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Calm Reflections Photography shares beautiful photographs that can be placed on mugs, mouse pads, canvas, puzzles, T-shirts, coasters and prints. Joanna Macaulay makes souvenirs of St. Mary’s County for tourists and local residents. Information about St. Mary’s County attractions, travel, events and photography can be found at her site. She now does pet photography as well.

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Yucatan Mexico Trip February 3, 2018

We returned to Merida , our main trip destination and a good hub for exploring the Yucatan.  Many of the cities in Mexico now ...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Preparing for your Pet Photography Portrait Session

If you decide to have your pet photographed by a professional photographer, what can you do to improve the quality of the photographs and comfort of your pets?  Lots!

Bring your pet’s favorite treats (especially small soft treats), and favorite toys, along with a squeaky toy to get their attention. Have a leash handy if your pet will be outside.

Clean your pet or have it groomed a day or two before your photo session, especially check around their eyes and ears on the day of your photo session.  Brushing your pet and checking her teeth is helpful.

Inform the pet photographer of any health issues your pet has. And share a little about your pet’s personality.  Is he shy?  Is she alarmed by loud noises?  Will she try to escape through the front door when the photographer arrives?

Is your dog excitable? Take him for a walk before your photo session.

Share any information about particular photos you want.  If your dog is very active you might want a photo of your pet chasing a stick or playing with a Frisbee.  If your cat has a favorite pillow or window sill, do you want to have a photo taken in those locations?  Do you want a nice portrait close up to put on your wall or a mouse pad to give as a gift to your child?

Do you want a photo of your pet with family members?  Here are some personal ideas to help you plan ahead.

· Try not to wear the same color as your pet, so your outfit won’t merge with your pet.

· Dark or neutral shirts are usually good, preferably a different color than your pet.

· Avoid crazy patterns, clothing with writing, bright white shirts and bold prints, since they will attract more attention than your pet or your face.

· Short sleeves, sleeveless shirts, low necklines and shorts will draw the eye away from your face as well.

· Fitted clothing often looks better than loose baggy clothing.

· If multiple family members will be in the photos with your pet, try to wear similar or coordinated colors (but not matching outfits). Otherwise, you will draw attention to whoever is wearing the very light or bright color.

· Adult ladies can wear a little more makeup than usual, including powder to reduce the shine from sunlight or photo lights.

· Wear your hair in a style that doesn’t block your face. 
Good places to take photographs are at your house or somewhere where your pet feels comfortable, like a local park, beach or horse farm. You can help the photographer by looking for locations in advance, in and around your home that have plain uncluttered backgrounds. A neutral colored couch, plain wall without multicolored trim, a large bed with a solid color coverlet, a northern window, fireplace, garden or grassy back yard can work well.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hollywood Volunteer Fire Dept Craft Show Nov 20

Check out the HVFD 16th Annual Craft Show on route 235 in Hollywood, MD!  There should be lots of Christmas crafts available.  I will be selling my photography crafts tomorrow, Sunday, November 20th from 10AM-3PM in the main room of the Social Hall.  Admission and parking are FREE and refreshments will be for sale by the Auxiliaries.  Some of my items for sale include, photo mugs, tote bags, mousepads, clocks, and pictures.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

On Oct 14th,I was wandering around St. Mary's College of Maryland looking for pictures of leaves for a St. Mary's County Camera Club competition.   Often I don't find the photo I plan to get, but find something else even better.  I was amazed to see waterlilies in October in the small pond. 

The lily pads were interesting too.  If you are familiar with old video games, the leaves reminded me of an old game.  Feel free to guess. 

Then, I saw an unexpected treat near sunset.    With photography you always need to be prepared for the unexpected.  It is worth having several lenses with you just in case.  That's life I guess! 

By the way,  I didn't find any good leaf pictures that day, but  I hope to get some soon.

(See also Jan 6, 2011 for a similar theme blog post)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kelby Worldwide Photowallk 2011

I participated in the Kelby Worldwide Photowalk on Oct 1st at Historic St. Mary's City.  It was a gray day, but the temperature was pleasant.  (last year's walk was in July when it hit 100 degrees!)  We got together for one big group shot at the beginning of the walk and then separated to wander around the grounds.  Costumed employees were a popular photo topic since the Dove (ship) wasn't in port.

