Puppy Bowl VII

Everyone enjoy the Superbowl!!! For those 38% of Americans who don’t follow the superbowl…including myself, don’t forget to watch Puppy Bowl VII. Great show on the Animal Planet Channel that features adoptable puppies playing football, chickens as cheerleaders and adoptable kittens dancing during halftime.  Adorable and funny as heck. A good friend of mine always has it playing in the kid’s room while the adult party goes on in his living room. His daughters and their friends are mesmerized by the action and some years it is more fun than the regular game. For those of you in NM it is featured on Comcast Channel 58.

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Valentine Gifts

Looking for a great Valentine gift for that special person, friend, sibling, parent or just for yourself? As a person whose birthday is Valentine’s Eve, I’ve received my share of chocolates and heart-shaped objects and I think I can profess to be an expert on Valentine gifts. Here are two great ideas: First, Shelter CatsShelter Cats, a photography book shot by my  good friend and mentor, Micheal Kloth, with lots of oooohhh factor. What can I say about this book?  The images are breathtaking, it has received no less than 5 stars on the Amazon site, and it sold out within days at my local Borders. I know it is about cats but speciesism is not allowed on this site…all animals are welcomed! Micheal Kloth is mostly known as a dog photographer but his skill as a cat photographer is amazing. I get request for photographing cats, but usually I am bombarded with excuses such as, “my cat can’t travel in a car,” my cat is afraid of bright lights,” or  “she doesn’t like strangers.” So to see these many cat images (over 80) so beautifully shot is amazing. In addition, partial proceeds from this book support support shelter cats. You don’t have to be a cat lover to enjoy this book. I will feature more about Kloth as a “dog photographer of the month” later this year. Here is his Facepage, blog, and website.

For those of you who have a special someone who is an amateur or professional photographer another wonderful gift is Efrain Padro’s book, TheThe Photographer's Guide to New Mexico: Where to Find Perfect Shots and How to Take Them (Photographer's Guide To...) Photographer’s Guide to New Mexico, Where to find Perfect Shots and How to Take Them. Also a good friend, mentor and teacher of mine,  Padro’s book features not only the iconic spots in New Mexico that made Ansel Adams, Stieglitz and others famous, but small out-of-the way spots in New Mexico that are also places of beauty and inspiration. I will also feature more on Padro later this year in an entry on “event photography.” Here is his website and blog

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Pablo Lobato, illustrator of the month

Most of us were taught in art classes that to draw the human head you start with an oval. Argentinean caricaturist and illustrator, Pablo Lobato, didn’t get that memo. His work starts with triangles, rectangles, octagons, and lines and then he  fills them with traffic-stopping red, yellow, orange, acid green, teal blue and purple. His ability to bring together basic geometric shapes and make them more iconic and recognizable than a photograph is uncanny. Several years ago I saw one of his illustrations in a magazine, tore it out, placed it by my computer, looked him up on the internet, and immediately became a fan of all matters, “Lobaton”

A caricaturist for the 21st century,  his images of celebrities, musicians and sports figures done with vectors are featured worldwide and his clients include the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, LA Times Magazine, LA Magazine, The New Republic, Boston Globe, Texas Monthly, Cosmopolitan Germany, Gooo, Chief Executive, Flare, AARP, Paste Magazine, New York Daily. His work can be seen on his agent’s site, Anna Goodson or his Facepage.

Recently I stumbled on this image of Dobermans on his facepage. With triangular ears and graphic body, the Doberman breed couldn’t be a more perfect model for Pablo’s skills and I immediately emailed him and invited him to be my first featured artist of 2011.  Always responsive to his fans, here are his answers to my penetrating investigative questions: 1. Yes, I am a “dog person,”  2. My dog, Pixel, is Pointer/Doberman mix from the Buenos Aires’ dog pound and looks exactly like the dog from the Simpsons, and 3.  Yes, Pixel serves as a model and muse for my work and for this illustration on a story about home invasions for the Canadian Reader’s Digest.

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Before and After Magazine, Issue 0645

The January 2011 issue (article 0645) of Before and After Magazine is out today and it features a “make-over” of my business card!! What an honor and a dream come true! They did a gorgeous job. Now I have to go through all my collaterals: blog, website, facepage and make sure they look as “purty” as my business card. Thank you John McWade, Dexter Abellera, Sean D’Souza, and all the other staff of the Before and After Magazine for the beautiful work you have done.

