Dogs in antlers

It’s not Christmas without a portrait of our two black doggies wearing some sort of Christmas paraphernalia 🙂

bundy the black dog
Ho Ho Ho Bundy!
maxi the black dog
Ho Ho Ho Maxi

Merry Christmas from Maxi and Bundy!

Such a beautiful Autumn morning

This morning we are up early, before the sun rises and long before our two black doggies usually get out of bed. Outside the air is cool, inside the aroma of freshly brewed coffee motivates me to get moving and get dressed for a trip to the beach. You may well wonder why anyone would want to go to the beach while it is cold and dark, but with a beautiful day forecast we know the temperature will rise and it is a perfect time to practice my photography and capture a sunrise. Eventually excitement reaches the dogs and they happily sit on the back seat of the car with tongues out and the drool slowing dripping onto the console and window sill of the door. As we cross the bridge that takes us towards the beach they start to fidget as familiar smells and sounds reach them, both are itching to stretch their legs on the sand, splash about in the waves and maybe roll in something dead and smelly.

I set up my tripod in a couple of different spots, clicking away madly whilst the dogs take turns dashing across the sand, retrieving sticks and balls for my husband. Soon Maxi joins me for a rest, at her age there is less dashing and more strolling, she still loves to paddle in the surf and can never resist digging holes in the soft sand. Only one other photographer has joined me on the beach, we aren’t at the most picturesque spot on the coast nor the most popular place for surfing so for many there is probably no reason to venture onto the sand, camera in hand, but for me and our little family it is the perfect place.

Looking back I realise that I should have focused more on the clouds as the rays of sunlight peeked through, experimenting with capturing the motion of the waves and the reflections distracted me yet I am happy with these few images that I am sharing with you and hope that you will be too.

Crazy dog lady and her camera

My husband gave me the nick-name of ‘crazy dog lady’ several years ago when I was lying on the living room floor surrounded by our dear Maxi dog and two foster puppies, one of whom is now our boy Bundy. I have always loved animals, but never thought of myself as a dog person until we got Maxi, from then on I became slightly obsessed with dogs and the obsession reached a peak with the adoption of Bundy. We now have dog themed calendars, notepads, artwork, stuffed toys, photo frames and I spend alot of time reading dog blogs, sharing stories of dogs on Facebook, talking dogs with other dog lovers and walking dogs at our local animal shelter.

Bundy and Maxi are pretty used to me taking photos of their every waking (and sleeping) moment, Bundy can switch between completely ignoring me or cooperating completely depending on what his focus is at the time – me or a ball/bird/rat/treat. Maxi has the innate ability to be able to identify a phone camera, whether I have my DSLR, point and shoot camera or iphone she turns her head away from the camera as soon as I take the photo. Photographing Maxi has to involve treats or the beach, both make her incredibly happy and easier to photograph.

I took these photographs last year and am quite happy with the result, Bundy and Maxi had their props, soccer ball and treat which helped take the focus of me holding a camera. The post-processing in Lightroom makes them look less like an every day photo and more like a piece of art, at least they look like that to me but I know that it isn’t everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. One day soon I plan to get them printed on canvas, however I am also toying with the idea of recreating them using pastel or oil paint after seeing doggy portraits on Treats A La Bark.

Maxi the dog
Bundy the dog

Maxi the dog

Bundy the dog and soccer ball

Maxi the dog

Bundy the dog

No Thanksgiving but still thankful

Yesterday I read a post on Twenty-Six To Life about being thankful, written in the spirit of the ‘Thanksgiving’ holiday celebrated in America. Although we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, I was inspired to think about the things I am thankful for and have decided to share them with you.