Each photographer could choose one favorite photo to add into a contest to compete against other photographers in the rest of the world.  There was a local Photowalk Flickr page for uploading some of our favorite pictures from the day.  A number of the really interesting photos used a technique called HDR, high dynamic range.  By merging several or many files with different exposures, the photo appears to have extra depth and vibrancy, even on a gray day.  Enjoy!

St. Mary's County Fair Photography winners 2011

The County Fair highest honor was a photo of a ship at sunset with silhouetted birds flying around it.  Very Nice.  We all agreed on it, which made it very easy.

Life in St. Mary's County was a photo of an old car in Leonardtown Square.

Sorry, I don't know the names of the photographers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

St. Mary's County Fair will be held Sep 22-25, 2011

Visit the St. Mary's County Fair Sep 22-25, 2011, or better yet, enter one of the competitions.  If you have a beautiful flower in your yard, a photograph, art or craft item that you think is exceptional, enter it in the County Fair Wednesday afternoon or evening.

The full program is available at the St. Mary's County Libraries.  There are lots of things to see and do from visiting the animals, watching a competition, sampling the food and riding a Ferris Wheel.  Some of my past favorites included watching the Mitchell Showboat Marionettes (the kids are so cute) and viewing the chain saw wood carver.  There are lots of things to photograph at the fair too.  The official St. Mary's County Fair website is easily found.  And you can't beat the price, $5 for adults!

I am also excited and honored to be one of the photography judges this year, so I won't be posting any winning photos this year, but I plan to take photos of this year's Fair for fun.

Blue Angels visited Patuxent River

We recently went to the Patuxent River Air Expo in St. Mary’s County on a warm sunny day. The crowds were out in full force and the Blue Angels were spectacular (as always!). They love catching you off guard and appearing unexpectedly when the crowd’s attention is concentrating on a diverting maneuver. There were so many different planes it was really tough to pick out which ones to share. I decided to also share the Ely-Curtiss Pusher biplane, representing the centennial of Naval Aviation.

To photograph at an airshow, I recommend a zoom telephoto lens with at least 300-400mm for distance shots, the brightest lens you can afford. A polarizing filter or circular polarizer (for digital cameras) is also nice to emphasize blue skies.  It is also handy to have a more standard lens to photograph the stationary exhibits and the spectators.  I often get cute shots of kids on Dad's shoulder watching the sky or looking at the exhibit planes.

To see some official photos and get more information

Monday, September 5, 2011

Photographing butterflies

I recently went to Brookside Gardens with Camera Club friends to visit the “Wings of Fancy” butterfly display in Wheaton, MD, a conservatory in the gardens. The butterflies were very active at 10 am, making it difficult to focus on a moving target. I just loved the blue morphos, which have spotted brown wings when closed and reflected blue wings when open. The butterflies often land on people, making it great fun, but you do have to be careful not to injure them. It is also a good idea to use a macro lens with flash or a telephoto lens to blur the background.

The free gardens are open at sunrise and there is a fee for the butterfly exhibit and special programs. The gardens are well worth a visit.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mid-Atlantic Nature Visions Expo in November features Art Wolfe

I thought some of you might be interested in learning about the Mid-Atlantic Nature Visions Expo that is coming up Nov 11-13 in Manassas VA. The Expo is put on by the Mid-Atlantic Photography Association, including quite a few Virginia Photography Organizations at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. There are inexpensive accommodations at a nearby Best Western.

A few of us have signed up to hear Art Wolfe speak on the Art of Composition at an all day workshop on Friday Nov 11. Art is also the keynote speaker on Saturday. He is most well known for his TV show, "Travels to the Edge", a wonderful series of programs visiting beaufiful and exotic places.

There are lectures on Saturday and Sunday, workshops, an exhibit, vendors and also a chance to photograph hawks, owls and/or falcons with the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia for an additional $25 . To learn more about the Photo Expo visit We participated last year and enjoyed the lectures, exhibits and photo opportunities very much.

