Things are getting kind of crazy around here with this winter weather we’re having. Today we had “thundersnow” – snowing with lightning and thunder at the same time! Followed by freezing rain and sleet. And more snow. Tomorrow, the weather prediction is for sunny and 45 degrees. Do I shovel or let it melt? I chose the former with the hope that the less the sun has to melt, the faster we may see dry pavement. In the mean time, expect a mud hole for a back yard.
The “boys”, Finn and Bailie, are pretty much going stir crazy as well. For two active goldens, this can mean havoc in the house. [Bailie turned 1 year old today, so he’s totally jazzed.] Anyhow, at some point during all this craziness, I got the dog signal for needing to go, as in go outside to do their doggie business. Once the doggie business is completed, the boys often engage in other activities, such as rock ’em, sock ’em, roll in the snow dog play fight. I snuck out and chronicled the latest event.
Here is the setting, a snowy back yard:
The annual News-Gazette Photo Contest is coming up (submission deadline is Saturday). If you shoot several thousand photos over the course of a year, it is difficult to pick your favorite. For this photo contest, we are allowed up to three entries; picking your top three is no less difficult. Or more precisely which three best fit the categories: Animals, Architecture, Black and White, General (photo-realistic – meaning not manipulated), Manipulated, Nature, and People.
I came up with several possibilities and narrowed them down to five images. I am getting these five printed and mounted as I write this and tonight will decide on the final three and come up with titles. Past experience from previous years’ entries tell me that the image title can be very important in the judging, as a “blah” title that does not help convey the message of the entry will be detrimental and a good title can greatly help an otherwise (in my mind) so-so image [I tend to disagree with this, but these contests are all quite subjective and so can understand how a good title can be effective.]
So here are the five I am having mounted with tentative titles and the category in which the image will likely be entered. This first one is a definite entry and absolutely one of my best this year. It has a great combination of color and interest with winding road and the bent over oak:
This next one is quite likely another entry. This is one of my cousin’s grandkids, named after our mutual grandfather (Max). We were on the beach in Pentwater and he did not know me from Adam and so was very suspicious of this old guy taking pictures of him. It took him a couple of days to warm up to me, but this one was one of the first I snapped and I just move his look (and the out-of-focus background created by using a large aperture).
This next one is of our boy Finn earlier this summer. My how he has grown since then! But this definitely captures a “dog smile” and again, the large aperture makes for a pleasingly out-of-focus background.
These next two are still possibilities, but are less likely for various reasons. I like this one for the detail in the dragonfly and the added interest of the coneflower (again out of focus). I think if the flower were in focus, it would be too distracting for the viewer and not allow the eye to eventually settle back on the dragonfly. Unfortunately, I think the dragonfly may be overexposed a touch and I have not got the time to work on it.
And finally, this one of a bed of tulips in one of our local parks, taken last spring (of course!). I’m still wondering about the best title for this one – any suggestions? So far, I’ve settled on “Outstanding” as the one flower that is in focus is slightly taller than the rest (I intentionally focused on that flower by the way).
Here are a couple more than did not make the final cut (I did not print them). While I like the colors in this next one, it just does not say enough to the viewer.
Here is another shot of Finn, this time on the beach at Pentwater. Could be a good entry but I did not think as strong as the previous one of him. I do like the juxtaposition of his face and the frisbee, though, and you can see that he is dripping wet and just challenging the viewer to do something. Actually, maybe this is better than I thought…
And, another shot of the dragonfly and coneflower, slightly different composition with a lot more distracting twig.
And, finally, another shot of the oak tree, corn and winding road, this time looking back up the road from the opposite side of the tree. Just not a as strong an image…
Got any opinions? Would love to hear from you! And there is another contest coming up – to support the Ludington Arts Council. Clink on the link and check out the entries so far.
If you come across this blog at some time, you may see the dedication on the upper right. A dedication to Cooper. If you don’t know us, you wouldn’t know who Cooper was. If you have known us for any length of time, you know and don’t need to ask. And, now after nearly a year since he passed, I can finally start to express my feelings about Cooper – at least in images, maybe not so eloquently in words. I’ll let these do the talking for me…no need to say he was a fine-looking fellow. This blog-post may change over time as I edit it with additional photos and text. I’d like to put the images in chronological order, or at least add dates to them where I can.
He could be feisty, as Kathy will attest to his early years – never mean, just independent. As you can see here from our Millennium New Year’s Party, he was not real happy about being picked up.
It is hard for me now to distinguish those years of Cooper that were pre-Henry…as Henry has become so much a part of our lives and appears in so many photos with Cooper. Looking back, Henry probably has as much reason, if not more, to miss Cooper than we do. Here’s one on the back porch at the old place and I can see we have already remodeled the kitchen and added the cupola over the deck (which would make it ~2005), so Henry must have been around somewhere.
Nearly every summer we went to Michigan, either to Pentwater or to Grand Haven, always along Lake Michigan and the beach.
I still remember Cooper looking out over the water, late this one afternoon. I can’t help but wonder if he knew something was up – like he was trying to tell us something in the only way he could. There was no bird or boat to catch his attention, and maybe he was simply taking it all in knowing he would not get back.
I recall this next pic, because this was the summer my knee was in bad shape and prior to surgery we went to Pentwater (August 2005). I hobbled down to the beach at the Oceana clubhouse (no stairs there) and started up the beach while Kathy came to meet me with Henry and Cooper. It was windy and their fur is windswept, but they saw me and were heading my way without delay.
More to come!!