For our weekly photography challenge, we are studying horizons. The definition of horizon is the line at which the earth's surface and sky appear to meet. I spent a couple of days trying to figure out where I could go in Charlotte NC to find a place where I could actually see the horizon and put a dog safely in front of it to get a decent photo. I ended up with this image and below is the story of how I got here.
My two best photography assistants are 12 and 13 years old (they are my neighbor's daughters.) They were out of school over this long weekend so I had them booked to help me on multiple photo sessions over the weekend. Ideally I wanted to find a great location for shooting horizons but I also planned to try out a couple of new locations to use for future photography sessions with clients. There is a park on the outskirts of uptown Charlotte that I've wanted to get a dog too so I decided to take Jax. Jax is a small mixed breed puppy that I knew would be easy for my assistant to handle. I got a couple of nice photos of him (to see them go to my Instagram page) but none of them included the horizon.
The next pup I photographed was Ivy and unfortunately Tropical Storm Bonnie rolled in during my shoot with her. I DID GET HER IN FRONT OF A COLORFUL WALL THOUGH!!! For those reading this in the pet photography challenge, they'll understand. :) I posted a photo of Ivy in front of the wall on my Instagram. However, I want to go back and do the shots again. It was sunset on Saturday night in an area of town that gets more lively at night and I had a 12 year old, a 13 year old and a client's dog with me. To get the shot, I needed to lie down on the pavement just at the entrance of this building's parking lot. In the photos I took, I'm not low enough in the shots because I was too chicken to lie down so I will go back. AND...... Let's just say I wanted to get the 12 yr old and 13 yr old out of this setting. :) We were totally safe the whole time but let's just say the building with the brightly painted side we were using required some explaining and that conversation as a non-parent was something I was not comfortable having! HA!!
So, afraid that I might not ever be able to utilize the services of the 12 and 13 year old again after they got home and told their moms about where I took them, I mustered up the courage to ask them if they could help me on Monday. Kelly said YES! So at noon on a cloudy day, we took my crazy dog Moose to this setting. (Wow, I didn't intend for this post to be so long so if you've made it this far congratulations!)
My guy Moose has a wild streak. We adopted him at the age of 7 and we've had him for 1.5 years. Within a week of having him he locked himself in our laundry room and then tried to claw and chew his way out. We learned very quickly that he suffers from separation anxiety. We've figured out how to manage that now and he really is a good dog. Really he is.... about 75% of the time as my husband says. We think he is a lab/hound mix, perhaps weimeraner or german short haired pointer. He is definitely some sort of hound and he has NO RECALL what so ever and because of his hound-like qualities I am reluctant to take him on photo shoots. Monday reinforced my hesitation.
First of all, all of us are fine. Moose is fine. Kelly my assistant is fine. I am fine. My sunglasses, however are not so fine. They are on their way to Maui Jim to be repaired. Kelly's knees may be a little bruised. Moose.... well he is sleeping well this afternoon. The big guy had a big day and big fun!
To set the stage, Sunday evening around 8pm as I am driving from one pet sitting client to the next, the sun is setting and it looks amazing. I decide to take a different route to enjoy the view and as I am enjoying it, I see a large open space that I think, "Hmmm, I could put a dog there with the horizon in the background and that might be nice." So on Monday, I ask Kelly if she is game. Amazingly (after spending most of Saturday with me, she says yes. AND she knows the dog model is Moose. This is huge!) She is game so I take what I can get: we go at 12:30pm. It is cloudy so this might be okay.
Have I mentioned this open field is in front of probably the biggest church in Charlotte? Google Calvary Church Charlotte NC. Locals call it the Pink Castle. This is where we are. I have Kelly take Moose about 50 yards from me and I snap a few shots. I am on my stomach so I can play around with where I want the horizon.
I asked Kelly to run towards me with Moose and this is where the first sign of trouble begins AND I captured it all on film although the photos are blurry. Moose and Kelly are running towards me and then in one frame you see the look in Moose's eye and I know immediately that this is not good. That look in Moose's eye is his "I am having a great time look" and he picks up speed. Too much speed for Kelly to keep up. She ends up tripping and drops Moose's leash. She immediately hops up and runs after him because of course he keeps running... and not towards me. Luckily the hound in him takes over and he has to stop and sniff a bush so I yell at Kelly to step on his leash. She does and we have once again have our model under control. Bless Kelly's heart, she is apologizing for dropping the leash and it's totally not her fault. I have a crazy dog.
So, we wrangle our subject for a few more photos and I am quite pleased with the results. Although in looking at them now, I want to go back again. But all in all, I am very happy.
Unfortunately, getting into the car led to the demise of my sunglasses. Moose smelled treats in the front seat and he stepped on my sunglasses which were on my console when he got in. (He's a hefty 90lbs.)
It turned out to be a good day. I found a location for a horizon shot when I really wasn't sure I'd find a place and I got a photo of my dog Moose that I like which is no easy task... b/c well he's Moose!
I believe I may start a blooper blog post series...... with Moose it seems appropriate!
So, back to horizons. I think when you insert a dog into the photo with a horizon, where the dog is trumps where the horizon is. I would like to go back and try this again and be closer to my subject. I was pretty far away from Moose. Getting closer to them would've allowed me to have even more sky in the photos but I've found that when I try to photograph Moose, if I try to get close to him, he always breaks his stay and wants to come over to me. Plus, I was in survival mode... let's get through this photo shoot with Kelly, myself and crazy Moose unharmed!
Next up in the blog circle is St. Cloud Minnesota based dog photographer, About A Dog Photography. Be sure to click the link at the end of each post and you'll end up right back here!