I'm including my photo of a North American Kestral to help inspire you.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Shenandoah National Park: A favorite place

We recently took a long weekend trip to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. It has been one of our favorite places for years.  I was amused at the weather report.  If the prediction was rain, it was sunny.  If sun was predicted, it rained! The mountains seem to create their own unpredictable weather pattern.   We had lots of fog and mist too, which created some moody photography.  If you take proper care of your camera, rain doesn’t mean you can’t take good photos!
Big Meadows is one of the best locations on the Skyline Drive to see deer, especially at dusk.  Some of them are very accustomed to people and largely ignore you.  It is wise to use a tripod and stand fairly still to avoid scaring them away.  The wildflowers blooming along the drive and in the meadow in August added a nice touch to the landscapes.  I photographed delicate Queen Anne’s Lace from underneath the flower to produce an unusual viewpoint.
Other highlights of our trip included a van trip to Camp Rapidan, where Herbert Hoover spent his time away from the White House in a rustic camp, viewing a black bear while I was driving along the main road (sorry no photo) and a visit to see Charlie Maddox play music from Appalachia and the British Isles on hammered dulcimer, banjo and guitar in the tap room at Big Meadows Lodge.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Last St. Mary's College River Concert of the 2011 Season Delights the Audience

The final River Concert in 2011 was delayed until 7:30PM on July 29th to reduce the effects of another hot summer evening at St. Mary’s College of Maryland on the green overlooking the St. Mary’s River. Cooling stations with water and air conditioning were once more in place, to avoid health issues from the temperatures in the high nineties.

The concert began with Maurice Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe Suites”. The piece was based on a Viennese Waltz. Jeffrey Silberschlag described the work as “a conflicted orchestra with a conflicted waltz and a maestro in crisis.” He told us that the piece was written about the troubles of the collapse of the Royal Austrian family, the Hapsburgs. The music had a strange beginning that was both dark and light at the same time and generally quite dissonant.

A “Trumpet Concerto” by Corrado Saglietti followed, with Jeffry Silberschlag playing solo trumpet. Silberschlag joked that his “mouthpiece has been slipping” so he “borrowed rosin from Jose”, the first violinist. I was glad to see that Larry Vote conducted the piece, since his July 8th performance was sadly rained out earlier. The music had an Italian and pop feel and was mellow, smooth and pleasant.

After presenting plaques to the many sponsors of the concert series during intermission, the star of the series, Broadway’s Melissa Errico took the stage. She sang a powerful performance including a number of popular songs like “Windmills of Your Mind”, “I Could Have Danced All Night” from “My Fair Lady” and “How are Things in Glocca Morra?” from “Finian’s Rainbow”. She amazed the audience with her incredible speed while singing “Getting Married Today” from the musical production “Company” while wearing a wedding veil. Ms. Errico also presented her own peaceful song, “Gentle Child” written about a memorable moment with her daughter, Victoria. Melissa Errico has performed many classic musicals including “Finian’s Rainbow”, “My Fair Lady” which I personally saw in the early 1990’s, “Camelot” and “The Sound of Music”. Like Kate Baldwin, last year’s award winning performer, Ms. Errico also sings often at Birdland Jazz Club.
The last concert of the season wasn’t complete until the Chesapeake Orchestra played its’ signature piece “Sleigh Ride”. We will be earnestly awaiting next year’s performances!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

River Concert 6: The Eternal Flame Goes On Despite the Heat

A number of die hard music lovers and the Chesapeake Orchestra attended the River Concert on Friday July 22nd at 730PM,at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in the sweltering heat of high summer. The concert was purposely delayed a half hour, hoping the temperature would drop a little. The college kindly provided four cooling centers with air conditioning and cold water to help avoid health issues in the dangerous heat. Survival required lots of liquid refreshment and a visit to Kona Water Ice or Brewster Ice Cream. The little monkey statues at the Sunshines Catering Vendor described the evening well (pictured).

The evenings fare started with Leonard Bernstein’s “Three Dance Variations” from the ballet “Fancy Free”. This modern work was well played. I enjoyed the 3rd movement Danzon with lots of timpani and other percussion and a similarity to “West Side Story”. The first movement, Galop, was disjointed, abrupt and repetitive, while the Waltz was quieter and jerkier with lots of trumpets.

Judah Adashi’s ”Grace”, a 10 minute work, was presented next and was introduced by the composer. Mr. Adashi explained that the piece was in memory of rock star Jeff Buckley. José Cueto (pictured) expertly played this brief musical work with its soaring falsetto violin part with high notes difficult to even think, and Middle Eastern scales inspired by Adashi’s Israeli parentage.

Adashi’s music was followed by another short work by Jeffrey’s “favorite undead composer, David Froom”. “Amichai Songs” featured an excellent baritone soloist, William Sharp (pictured). While Froom insisted that his third movement, “The House of Lovers” was gentle and romantic, with the words “If we are lucky the house will collapse and the light will be set free for the whole world”, I wasn’t quite sure I agreed.

