a soup to nuts post—literally!

How often do you literally MEAN that phrase when you say it? (Does anyone say it besides Menard’s commercials?)
A former boss of mine makes THE BEST SOUP. And she has shared some of her favorite recipes from time to time. This recipe is a delicious chicken noodle soup. And, it’s super easy to make. (If I can make it, anyone can.) If you click on the recipe image, it will enlarge a bit. But if you have trouble seeing it, let me know. Oh, and there is a ton of garlic in the soup. So if you are a garlic fan, you’ll be in love. If you’re not, then not so much.

I’m always practicing my pet photography. This time inside the house using a flash to supplement less than ideal lighting. Of course you know my favorite dog! And through lighting and post processing, I made a distracting background disappear. I also wanted to use one of my supposed lower quality lenses. Let’s just say I have this love/hate relationship with what is supposed to be a “better” lens. So I’m experimenting with some of the lenses in my camera bag, putting them through their paces in real life shooting situations. (Today we’ll be doing some urban shooting since it’s supposed to be a lovely and sunny 40 degrees today. If you’re subscribed to Sweet Clover Pet Photography blog posts, you’ll be seeing that one soon.)

And now the nuts part. Ok, the more I think about it, I don’t think there were any nuts. But there were dowels and hex screws—close enough! A few weeks ago my husband put together a 5’x5’ IKEA cube. I wanted more storage space for books, Sweet Clover Pet Photography business stuff, and miscellaneous things that needed a home. I thought it would be fun to take some quick shots during the process to share with you! (I just wish you could have seen that floor/wall area before I moved out the old bookcase. But I wasn’t going to move it all back in just for a “before” photo.)



ps – Let me know if you try the soup and how you like it!


foggy and frosty...

...say that a few times and you get froggy and frosty! (ha ha) This has been a very uninspiring winter for photography for me. No snow. Which you would think was a good thing, because the weather has been very mild. As you know, mild weather makes it far more enjoyable to operate a camera when your hands aren’t freezing into numb, useless appendages. But it just looks blah outside. Like plain oatmeal.

Well finally today there was some lovely frozen fog on the trees and grasses—nature’s bling. I wish I had more time outside, but hopefully these images capture the bling of the moment.

And, as you, my loyal readers know, I’ve been working on the Sweet Clover Pet Photography website. I had imposed an arbitrary deadline of January 31st, 11:59 pm. I think it was around 11:45 pm that I finished it! And while it still needs some tweaking, I think you will enjoy taking a peek at my new business! I encourage you to sign up for the Sweet Clover blog posts, even if you aren’t in central Minnesota. You never know who knows who and where they might live! And you might get a chuckle out of reading the About Mulder page. And he’s even had a paw in writing his own blog post! He will be a frequent “guest” blogger.

I’ll be getting my feet wet in one, and possibly two, marketing events this month. Although the one is more networking. Although marketing for me IS networking. Believe it or not, I’m not one to put myself in someone’s face and tell them how great I am. But I can’t let them smell fear! I saw a phrase recently, fake it until you make it. 

So here’s to faking it!!



givin' ya a little puppy lovin'...

...I should be working on my pricing for Sweet Clover Pet Photography, but a girl has to have a little fun! And I haven’t been shooting as much, so here are a couple recent shots of the Mulder Man.
It was snowing last night when I let him out. And the overhead light hitting the swirling snow looked so cool! This is my interpretation of the solar radiation storm that is hitting Earth right now. But then I had to take some pics of the MM, too! You’d think he was the fiercest beast to ever live with that muzzle on. But he loves to eat grass—I mean LOVES to eat grass—so the muzzle slows him down. A bit. And without much snow this year (yet), we still have to use it.




a little ruff...

I did a little extra on this photo for an online contest today. I needed to get it posted on the internet, and for some reason the contest wasn’t liking the Flickr image. Here’s the one without the textures, and one with French Kiss textures (stone blush and spot vignette channel).
You’ll be seeing more of these dogs soon!


Lady Macbeth...

...screw your courage to the sticking place and we’ll not fail.
All was not so dire as Shakespeare’s play—Macbeth—in reality, but when you meet a gal named Lady Macbeth, a quote that represented the moment just had to be used. However, quite a different context.