My favorite part of the article is how they did minute alignments to Toby’s photo to align his head perfectly with the rectangle of the card and the font of the business name. It is details like this and clean design that makes me a loyal fan of Before and After Magazine.

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….what did Santa bring you for Christmas?

I’ve had a few photographer friends ask me what wonderful photography equipment did I receive for Christmas and yes, I did spend all my Christmas money and more, aaargh, on studio equipment. It seems like most of it was utilitarian items.. a couple of sandbags, baby wall plates and more.

But one gift stands out and every time I walk by it I think I would trade all those traditional items advertisers think we want,….diamond rings, perfumes, sweaters, high end cars, etc…for this one item.  What is it? The Presto Heat Dish!!

Available at my local Costco and I’ve seen it on Amazon, this is a great floor heater for the studio!! And although those of you who know me personally and know that because of my metal legs I love the cold, the colder the better, I do have limits, and when it hits  the 35 degrees mark or lower some heat is appreciated.

Now why would I blog about this heater on a dog photography/illustration site? Well, the beauty of this heater is that when it tips over it makes a horrendous noise.  The noise is so annoying and heart-stopping that none of my dogs go near it…except for Chama…who is deaf…but that’s another story.

My baby wall plates came in the mail today. I know you are all waiting breathlessly for me to explain what they are. As soon as I set them up I will answer all your questions so stay tune!!

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Jasper and Sebastian and why I love to photograph dogs.

In early December I had the opportunity to photograph both of these dogs on the same week. As I was going through the proofs and editing down the images, I was struck by why I love photographing animals in general and dogs in particular.  I had photographed, what seemed on paper the same type of animal;  two large gray dogs. But what the photos demonstrate is that within the same species, God can produce two very distinct, unique animals:  Jasper,  a Weimaraner, a gun dog bred for hunting large animals such as boar, bear and deer and Sebastian, a Bouvier des Flandres,  a double coated dog bred to care for domestic animals found on ranches or farms.

Both dogs  bounced into the studio with tremendous enthusiasm, charm and a willingness to please, both big hams wanting to be the “center of attention.” But there the similarities end, Jasper is a long legged graphic dog with a beautiful shimmery coat documented with much success by Wegman’s and his stable of Weimaraner dogs and puppies versus Sebastion who framed in wonderful wiry texture has a strong personality that shows clearly despite all that hair.

Photographing dogs is an activity were no one asks me to pleeeeeze “Photoshop” out the wrinkles in the skin, change the texture of the coat, change the color of the fur, remove defects, thin or thicken the body, or add, remove or whiten smiles, Both owners were proud and happy of their babies just the way they were and I was honored and happy to comply. We could all learn something here about similarities, diversity and acceptance as found in our best friends.

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Ultimate Blog Challenge

Happy New Year, January 1st, 2011!!! Am I crazy…I mean it, really crazy? I am starting the Ultimate Blog Challenge, 31 blog entries in 31 days!!!  I registered almost a month ago. I was working on updating my blog, website and business card through a marketing class at UNM Continuing Education and our teacher, Mary Ellen, had just finished the challenge. I thought it would be fun, ha!

Ten seconds later, oops 25 days later, and it is time to start. The problem is not coming up with ideas for a blog, I have tons when working in the studio, reading books, websites, comics, listening to music or viewing a TV show or a movie… the problem is the discipline to jot the idea down. Now I have no excuse.

Attached to this entry is a perfect example of how one idea can generate many. Here I shot Toby wearing his “old man glasses” watching a computer screen that displays “blog.” Overall I am happy with the image and hope to submit it as a stock work.  But this image also serves as a springboard for other ideas and future blog entries: one on safety in the studio and another on “baby wall plates.”  Stay tune to find out what “baby wall plates” are and how important they are in animal photography. To me my blog is my personal “think tank” or “brainstorming session.” Thanks for joining in the ride.

Posted in blog, Stock Photography, Toby | 2 Comments

Christmas already!!!!

What happened to September and October? The fall went by on jet wings.  Starting to work on some Christmas portraits and they are all magnificent!! Whether it is a puppy, or a herd of Bouviers everyone is getting into the spirit.

