Easy like sunday morning

It’s 5.30 Sunday morning. Husband is asleep, I am awake because the sheep started baaa-ing for food and we have neighbors. Dogs are with me. It’s cloudy but warm, all is quiet (as soon as the sheep are fed).

Instead of going back to bed, I fetch my camera and my Lensbaby velvet 56. This morning I feel like photographing slowly, look for compositions and details, and just fill my head with here and now.

The dogs find their spots in the grass and watch me move slowly, looking at flowers, grass, bushes, anything that catches my eye. When I get more than ten meters away, they get up and find a new spot a bit closer. We are a family. Families stick together.

I forget about the time and take about 50 photos of a rosehip bush. And then 50 more of some raspberries. And so on. My Lensbaby forces me to go slow, set focus manually, really look at my mage before I shoot. It’s really relaxing.

So, these photos are just for me. Full of Sunday morning, summer, dogs by my side, and doing what I love.

Behind the scenes

My work as a photographer sometimes brings me to new and interesting places, to do new and interesting things. Two weeks ago I went to Gothenburg, to work with Svenska Terapihundskolan (Swedish school for therapy dogs). My assignment was to take photos for their coming book about therapy dogs and their handlers – so much fun!

Sara made me extra happy because she took photos of me working! So you can see what the scene looks like, and then my photo 🙂

It was amazing to see the different dogs and handlers do their magic. Because it’s really magic! The way people relax, smile, open up…

And it’s not only the clients that smile – both the dogs and their handlers really love their work. The dogs are work colleagues and respected as such, never a “tool” to use. The dogs love their work, they may be trained in certain tricks or moves, but I think that what really moves the clients is that the dogs are having a really good time.

As a dog trainer, I also loved the nice and neat training that took place. All training is 100% reward-based. The clients love giving the dogs treats, and the handlers make sure that all clients know how to treat a dog nicely. No matter the age of the client.

And as there is a wide variety of clients, from children’s hospitals to elderly care facilities, the dog (and handler) get to work with the type of humans they love the most. Some are really calm and cuddly and love to just hang out and get cuddled with. Others like a bit more action, and work well with school children. There’s a place for everyone!

The book will be released in December. Worth waiting for!

How to take a self-portrait with your dog

I think EVERYBODY should have a portrait of you with your dog! You have the option of hiring a photographer (excellent choice!), asking a friend (can turn out absolutely fabulous or really bad), or taking the photo yourself: a self-portrait. That’s what I have done today.

 

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Mårran and me

 

I make a difference between “selfie” and “self-portrait” in this blog post. Of course, a selfie IS a self-portrait, of a special kind! And I love a good, funny, original selfie! I don’t think it’s less valuable, or easier to take, just different.

The difference is (according to me): “selfie” is when you hold your phone/camera/selfie-stick in your hand, look at yourself in the display, and take the photo. “Self-portrait” is when you make a set-up, place your camera, and use the timer or a remote to take the photo. Advantage: you don’t have to try and hold your camera, and that makes you free to set the scene and pose as you like. Disadvantage: it’s harder to get the focus right, and you can’t see what you are shooting.

When I started photographing I took a lot of self-portraits. I was the only model around, I had no choice if I wanted to photograph humans! Then I got bored with my appearance and started shooting other things instead. Dogs mostly. But I gained valuable experience – and I will share my simple setup that I have used ever since.

  1. Choose your location and camera settings to get the effect you want.
  2. Place the camera on a tripod (or a chair or table).
  3. Put something at the spot where you are going to be. Whatever.
  4. Focus your camera on that thing, and then switch to manual focus. That way your camera will stay focused at the same distance.
  5. Press 10-second timer or use a remote.
  6. Place yourself where the thing was. Strike a pose (vogueing is optional). Wait for the click, or press the remote.
  7. Check how the photo turned out, make adjustments, redo as many times a necessary.

 

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Midori and me

With a dog, it’s easier – leave out the thing to focus on, instead put your dog where you want it to be, focus on the dog, switch to manual, press the trigger, and join your dog. That is how I did these two 🙂

I have one photo missing: Valle and me. That is because Valle does not like it when I get too close. He likes to be close to me – but it has to be his choice, and he has to be the one closing in. I will need another person holding the camera for that photo!

I challenge you: take a self-portrait with your dog. Do it now. It may take a few tries to get a good shot – but it’s worth it. I mean, it’s going to be a portrait of you and your dog!

That. Is. Priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Changing gear

 

I feel like I’m cheating on my camera.

I have always been a “sony-girl” from the day I fell in love with my a350 almost ten years ago. Today I’m in a steady relationship with a sony a77II, and we have had some good times! Always there, always working hard, always delivering good quality. And the raw-files are just…yummy!

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But four months ago I met Fujifilm XT-2.

You know how it is…someone you know tells you about that “new friend” that they really like. Kind of “Haaaave you met…?” And you can’t help but look, and chitchat a bit. You don’t want to be impolite! Next thing you know you sold your second camera and is in the store listening to a salesman praising Fuji. And you try it…even though you know you shouldn’t…

I’m sorry my darling Sony, but our love story has to end. I will still keep your little sister RX100 v, so I’m not “sony-less”, but I will have to let you move on to someone who will love and appreciate you for the fantastic camera that you are. It’s not you – it’s me…We just grew apart. I will always treasure the time we had, and I hope we can stay friends.

We will always have Fuerteventura.

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(What do you mean “It’s just a camera”? The relation between photographer and camera goes much deeper than that. Or maybe I’m a bit odd. Again.)

 

A new life…

Two weeks ago I met the most adorable couple, their dog, and a child waiting to enter this world. The love and the connection was so strong, and I feel blessed to have had the honour of capturing these moments.

And they had a dog, of course 🙂

What wisdom do I want to share with this post? None. I just love the photos, and hope they bring you joy. Take care of your loved ones!