Will your dog live forever?

Of course not. That, I think, is the one mistake God made when he made dogs: they don’t live as long as we do…

My eldest dog is 14 years old. I am very aware of the fact that she will not live forever. But I find comfort in the fact that her memory will stay alive, and as long as anyone remembers her she is not really gone.

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Why do I think about this today? Because yesterday I was reminded that not only old dogs eventually leave us – freak accidents happen and my dog can grow wings and cross the rainbow bridge at any time. I know this. But the risk of it happening is small, and I don’t think about it. I mean – anything can happen. I could die today. That does not mean I should be afraid of death, but rather that I should embrace life.

But in one aspect I do think about it, perhaps only in my subconscious mind: I photograph my dogs. A lot. For sure every week, and almost every day.

Because one of my dogs, my Jack Russel Terrier, is already waiting for me on the other side – and I have found a great comfort and joy in looking at pictures of her!

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Photos trigger my memory, and my feelings.

As a dog photographer, I sometimes photograph old dogs. I talk to the owner about the dog’s personality, and then I try to capture some of that personality in a photograph. I always work extra hard, because I know how important that photo may be in a few years time. Or maybe just a few weeks.

 

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Sometimes it’s the love and affection in a look.

 

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Sometimes we find the playfulness from younger years.

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes dignity and wisdom shine through.

 

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And sometimes it’s the love for that sunny spot on the floor.

 

 

How may photos do you have to remember your dog by?

Get some more.

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The joy of snapshots and an imperfect life

Some of my all time favourite photos are bad photos. Messy background, really poor light, blurry…But I love them anyway because I love the content.

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The faces…the faces! ❤

So I use the camera on my phone a lot. A Lot! To capture the moments that are Life.

 

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Happy Esther!

I print them and put them in my journal because they make me happy. Or I keep them in my wallet.

 

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Mårran, on a morning walk about five years ago. This morning I searched for her because she got lost in the high grass…Memories!

So…what is this post about?

The quest for perfectionism. And how I really, really, REALLY think that it’s a quest no one should be on. “Perfect” is boring. “Perfect” is blocking our creativity. The quest for “perfect” cripples us, and make us afraid to do anything at all.

 

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One of the few photos I have of my family, that shows us just the way we are, Relaxed. Enjoying each other’s company. Is it a “good” photo? NO! But to me – priceless.

And I think it’s a mindset that goes deeper than photography…

If you are afraid to fail, how do you get the courage to try? And let me tell you a secret: Nobody cares except you! (At least nobody that matters.) People, in general, are forgiving, and they don’t judge you for making a mistake. Most of the time they don’t even get that it’s a mistake at all…

Life is imperfect. Life is about being imperfect, and loving the imperfections. Through the cracks, the light shines in…

So relax. Dip your toes in the water of imperfection (a bit farfetched, I know, but I really wanted to show the photo of Valle dipping his paw…)

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Take a snapshot. Allow yourself to love it. Forget to be perfect. Live.

 

 

 

The Creative Kelpie

First of all: big news! I have decided to keep things nice and tidy in my head, so BuJo for dog owners (and for everybody else) is getting a blog of its own. Visit TheCreativeKelpie and see for yourself! Sorry about the double posting, I promise that it will only be new material from now on!

So, this blog post is about how you can use the fact that your dog is creative. And by “creative” I mean that he or she thinks for him/herself, and finds stuff to do. I also mean that you may be creative together, and train fun tricks!

My kelpies are very creative. I love to just follow them around and observe, and see what they do!

A little patience goes a long way…Sooner or later they will forget that I am there, and do something kelpie-ish! (And as you can see in the first photo – the technique works with every breed!)

The trick is to be ready when that happens. I often bring my camera along for walks, and I always check my settings to match the light. My standard settings during a walk are 1/400 (handles slower action), f/2,8 (I like short DOF), and ISO 200, but I always adjust to the light! I normally use AF-C to be sure to get focus quickly even if my dogs are on the move. Want to learn more about

(Want to learn more about camera settings? Look HERE  for tips on portraits, and HERE fo tips on action. And don’t forget ISO!

