Freedom

At the beginning of this year, my husband and I decided this would be a year of freedom. Six months in, we have accomplished some big things that will give us the freedom we want: I’ve quit my job and am now self-employed, he has changed his job, and we bought a new house and sold the old one (still haven’t moved though).

We call the new house Freedom. It’s really nice to say “Meet you in Freedom!” or “Should we go to Freedom this evening?” or “I and the dogs will be in Freedom Wednesday.”. It’s a small house by the road in the middle of nowhere. Woods surrounds it, and some fields with cows. It’s really quiet and calm.

The garden has once been really beautiful – we think – but has grown wild for some years. Behind the forest is a deforestation, that will be full of birches in a few years.

The hose comes with a garage and a few extra storage-houses (including an outside dry toilet – not in use).

And inside are two rooms and a small bathroom.

That’s it. Freedom. My new home.

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Posing boot-camp

I never pose the people I photograph, I work with moment design and work with the poses that come naturally.

But. I want to be able to pose someone if I have the need, to have the skill! So in order to learn, I searched the internet after a photographer who works like that, and give classes. I found Meg Bitton, and am currently in her Posing Boot-camp.

This week’s assignment is posing a single subject. I borrowed a friend’s daughter yesterday, and got to work – trying to remember all the “do’s” and “don’ts”. My model was absolutely fantastic and tried everything I asked for without hesitation, despite mosquitos and nettles.

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Bend, twist, and turn. All limbs visible (at least partly). Hands relaxed.

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Take the photo slightly from above, to enhance the eyes.

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And remember location! Where is the light? How can I make her stand out?

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I love this photo, despite the flaws (her right hand is not placed in a good way). That look…

When I had tried all my ideas – some worked, some most certainly did NOT work, she got to play around a bit on her own:

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Really like this pose! Relaxed, with movement, twists and bends for interesting shapes. Hands relaxed.

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And this light! All limbs visible, slightly diagonal lines, beautiful.

So far so good! I look forward to more sessions and experiments! And yes, this will be in my repertoire. Soon.

Releaseparty!

Today is a good day.

The reviews for my book are starting to appear – and they are great! I’m not the only one who loves it 🙂

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And tonight is my releaseparty! My friends (and publishers) are coming from Gothenburg, a lot of my friends around here will show up, I have bought ingredients to make tidbits of sorts (I haven’t actually MADE them yet – but how hard can it be?), and I’m going to do a live presentation with powerpoint and dog.

In short: it will be AWESOME!

And you know – it’s still not too late! Everyone who reads this is most welcome. Follow this link and click “kommer”.

Can’t come, but still want the book? Not a problem! Read more and order HERE!

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Plans for 2018

Good morning!

I think 2018 will be a fantastic year. I have online-courses, workshops, photo-sessions, fine art projects, and a book coming up!

This blog, however, will not be updated as often as before. Almost all of 2017 I had the ambition to post about two times a week, and never lived up to it. This year I want to set a goal that motivates me, and doesn’t feel like “work” – this blog is just for fun after all. That means that I will post when I have something on my mind that I want to share. It can be photos that I love, a new fun tip I think you will like, information about workshops and online-classes, or just something I’ve been thinking about.

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Make sure you follow me on Facebook, that’s where I’ll keep in touch on a daily (well, not daily but a bit more often than here) basis.

Today the sun is out, the birds are singing, and I’m hoping that the winter will end soon. I have a vacation coming up in 28 days (yey!), Fuerteventura here I come! And I got the first layout on my coming book about dog photography in my inbox this morning, and it’s bea-ti-ful.

Maybe I’ll skip working today, and just grab my camera and go for a walk with my dogs. Who knows what we’ll find?

Long time no see – here’s the reason(s)!

My blogging has been pushed to the bottom of my to-do-list for some weeks now. But it’s for a fun reason!

I’m finishing my new book!

Yep. I spend my days reading my texts over and over again, choosing the right photos, and I’m in close contact with my friend and publisher about all the tiny details.

The book is called “Klick – hundfotografering med glädje”, which means “Click – dog photography with joy!” (we’ll have to come up with a better title for the english version…)

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I’m as happy as Midori on her way to a tennis ball!

