Pet Photography Project 52: week 26, 27, 28: See the Direction of the Light

For this week's challenge, we are talking about the direction of light. Using front light when taking a photograph is usually the easiest and what most people do because it evenly lights the front of your subject. Side light can be more challenging especially if you're only using natural light because whatever part of your subject isn't lit, will be in the shadows. This week we are to post images that use both front lighting and side lighting. I also have another purpose for the photos that I am taking this week and for those photos, my intent is to use my dog Moose. Remember him from a few weeks back? I used him as my model and we had a few instances of chaos, broken sunglasses and a photography assistant who ended up on the ground when Moose started running too fast and she was the one holding the leash. Does that ring a bell? If not, find the blog post entitled Horizons and you can read about our escapades.

Why do I want to even attempt to get another photo of Moose? I want an image of him that can be used in a new logo I'm creating. The logo that I use on my See Spot Run page is actually an outline of our yellow lab Willow's head.

See Spot Run logo

Why am I creating a 2nd logo? I made a BIG announcement this week and for those of you who have either "liked" me or my See Spot Run page on Facebook, you've seen the news. See Spot Run Photography has a new name.


BARKography was officially launched on June 11 which also happens to be my mother's birthday and she is probably my biggest supporter so it seems fitting.  My new facebook page is BARKography by Kim Hollis. Please visit, if you feel so inclined 'like' the page and comment. If I haven't liked your page, please feel free to send me an invitation. We need to support each other! I commit to doing better at commenting on others' facebook pages. Too often I wonder if anyone is ever reading what I write. I promise to comment more often so you'll know someone is reading what you write. :)

I am so excited for this I can't stand it and I'll blog about all of this soon but back to Project 52 and the Direction of Light. With the photographs of Moose, I needed a background without a lot going on so we went up to the top level of a parking deck. I wanted a side shot of him so I could use an outline of him. This was the result.

direction of light

This next photo is an example of what the graphic designer could do with the photograph. I can tell that this is definitely Moose but to me it looks like clip art I could get anywhere on the web. Back to the drawing board and trying to get more photos of Moose. If anyone has any suggestions on what might look good, I'm all ears!  btw - Moose was leashed up this entire time and he was very well behaved. It was super hot outside so I think that zapped some of his energy. That also explains the tongue hanging out of his mouth here. I definitely got some great photos to post for "Tongue Out Tuesday" on Instagram!

new logo

I didn't have photos of Moose where the direction of the light would be side lighting so for those, I'm using a model named Ursa. She is a pet sitting client and I love her eyes.

direction of light

As I was writing this post, I got an email from the graphic designer. She is going to show me a couple of logo proofs today. I'm so excited. I've been up til midnight twice this week (and that is sooo late for me) working on my logo. There are a ton of fonts to choose from so I'm excited to see what the graphic designer has created. Once I get the logo finished, then I'll be on to creating a new BARKography website.  My See Spot Run dog walking and pet sitting site will remain but I'll have one dedicated specifically for photography.  AAAAHHH (angels singing emoji would be appropriate here!)

Remember this is a blog circle. Click the 'next up' link at the bottom of each post to see each photographer's take on our assignment this week Direction of Light. I always enjoy reading Northeast PA Pet Photographer, Elaine Tweedy's posts. Her sense of humor and personality come through when she writes. Makes me wish I could meet her some day... but I digress (as I always do!!) Keep clicking the links until you end up right back here. Happy reading!!

Project 52 - week 14 - Consider your Color Palette

This week's assignment, consider your color palette is one that I love because it is completely about developing your style as a photographer.  This is something I think about but I haven't quite figured out how to capture what I would consider to be my color palette when I am shooting.  When I look at other photographer's photos, I am drawn to images that are monochromatic.  I like images that are calming and soothing but I struggle with creating those types of images depending upon where I am shooting and the subject. The first photo posted below nails this for me and I want to continue to strive to create images like this.

On Saturday 4/2, I attended an event called Paws in the Park in Pineville NC.  It is a fundraiser to bring awareness to Black Dog Syndrome which is centered around black dogs being the last to get adopted from shelters and the first to be euthanized.  There were tons of people and their dogs at the event.  I had a booth, my camera and 3 friends to help.  I took photos and I posted them on an online gallery for people to view and purchase if they were interested. If you'd like to look at the photos, here is a link to the gallery.  I know I won't do this type of event many more times.  It was a lot of work but at this point in time of my photography career, the experience for me was invaluable AND I had a blast!!

In thinking about the 'Consider your Color Palette' challenge for this week, it's easy for me to choose the photos because I was in the same location for 4 hours on Saturday snapping photos of dogs. The colors are similar although it is interesting to me because the weather changed so much during the day, the tone of the colors in the photos did too.  Below are several that I took on Saturday.

