Friday, June 29, 2012

June Photo Challenge: Week 4 and Write a Post, Help a Dog

Hi all! Dachshund Mommy here with week 4 of the June Photo a Day Challenge.
I decided to take the July Photo Challenge! The list can be found here.
Which of this week's pictures is your favorite?
Have you heard of Pedigree's fabulous program, Write a Post, Help A Dog? If not, here's how it goes: from now until midnight on June 30th, for every blog post that mentions Write a Post, Help a Dog Pedigree will donate one 17lb bag of dog food to shelter dogs in need! It's so easy, everyone should do it!


Dachshund Mommy
Day 22: From a high angle

Day 23: Motion

Day 24: On your mind

Day 25: Something cute. 
I love the way the sunlight falls over her eye in this picture

Day 26: Where you shop. 
If you look closely, you can see both receipts are for Nola's stuff. Hm.

Day 27: Bathroom

Day 28: On the shelf
One can NEVER have too many books.
Or shoes.
Or plants.
Or, according to someone small who shall remain nameless, dog toys strewn around the house.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fires, Awards and Chicken Names

Hi everyone! Before I get to my two new awards, Mom and I ask you all to cross your paws and think good thoughts for everyone in Colorado affected by the horrible wild fires. Bloggers I know who are in danger are K, from Romping and Rolling in The Rockies and Mayzie of Mayzie's Dog Blog. Also, Mom's aunt (more like her sister, they're only 4 years apart) is in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy. We heard they had to evacuate everyone there to a different location.

This is where Mom's aunt is suppose to go. The sky is literally black with smoke
So please, keep your paws crossed for all in danger and that soon the desperately needed rain arrives. Below is the beautiful badge Anne of Zoolatry made for us all to show our support.

Inline image 1

I recivved two awards! One was from a few days ago, but one from...gulp...March!!! Blame Mom.
Mom's fault. Not mine. Why do I look slightly drunk in this picture?

I was given the awards by the pawsome Bloggers Bringing Up BellaK-9 Katastrophie and Beautifully Unique. Thank you all!
First up is the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

The rules are pretty straight forward:  Thank the blogger(s) who gave you the award and link back to them. Done. Share 7 things about yourself.

1. My Doxie parents were named Coco Puff and Patches.
2. I was the smallest, loudest and bitchiest of 5 puppies in my litter!
3. I am TERRIFIED of garbage trucks!
4. People have actually asked Mom what kind of dog I am, then were shocked to find out I'm a purebred Dachshund!
5. I'm 7 1/2 inches tall (at the shoulders)
6. The hardest command for me to learn was down.
7. People almost NEVER get my name right, much less get the meaning.

Nominate 15 (or less) bloggers for this award.
Dog Blogging With Luna
All The Small Stuff
Team Beaglebratz
It's a Weinerful Life
Basset Momma
Sasha The Lovable Shih Tzu
My BFF Lily Belle
Bringing Up Bella
My Dogs Love Me
Da Weenies of Florida
The Elka Almanac

And the one from MARCH (ehm, Mom) The Versatile Blogger Award!

      Rules: Thank the blogger who gave you this award (thank you and sorry, Bringing Up Bella!), done. Share 7 things about yourself. I just did, so I'll let Mom do this one. Aren't I generous.

    1. I'm the oldest of 5 (!)
    2. I'm terribly pale, despite living in Florida my whole life. Actually I'm tan, for me, right now.
    3. I'm very opinionated, and don't hesitate to tell you what I think.
    4. I'm insulted by the fact that my younger sister is taller than I am.
    5. Nola and I have almost identical personalities.
    6. I'm a grammer and spelling nazi.
    7. I'm an avid and fast reader. When I'm on a good series, I can finish it in a week or less.