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New Look

I am updating my look! I loved my old template, Rising Sun, but it was not flexible enough.  I am now using the new Word Press Template, Twenty Ten 1.1.  It is the basic wider template developed by Word Press, with many customizable features. Another great aspect of this template is that it looks great and fits perfectly in the new IPads.  I’ve changed my logo as well.  In addition to my Three Perros Logo featuring vector-based images of Toby, Pioche, and Casper, I have added three new photos; Turbo, a boxer puppy, Toby with the American flag, and Ricky with his Harry Potter glasses.  The design is based loosely on my business card and soon to be updated website. Hope you like and feedback is always appreciated.

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Chama – A new addition

One of the top ten joys in life, at least for me,  has to be getting a new puppy.  Chama joined us a couple of weeks ago and has brought us joy and chaos into our lives. She is a four month old Australian Cattle Dog and is very much a representative of her breed: fiercely independent, loyal, tireless, fast, and extremely smart. She is deaf, but God has re-gifted her with superpowers; the sniffing abilities of a bloodhound and the visual acuity of a bird of prey. For us, we have had to polish up on our hand signals, the first and foremost is the command “no,” since her SOP is “yes.” I’ve since learned that the source of most dogs’ fears is sound-related, making Chama fearless. During a huge hailstorm last week, Toby and Elko were shaking, velcroed to me, while Chama sat by the window watching the white pellets fall on the window, not bothered at all by the sound of the hail or the crash of thunder.

Of course, I immediately took her to the studio to photograph her.  One of my goals is to shoot just her tail which is a bushy bright white flag ringed in black, much like a raccoon. And, of course, I couldn’t help myself, I had to shoot her with the ubiquitous bandanna, a la “Mad Max.”  Being very food-oriented, she did very well, and the strobe lights didn’t bother her at all.

Posted in Australian Cattle Dog, Blue Heeler, Chama, Puppy | 1 Comment

Halloween – Toby the Wizard and Igor

Happy Halloween from Toby and his Assistant, Igor. I’ve discussed in past entries, the concept of what makes a person or animal photogenic. And that some dogs, like humans are more photogenic than others. Although Elko wants to have his picture taken once he is on the table he gets an “itchy” attack. He squirms, wiggles, scratches, twirls…he just can’t sit still. An unlike Toby who can grin, smile, be serious etc.,  he only has the one “glaring” look. But every dog and every image has its purpose. Going through the proofs, I found this shot of Elko glaring in the background (lower left hand side of the photo). Perfect timing and a perfect pose!! Shout out to Michael K. who suggested the title of the image: Toby, the Wizard and his Assistant, Igor.

Posted in Elko, Halloween, Model and modeling, Toby | 1 Comment

St. Patrick’s Day

Mom, were you guzzling green beer when you took this picture of me?  This hat!!!  What were you thinking!!!

Posted in Costumes, Props, Toby | 3 Comments

Lulu in the Springtime

Poor Lulu.  We’ve scheduled and rescheduled her photo shoot over 6 times because of inclement weather.  Luckily I was able to catch her yesterday between two major storms. So here it is, the first day of spring and the only indication of the new season is the bunny ears she was very willing to wear for me.

I couldn’t resist purchasing the red boa, when I first heard I would be shooting a Great Pyrenees named Lulu.  This she also wore with aplomb.  Lulu, an eight year old Great Pyrenees did not act like any Pyrenees I’ve ever met.  The ones I’ve met walk around in a semi-stupor aka “tend to be relaxed and introspective.” But Lulu bounced into the studio, prancing around checking out all the lights and furniture curious about everything she saw…which was plenty as she towered over most everything.  But she was a very well-behaved lady and took easily to being the center of attention, which I am sure she is…all the time!!

Learning lesson of this shoot:  I have several whistles and squeakers in my studio to catch the attention of the dogs. Lulu is mostly deaf but surprisingly she was able to hear some of the them.  One whistle annoyed her as every time I used it she walked over to to her mother. When I sound another whistle she did the usual, “cock ears and tilt head” that looks so cute in photos.  The other two squeakers and whistles provoked no response.  So my plan is to purchase sound makers whenever I come across them so I’ll have a large variety in my studio.

Posted in Costumes, Great Pyrenees, Lulu, Props, White dog | 3 Comments