The highlight of the evening was definitely Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 1 “The Titan”. The early part of the work was about nature and included repeated 2 notes on flute, sort of like raindrops on leaves. Later in the piece, some of the music was written in waltz time (1,2,3!) and the influence of the Hasidic could plainly be heard, along with snatches of “Frére Jacques” in a minor key in the third movement. The last section was definitely the best. How the orchestra survived the last energetic movement without at least one person being escorted away by the Ridge Rescue Squad was unknown, but their determination was much admired.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fifth River Concert, Rainfree on Friday July 15th at 7 pm

After last week’s rained out concert, Maestro Jeffrey Silberschlag first mentioned that there was a 0 % chance of rain for this concert. He continued, "We went to Spain for a soloist who would be Spanish enough and passionate enough" to play the 2 Spanish works included in the program. The theme was European Vacation, and combined Spain and the Alps.  The Chesapeake Orchestra featured pianist Antonio Soria, a professor from the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Castellón in Spain.

The first musical work, "Night in Madrid" by Mikhail Glinka was a beautiful piece with lots of soaring strings and arpeggios on piano.

It was followed by “Manuel DeFalla's "In the Garden of Spain".  Jeffrey informed us that we would hear the matador and the bull. The 3 movement piece was softer at the beginning with a 2 note ending. The second movement was dance-like with a repeated theme with theme variations and was much faster. There was even a scary section with lots of tension in the strings.

Antonio Soria was obviously much enthralled. Even when he was not playing, he was moving his whole body along with the music. His playing was of course brilliant.

After the brief intermission, the Chesapeake Orchestra continued with "An Alpine Symphony" by Richard Strauss. Maestro Jeffrey Silberschlag described the composition as a kind of trek through the Alps "like a travel writer” or a "Superman 3 soundtrack flyover the Alps". The piece included a wind machine and drum rolled thunder to describe night and a storm in Alps. The beginning was very dark and the whole piece had many moods. I heard ominous horns, flute raindrops along with long notes from the strings, and stormy timpani. The 22 sections of musical storytelling ranged from sunrise to fog to dangerous moments near the summit to blooming meadows. It was an altogether fascinating piece of music.

Plans for the River Concert on Friday July 22 at 730pm include local violinist José Cueto, “Amichai Songs” by David Froom, chair of the Colleges music department and works by Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Mahler.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

River Concert 2011 Celebrates Independence Day Weekend in Patriotic Style

The third 2011 River Concert of the season gathered a huge crowd, filling the lawn at St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a sea of people on the evening of Friday, July 1st . Before beginning the concert with the Chesapeake Orchestra playing the “Star Spangled Banner”, music director Jeffrey Silberschlag warned the crowd to ”get under their chairs for the flyover” after the anthem. No one ducked, but they did give a hearty cheer! “Danger Zone” from “Top Gun” immediately followed, sung by a passionate performer playing electric guitar. The flyover in honor of the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation included two Navy jets whose pilots, and some Navy brass, were introduced later in the concert.
Next on the musical program was “Holiday Overture” by Elliot Carter, written in the modern mode during World War II. The music was a little jumbled with a varied style and not particularly melodic. There were jerky sounding strings, bells, sticks and an abrupt ending.

The audience was amused by “A Grand, Grand Overture Op. 57 composed by Malcolm Arnold, a satire of a serious overture. The work was announced by Maestro Silberschlag as “going where no orchestra would ever dare go.” The Overture featured hedge trimmer played by Sam Goddard, two vacuum cleaners amusingly presented by St. Mary’s College President Joseph Urgo and Ginny Stein, muskets shot by costumed interpreters from Historic St. Mary’s City (as can only be portrayed in St. Mary’s County) and a leaf blower performed by Jim Bershon. Some of the “instruments” were actually substitutions for the original use of a floor polisher and real guns. To our amusement, the vacuum cleaners had a lovely sword fight, attempted to dust a nearby photographer’s camera and Joseph Urgo quietly vacuumed his yellow tie.

Jeffrey Silberschlag joked that the excerpts from the “Air Power Suite” by Norman Dello Joio were “one hour long. We’ll do it twice.” The work had lots of soaring melodies, a lot of repeated notes in the string section, full sized chimes and some lovely flutes. I was disappointed that the Chesapeake Orchestra didn’t play “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines” a favorite song listed in the program.