Friday my husband and I visited a friend at a nearby dog show. She was finishing off one of her dogs (please don’t ask me to explain that). Lady Macbeth did VERY well, and did not fail. I wish I could remember the exact results, but I’ll sum it up by saying she won! Lady M is just over a year old, but pretty much full-grown. My first comment when I saw her was “she’s so short!” Very funny coming from another corgi owner, but this gal was shorter than our dog—not only shorter legs, but a shorter body. Lady Macbeth is quite the lovable and sweet little gal. (No worries, we only want one dog—our own.)

I brought my camera and one lens, a nice light 35mm prime. I was not wanting to carry a heavy camera/lens in my purse, and it was not my intention to have this be a “photo session”. The location was a large, open, cement-floored convention room. LOTS of dogs around, and people, too…can you say distractions? Lighting…lighting was awful, of course. The reason I mention all this is to give you background on this learning experience of mine.

Once again I learned that when I rush, I take icky photos (improperly placed focus points, poor composition, not looking at the background, just to name a few shortcomings). Also, the environment was sooooo distracting. I was beside the show ring, and there were many people and dogs around—excitement and nervous energy from dogs and humans alike. To attract a dog’s attention I think I would have needed to be made of raw meat. :) I just realized I am (ha ha), but perhaps a fried bacon jacket would have held Lady Macbeth’s attention a bit better.

So why am I sharing what I consider to be sub-par photos of mine? Because I know I learn more from my mistakes in photography than the successes. And I know I learn from other photographers’ mistakes, so I guess I’m just trying to share the learning experience with others. :) (But the really good ones feel a lot more exciting!) But I’m not going to go so far as to tell you what I don’t like about each photo. (Click a photo to enter a slideshow mode—and the photos are a bit larger, too.)

ps-I kinda miss my 365 Project!



romping through the field...

I know I say this about every dog or cat I photograph, but after you spend a couple hours photographing them, petting them, chatting with them and their owner, well you can’t help but fall in love!
That happened again today with my neighbor’s labs, Macy and Winnie. Look how they coordinated with the landscape! And another bonus—a dusting of snow! A rare commodity so far this winter.

There will be a longer post with more photos of Macy and Winnie in January. Look for a brief post here directing you over to my new venture…I’ll be announcing Sweet Clover Pet Photography! (No worries, I plan on maintaining both blogs. My plan right now is to keep A Flick of Light the blog that has the more varied content. Sweet Clover Pet will be the business and blog site for my pet photography business, so it will focus more on, you guessed it, pets!)


my favorite photography subjects...

A blogger friend of mine just created a blog post on one of her favorite subjects, and at the end of the post she wanted to know what other photography bloggers’ frequent subject matter was. (I don’t remember for sure where our virtual paths crossed—I think it was on Flickr.) Her name is Barbara and she creates the blog The Aspiring Photographer. On her blog she narrates and demonstrates her trials and tribulations in this wonderful world of photography, including some great “how to” posts. I encourage you to subscribe to her blog, as it is always worth the time to read.

Can my readers guess what my favorite subjects are? There is always the same couple of subjects that keep popping up—my dog Mulder and flowers (usually “weeds”). My dog is such a great subject to point my camera at, whether it’s capturing details like the spots on his ears, the unique “fingerprint” of his nose (I guess that would make it his noseprint), or sleeping on his back with his feet up in the air.

Flowers also have wonderful details about them. The soft wrinkles in their petals. The graceful curve of a leaf. And when the light illuminates them just right…it can be like magic! And within the category of flowers, daisies are quite common in my portfolio. Who can’t smile at a nice, clean, pretty, white daisy?

Those are my favorites. As they say, shoot what you love and it will come through.

ps — Thanks Barbara for the blog post idea!



shoot from the hip...

...or, pet level photos. Basically putting the camera at the dog’s level and you’re shooting blind. Easier said than done! But I think I finally figured out the camera settings to get a few more shots with the eyes in focus instead of the grass. (And of course I had treats to keep Mulder’s attention on the camera!) For Nikon shooters, here are my settings on my D90:

  • AF-area mode: Auto-area
  • Auto focus point set to: AF-C (continuous servo)
  • used Shutter priority, with shutter speed faster than 1/500s; and setting ISO appropriately to get there
  • and used the widest angle I had, which is 18mm on my 18-105mm Nikon lens

And now the photos, with captions. I think that makes it easier to read, don’t you? And by the way, Mulder really enjoyed posing for the camera on this afternoon! And I know he’ll continue to be happy while I keep practicing this technique. :)

And you’d think this would work with kids, too? I’ll let you figure that one out!


my view of seattle...