The other type of creativity is a bit more planned. I teach my dogs to trick-pose! Well…at least one of them 😉

I’m sure your dog knows some cute tricks. Sometimes it’s hard to get the dog to hold the pose while you take the photo, a tripod and a remote are good investments.

 

Bullet journal for dog trainers – where do you start?

When I do things I have a tendency to overdo things (it’s more fun that way). Bullet Journaling is no exception…I now have my everyday green leuchtturm 1917, I have one for my dogs, I have just started one for my business, and last week I laid my hands on this beauty: a Midori Travelers Notebook. Hey, I GOT to have a Midori! I mean…it’s MY DOG! It’s just meant to be. And the Midori paperclips are shaped just like her.

 

I haven’t really started it yet, but I got all my wonderful students to leave me a message at graduation in it. That makes me happy! 🙂

And, yesterday, I did something I have thought about for…well almost two weeks! I started a “show-and-tell” BuJo that I will use to show you and tell you about BuJo for dog trainers! I even started an Instagram called “BuJofordogtrainers”. Spread the word, there is a need!

So…why plan your dog-life? I am a firm believer of “Think – Plan – Do” when it comes to dog training. I have written extensively about that (in Swedish) here, and I have written about setting goals for your training (also Swedish) here.

“Without a plan, your goals are just dreams.” /unknown

So, I have planned my training for the last 7-8 years, in different ways. In Bullet Journaling I have found a system flexible and simple enough for my needs, and it’s really, really fun!

So first step – you need a notebook and a pen. Any notebook. Any pen. It. Does. Not. Matter. Wich. One. As long as you start 🙂

I like pretty things, and I’m a shopoholic, so I get stuff all the time. Not because I need it, but because I WANT it. There’s a difference! But as I buy and test stuff, I might as well share it with everyone. It makes me happy to do so, and as I enjoy watching other people’s tests I guess some of you will enjoy mine.

So for this project I chose a black Nuuna with dot grid, as I want to colour a lot the thicker paper works really well.

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So far I have used my Tombows and Stabilo 88, and a Frixion clicker 0,5. And a ruler. You do not, I repeat DO NOT have to draw or write pretty or use a lot of colors. I do because I love to do it, not because it makes me a better dog trainer. But planning and evaluating my training does make me a better dog trainer, and I think it’s more fun this way.

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The first pages are my Index. The index tells me where to find stuff. The index allowes me to put everything literally on the next available page, because the pages all have numbers (if they don’t I write the numbers), and I find that really great. i love the feeling of “organised chaos” of NOT having everything in neat piles but STILL be able to find it.

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In my previous journals (because I have had so many… just kidding – I have NOT, but I’m a fast learner) I just played by ear and wrote the pages down as I went along. That works fine, but I already know some spreads I want and I have chosen to categorise a bit. So the first column spread, the next column page(s). As I need more space (or want to do it differently) I add pages. Dog facts may appear at page 8, 15, and 106, depending on if I want to add more fact and need more space. But it will only be listed once. Get it? (I’m sure you do, you’re not stupid! But if you don’t that’s my fault for not explaining it right – please ask so I can get better.)

And the next thing I love is the key.

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The key is a reminder of symbols, and mean I can write less and still get what I mean. I can use colours (Midori is green, Valle is blue) to easily see wich dog does what. The washi tape will be used around the edge of the paper to show which category, so if I want to look at “everyday stuff” I look at the yellow pages. Easy-peasy.

“Migrate” means that I planned a task we did not do, so I move it ahead. To the next day, next week, or…never. The arrow makes sure that I make a choice.

“Look out” means that I see a small thing in ur training that I need to work with or just monitor in the future.

And the flowers are because they are pretty and I like colouring.

