and her dog Pogo. Pogo plays frisbee (a flying circle), then jumps through Lindsy's "leg circle" and finally runs a circle around Lindsay's legs!





Thanks for checking out Circles. This is the end  of my blog for this week!

Continue on to the next in the the Beautiful Beasties 52 Week Project ring: Alicia A Kapheim of Barking Lab Studio, New Jersey Pet Photography.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog dog play pet photography photography Fri, 14 Mar 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Action! This week's Beautiful Beasties 52 Week Project is "Action!". I love photographing dogs doing work. It's my specialty. I shoot dogs working on Ranches, working rescues, doing therapy....  Dogs with jobs, it's my thing! I've been contemplating a book, using photos I've already taken, and looking for more dogs with actual jobs here in the US and Canada. It is a dream of mine. I've started one photo book about handlers and their sheepdogs, just to get my feet wet. I hope to have it finished by the end of the year. 

So of course, this week, it is dogs out in the field working sheep and ducks. Action! I am very lucky to have some fine friends with some equally fine working sheep and cattle dogs to hang around with. Of course, I have caught the bug and am now working on training my incredibly talented dog Fionn. I wish I had more time to spend, keeping him on stock, he gives me goosebumps. Fionn has been the subject of previous week's Project 52 blogs (A Day In the Life and Favorite Song).

One of these wonderful sheepdogs is my boy Fionn's father, Alamar's Ponderosa HXAsd, HIBs, HXBd, HSAc (better known as Joe to his friends). Joe is a strong worker, has great eye and is very capable. He is incredibly intense, as you will see. Hope you enjoy these shots of him! If you have any questions about herding livestock, how to get your dog started (or just want to see if your dog has any talent), use my contact link here on my website. If you are in the Dallas area, and want to come watch some fine dogs competing at a trial this weekend, March 8+9, 2014, there is an AHBA Stockdog trial in VanAlstyne  (directions can be found at:


Joe, looking to hold the sheep in the large field.


Joe, working his ducks in an unfenced field. Ducks are very difficult to work, especially with no fence pressure to contain them. Look at that eye and concentration!


I simply had to take this next photo and make it a bit more "ranchy" with some antique effects. I'm really fond of this one. You have Joe, turning the ducks before his handler tries a shed.

Week10-3Week10-3 I hope you have enjoyed looking at Fionn's daddy Joe, and let me talk about my passion for working dogs in this week's topic "Action!". This type of photography really is my specialty, following my more journalistic roots. Please follow our ring for more "Action!" topic interpretations by our Beautiful Beasties project members. Next in line is:  Nicole St-Onge, Candid K Nines, Windsor Ontario CA.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog ducks photography sheep stockdogs working dogs Fri, 07 Mar 2014 09:00:00 GMT
Project 52: Yellow This week's theme is yellow! I actually had an opportunity to photograph other dogs this week at a charity event. Doesn't this Pom look great with her yellow sunflower and tennis balls?


Please check out the next example of "Yellow" from the Beautiful Beasties Pet Photography Project 52: Pavlina Sanborn, St. Augustine FL


[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Dog dog toys pet photography photography pomeranian sunflower tennis balls Fri, 21 Feb 2014 09:00:00 GMT
Project 52 Tails This week's theme for Project 52 is "tails". I tried setting up all sorts of poses, used food, peanut butter and everything I could think of to keep those tails wagging at my house. I shot from under them, over them, from front, behind and just did not like what I was finding as I reviewed the shots. Nothing was grabbing me, I just was not feeling anything in the photographs I was taking. Man I thought this week was going to be easy. Honestly, how hard can it be to photograph a dog's tail?

Then I said the heck with it and just started taking pictures as my pack was playing. Got it! Just let the dog, and dog's tail, do what comes naturally! You just can't "pose" a tail. My 1 year old Border Collie Wisp, was named for the "wisp" he has on the end of his tail. It's harder to see than when he was a puppy, but get him whipping a toy around or play tug with the others and you see his "wisp" in all it's glory. Thanks for reminding me Mr. Wisp, and I do love that glorious tail.

