Pitbulls, the meanest, most deadly and unpredictable dogs around, right? Yeah, I don't buy it neither. Yes, these breeds definitely need a lot of work, exercise and strong obedience training, but believe me, it's so worth it!
After working with Linda Hoang and her furbabies, she pointed us in the direction of another Linda who has a very important job and a furbaby with an important job as well. Both work at NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology), Linda is a Registered Nurse who works in the Health Services office on campus, and her dog Flynn also works out of the same office as a therapy dog. What is a therapy dog?
A therapy dog is a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and to people with learning difficulties.
So you can bet that Flynn is gentle and calm around everyone he meets, he's not jumpy unless he's playing, he doesn't go cray-cray licky like some dogs, he's just, well, he's just Flynn. Calm, cool and collected. Flynn is a light-brown, or even caramel coloured Labradoodle which makes him a great therapy dog because his breed is hypoallergenic!
When I arrived at the office to meet Linda and Flynn I had to get in line as there were three people ahead of me waiting to see NAIT's most famous therapy dog. It was exam time so he is a busy boy when stressed out students need him. After he got some love from the students, Linda, Flynn and I went out to a courtyard area where Flynn likes to blow off some steam.
I took with me my 55-200mm, my 50mm and my 14-24mm to capture Flynn and was I ever glad I decided to bring the latter. I ended up laying down and getting underneath Flynn as he jumped up to grab a stick that Linda was holding. We did this a lot and once or twice Flynn almost landed right on me! I loved how these action shots turned out, hope you enjoy them too!
Thanks to Linda and Flynn and NAIT for having me. If you're a student at NAIT and you're having a rough go with exams or just general school related stress - go see Flynn. I guarantee after seeing that cute face you will feel a lot better!
Linda Hoang, whose cats Loki and Thor starred in our last blog post also loves cats so much that she started the Edmonton International Cat Fest. The fest gets underway on Saturday May 30th, 2015 at the NAIT gymnasium. Take a listen to our interview for the full details!
Whatever happened to predicability? That's what we were wondering when we visited Linda Hoang and Mike Brown's FULL HOUSE of pets last week. Like, the door opened and a shower of pets greeted us at the door! We were like, someone call the Olsen Twins because we got a full house over here!
Just so you know, Angie asked me yesterday to cut the dad jokes out of these blogs but that one was too good not to say so, sorry honey. Now that I think about it, she said "Cut it out" which is a Full House reference in itself...
Linda works at NAIT and is in charge of their social media so she basically lives on Twitter which is something I can related to. She also does a fair amount of food photography (excellent photography)/reviews/blogging and you can follow her on Twitter @linkdork! Mike also tweets and you can follow him too at @MikeThyKing !
To the shoot! We showed up expecting to shoot Linda and Mike's two cats but we still managed to get a few shots of Olive their cute Beagle too! Thor and Loki are the two cats, Thor is a girl and Loki is a boy just like in the real comics - okay well they both have really nice feathered hair but Thor and Loki the cats are no slouches! They also had very shiny coats and their eyes - omg they both had the most expressive eyes!
We decided to set up in their family/tv room which had a lot of space to spread out and put up some lighting. It was later in the day so we couldn't depend on the sun to help us out. I set up one Alien Bees strobe with a shoot-through and aimed it at the ceiling to give us a nice light that would fall on our subjects and not be as distracting for the cats. Turns out both cats were either totally used to having their pictures taken or they were just so chill that all the flashes going off didn't seem to affect them in the least. We started with Loki first then moved on Thor and then finished off with Olive. Angie did 90% of the photos from this shoot and might I say, she did a really pro job!
My favourite part of the shoot was capturing Loki's REALLY LONG WHISKERS which you can see in a photo below. And then we had a laugh when we discovered that Linda and Mike have trained their cats to sit just like Olive before the treats are dolled out! I have never seen that before, have you?
We had a great time over at Linda and Mike's place. Thank you for having us over it was a blast shooting your furbabies!
Angie and Eric
Last week we were asked to shoot a Westie named Kevin for his parents who were out of town on a short vacation. The photos were to be a gift for them upon their return so we were stoked to help out!