...while attending the Cowbelly Pet Photography workshop. Most of my days were spent in the workshop learning all about what it takes to run and market my future pet photography business. (And I really need to come up with a catchy name! A few ideas are percolating, but I’m still open to ideas. Hint hint. :) ) A big THANK YOU goes out to Jamie of Cowbelly Pet Photography. She’s put in a ton of research and hard work, and it shows.
My one site seeing day was mostly on a lake/sound cruise. It was a rare, sunny and warm day in Seattle. Great day to be out on the deck of a boat seeing the sites. Thanks to Rob and Sue and the boys for the great hospitality!


sleepless in Seattle...

...no, not really. But since I’m actually in Seattle, it was a title worth stealing. :) I’m sorry I won’t have any photos until I return. It’s just my little iPod that I’m typing on.
The reason I’m here is to attend a pet photography workshop. There will be tons of info, and a chance to shoot, too. I can’t wait to meet the other attendees! Can you picture a group of animal loving photographers in the same room? Should be great fun!

Can’t wait to share some photos with you!


fresh flickr friday...

...bet you thought I forgot about these! I just kind of let my dog do his this thing this afternoon as I followed with my camera. And today his thing was ‘eating grass‘—one of his all time favorite things! He doesn’t eat it because he’s sick. He just likes it. And he’s extra fond of crab grass. He eats like it’s the most delicate thing in the world and savors it. I don’t know how he makes it through the winter without it. ;)


discovery of the day...

...I think I just wrote the rough draft of my mission statement for my pet photography venture. (Although don’t you hate the words “mission statement”? What would you use instead?)

My goal is to create images of other people’s pets that show as much love and adoration as I feel towards my own.

That just kind of came to me today as I was processing an image I took of my dog last night. Inevitably while I’m taking a 365 photo, my dog gets a few shots, too. A few images of a suitcase turn into a few images of the suitcase using on-camera flash which turn into a few images of my dog. (I swear he’s lobbying for sainthood, because would you tolerate having a flash go off inches from your face on an almost daily basis? And when you’re trying to take a nap? I mean seriously, no human puts up with that stuff.)

My other discovery today (yes it’s a twofer Wednesday) is that I’m really a prime kind of gal. Not steaks. Camera lenses. A prime is just simply sharper. The downside is you need to zoom with your feet. With flowers and stationary humans, that’s not a big deal. But with animals, well, it’s a bit of a different story. It also depends on the energy level of the animal. I can often shoot with my prime lenses with my dog. But if I have a backdrop set-up with lights, it can be a little harder to have an animal keep his mark. So the sacrifice in sharpness of a zoom is offset by the flexibility to conveniently change your focal length in a jiff. The balance of quality and convenience is ever changing depending upon the circumstances. So when you wonder “why so many lenses?”, that’s one reason.

Now for the part you guys like. The photos.

And the suitcase, too.

And I had an opportunity over the weekend to shoot a band without feeling like a groupie, as I knew the wife of one of the band members.



...is interesting. These are three images I’ve taken this past month. The two black & white images for my 365, and the dog is Oliver in a contemplative moment. The reason I decided to blog about these particular photos is that they seem so dissimilar.

An ironing board, a dog, and dead flowers. Yep, that’s variety in subject matter. Yet for me they all evoke a question in my mind—what’s the story behind each photograph? I don’t mean the literal story. (The ironing board was just sitting there; cause I certainly wasn’t the one ironing!) But each photograph could be the basis of a short piece of fiction —kind of a ‘free association’ if you will.

· The single mother finally finishes her late night ironing after the children have gone to sleep. The end of a long day, to be followed by another equally long day, and another.

· A dog longing for his owner’s return. Waiting patiently. Guarding. Steadfast and true.

· A collection of items on a shelf—all that is left behind of a little girl’s missing mother. The little girl wonders what they mean; why her mother thought they were important.

Photography really is all about stories. Fact or fiction. The story you see in the photograph is uniquely yours.