I am thankful for (in no particular order):

  • Having a free and easy upbringing surrounded by family who loved and supported me in all my endeavours.
  • Growing up in the country where I could roam the hills with my friends, swim in creeks and ride horses after school.
  • Being introduced to the joys of travel at a young age.
  • My generous, loyal, hardworking and loving husband who makes me laugh, often.
  • My parents, they taught me how to be independent but are always there when I need them.
  • Having a brother that both frustrates me and makes me laugh, he is a friend as well as family.
  • Our two black dogs, Maxi and Bundy, they give me great joy and entertain me with their antics.
  • Good health, mental and physical.
  • A good job that regularly drives me insane but provides me with many challenges and flexible working conditions.
  • A roof over our heads, having a place to call home that we can afford to keep.
  • Ability to travel and enjoy the occasional weekend away.
  • An amazing holiday in Europe during the Spring, 2011. It was a dream come true for my husband and I and I was so glad that we could share the experience with each other.
  • Working as a volunteer dog walker at our local animal shelter, giving each dog the chance to stretch their legs and experience love and cuddles as they wait for their forever home.
  • The internet, it has given me the opportunity to discover other worlds and other lives, exposing me to inspirational people and educating me about myriad of roles they play in the world.
  • The rain that is now falling, everything will soon be green again.
  • The marks on the window left by wet noses as my two black dogs peer into the house, letting me know that it is time for a walk or that they’d be happy for a cuddle.
  • My beautiful friends, I have known some of them all my life and they love me for who I am and not what they want me to be.
  • Memories of my Grandparents: the smell of home baked cakes and biscuits, visiting the stables at the race track, mustering cattle and herding sheep in New Zealand, lots of cuddles and interesting stories of days gone by.
  • Living in the ‘lucky country’, Australia has many advantages and opportunities, not to mention fantastic beaches, rainforests and fascinating wildlife.
  • Looking out my back door and seeing magpies, rainbow lorikeets, cockatoos and the occasional wallaby or koala.
  • Staffy snuggles from my boy Bundy and the soft ears and nature of Maxi.
  • Seeing Vernazza, Cinque Terre before flooding and mudslides devastated the village. Such a beautiful place and so peaceful once all of the daytrippers go back to their hotels.

There is so much to be thankful for, sometimes you just have to remember to stop and think about the good things in your life because the bad often overwhelms every thought and makes you toxic.

Bundy playing ball in the backyard
Bundy playing ball in the backyard

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate that holiday and Happy Thursday for all the Aussies and Kiwis!

Maxi, the reluctant subject
Maxi, the reluctant subject

Sun worship and two black dogs

Soaking up the warmth of the sun

It has been the coldest winter on record on the Gold Coast, still very mild compared to the winters in Europe or even those in the southern states of Australia, but for Queenslanders it is a shock to the system. Most of our days are a balmy 20 degrees Celsius, really nothing to complain about however the mornings and evenings have gotten as low as 5 degrees resulting in frost for some.

Our two black dogs aren’t keen on winter, they sleep in for as long as they can and as soon as the sun hits the ground at the side of our yard, they’re off to partake in their daily ritual of sun worship. Bundy is the biggest fanatic, often lying on his back, belly exposed to the sun and at least one fang on show as he sleeps soundly. Maxi too like to lie out in the sun, but flat on her side or leaning against something solid, you can see her head drop as she nods off, it is a dog’s life.

two black dogs sitting in the sun
One of the favourite spots for soaking up the sun in winter

Now it is early Spring and although the evenings and early mornings are cool (more fresh than cold) both dogs are more active and we experience the joy of being woken up by hot doggy breath on our cheeks or a lick on the ear as they decide it is time for everyone to get out of bed. After a morning walk it is snooze time again until breakfast, getting Bundy to demonstrate any interest in breakfast is difficult, he prefers to sit in the sun or obsess over what might be hiding in the retaining wall. The Noisy Miner (that is really their name) birds are usually flitting about from house to trees and trees to fence, they drive the dogs nuts causing them to run around the yard madly chasing the birds in flight and Maxi will bark at them which drives all of us nuts.

Bundy the black dog lying in the sun
Typical sunbathing staffy

Soon the cool mornings will disappear and we’ll be spending weekends getting up early and heading to the beach, there are great spots for dogs in our area (not enough of them though) and a couple of off-leash beaches which are hugely popular on weekends. Maxi isn’t great with lots of dogs around, they get in her face and she gets a bit cranky with them so going early is important, most people don’t arrive until 8am and we’re usually ready to head home for breakfast by then.

Maxi the dog at the beach
Maxi the lifeguard