    Nominate up to 15 blogs for this award:
    My BFF Lily Belle (cause she's awesome like that)
    The Adventures of Higgins
    Bicontinentl Dachshund
    Sarge Speaks Out
    Dog In The Desert

    We decided on names for the chickens! Along with our old chickens, Puffy, Nugget/Comet, BBQ and Hippie Chick, we now have: Luna, Emu, Cuckoo, Redneck, NakedNeck/Pinky, Agatha, Rosie, Delilah and Gretel. BOL what do you think of those names?
    Kisses and Tail Wags,
    Dachshund Nola
    Our adult flock! L to R: Cuckoo, Agatha, Rosie, Redneck, NakedNeck/Pinky, Puffy (her tail's sticking out from behind the white and black chicken), BBQ, Hippie Chick (laying down) and Nugget/Comet 
    And the babies! L to R: Delilah, Emu, Luna and Gretel


    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Photography Tips by Dachshund Mommy

    Hi all! Dachshund Mommy here to share some of my favorite tips and tricks on photography. This post will focus mostly on dog photography, but the basic concepts can be applied to almost any form of photography. Also note, that while I do consider myself a photography snob (LOL), I am by no means a professional. Yet, anyway :). Just a heads up, this post might be kind of long and confusing.
    Before I get to the real tips and tricks, I should mention that I've only seriously gotten into photography since I got Nola, so for about a year and a half.

    All but one of the photos in this post and 96% of the ones in other posts are shot with a Nikon d3100, 18-55mm lens.
    The equipment you use in photography is very important! This is one of the few times where bigger and more expensive is  better. That's not to say you can't take incredible photos with a more modest camera or even a phone (up until January of this year all of the photos on this blog were taken with my iPhone 3s), but it's a lot more difficult then using a nice camera.  So if you're serious about wanting good photos, I'd suggest investing in a good quality camera. I personally prefer Nikon over Canon, but that's just me. Also invest in a camera bag and cleaning kit.

                      Learn your camera settings:
    It's incredibly boring at first, but take the time to learn about your camera settings. Most importantly, ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Once you master those you can move on to white balance and such.

    I don't do too much editing to my photos, beside erasing out the info on Nola's tags and turning photos black and white. Still, it's important to know your way around editing. I suggest Photobucket, it's free and user friendly. And for my fellow Mac users, get familiar with iPhoto's editing system.

                                        Inspiration and Passion:
    Ask yourself two things. One, what inspires you? And two, how do you feel when you take a good picture?
    What inspires me? Many things, and I think that's a very good thing in photography. You don't want your photos to run together.
    I'm inspired by Nola, music, reading, art, light, beauty, my family, experience, quotes and life in general.
    When you're taking pictures, try and bring a bit of what inspires you into each photo you take. It sounds difficult (if not impossible) at first, but you soon fall into the habit of making the photos you take your own. It doesn't have to be some big, glaring thing that everyone notices in every picture. Just a little something that says you, to yourself as well as others who know you.

    How do I feel when I take a good photo? When I hit the review button on my camera and see a truly good photo, it is the best feeling in the world. I'm not sure if I can put it into words, but I'll try. It's a moment that's completely your own. You took this picture, it's a result of your creativity, your determination and your passion. It's the most prideful moment, and at the same time the most humbling. It's humbling because you captured something so beautiful, so fleeting and something that isn't yours. Photography is different from other forms of art that way; you never truly OWN what you took. You were presented a moment and you captured it, but it's never completely yours.
    Photography, to me anyways, is a very raw, emotional form of art. Every picture I take I put a bit of myself into.
    Take some time to find out exactly how you feel when you take a good picture, and go from there. Do you immediately want to show it off? Or are you like me and want to take a few minutes to enjoy the rush of success? This will set the tone of how you perceive photography.
    I would also choose a quote, song or piece of art work as your go to inspiration. My go to quote is ''Creativity is intelligence having fun"- Albert Einstein 

                           The Rules (or lack of):
    One of the things I love best about photography is that every single "rule" can be broken and you can still end up with an incredibly shot. Think of them more as guidelines, and remember that rules are meant to be broken.

    Okay, now that I got all the big stuff out of the way I'll show you the real tricks.