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Please navigate our Project 52 Beautiful Beasties Pet Photography Ring. The next up is Boston Dog Photographer: Blue Amrich Studio, Boston, Massachusetts.


[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog dog play pet photography tail tails wagging tail Fri, 14 Feb 2014 09:00:00 GMT
Project 52 Favorite Song This week's theme for the Beautiful Beasties 52 week project, week 6, is "Favorite Song". At the time the theme was posted, I already had the song from the show Cops stuck in my brain. So: "What 'ya 'gonna do? What 'ya 'gonna do? When they come for you bad boys, bad boys...". Wish I could have got my 1 year old Wisp to cooperate, but no, had to settle with just Fionn. 

Collect one old chewed on dog bed, 4 or 5 old chewed up toys, lots of toy fluff and one bad boy....

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Please continue around our Project photo ring. Next up is: Susannah Maynard of Suzi Pix Photography of Cincinnati Ohio 

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Dog dog play dog toys pet photography photography Fri, 07 Feb 2014 09:00:00 GMT
Project 52 A Day in the Life As part of my New Year's Resolution to blog more, and to find a way to get me outside my photographic comfort zone, I have joined the Beautiful Beasties Pet Photographers Network. One of the groups is the 52 Week Project. Each week, a topic is chosen, and each member shoots their interpretation. This week's topic: "A Day in the Life" What do our pets do all day? Take photos throughout the day and post our favorites to show what our pet does. For me, that is Master Fionnlaugh (Fionn). He is my 2 1/2 year old active Border Collie who is training for Herding and is my project dog for my Karen Pryor Instructor Certification. So, Fionn gets a LOT of work each day. We train at least twice a day for my class exercises, and goes to herding practice twice a week, and agility practice once a week. Here was his Sunday!

This is Fionn at herding practice. We had already been out to work 4 times, and he was "resting" on the deck. Even resting he is intent on what the other dogs are doing with his goats and sheep, never missing a beat!


After 3 hours at herding, it was off to Auntie Peggy's house for some distraction based training. The Bassett Hounds next door were "yorping" up a storm as Fionn was practicing his targeting. Here is Fionn, wondering why nothing is being dispensed from his Treat 'n Train... uh... I did not ask for the down yet Fionn... Awe, come on mom.....


Again at Auntie Peggy's, at the end of his homework, targeting his "Away to Me" exercise. He had just bumped his target and was going back for his reward.


Fionn then got to run around while we tossed Frisbees for two other Border Collies: Wisp (my 1 year old), and Wisp's Mom Bonnie. Here is Mr. Wisp with his Frisbee! What you don't see is Fionn, just outside the photo, stalking Mr. Wisp and his frisbee!


After a long, hard day of training and playing, Fionn is back home with his Sheepie toy, ready to go to sleep.


Hope you enjoyed Fionn's Day in my Life! Please check out the next link in our Ring: Lina Tay, Petlense Photography, Wichita KS

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Border Collie Clicker Training Herding Karen Pryor pet photography photography Fri, 31 Jan 2014 03:55:44 GMT
The (Re-) Discovery of Film As we come to the end of 2013, I have been reflecting on what I have been reading, and what has stuck with me the most. This past year, I have been reading a lot in the photography industry of how young photographers are discovering film. Discovering film? Using film is now chic.... How does one discover something that has been around for decades. I am still pondering how I should feel about all this. I don't know if I should be amused, cry, or feel, well, old. I've spent more of my life shooting film, than I have digital, and it is hard for me to come to grips that there are those who have never taken a shot without the instant gratification of digital, that what is in the camera may not be the end vision. (There is even a short funny video about that exact circumstance: Or, that there are those who have never had to wait to see what was shot, and had to “edit” in a darkroom (if you were lucky enough to have access to one). Even if you had access to a darkroom, your original picture was still pretty much the end product, a photo.

My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic that my dad bought for me when I started in Girl Scouts (yep, really, Girl Scouts, I got the badge!). It was 126 format film, came in a cartridge with either 12 or 24 shots, black and white and was usually 200ASA (Ah, yes, ASA... pre ISO standard days). I had albums full of scout activities and family. These instamatics had those little flash bulbs that I could burn through like no tomorrow, so most of my shots were outside (Dad put a serious limit on my flash bulb budget). There are a lot of memories of my childhood in those pictures. 