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Those of you that follow me on Instagram may feel a little confused at the moment… This is how it works:

@kelpiephotography is my photo-insta. Here you will find photos from my work as a photographer.

@TheCreativeKelpie is my personal Insta. I post things I like. A lot of it BuJo-related.

@BuJoforDogtrainers is my Insta for…well…this! Bullet Journaling for dog trainers!

And @MidoriThePrincess you find Midoris own Insta.

I would love for you to follow me! I hope to be as inspiring for you as the ones I follow are for me 🙂

And…there is the FB-group (swedish) Bullet Journal för hundtränare. Join it, it’s awesome. If I get enough followers on Insta, or I see that this blog gets attention, I’ll host an english-speaking FB-group as well. Tell your dog-loving friends!

To my graduates

Today I’m not going to write about photography. I know it’s Friday but hey – my blog my rules! Because today my high school students graduated, and that got me thinking about all the things that I never had an opportunity to teach them because it’s so far out of my subject (I teach dog knowledge and photography). I really think there should be a subject simply called “LIFE”!

So here goes. Five things I really, really want you to know. Because they are true.

 

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1. Find your light!

Find that thing that makes your day brighter. It may be a hobby. It may be another person. It may be a new notebook and pretty pens. It does NOT have to be something “important”, it is enough that it makes you see a light in your day. Everyone needs a light.

 

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2. Dare to jump!

Do things that scares you. Do things YOU want to do. Courage is about meeting your fears and do stuff anyway. I promise you – the world will not end. But you will grow.

 

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3. Never stop dreaming.

 

 

 

Take control of your life. Do you want something? Figure out how to get it. Make a plan. Work on it. Every. Damn. Day.

 

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4. Don’t give up!

If at first you don’t succeed – try and try again! Really. I mean it. It’s all part of learning how to get there. How badly do you want it? Bad enough to keep going? I think so.

 

 

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5. Be kind!

People like those who like them. Like people, and show them that you like them. Tell people nice things. Tell them that you appreciate them and tell them if they are really good at something. Be kind to everyone, as often as you get the chance. You always have a choice.

And remember this:

YOU MATTER. A LOT.

Don’t give me that “what can one person do”-crap. ONE PERSON can do a lot! You don’t have to change the whole world (even though it happens that one person actually changes the world), it’s enough if you make one individuals world a better place.

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I love you all.

 

Bullet journal for dogtrainers

I’ve started a small movement among dog trainers in Sweden…I have introduced the bullet journal for some of my dog training friends. And then I started an FB-group. And then it kind of grew…After three days we are 141. And growing!

It’s so much fun. I get to be creative AND get my life in order. I have trained my dogs more, and more varied, these three days than I have in the last three months. We started Dog Parkour. we started the bucket game (for nailtrimming and ear cleaning). We have trained details and chains. Short, but – since I planned it all beforehand – sweet!

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“Did anyone say “dog parkour”? It should be “kelpie-parkour” because kelpies are awesome!”

I’ve been keeping my dogtraining-bujo very simple and minimalistic because I really want to empathise that it’s not how pretty you write – it’s WHAT you write! (And THAT you write…).

My dog-parkour-spread. Going for the titles.

But now that I see how fun this is for people, and how fun it is for me, I want to do more. I am creative by nature…

So. It’s settled. Every Tuesday is BuJo-day here at my blog. Could be a weekly layout, could be a collection, could be dogs, could be work. Or just something that’s pretty.

 

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Todays spread.

And – I will do it in English. Good for me to train…You will find all the entries under my new category: Bullet Journaling. Easy to find 🙂

Right now I’m showing my creative work on Instagram @KelpiePhotoCreative . Follow me 😉

And if you want to join my FB-group (it’s really, really nice with a lot of supercool people) you find it HERE. It’s in Swedish.

 

Practice what you want to do better!

A few weeks ago I did a test of focal lengths and I got really, really frustrated. I do tele (over 100) really badly! Hard to find focus, hard to find my motive even, the camera moving in all directions.

