After two major health scares in the last 18 months I was worried Bundy might not make it to his 12th birthday (equivalent to approximately 75 years of age in human years). The fabulous news is that he did make it and apart from being hard of hearing and slightly more demanding, he is in great health and still capable of wreaking havoc on all stuffed and squeaky toys.
Happy 12th Birthday Bundy! Sorry, there is no cake (apart from the squeaky cake toy) but I can promise you lots of love, car rides, chicken pieces, squeaky toys, kisses and another year of being smothered with love.
It’s a hot day for a birthday, time to relax in the shade
Ready to party and waiting for me to hand over the presents
November is storm season in Queensland and we’ve had a couple of loud and scary ones but thankfully the worst of them missed our place (touch wood). As a twenty something loving in Newcastle I discovered how much I loved a good storm when staying with family near the beach. From their house I watched in awe as the clouds rolled in and the light changed creating an eery atmosphere before the skies opened and the lightning let loose. It was magic.
There were pockets of storm action Sunday afternoon, mainly to the north of us so we got very little rain and only a few rumbles of thunder. We did however see some amazing cloud formations and fantastic light as we strolled around a local sports field. Bundy could not have cared less about any of it, he was too busy following random scent trails. With only my iPhone at hand I tried to capture the amazing nature of the clouds and light using the Lightoom mobile app and my phone’s native camera app. The images are a little dark, more post-processing required or perhaps there are better apps for capturing these types of scenes on a smartphone.
I’ve spent the last few months debating whether to start a business focused on offering animal lovers a choice of pastel pet portraits and photographic portraits. The business idea is a possible alternative to full-time work or a side hustle that could supplement part-time employment whilst building up a client base. The latter certainly sounds more sensible.
Either way, one decision I have to make is to decide on a business name. Do I use my full name, a variation of my name, expand on the use of Two Black Dogs or even come up with something completely different? Two Black Dogs is my handle on Twitter and Instagram as well as being the title of this blog so I would need to have separate social media accounts regardless of what I decide. In researching existing businesses that focus on either pet photography or pet portraits there appears to be a mix of businesses using the artist’s name and those with names that reflect the genre of their art.
My reason for considering the expansion of the use of Two Black Dogs is the same reason for starting this blog, my black dogs Maxi and Bundy. Their antics, those big, brown eyes and my obsession with them inspired me to do pastel pet portraits, and being a crazy dog mum who volunteers in a shelter gave me a focus for my photography. Whilst the name is meaningful to me I realise it may not be meaningful to potential clients, which is often the argument for not using an individual’s name. It is all doing my head in and that is without even starting the business…what hope do I have?
Halloween is not a huge event in Australia although it’s popularity is growing and if there are children in your neighbourhood you tend to notice it more. We don’t have children, so poor little Bundy bears the brunt of the Halloween costumes on offer at Kmart. This year it was a toss-up between a pumpkin and a glittering red devil costume, however, as a result of my indecision neither made it into the shopping trolley. Fortunately a camera-toting, dog loving friend had underestimated the size of her wolfhound cross when buying a spider costume, and apparently, an XL costume is more suitable for a staffy such as Bundy.
The first photoshoot was conducted in bushland, I thought a natural environment would suit a big, black spider. The messy nature of the background and the floppy legs made it a little harder to see the detail of the costume, and converting images to black and white didn’t seem to help. I then tried photographing Bundy in our backyard with a less cluttered background. At this stage Bundy was pretty much over the costume and I really had to bribe him to do more than stand there and look sullen, as you can see, he still looks sullen but he did cooperate.
More recently I bought a hooded skeleton costume which supposedly glows in the dark. The glow factor of the costume hasn’t been tested, a photoshoot in the dark isn’t something I am prepared for so I am happy to wait until Halloween to see if the costume actually glows. With props in hand and treats in my camera bag, Bundy and I headed off to our bushland setting. Bundy was happy to explore while I stuck fake spider webs on the trees and lit a few candles, thankfully the day was overcast and the rain had dampened the setting minimising any risk of a fire breaking out.
The results aren’t bad although there are a few things I would have done differently:
Sprayed for mosquitoes (huge and vicious things)
Take the time to set the scene up before adding Bundy
Used more candles
Dressed Bundy in a costume that you could easily see from any angle
What do you think? What could I have done differently?
As the weather heats up in Queensland I am reminded of the rainy Autumn days that we spent in Venice in 2015. For the most part, the weather was cold and wet, a high tide was predicted and we could not have been happier. Protected by the covered passage of the Doges Palace we watched a parade of colourful umbrellas and plastic ponchos pass us by.