I have also started my last online-course for this year (obviously), and it’s so much fun! We concentrate on creating images that tell stories and show emotions, and my students are the BEST! I hope to have the time to create english online-courses for 2018!

And as my third thing I have released my creative side and made som printable dog training templates! You can find them in my brand new Etsy shop. I have big plans for this shop…wait and see!

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These cuties appear on the templates, and their friends 🙂

If you prefer the swedish version, you find them HERE!

And none of this would ever have been possible without these three. They support me when I work, laying at my feet. They comfort me when it’s hard and I’m stressed. They make me take them on walks, train them, and that makes my life better.

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The art of flat lay photos

Yesterday I gave my students an assignment: take a photo of your school bag and its content, flat lay style.

They did a much better job than I did, to be honest…This is my own image:

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I wanted to show off my notebook, I love this notebook!

I can’t show theirs, but the exercise itself was a lot of fun! Tip: use your phone, and have it showing a nice photo that matches the background. Very cool looking.

I do flat lays for Instagram for my other project, The Creative Kelpie, and I am getting better, but compared to the best I have a LOT to learn. But then again: compared to the best I ALWAYS have a lot to learn…That’s part of the fun!

Let me share a few tips I’ve picked up this far:

  • I almost exclusively use my phone for Instagram flat lays. I edit in Snapseed and A Color Story. As I only show on Instagram or my blog, I really don’t need my big camera.
  • Start with finding the light. Near a window or outside on a cloudy day is perfect. I think even light looks the best, with few shadows.
  • Now for the background. It should be simple, and contrast against the items to really put the items in focus. I like geometrical patterns or a nice texture, but it can’t be too much. I use tables, floors, grass, asphalt, blankets, fabric.
  • Place the items thoughtfully. I like it messy, but messy with afterthought if you get what I mean..Look up classic rules of composition, like the rule of thirds, leading lines, framing, etc. They all work well. And play with negative space!
  • Keep to one colour scheme, that makes it easier to avoid it looking messy even if there are multiple items.

I like this one, with its mix of geometrical patterns and muted colours.

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As I prepared for my students, I even made a film. It’s very amateur (I’m NOT a filmmaker!), and in Swedish, but maybe you can get a few tips!

If you are interested…Search for “flat lay photography” on Youtube. There are TONS of creative people out there! I will keep learning and keep working on my flat lays – and hopefully get better and better!

(And if you have any feedback for me, don’t hesitate to share! A have no problem with critique!)

Dog Parkour Week

This week has been Dog Parkour Week for me. I have trained with my own dog, I have started the road to becoming an instructor, and as a part of that, I have trained two other dogs as well.

This is Banjo:

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Fun-loving, enthusiastic, meatball-fanatic, and really easy to train.

And this is Yapp:

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A bit fearful and suspicious, but slowly starting to warm up to me. A dog with a lot of integrity, and I feel honoured that he is now wagging his tail when he sees me, and allow me to feed him by hand.

And of course, I wanted to take some photos that show the two parkour-dogs!

Banjo was easy.

These photos show (or at least I hope so) the body-control, balance, strength, and self-control that is needed in dog parkour. To be willing to put their paws on different surfaces, and to know where each paw is. (When I train this we use a harness and a leash, to make sure that I can support the dog if he/she put a paw wrong. These poses, however, are really simple for Banjo.)

And Yapp was a bit harder. It was important to me that he is happy, so ears need to be in front, tail high, and posture alert. I wanted to combine that with a portrait, dog parkour-style. This is what I came up with (and I’m really happy with it!):

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To put the front paws on something is a basic parkour-move, and the facial expression is absolutely perfect!

Now, I could not have taken these photos without help. A good owner is key when you want to take portraits of other people’s dogs!

Behind the scenes:

A lot of praise, a solid “stay” and a lot of meatballs…

Typical parkour poses to try:

  • Front paws on something
  • Standing or sitting on top of something
  • Back paws on something
  • Begging pose
  • Bow down pose
  • Balancing on something

Just remember to be fair to your dog – train BEFORE you try to photograph. It’s so worth the time to have a well-trained behaviour when you reach for your camera, and it’s FUN!

 

 

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!

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!