West Highland White Terriers or Westies are a Scottish breed of White Terriers that historically weren't working dogs, but more of a symbol of wealth as the King of Scotland gifted the King of France twelve White Terriers in the mid-1500s. C'est magnifique!
We set up a black seamless in Kevin's aunt's living room and used our SB-800 speed light just off axis and shot through a translucent reflector disc to diffuse the flash and avoid blinding Kevin. We were a little worried that the flash would spook him but he was actually totally fine with it. He was getting a little restless about 20 minutes in so we moved the shoot outside to the new deck so Kevin could run around. We thought his coat looked great next to the wood grain deck.
We were so happy to be able to shoot with Kevin and to have these shots end up being a gift that his Mom and Dad will have forever!
Angie and Eric
Just before we kicked off the Easter Weekend we met up with Lauren and Shawn and their 1 year old White German Shepherd mix (maybe Lab, maybe Husky), Leila. We had some success shooting Hanna at the Mill Woods Dog Park so we decided to give it another go. Boy were we happy with the results. The best part about shooting in that Edmonton Dog Park is that it's a huge field surrounded on one side by trees and so if you want to get low and shoot up at the dogs then you can get them completely framed with sky. It was a little harder to accomplish with Hanna but Leila is a much bigger dog and so we used this technique a lot.
Leila was really active with the other dogs at the park which is good for us because it gives us a little time to scope out a good spot and then when you do start shooting with her, she's all smiles (aka panting). We also lucked out with the sky being filled with nice fluffy clouds and blue skies. Shooting in Alberta under these huge skies is something you should try and take advantage of whenever you can. It's funny how after you leave Alberta and come back to it, it's the wide open skies that mesmerize you for a time before you're again used to it.
We shot with Leila for about 30 minutes running around, chasing sticks and walking with Shawn and Lauren. Then we got out some treats and had her sit at Shawn and Lauren's feet and brought out our bounce board. Angie provided the perfect amount of light to shine off of Leila's white coat, complementing the high sun and gave us some really great results.
We'll certainly be back to shoot at the Mill Woods Dog Park, the skies are big, lots of space to play and all the dogs there are well socialized. In fact, I took Hank there today for the first time and he had a blast running this way and that.
Angie and Eric
Yesterday we got to shoot with an old friend and his best friend Hanna the 3 year old Malti-Poo. Terry Tran is the GM of the Audio Department here in Edmonton, a full service recording studio and rental house. We've known Terry since the mid-90s and he's always been a really great friend. His best friend Hanna is the resident studio dog at the Audio Department and so she's developed a keen sense of rhythm (not sure what that means). We were ecstatic when he agreed to meet us at the Mill Woods Dog Park which is connected to Jackie Parker Park just south of the Whitemud and West of 50th Street.
When we first moved to Edmonton from Vancouver we took our then 7 year old Chocolate Lab, Matix, to this park and he ended up in the shallow creek after launching off a 6 ft cliff. Okay so it wasn't much of a cliff but nevertheless it took us 15 minutes to get to the other side of the creek with a shallow shore to pull him out and he only stank for like 3 days afterwards. So what I'm saying is, maybe steer clear of the edge of the park if you have a dog that loves the water. Anyway.
We shot Hanna for about 40 minutes in the park which is for the most part a large open field, great for socializing for the dogs; there were about 40 or so running around while we were there - all friendly. She was SO chilled out. We tried to get some action shots with her but she kept to her own pace, doing her own thing - which was being cute and ALMOST playing with a ball once.
For this shoot we each took one camera (and hey, neither of us fell and smashed the lens on a tree branch), Angie took the D610 with a 50mm lens and captured what we considered the shot of the day at the top of the post. I took the D7000 and used a 55-200mm to get some longer shots. This combination worked really well as the 55-200mm is a DX lens and the 50mm is an FX lens - we didn't have any crop sensor issues.
It started out really overcast but by the end of the shoot it was breaking sun and so we really lucked out with the timing. We were prepared to shoot in the clouds, because even photographers can't control the weather, though mark my words a weather machine will be invented by a photographer one day.