What I can't figure out and I would love anyone's input on this, how do you create a style or a color palette in your gallery of photos when you are photographing different dogs in different locations when the colors aren't the same?  I know a lot of the work can be done in post processing but how do you try and take photos that have the same color palette?  That is another composition challenge I've yet to figure out but I'm having a lot of fun experimenting.

See Spot Run Photography

color palette


See Spot Run Photography



color palette

color palette

Charlotte dog photographer

Click here to go to I Got the Shot Photography, Northeastern PA Pet Photographer's page and see her take on the Project 52 - week 14 - Consider your Color Palette challenge.  Be sure to click the link at the end of each post and you'll end up right back here!

Paws in the Park 2016

The photos from yesterday's event, Paws in the Park are online.  You can view them at   I would love (LOVE) your feedback on the images.  Shooting pictures outside at an all day event like this can be a challenge.  Yesterday was no exception.  Around 10am, we were in total cloud cover, then the sun came out, so the rest of the day the sun was going in and out of the clouds.  Conditions like that are tricky to photograph in because the camera settings have to be changed each time your light source changes (which was all the time yesterday!) Another challenge photographing at events like this is trying to keep the leash out of the way as much as possible.  You can see in the gallery, for any super duper well trained dogs that could be off leash, I generally took a lot of pictures of them.

Paws in the Park

Towards the end of the day, a guy (the 4-legged kind) walked up.  His name was Buddy and I immediately fell in love.  Things had slowed down as it was close to quitting time so I was able to spend some time with him.  You see, See Spot Run Photography was founded because of my black lab Buddy.  We adopted Buddy from Lab Rescue of NC on 12/31/08 and we were told that he was between 7-10 years old.  Not long after we got him, I told my husband, 'however long we get to have Buddy, it will not be long enough.'  We were lucky to have him for 6 years but it wasn't long enough.  As Buddy's health was failing in the summer of 2014, I decided to buy my first professional camera so I could capture a nice image of him.  One that I could look at and be thankful to have.  If you stopped by my booth and saw the black & white photo of the black lab, that is Buddy (pictured above.)  My heart dog.  He died about 5 weeks after I got the camera and I am so glad I have this image of him.

So, when this big guy named Buddy came walking over to me, I knew I had to capture some images of him too.

Paws in the Park

  I had such fun at Paws in the Park.  If you would like professional images taken of your pet, please contact me.  My Buddy helped me find my passion back on that August day in 2014, when I walked into that camera shop.  Thank you Buddy.  I am forever grateful because there is nothing that I love doing more than photographing a dog.

Project 52 - Week 13: Use Focus to Abstract

Our challenge this week is to 'use focus to abstract.'  As a photographer and a new photographer at that, trying to use a 'lack of focus' to create an image seems foreign to me, uncomfortable even.  I would imagine as I gain more experience I will become more comfortable with this idea but right now it isn't comfortable for me at all.  I think this concept is particularly difficult when dealing with dogs or perhaps I am just not extremely creative (and that could be it too!)  I can't wait to see what the others do with this assignment and perhaps I'll get some inspiration from them. Our instructions were to spend a day getting over our need for sharp focus.  I can without a doubt say I've spent every moment behind the camera trying to capture sharp focus.  TACK.  SHARP.  FOCUS.

We were instructed to create a body of art and post several images.  Here is the reason why I'm not doing that: As a new photographer, I am trying to attract new customers.  If a potential new client were to scroll through images on my blog and see a post of extremely blurry photos without reading the intention of the exercise, they would certainly get the wrong message.  I'm afraid my attempts at using focus to abstract didn't result in images I loved.  So, while I really appreciate the intention of this exercise and I love doing these each week, below is the one photo I'm posting.

I used curves in photoshop to draw your eye even more to my dog Willow's tongue.  (Let me tell you, that was trial and error.  I don't really get 'curves.')  With curves I was able to blur the majority of her white fur so you loose the outline of the top of her head but her eyes and pink tongue are still distinguishable.

And yay to Willow for being my model this week.  She is 10 years old, 11 in May and she has always been afraid of certain sounds.  The sound of a train is her biggest fear which took us awhile to figure out when we adopted her 4 years ago.  Over the past year, she has developed a dislike for the clicking sound my camera makes so she isn't my model very often.  (Even with the beep turned off when the camera focuses, she still doesn't like the clicking of the shutter release.)  Such a shame too because she has beautiful eyes.


I seriously can't wait to see what Northeast PA pet photographer, I Got The Shot Photography  does with this assignment.  Be sure to click the link to find out and then click the link at the bottom of each post to see what each photographer does!