Next was my 110 Instamatic, again a Kodak. This had those cute little flash “cubes” and were called “pocket” instamatics (although I would think by today's standards, they were not very pocket friendly). I pretty much had the same ASA's, but, color film! This was my main camera through high school and early college. I went through 2 or three versions of this, including Tele-Ektralite.


So, up until early college, I had point and shoot cartridge type cameras, and had learned a little about film speeds and had lots of albums with those shiny pieces of paper for which we waited at either the local camera shop or drug store. When the photos came in we shared them with family and friends (only we had to physically be there or US Post them). We would get double prints so we could give some away. My albums are those old style where you had to put your photo corners in the little corner holders (that always came unglued). During college I was able to use the newer type albums with plastic sleeves for the photographs. I toted those around through college and all my moves since. Memories in a box (actually, boxeS).

Eventually I graduated with a degree that allowed me to work for Eastman Kodak for 13 years. I was a software engineer that worked in consumer, business and medical products. I got to help design camera systems, medical imaging, business imaging (remember micro-fiche?) and work with some awesome optics, laser, and film/chemical people. I had the opportunity to take classes with Kodak's Pro and Amateur photographers in 35mm photography. I had access to Nikon, Canon, Minolta equipment. I had access to all the film I could shoot and free processing (employees were the QA for film batches). I had access to Kodak darkrooms and studios. I did not know how good I had it after college. I was in a virtual photographer's dream. I learned about exposure, film speeds, pushing film, negative and slide film (did I mention I now have boxes of slides too?). I got to use Kodachrome, Ektachrome, T-Max. I remember when T-cell came out and we eventually could get 1000 speed film! I got to play with some really old cameras, new cameras and medium format cameras. I was taught composition, lighting (natural and studio), metering outside the camera, focusing, use of double exposure. I took classes in photojournalism, sports, nature photography. I soaked up all I could and learned our business. Mostly, I learned to plan my shots, which became easier and quicker the more I shot. (I even got to see some of the early digital design work Kodak had in the research labs years ahead of others, too bad management did not listen... That's another story).

It was not until after I left Kodak and moved to Texas that I learned how important planning really was. I no longer had the Kodak “machine” behind my hobby. I had to pay for film, had to pay for it to be processed. I needed to make each shot count. As film and processing became harder to get, I finally got dragged into Digital Photography in 2008. My first digital SLR was the Nikon D80, which was not enough camera, but allowed me to learn the cross over from digital to film. I quickly went to the D300, then D700. I wanted that full frame sensitivity to get what I was used to with my film cameras (and that a 200mm lens was really a 200mm lens!). I had to learn about white balance and found out why I liked Kodak film over Fuji (warmer vs. cooler) and that I could swap between ISO's and Kelvin's in one shoot! I now have a Nikon D3s and kept my D700. I find I shoot less exposures than most, I fuss more before shooting, it's in my film blood to be more careful with my shots. I see my digital images as photos, and not something to be twiddled until you can barely tell it is a photo (that, to me is digital art with someone's image as a starting point). So, back to my original question, how do I feel about the re-discovery of film? Slightly amused and... Old.

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) film photography Tue, 31 Dec 2013 02:23:01 GMT
Lots of Great News Last week it was announced Field and Ranch Photography is an Aspiring Member of HeARTs Speak. This is a wonderful organization of artists  that collaborate to help adoptable animals in need. I am so proud to be associated with this group! Check out their website:

This past weekend I was in Hempstead TX at the Houston Area Herding Association AKC herding trial. I had my young boy Fionn entered in PT. He was stellar and even did a pen of the sheep. We had never attempted this before, nothing like doing it the first time at a trial! He finished his title with another great run on Sunday. Of course I had my camera out, taking shots for the friends I traveled with, catching all their great moments. I do love shooting these wonderful working dogs. It had been raining and I took advantage of the puddles all over the course, here is Domino a BC from North Texas.

