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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.

To buy my photos, photo cards, and photo crafts of wildlife, pets, holidays and more, visit my Zazzle Photo store at

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Shenandoah Autumn 2019

Hazel Mountain Overlook, Skyline Drive Milkweed Pod in the Big Meadow Mary's Rock Tunnel in the fog Skyline Driv...

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.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Red Shouldered Hawk: Taking advantage of the unexpected

I took a friend's advice and visited St. Mary's College of Maryland one morning in search of a great blue heron.  Blue herons are fairly common in St. Mary's County, but they are fairly skittish and fly away the instant I bring out my camera.  I didn't see any herons, but I have learned to look around to see if I see anything else interesting to photograph.  I photographed a few red winged black birds clinging to the tall grass and some tall fluffy grass fronds, but I wasn't particularly impressed with the angles and backgrounds.  The birds were too small even with my 300 mm lens.  As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed a large bird in the top of a nearby tree.  I slowly walked toward it, trying not to scare it away.  I didn't know what type of hawk it was until I got home.  Red shouldered hawks apparently like deciduous forests and mainly eat small mammals.  I identified it by its red underparts and brown body.
A little patience can lead to unexpected results!