Stoli’s First Spring

It’s that time of year again, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing starting at 4 a.m, and the college students are cramming for finals. Spring is undoubtedly my favorite season. Mild temperatures, longer daylight hours, and great scenery are wonderful incentives to get off the computer or get out of the photo lab and head outdoors to enjoy the season.

Stoli was born May 31st, 2010. By the time he was old enough to go outside, it was already the end of June and we were into the 100-degree Missouri heat, so he didn’t really get to experience Spring firsthand. This year I made sure to take him out and let him see what all the fuss was about. Stoli loves being outside when the temperatures are in the middle 70’s. He sits by the door waiting to be clipped to his lead so he can stay outside as long as he wants.

Perhaps Stoli’s favorite Spring activity is eating all the flowers. He’ll zoom around the year eating the fluffy, white tops off the dandelions. It’s nearly impossible to get a good picture of him next to any type of pretty foliage, because he instantly devours it before you can get the shot in.

As a stress-reliever for finals week, I found myself taking Stoli out for more walks to new places. We explored the woods at Cave Hollow Park, where he played in the stream and learned how to make me mad by frolicking through the mud. He’s on his second bath in 5 days and we’re still counting (and ironically, he HATES water).

Anyway, here are a few pictures of Stoli’s adventures this Spring. You can view the whole collection on my Flickr page by clicking: Here

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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Meet Kylie

A faculty member at UCM, Greg Sorell, approached me after mid-program asking if I would photograph his dog, Kylie. He and his wife had been following my work and loved what I had been doing. I was eager to get another opportunity in the studio, so we set up a meeting.

Kylie was a pretty laid-back dog. Greg told me that she is a lab/collie mix. She was 4-years old, so she was quite a bit more mellow than most of the other dogs that I have been shooting in the studio. It’s tough to get more dynamic action shots with older dogs as they are quite content to just sit and be adored. Kylie was very well-behaved and knew her basic commands, which makes it a lot easier to do the session. Greg and his wife were very helpful and willing to assist with the shoot.

Here are a few proofs. You can see the whole session on my flickr by clicking:HERE

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Homer and Baby

Yesterday, (3/8) I photographed some of my boyfriend’s coworker’s dogs. Since the dogs’ owner was out of town for a military training program in Maryland, I had my boyfriend, Andrew help me wrangle the dogs during the shoot. I really appreciate his help, but Andrew has much less patience with animals than I do, (but he has far more patience with people than I do, so I guess we supplement each other).

It was a very difficult shoot to do. Homer, the pit bull mix and Baby, the toothless wiener dog weren’t as obedient as they normally are around their owner. Dogs generally don’t take direction from strangers well, and that became painfully apparent after only a few minutes. I think I have most of my shoots done for mid-program, so it wasn’t a crisis that this one didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. I guess it will be a fallback plan if all else fails. I also think it’s nice to get in the studio and do some shooting so that I can always hone my skills and learn something new from every shoot.

Here’s the link to the full set of proofs on my flickr: LINK

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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The Hair of the Dog

I tried my hand at photographing a puppy solo today. Normally I have the owner or a friend assist me during the shoot. This is pretty essential as it’s EXTREMELY difficult to keep a puppy from running off set, move the lighting, take the photos, make strange noises to get the dog’s attention, etc, all at the same time. Today, however, I decided that 21 years-old is as good of age as any to have an aneurism.

I have been working with puppies recently, and I seem to keep forgetting the fundamental fact that their attention span can be measured in milliseconds. I spend so much time with Stoli that I make the rudimentary mistake of assuming all puppies younger than him automatically know all the basic commands and won’t be totally freaked out by coming to a new environment to photograph. It makes me realize how much I take Stoli’s obedience for granted. He knows come, sit, stay, lay down, up, jump, shake, outside, inside, car, fetch, etc. So when I am faced with an 18-week old puppy, I feel out of my element again as I am back to square one of pure, raw puppy energy. Surprisingly, I have much more patience for animals than I do with people, so I am able to keep a level head while problem-solving a way to get the shot. The puppy I worked with today is our friend’s 5 month tri-colored corgi puppy, Rajah. I’ve come to decide that all corgis seem to have that fun-loving, goofy, class clown personality.

Anyway, it was quite the experience. I think that I’ll stick with having an assistant from now on. I’m glad I tried to, so I can now fully justify needing someone around to help manage the chaos.

As always, you can see ALL of the proofs from this session by visiting my Flickr Page. It takes vastly longer to load each photo into the blog, that’s why I usually only put my personal favorites in my posts. (That’s not to say that only the good ones make it here.) There are many that don’t make it to the blog just because of time and space restrictions. That being said, mosey on over and check out the slideshow! Click Here for the link to Flickr

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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Frankie’s Debut

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Frankie Champion.

Frankie is the miniature schnauzer puppy my friends Charlene and Chester Champion adopted back in December. I decided he would be my next photographing victim, because let’s be honest–who doesn’t love a good puppy or two?

Anyway, mid-program is breathing down my neck, so I needed to get into the studio and do a little shooting. I originally had this shoot scheduled for a week ago, but UCM cancelled 3 days of classes, so that put a damper on things. The studio schedule is ridiculous right now. Basically everyone in the program is scrambling around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get studio time. Today was the only time in 2 weeks that was available, so I took the opportunity.

When I got to the studio I expected Frankie to be as good of a model as Stoli. I made the mistake of assuming a 5 month old puppy would have the same attention span as my 9-month old corgi. BIG MISTAKE. Frankie was highly distractible and really didn’t want to have anything to do with the studio. Luckily I had my boyfriend to help me for the first half until Charlene could get in and take over. I played around with a couple different backgrounds and ideas. I have always been partial to low-key photos with sleek, pure black backgrounds w/ little detail to distract you from the subject. However, today in one of my classes, my professor warned me against doing it on anything for the jurried panel of doom that I have to face in a few short weeks. In the end though, I was able to get a few possible shots that I could use for mid-program anyway.

As always, this is just a small sampling of the shoot. You can see more proofs by visiting my Flickr slideshow by clicking HERE, and I would highly recommend it.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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