    Focus on the eyes, not the nose.  After all, the eyes are the windows into the soul. For example, the two photos below. One is focused on Nola's nose, the other on her eyes. Which is more appealing and captivating? Also, the first on is taken under a shady tree with my ISO set low. The second my ISO is set higher, and makes all the difference. Sorry to anyone who's confused, but photography is a technical art at times, and I don't know how to describe it in plain English :).
    Focused on the nose; low ISO

    Focused on the eyes; higher ISO

    Pick up on other colors. In the above second photo, you can see the blue sky reflected in Nola's eyes, as well as the blue of her harness and leash. The blue being interspersed throughout the photo adds visual interest, and make each bit of blue more vibrant then if it was by itself.
    Picking up the pink from her tongue, collar and the chair

    Play up your dog's color. Have either the backdrop, harness, collar, leash or clothing be a color that compliments the dog. Nola's rich red brown coat looks beautiful accompanied by her sky blue harness and leash, and bring out tones you don't see if she's not wearing them.

    Show what makes your dog unique. Be it a behavior or marking, show what makes your dog different. For example, Nola has a beautiful widows peak on her brow. It makes her face so special and expressive, and looks stunning in B&W. I like to emphases it by taking close ups of her face.

    Nola's beautiful, unique widows peak

    Don't have a camera ham? Use treats or toys! Nola grew up with a camera shoved in her face all the time, and as a result she adores the camera and poses by herself 90% of the time. She's naturally photogenic too, so that helps a lot. If your pup isn't so sure of the camera, use treats and toys to get their attention and make photo shoots a happy experience.

    Be flexible, literally! When photographing dogs, you need to get down on their level. And let me tell you, having a Dachshund and being 5' 7" and lanky, that's quite a feat for me!
    Most pictures of dogs you see are from a standing point of view, with the dog looking up at the camera. Sometimes this looks good, but most of the time it's boring. Get on their level or lower, or go for a high angle like in the photo below.
    From below

    From below

    On her level

    From slightly above

    From her level. Again with picking up colors.
    From above.
    From her level.
    From below.

    Photograph the dog in parts, as well as as a whole. Love the wet nose of your furbaby? Zoom in on just it! Same goes for paws, tail, collar, tags, ect. These little bits and pieces can be just as (if not more) beautiful and artistic as a full body shot.

    Pay attention to your background. If you look through the viewfinder and see your dog against a messy or ugly background, move! Go for clean and interesting backgrounds such as a beach, a field, a chair or a plain backdrop of concrete of fabric. Let the dog take center stage.
    Plain background of our cement patio floor

    Plain background of my quilt. Notice Nola's perfectly evil face

    Plain grass, Nola center stage

    Play with light and shadows. Position your dog so that the light's softly framing her face, or so that she's dappled by shade.
    Perfect lighting, shows every feature clearly and even shows the dust. This kind of lighting you have to work fast with!

    Taken with my iPhone 3s

    Half in light, half in shadow.

    Incorporate yourself into some of the photos of your dog. Doesn't have to be one where you're holding your wriggling pup and grimacing smiling at the camera. Take a picture of your hand petting your dog, or of your dog by your feet. Or my personal favorite, having your reflection in your dog's eye.

    AVOID THE FLASH AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dogs + flash= bad photos. Avoid the flash at all costs! Use natural lighting if possible, and if not use some form of defuser to make the flash less harsh. Plus, the flash scares some dogs!

    And remember, it takes 100s of tries to get that one, stunning picture. In a single shoot I can take up to 300 pictures, and have 50 good ones and 5 stunning ones. Don't get discouraged!

    Two really good photography books that explain it all in plain English:
    Beyond Snapshots: How to take that fancy DSLR camera off "auto" and start shooting like a pro
    Expressive Photography: The Shutter Sisters Guide to Shooting from the Heart

    I hope that wasn't too terribly confusing! There you have it, the tips and tricks I use. Hope you enjoyed em!
    If you have any questions, ask them below and I'll get back to you!
    Dachshund Mommy