Moose and his tennis ball

Over this Easter weekend, I've had the chance to do something I love to do in my spare time: watch Moose play with a tennis ball.  There's not much better in this world in my opinion than watching a dog play and run around.  It's that look on their face and in their eyes.  I can just tell how happy Moose is in the images and that makes me happy. I love his long ears.  The first image catches his right ear with a little flip and the 2nd they are flapping as he is running towards me.   In the 3rd photo, he has a tennis ball in his mouth and then another tennis ball is tossed in his direction.  I'd LOVE to know what he was thinking when he saw the blue tennis ball.  I wish the next couple of photos after that one had turned out - he was trying to put on the brakes and stop for the blue tennis ball but his 90lbs of momentum wasn't able to stop on a dime.  As you can tell also, he was coming my direction so I'm sure the reason the photos didn't turn out was because I moved to get out of his way.  I did not want to be run over by a Moose!  I love this dog and his playful, curious temperament.

dogs at play


dogs at play

I love this boy!

our girl Willow

If you've seen the See Spot Run facebook page, you'll know that our girl Willow had surgery to remove a large mass on the top of her right leg on Wednesday Feb 10. Labs are known for having lipomas so our initial assumption when we first noticed the lump a year ago, was that it was a lipoma. It felt harder to me than your typical squishy lipoma though. We've had it aspirated twice since finding it but each time they could only draw blood out of it. We decided at the time to leave it alone but over the past few months, it has started to get really big. Atrium Animal Hospital recommended surgery and we scheduled the procedure for the first available appointment with the surgeon. Willow

Surgery was scheduled for 12:30pm and around 12:15 I got a call from the surgeon. He wanted to discuss some concerns he had before going into surgery. Based upon the size and the location of the mass, he was concerned that a major nerve in her leg may be going through the mass and trying to remove the mass could damage that nerve. If the nerve was severely damaged, she would lose the function of her front leg.

Willow will be 11 in May and she has arthritis in her hips. Loosing the function of one of her front legs and having to add additional pressure to her back legs was very concerning.

The surgeon said he was hoping the mass was on top of the nerve and the damage to it would be minimal but he wanted us to know so we could decide for sure if we wanted the mass removed. He also suspected that it could be a form of cancer of the nerve.

So in the middle of my work day of walking dogs, I needed to make a decision whether or not to go through with this surgery which could possibly affect Willow's ability to use her front leg. The mass was really large and it was painful. She didn't like for anyone to touch it. She was having problems going up and down the two steps to get in and out of our house and she didn't really like to go for walks anymore. So, do we go ahead with the surgery or do we leave it alone knowing that she is probably in some level of constant pain? The mass would continue to grow and we'd probably sooner rather than later have to make a decision about letting her go as the mass continued to grow. Luckily Don was home so I went home, we called the surgeon back and after talking with him, we made the decision to go forward with surgery.

The surgery lasted about two hours and she did well through the procedure. Around 4:30pm, I called the clinic back and they were just standing her up. We got great news. She was standing up and putting pressure on her front leg. That was a great sign and based upon this, we were fairly certain that there was no major nerve damage.

We brought Willow home that evening and hence the start of about 5 days and nights of very little sleep for Willow (and if I'm being honest for Don and me too.) The pain medication she was on wasn't working as effectively as it should so we took her back into the vet and they put a compression wrap on the wound. That worked great with the exception that it was up too high on her leg and was rubbing the top part of the incision so she wouldn't lie down at all. Looking back now, I wish I would've done something sooner. The poor dog didn't lie down at all that first night after getting the wrap or if she did it was only for about 10 minutes before she'd stand back up. Her incision was so sore standing was all she wanted to do. I cut the top part of the bandage away, put one of Don's long sleeved t-shirt's on her so she couldn't get to the incision and she finally slept.




She was still in a lot of pain so we took her back to Atrium and they gave her a patch for the pain. I believe the patch has opiates in it. Since then she was been resting much better and when they re-wrapped her leg, they didn't put the wrap up as high.

Yesterday I got a call from her veterinarian and the pathology reports came back. The mass is a lipoma. The veterinarian is cautiously optimistic that these results are accurate. I was shocked - as was the vet. There is a good chance that the mass will return. If it does, the minute we notice it, we will have it aspirated.

Last night Willow picked up her beloved squirrel for the first time since before surgery. Now we know for sure she is on the road to recovery.

PS The photos I'm posting here were taken with my cell phone. I have a photo of the mass after it was removed but I'm not posting it (for reasons I hope are obvious.) It is huge though - the vet tech said to us, "It is rather impressive. Do you want to see it?" It was the size of the palm of her hand.