 

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No masterpiece…

 

So, what do I do? I decide to practice! When I find a weakness in my photography, I want to improve. I really like the effect with a tele lens in some cases (even if I adore wide angle) and the more versatile I am as a photographer the better!

So, yesterday I got my new Precious: a fujinon 50-140 with a teleconverter 1,4 that makes it about 200mm. F/2,8 (becomes f/4 with the converter). My plan is to use only this lens for two weeks, to really learn to use it the best way.

This far I have tried it without converter:

And this morning with converter:

 

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Tele with a large aperture gives a creamy bokeh that I love. And look at that light!

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Tele also makes everything in the photo look closer together, creating a story-like layered affect. How pretty? THIS pretty!

I feel extremely pleased with my new working tool. Two more weeks of this, and I think I have a few tips to share!

Did I mention I love Fuji? I looooove Fuji!

 

 

It’s so pretty…I need it!

I feel like a magpie, in love with shiny objects. Except instead of shiny, right now it’s colour. Pens. Tape. Paper. I admit: I’m obsessed with stationary right now.

Why?

It’s this Bullet Journal thing. I’m stuck! I mean – it allows me to be creative, be structured, AND I have an excuse to buy new stuff! There’s a whole new world…Washi-tape. Tombow watercolour pens. Notebooks that cost WAY too much…(I dream of the Midori olive green…)

Not that I’m anywhere near to create the stuff that the pros make, but it’s good enough to make me feel happy to look at. And make. And review. And it WORKS! Let me show some of my spreads (and again, my photos aren’t as pretty as the ones you see on Pinterest or Instagram. I feel bad about that, I’m a photographer after all…):

It looks like this, pretty and green. I love friction pens, they can be erased. And I make loads of mistakes…

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Let’s start with the basics. Weekly planner, daily planner. I like to have a separate task list:

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And this is my habit tracker: one dot for every day I repeat that habit. Who knew a dot made all the difference?

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I started to put in stuff I keep on notes on my desk. It feels good to have everything in one place!

One spread to plan ahead:

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And lots of room to do…whatever I want!

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And one of the best things…notice that the pages are numbered? I have an index! I can actually find stuff!

So…As I tend to get in too deep when I like something, I’m already planning what to do next. I’m planning The Ultimate Training Planner For Dogowners! Everything I have always wanted in my training diary/planner. And right now, with vacation coming up, it feels like a perfect time to share it with…well…everyone!

So, now you know what you will find in here on tuesdays, for some weeks to come.

Interested? Curious? I need your advice: should I do it in Swedish or English? Feel free to comment what you would like! If (and I realise that’s a big “if”) there is some interest for this I’ll start an Instagram account and maybe, maybe a FB-group. “Bullet Journal for Dog Trainers”. We’ll see 🙂

 

 

 

Challenge: get up or get down!

At the beginning of my photographic career, I read A LOT about photography. And everywhere it said that “the best light is early mornings and late evenings”. I got up at seven, but was the light “soft and warm”? NOPE! It was harsh and low and the shadows were really sharp and hard to avoid.

My mistake? About two hours (or 16). At summertime, it’s not seven o’clock. It’s FIVE o’clock, just after sunrise, that the magic happens. Or at sunset, at about 22.

How do I know this for a fact? Because I have tried it.

Sunset is fairly easy, and the light is really nice:

I have to admit – I’m not fond of the idea of rising before the sun, take my camera, and meet up with a client before sunset. But that is exactly what I did two weeks ago – and I am going to be forever grateful for that! Why? Because I got this:

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Sunset is beautiful, but sunrise…sunrise! All of a sudden the word “set alarm at 4.30” doesn’t sound too bad anymore…

So that is my challenge: catch the “golden hour”, that occurs about one hour around sunrise and one hour around sunset. Share your photo at KelpiePhotos FB-page. I look forward to seeing the beautiful golden light!