After intermission, and the familiar “Liberty Bell March” by J. P. Sousa, Sterling Lambert, a professor of Musicology at the College read “Thomas Jefferson: In His Own Words” in his dramatic British tenor voice accompanied by the full orchestra. The music was a backdrop for the words which included everything from the “Bill of Rights”, to love, and the number of free and captive slaves Jefferson kept. The work ended with Jefferson’s words, “I Shall not die without the hope that life and liberty are on steady advance.”

The concert concluded with some rousing Sousa music including the “King Cotton March” and “Stars and Stripes Forever” (accompanied by many amateur singers in the audience), Morton Gould’s “American Salute” (based on “When Johnny comes Marching Home Again”) and of course P.I. Tchaikovsky’s ”1812 Overture” accompanied by fireworks over the St. Mary’s River. The many boats with their small lights bobbing in the waters of the river were a delightful sight to behold after the concert.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Evening at the Summer Palace: A River Concert that Wowed the Audience

The Baroque themed second River Concert of the 2011 Season was held at St. Mary’s College of Maryland on Friday June 24, 2011. Music Director, Jeffrey Silberschlag joked that the Chesapeake Orchestra called it “Sweating to the Oldies”. Entirely performed by a smaller chamber orchestra complete with harpsichord and friends, the evening was delightful.

Wow, what a concert! Each new solo performer brought the audience to their feet. It was probably one of the longest concerts, and definitely one of the best. The evening began with J.S. Bach’s “Orchestral Suite No. 3”, which included the well known “Air” movement, commonly referred to as the Air on the G string and often used in weddings. The movement is one of the most widely recognized Baroque pieces ever written.

Giuseppe Nova, co-director of the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Alba Campus expertly played solo flute in the “Orchestral Suite in B Minor”, again by Bach. This mostly light and cheerful piece included a triple solo with harpsichord, Mr. Nova, and Suzanne Orban on Cello. Mr. Nova received the first standing ovation and an extra bow.

Fatma Daglar, principle Oboist for the Chesapeake Orchestra for many years, played “Concerto for Oboe” by B. Marcello with much feeling, using her whole body including her foot and even her eyebrows. Cellist Suzanne Orban, heard many times with the Chesapeake Orchestra, played “Concerto for Cello in G Major”. This very difficult piece included many fast paced sections that required intense concentration by Ms. Orban.

The lovely young Nina DeCesare (pictured), 2010 winner of the Young Artist Competition, wowed the audience with some very impressive high notes on the double Bass in “Concerto for Double Bass in D Major” by J.B. Vanhal. Viewers spontaneously clapped after a particularly difficult section and also gave her a standing ovation.

Trombonist, Bryan Bourne, played the half sized alto trombone in “Concerto for Trombone” written by Michael Hayden, the brother of well known Joseph Hayden. This piece began very slowly and was very smoothly played by Mr. Bourne, and later included a light hearted section and a short solo by violinist Jose Cueto.

The concert ended spectacularly with flautists Giuseppe Nova and Karen Johnson, and violinist Jose Cueto (pictured) in Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No 4”, and the well known and personal favorite, “Water Music” by G. F. Handel.

Jeffrey Silberschlag reminded the audience that next week’s concert features fireworks, a flyover to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Naval Aviation, and that famous piece written about the French Russian war that we Americans have somehow claimed for the Fourth of July, Tchaikovsky’s ”1812 Overture”. The concert will be “BYOAPI” or “bring your own apple pie”. Be sure to get there early!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

“Wintry Mix” Opens the River Concert Series for 2011

The first River Concert of the season on June 17 2011, held on the green at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, was a success in spite of the threat of thunderstorms in early weather reports. A light rain cooled off the evening during the orchestra tune up, and then remained dry and comfortable.

The”Symphony 7 opus 105” of Jean Sibelius, played by the Chesapeake Orchestra, started with a scale and included a rich sleepy melody, some lighthearted plucking, followed by a speedy section. The symphony also included a portion that sounded like churning water or a storm, which resolved into a frolicking tune that was more lighthearted. At the end of the piece, music director Jeffrey Silberschlag asked the audience, “How many times did someone start the Harley (motorcycle)? I counted 15!” Ahhh, there are risks in an outdoor concert.

The “Piano Concerto No. 3” by Bela Bartok, written while he was dying and worried about his wife’s finances, featured pianist Eliza Garth (pictured). The piece included many different moods from crawling to bouncy and fast, then later included solo drum beats.