    Sunday, June 24, 2012

    Future Monday Mischief Makers

    I'm so excited!
    Hi everyone! I have LOTS of exciting announcements to make today!
    First off, we got more chickens! 4 baby chicks and 5 adult hens. So now we have 14 (might be 13 if one of the chickens is a rooster) hens. The new chickens names are: Luna, Emu, Redneck, Delilah and Cuckoo. Still need 4 more names, so if anyone has a suggestion feel free to voice it!
    Aren't those front two the ugliest/coolest things you've ever seen! They're naked neck chickens, and are suppose to be very good laying birds. The black one's name is Redneck but the yellow one is nameless.
    The biggish sliver/grey one is an Easter Egg hen and she lays green/blue eggs. She still needs a name.
    The small two in the back are Maran chickens, the grey stripy one is a Silver Cuckoo (hence the name Cuckoo for her) and the black one is a Black Copper and still needs a name.
    Please note, they're only in a dog crate for transport.
    Mom will get some pictures of the chicks tomorrow, but they're breeds are Rhode Island Reds (2), Barred Plymouth Rock (1) and a Black Sex-Link (1)
    they are so freaking tiny and CUTE!


    We will soon be a pack of four again!!!!!! Our breeder's female Doxie had 3 puppies early yesterday, and one of them is my new minion/sister!
    Dachshund Mommy: I know that it isn't possible to replace Charlotte, and I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to do that. There's a hole in our hearts that no other dog will be able to fill, but we know adding to our pack will help us heal. I miss the pitter patter of puppy feet, I miss getting out 4 bowls, I miss calling 4 names to come in. Most of all, I miss seeing Nola play with someone besides me or her basketball. Boston and Auggie are bonded, and Nola's by herself since Charlotte's passing. I'm hoping she'll have a bond with the new puppy just as strong as the one she had with Charlotte.
    Isn't that pawsome! A new sister! Like Mom said, I know she'll be different the Charlotte, and she can't replace Char. But I miss having someone to play with while Mom's busy.
    More info on the new baby! Her mom is a black and tan dapple, and her dad is a blue and tan. They're both miniatures, but that's not a guarantee that the baby will be small. The dad's a clown and the mom's a cuddle bug. My new sister is a black and tan with a small patch of white on her chest. She was the only girl :D! We're a very estrogen dominate house, so we're sticking with girls ;).
    On to names! Blogville, I ask you to help us name the new baby! All suggestions will be taken into consideration. Rules? Must stick with our current name theme i.e. must be the name of a city/state/country. Can't wait to read what you think! As we narrow down the names I'll put up polls where you all can vote for your favorite!

    Third, Mom's photography tips post will be up tomorrow, so watch out for that!

    Fourth, we're having some NASTY weather! We're in the midst of a tropical storm/depression, and it's windy, humid and rainy. Yuck! That means staying indoors most of the day, and not getting to go out and eat play with the new chickens!

    Kisses and Tail Wags,
    The Very Excited Dachshund Nola

    Pee.S. My new sister is coming from a breeder, as we all did. I know some people feel very strongly against breeding and breeders, and that's fine, but any rude or negative comments will be deleted.
    Also, please keep any mean opinions about getting another dog so soon after Charlotte's death to yourself. I know the right thing for my pack, and don't need anyone's input. So please, keep it civil :)
    Sorry about that Blogville, but I've had such comments (not from any of my furiends) before and I'd like to avoid them. It's random people on who come across my blog and post rude/spam comments.

    Black and White Sunday

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    June Photo Challenge: Week 3

    Hi everyone! It's week 3 of the May Photo A Day Challenge! For anyone thats curious, I take the photo challenges hosted by Fat Mum Slim.
    We've had relatives over since Saturday, so if comments have been a bit sporadic that's why. Family, love em to death but I'm exhausted when they leave :D! If some of these photos sucks blame my family LOL.
    Which of these is your favorite? Also, I've been toying around with the idea of doing a big post on photography; tips, what it means to me, if it's art. Would you all be interested in it?
    Dachshund Mommy

    Day 14: Time
    Can you see Nola's reflection on the 9? It took me FOREVER to get this shot.

    Day 15: Yellow
    Day 16: Out and about
    Day 17: In your bag

    Day 18: Something we don't know about you.
    Yes, my birthmark. It's the only thing I could think of, since I pretty much lay myself out for you all to see here.

    Day 19: Imperfect

    Day 20: Fav photo you've ever taken
    Day 21: Where you slept