Snacks | 52 Week Project

About A Dog Photography in St. Paul, Minneapolis & St. Cloud MN |  52 Weeks is a blog circle with a theme for every week (which means we all link to each other, links are found at the end of the post).

Mmmm… snacks!

Those tasty little morsels found between meals, sometimes an indulgence, sometimes just for a big of a boost, often for both. Bender rather enjoys snacks. Cucumber ends, radish slices, lettuces and spinach leaves, carrots, cheese, table scraps, most people food and dog biscuits (aka cookies).

Eating snacks is easy. Catching snacks seems to be a bit of a variable (cookies caught a fair percentage of time, cucumber ends or radish slices the brace for impact happens and the item boops him in the face). Inspired by German photographer Christian Vieler’s “Dogs Catching Treats” series, we decided to invite the strobe flash to help capture catching snacks.

Take 1.

Mid day, light from the window behind Bender, strobe with a softbox to my right, little speedlight setup to trigger off the strobe’s flash of light. Started with carrots. Onward to cookies. Freezing motion was tricky (turns out ambient light is the culprit). Geez this is CHALLENGING! The timing of the click of the shutter, the toss of the treat while looking through the viewfinder and framing Bender and focusing – all performed at the same time.  Multitasking at its best!

Also, Bender looks like a Gremlin…


Take 2.

Day 2. Evening, lights off except the TV. Kibble and cookies were the snacks of choice. Poor Bender couldn’t hardly see the flying snacks in the glow of the TV, so the overhead light was flipped back on. Timing was a bit off at first, which meant we had a lot of treat faces but none with the gaping maw full of stringy spit.

One of the cool bonuses to treats when the strobes are setup – Bender thinks its a bit fun and moreso rewarding to position himself in front of the source of the lights. Doesn’t mean he looks thrilled to have his picture taken (which means no ears or mid up giving him a slightly pathetic pouty look) but it means he’ll hold his place and tolerate being photographed. Even if the end result is utterly hilarious!

Next visit Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati, the San Francisco Bay Area, and destinations nationwide to see how what snack time is like out in her neck of the woods!


Leash Removal | 52 Weeks

About A Dog Photography in St. Cloud, St. Paul & Minneapolis MN |  52 Weeks is a blog circle with a theme for every week (which means we all link to each other, links are found at the end of the post).

The scene: a massive lodge, designed and curated for dogs with a massive fireplace, ornate chandelier and oodles of collars, toys and foods for dogs. (The location is Stone Mountain Pet Lodge an upscale dog boarding and doggie daycare.) In the massive indoor play area, there are a collection of vendors (Dog Gone Sassy & Val’s Brew Treats, Pet Wants, an antler vendor, CBD oils and a pocket of others) along the walls as well as the booths for Doberman Rescue MN (bake sale & swag, dig in!). About A Dog was tucked in near the window, next to the tail end of the DRMN swag table, a weathered wood backdrop hung and proceeds from the portraits going to the rescue.

The event: Dobe-O-Rama, an annual fundraiser and meet and greet for adoptable dobermans

When the time arrived, the doors were opened, the trickling of people building into a swell that flooded to the baked goods, swag and the tasties from Gouda Q (the brisket sandwich was so much yum!). Once they had their fill, they strolled, with dog or dogless, around the vendors, dropped raffle tickets in for winnings and gave the agility course a run through.

Most of the dogs in attendance were dobermans or mixes making it really easy to spot the non doberman dogs – a big 6 year old Leonberger, a Dalmatian puppy, a shepherd mix, a border collie and a few others meandered around with their owners.

Presenting the adoptables: Cooper, Rio, Andy, Hercules, Zak, Maximus, Reina, Rocco and Sassy!

And since the theme is leash removal, here are some before & afters!

A HUGE thank you to these guys for helping out DRMN by getting their portraits done! Thor & Rhea, Sadie, Patina, Lucy, Finn, Lola, Phoebe and Blue!

Next up visit Angela Schneider of Noses & Toes Pet Photography puts your pet in focus for family portraits in Spokane and North Idaho to see her leash removal!


Urban | 52 Weeks

About A Dog Photography in St. Cloud, St. Paul & Minneapolis MN |  52 Weeks is a blog circle with a theme for every week (which means we all link to each other, links are found at the end of the post).