After intermission, the orchestra played a short piece, “Mirage”, composed by a 2011 graduate of the college, Mary Coy. The brief piece was fascinating and moody. It will be interesting to see if we hear more of her music in the future.

After asking the audience to “Come back again, but leave your Harley at home”, Jeffrey Silberschlag ended the concert with Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 1. Opus 10”. The symphony included many soloists on flute, timpani, etc. including a very high crying solo by violinist José Cueto.

Blogging again!

After a long delay, I hope to have more time once again to blog again.   

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What I Learned About Sports Photography

I photographed a basketball game at St. Mary's College of Maryland for a Sports Photography Competition and learned some interesting things from my experience.  I realized very quickly that even with bright lights pointing down from the ceiling, photographing a fast game in a fairly dark room is challenging.  I really really wanted a f1.4 lens to get extra light for good photos, but my bank account didn't support it.  I had to be really quick to get good photos.  The pro I met used 4 flashes triggered by his camera that were temporarily mounted on the walls and pointed at the ceiling.  He was very nice to me and gave me some pointers.  Based on his advice, I photographed more than just the game.  I included the coaches expressions when their team scored (or didn't score!).  I took photos of the fans jumping up and down.  I caught the players on the benches as they reacted to the game and the cheerleaders had wonderful smiles.  The team had huddles and there was lots of interactions at the beginning and end of the game.

I didn't do well in the competition because the main subjects in my photos didn't face into the frame or the background was too busy.  The expressions on the players faces are very important for a really good sports photo.  I thought the compositions were okay. They were a little soft as well because I needed a brighter lens.  It was a good learning experience.  The 3 photos I competed were all game photos.  I will include a few extras that I didn't compete: players watching on the sidelines and the coach.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Time Lapse Photography is Really Fascinating

I am halfway through a Photoshop course from the New York Institute of Photography (NYIP).  I saw a very interesting blog message they had last week.  Ever wonder how photographers take those speeded up videos from still pictures of flowers rapidly blooming, clouds rolling rapidly across the sky or seedlings growing into plants in seconds?  NYIP had a short little video on how photographers can make a time lapse that was fascinating.  I couldn't resist sharing in with others.

Here is a link to the New York Institute blog page with a video by Zach Wise. 

If you want to view some more videos of sample time lapses, here are a few interesting examples from Wired Science.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Funny Dog Photos: Learning How to take Humorous Pet Photography

The St. Mary’s County Camera Club had a themed competition of humorous photos last week. Humorous photos are challenging. You can either hope to get lucky when something you see strikes you as humorous or you need to create something funny. I decided to get more pet photography practice and learn about photographing humor at the same time. I enjoyed my photo attempts because I am very interested in humorous photos.

Some pictures are funny if something doesn’t quite make sense or fit in with the rest of the photo, there is an unexpected element. Human activities, clothing, silly hats, funny teeth or children’s toys look funny because we don’t normally associate them with pets. I’ve also seen photos that are funny because something unfamiliar happens, like a photo of a dog floating in the air with balloons attached to his body or dogs waterskiing.

I photographed a Westie “playing” the piano, reading a book and driving a car. My first place photo was a Westie at the piano. The original photo was mildly funny, but the addition of the piece of music called “Unleashed Melody” added an extra funny element. The dog reading a book received an honorable mention. The pictures were all challenging, because the dog was in a wiggly mood.

To see some wonderful humorous dog photos visit photos by Eliot Erwitt or William Wegman. I give my thanks to Andrew Darlow for his pet photo advice.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Horse photography practice

I scheduled a practice horse photography session with my friend and her horse Bodie. I don’t think she had many horse photos, so it was something new for both of us. It took LOTS of patience. I had read that horses look better if you stand back 15 to 20 feet, place the horse at a 45 degree angle to the sun and evenly space the horse’s legs. She walked the horse in circles to get into the right position, which eventually worked, but there were some fairly deep shadows on the horses face. I used a big red bow so she could use the photo for a Christmas card next year. Bodie was quite skittish, so it was challenging. The day was windy, making the bow flap about. It took a while for Bodie to get used to the noise from the bow. I think next time I photograph a horse, I will ask more about the horses temperament, since I don’t want to scare the horse. I would have skipped the bow. I’m sure every animal is very different. I really liked the close up shots, especially the photo with my friend hugging her horse.