I've also been busy these past two weeks doing shoots for the North Texas Boston Terrier Rescue Calendar. This is a fund raiser this wonderful group does every year. This year I have the honor of being the principal photographer for this effort. The months and cover are auctioned then I plan each month's shoots and coordinate with photographers in the areas where the winners live. Each of us donates our studio time. I am doing the months for the winners in the DFW area. It has been grand meeting the winning owners and their wonderful rescues!  I've learned that Bostons are little bundles of live energy! So far I have shot August, December, June, March and October last week and will be doing January, April, July and May this and next week! Whew! Here is a sample of two of the months, Mr. December and Ms. October!




[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Tue, 30 Oct 2012 01:38:22 GMT
Busy week supporting Rescues and Adoptions! This week has been busy booking appointments for the North Texas Boston Terrier Rescue 2013 Calendar. Every year this great organization auctions off each month and cover of a calendar. This year I am the volunteer photographer, donating time to take each winner's photos and assembling the calendar. The calendar is then printed and sold by the organization as an additional fund raiser to the auction for the months. So, that meant planning each month's theme and ideas then booking appointments to make it happen! That also meant getting my home studio ready and making a list for some extra props. This is going to be so much fun!

I also made another trip to the wonderful folks at Rockwall Adoption Center. Here are a couple more shots of great dogs ready for adoption. Check the Field and Ranch Photography Facebook page for a complete set of photos from this week's shoot!



[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) Thu, 18 Oct 2012 02:47:52 GMT
Giving Back When I decided to make Pet Photography my business, I had no idea how much of an impact it would make on different areas of my life. I already volunteer with Border Collie Rescue Texas (, and have volunteered with other rescue organizations in the past. I've always had rescues as pets in my life, and always will. Then my niece, Sara, sends me a link about a photographer in Dallas who volunteers studio time to dog rescue organizations. Sara saw  this piece on CBS about Teresa Berg  and decided I needed to look her up, so I did. I found Teresa's web site which led me to, "Unleashed", a seminar on fine art dog photography led by Teresa and Bev Hollis ( I managed to get into their July session here in Dallas.

As part of the seminar, we were offered the opportunity to sit in on a session with Teresa about volunteering our time to shelters and rescue organizations. She talked about the kind of photos that get animals adopted, and how to approach organizations. She talked of her experiences and how rewarding it is to see adoptions increase with good, happy, photos of the animals in need. I decided then to give some of my time to help. It is simply daunting the number of organizations out there! I thrashed around trying to figure where I could best help. I did a session at Dallas Animal Services and was surprised at how much work it was, yet, I came away feeling so good after looking at the shots later that day. Wow, what a difference a photo could make.

I finally decided I wanted to focus on helping in my local community. I began to approach the city of Mesquite to find out how to volunteer. Since then I am on my way to finishing the process and hope to be taking photos at my home town shelter next month. Teresa put out a request on our seminar Facebook page asking if anyone was close to Rockwall. Rockwall was only 15 minutes away, I had been there before looking at Border Collies. I took the request and was able to go out there this week. My friend Christy and I spent a little over two hours taking pictures of well deserved dogs at the Rockwall Adoption Center. I posted the photos for the shelter personnel later that day, hoping they would like what they found. The response: "Oh My GOSH! These pictures are fantastic! I can't wait to upload them to our site!! Thank you so much - amazing what a difference these will be able to make in the lives of our residents! Thank you so so much!! Can't wait to work with you again!" I was happy, really, HAPPY. I had no idea, a few hours of my time with these dogs would mean so much to me. Each one of them came up to me after and just leaned into my lap, almost as if to say thank you. You can't help but scratch their ears and look into their eyes. I will spend one morning a week, alternating between Rockwall and Mesquite.

Look at the before and after shots below from three of the dogs from the shoot this week. Photographers out there, tell me you can't see how these updated photos will help. Think about checking out Teresa's online webinars to find out how to help ( 

[email protected] (Field and Ranch Photography) pet photography rescue photography Thu, 11 Oct 2012 20:38:31 GMT