The weather held a wee touch of briskness on an adventure to downtown St. Cloud for the urban theme. Bender, the butt-head, was happily excited for a quick ride down to the grungy alleys of downtown.

Enter every distraction, a dislike for the 20mm lens (giant eyeball) and a general distaste for being photographed and Bender was top level frustration. Treats didn’t matter. The approach? A sigh and a happy reset. The more fun we made it the more he’d at the least hold his sit position for more than 2 minor seconds, even if it meant the general direction of his eyes was everywhere else. When he did look at me, those lovely ears tucked back into the brimming bald old man. At least he looked mostly in my direction.

(If you’ve ever wondered where I get the patience when working with your dogs, its from this hunk of dog. He reminds me to keep it fun and embrace the moment, even if it means we’re rocking side profile images and no ears.)

Next visit Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching portraits in Coppell and surrounding communities in the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex to see her urban!


Green | 52 Weeks

About A Dog Photography in St. Cloud, St. Paul & Minneapolis MN |  52 Weeks is a blog circle with a theme for every week (which means we all link to each other, links are found at the end of the post).

Green. What is this magical color and does it really exist?

Here in Minnesota, green hasn’t existed for months and now is buried under feet of snow (we anticipate snow cover until May). White is the farthest from green as you can imagine, a blank canvas populated by the blueish shadows of the paths cut into the surface by the squirrels and lopsided eared rabbit.

Without green, the 52 Weeks theme is a wee tricky. Though… we are early into the month of March, the week before St. Patty’s Day. Which means green is abundant, in scarves, shirts, socks, oversized glasses and gaudy headpieces.

Bender wasn’t overly thrilled to be naked in the snow on a mid 20ish temp day…

(He’s eating a crunchy treat in the last two images. Kind of looks like he’s got something to say about all of the snow. Or stepping on his glasses.)

With the snow a bit too chilly for Bender’s bum, we headed up the deck to go in the house. Nevermind, we’re not going in just yet…

Next visit Angela Schneider of Noses & Toes Pet Photography in Spokane, WA and North Idaho to see what green she has!


Depth of Field | 52 Weeks

About A Dog Photography in St. Cloud, St. Paul & Minneapolis MN |  52 Weeks is a blog circle with a theme for every week (which means we all link to each other, links are found at the end of the post).

The area in focus of an image is called depth of field. It can be very narrow & shallow with loads of blur or deep & vast so that everything from where you stand to the horizon is in focus. Portraits trend into the narrow end for subjects that pop against the background, while landscapes trend into deep depths of field.

Adjusting your aperture opening (aka f stop) is the main way you can manipulate depth of field. Small f numbers (ie f1.4 / f1.8 / f2.8) are wider aperture openings and boast narrow depth of field. Larger f numbers (ie f8 / f11 / f16) are narrow aperture openings and are key to deep depth of field.

Above: first image is 20mm at f1.4 & second image is 20mm at f8 / Can you see the difference? Look esp at the things on the shelves

Easy peasy!


Aperture isn’t the only thing that affects depth of field. Say what?

Depth of field is also manipulated by distance to your subject. Skootch closer and your depth of field gets narrower. Take a step back and your depth of field gets deeper. Without changing any settings!

Each of the above images are at 20mm & f1.4. Notice how much more blur (aka narrower depth of field) is happening to the background as we move closer to Bender. 

Additionally… depth of field changes with the focal length of your lens. The longer your focal length (ie 70mm, 135mm, 200mm) the narrower your depth of field, whereas a wider focal length (ie 15mm, 24mm, 35mm) the deeper you depth of field. Which in a way ends up negating the aperture adjustment for depth of field (to a degree, aperture still plays an important role). Crazy!

Above: first image is 20mm f1.4, second is 50mm f1.4 and third is 85mm f1.4. Notice how the background blur changes between each?

A classic “headshot” – the first image is a 50mm at f1.4 and the second is at 85mm at f1.4. Similar framing, but notice how different the blur is. That’s the difference in depth of field for a longer focal length lens. 

Another example above of manipulating depth of field with moving closer to your subject – this time with 85mm at f1.4. Not only does the background get blurrier but the section of focus on Bender’s face gets narrower so that only his eyes are really in the focus area. 

Neato! Now you can manipulate your depth of field not only by aperture, but by distance to subject or using a different focal length!

Next visit Linda Perdue, VP Shoots Photography serving the Tampa Bay area, Florida to see her take on depth of field.