Let’s talk about the dogs and the bees

An over-the-shoulder look from my classy, yet contrary model.
Because there were two kids standing there she wanted to see.

It was a little like being a kindergartner in a high school art class.

It’s a picture of a bee, I said. I made you a bee. And despite valiant attempts to tamp it down, the declaration is followed by a quick and self-conscious apology. It’s a little blurry.

It’s a very nice bee, said the kind teacher. Now who wants to share their picture next?

Ugh. It’s my own fault, I know.  I signed up for a nature photography class being led by a professional photographer that I really admire*. The guy is an artist with his camera and I was eager to learn how he performs his magic. Get me some new skills and stuff like that to add to my own personal style. 

Introductions should have been my first awakening of what I got myself into this time.  Hi, I’m Donna, I say. I take pictures of dogs.

I know I shared more than that, but I was distracted after looking about the room and just threw out some random facts. Yup, pretty sure I was the most *cough* experienced in life.  Have any of these people even held a film camera in their short lives?  Ever had the chance to fall in love with the chemical smell in a dark room? Dodge and burn an image using an enlarger? I’m guessing, with the exception of the professional fella, it’s not very bloody likely.

Good grief, in my day we goofed around with the settings on the camera then had to wait days upon days to see how bad we screwed up the shot. But today everything is instant gratification, isn’t it?  We decide the destiny of our snapshots with a, well, snap decision. You don’t like the image?  Well, easy ’nuff to delete it. Or post it on social media.  Either one.

But no matter, seeing things with the eye of an artist doesn’t have a thing to do with age or camera settings or even dark room experience. You either have it or you are good with numbers or something. This was apparent at the end of the seminar when we shared what we captured during our time with the flowering photo ops outside.

I took so many shots of this jerk that
I should have named the little beestard.
You know what? I think I will.
I dub this fuzzy fellow Fred MacBlurry**.

One after another, we all handed over our memory cards and declared our favorite shot to put on the big screen to share in front of God and everybody.

Nice composition … I like how you set up the grouping …  Good close up … Wonderful job with backlighting … Um, nice bee.

Yeah, I spent my hour tracking a stupid bee. With a macro lens. At the end of the shoot, I just did a Picard face palm. What was I thinking?  Who tries to take a photo of a moving object with a macro lens anyway?

Well, me.*** 

So sure, in the end I did learn quite a bit about composition, natural lighting and how to work some advanced settings on the Canon. Maybe the most helpful is the new knowledge about taming that on-body flash that I have developed a hate-hate relationship with.

Yeah, and I learned that I kinda suck at nature photography. I simply just don’t have an eye for it.  You know why?  Because I don’t have a passion for the stuff, flower groupings and all that. There’s beauty out there all ready to be captured, it’s just that I don’t see it in my viewfinder. I’ll have leave it to the folk that do.

So I’ll stick with what I know and know very well. That one single subject of canine goodness that I find so rich. The timing was good here, because the next day after the nature photography seminar, Euka and I were working a CCI info table at Aullwood Farm.

Thank dog, I thought. I need a self-esteem boost. With the overcast skies, this is my all-time favorite of outdoor lighting.  A wonderful diffused light that softens shadows, but still allows nice highlights.  It’s gonna be a great day for a doggie photo shoot at the farm, I think.

But that happy thought was popped like a the fragile bubble it was. Miss Euka was in one of her contrary moods.  She rocks an expert level at passive-aggressive naughtiness.  Worse, what she was up to this time wasn’t even a behavior that I could offer a correction for.

In one shot after another, she either squinted her eyes at me, adjusts her ears into a weird position, stretched her neck out or would drop eye contact at the sound of the shutter click. 

Oh, this isn’t the sun in her eyes or the sky is too bright. This is Euka telling me she’s just not in the mood for this nonsense today and can’t we go back to the info table to see more kids?

I’m getting so focused on getting a shot of her with her eyes open, that I forgot about venial sin in portrait photography.

Not paying attention to what’s in the background.

I know, I could crop this down some.  And end up with two stalkerish white tennies behind that lovely outstretched neck.

Or hey, there’s the other option that is the hallmark of digital photographers everywhere. Just set the shutter setting to Continuous.  It’s just as cheap to take fifty photos as it is only one carefully framed shot.

click…click…click…You’ll have to open her eyes at some point, girly girl…click…click…click…Euka! Cookie!…click…click. 

Hah! Got it.



*Photography by Jim Crotty.  Do check out his Facebook page and see if you might appreciate his gorgeous work, too.

** Get it? A play on Fred MacMurray? You know …  Fred MacMurrayMy Three Sons, The Absent Minded Professor (1961), The Shaggy Dog?  Oh c’mon, this has to be reaching some of you, right?  [crickets]  Anyone?  Hello … ?

***Fixation: because just giving up is for sissies.

Categories: Euka II

Tags: , ,

3 replies

  1. Really find interesting to read.. Thanks for Sharing..


  2. thank you Donna for posting this! I always look forward to reading about the 7 Ë litter pups”!!!


  3. Interesting post, greeting from Belgium


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