Thank you to Terry Tran and Hanna for meeting up with us and if you have a band who is looking to record in Edmonton, consider the Audio Department. The Purity Ring recorded their new album there!
Angie and Eric
This afternoon I had the pleasure of working with Ky and her dad, Chris Tse. Chris is the co-owner of Blitz Conditioning, an Alberta based facility offering personal training and group fitness classes which came in handy for him... I'll get to that part.
Ky is an 8 year old Shepard/Burmese Mountain Dog who must be one of Edmonton's most exercised dogs given her dad's profession. But Chris told me that he wasn't always the owner of a personal training facility - he was once a researcher in the genetics of allergy and asthma at the University of Alberta. He started Blitz Conditioning five years ago after he decided that his passion for personal wellness moving away from research and towards fitness. Since then they've rather quickly become the highest rated fitness studio in Edmonton and they even opened a location down in Calgary!
We wanted to head down to where Ky usually goes for her run so we headed to Hawrelak Park which has a dog park portion that connects via a pedway bridge to Laurier Park which is a full on dog park. We didn't venture that way though, we took a left at the bridge and made our way along the river on probably the second iciest path I've been on this year (the first is the Terwillegar dog park). Chris and Ky were great sports as I had them run passed me on the path trying not to wipe out. Eventually we reached the point of no return which is where the combination of ice and the steep grade of the path made it impossible to get any traction so we turned around but right then I had to bail and smash my 14-24mm f/2.8 right on to a tree branch. I had to wipe bark off the lens but - a credit to Nikkor glass - not a single scratch.
I ended up bringing two bodies and two lenses to this shoot. I had this shot in my mind which I almost nailed though where it would have worked best, in the trees, was an ice rink. I had my D610 with a 55-200mm and my D7000 with the 14-24mm. I started with the D7000 until I smashed it on the ground then switched to the D610. There was no way I was going to try and carry two bodies at the same time given the terrain!
Oh! One technical tip I should reiterate to those shooting DSLRs - always reformat your memory cards instead of just using your camera to clear the card memory. When you execute the latter you don't actually ERASE the card like you think you are. You're just compressing all the information on the card. So over time you'll find that you'll be able to store less and less shots on the card until you reformat it. I had an 8gb card that would only hold 40 RAW files until I reformatted it - over 300 available after that!
Okay, here are some of my favourite shots from the afternoon, thank you to Ky and Chris Tse for spending time with me - and congratulations to you both for not bailing on the ice like this guy.
Last week we had the opportunity to shoot with a real internet pet sensation, Edmonton's own Ellie the Rottiebear! We were so lucky to get this opportunity as Ellie the Rottiebear is a hot commodity, attracting thousands of eye-balls every day on her instagram which you can check out here: Ellie the Rottiebear's Instagram
Rottiebears look like little Rottweilers but are not. In fact, according the Mary, Ellie's owner, "There is some Carlin Pinscher and Pug in her but I'm not entirely sure of all the breeds [she] is mixed with...".
We decided to shoot her on a simple white seamless to accentuate her dark fur but also the little white patch on her chest, so we packed up our gear and headed to the Sandman on Ellerslie Road as we have a connection there that will let us use the banquet room for shoots. Plus it's a pet friendly hotel so it's a win-win.
We shot Ellie at first with two umbrellas set to the modelling light as flash photography and pets is generally seen as a no-no. Mary, Ellie's owner was really helpful in getting her comfortable (plus the treats didn't hurt either) and before we knew it we started capturing a lot of great stuff.
We were trying out the new Nikon D610 that we bought two weeks ago at McBain Camera with our favourite lens, the Nikkor 50mm 1.4. This camera rocks at higher ISO settings, not like the D7000 which we've found to be too grainy at even in the 1250 ISO range.
We kept the shoot short and sweet as puppies don't like to sit still for too long but before we wrapped with Ellie we captured these beauties:
We loved the catch light in both Ellie's eyes in these shots and her little perma-frown. So cute - can't wait to shoot with her again one of these days!
Let us know what you think of our captures of Ellie the Rottiebear in the comments below!