The Big Dog Bed

Our black lab Ellie relaxes on our bed

A while back we took our bed off the frame and set the box springs on the floor so it would be easier for our elderly pup to jump onto the bed. Recently we also added some throw rugs to give her better traction on the hardwood. After a visit to the vet yesterday to have her teeth cleaned and a few pulled, Ellie was in recovery mode and still a little wobbly from the anesthesia. Ellie was a bit restless when my wife came to bed so she encouraged Ellie to jump in beside me as I was already sound asleep. Ellie did not however make enough room for my wife to join us as well so she slept in the guest bedroom.

This picture is from the summer when we were enjoying the air conditioner in our bedroom, her smile will be missing her small front teeth from now on, as well as a growth that had developed the past few months at the front of her mouth.


Our cat Boo sits in the cat tree and looks out the window

If Boo was a human he’d be thought of as a holy man, a prophet, a mystic. I sometimes call him the Professor because he’s both curious and intelligent, but there’s more to it than that. There are many times I feel he’s not just observing the universe but trying to understand it. What things he sits and ponders in his heart.

We need more of you in this world, little Boo.


Our cat Sam sleeps under the Christmas tree

Sam takes refuge under the Christmas tree. I left it up until late in January this year, it was a sign of hope when I needed one. Part of me always wants to leave it up all year, but if I didn’t do it for Emma who would have loved nothing more, it doesn’t seem right to do it now. I couldn’t help but think of her as I took the tree down, especially since I kept finding Trixie under the tree as I dismantled different sections. No one will ever love it like Em did, but Trixie’s devotion at the end did make me smile.

Black in White

Black in White

I knew it was asking a bit much of my camera to meter a black dog in white snow, especially since I’d be changing how large Ellie would appear in the picture, so I set the exposure mode to manual and set the exposure itself when I left the house. I frequently shoot in manual mode so there was nothing unusual in that. Unfortunately I forgot to check if the exposure was still valid a few minutes later when we arrived at Irving Park. Looking through the optical viewfinder of my SLR everything looked fine as you don’t see how the image will be exposed, but the open scene was slightly brighter than at my house and these images ended up a bit overexposed. Not tragically so, and the hot exposure did help preserve detail in Ellie’s dark fur, but my mistake would have been obvious with the electronic viewfinder of a mirrorless camera.

I need cameras that make mistakes obvious, because even after all these years I make them frequently. The more excited I am by a picture, the more likely I am to mess it up. I am far better at this than I used to be but there’s a part of me that will never learn. Sometimes it doesn’t matter but in cases like this, I’ll never get a second chance.

I almost bought into Sony’s full frame line a year and a half ago but chickened out at the last minute due to the high cost and lack of reviews, and to this day I can’t tell you if it was the right decision or not. Sony has updated their smaller sensor camera and I’m leaning in that direction, although there are a couple of other options I’m considering. There’s much to love about my Canon and I’ll still be using it for my telephoto work and I took a bunch of pictures with it on this snowy day, but I found myself fighting the camera off and on throughout the day as I walked around the neighborhood. It doesn’t help that it’s bigger and heavier than I want in a walk-around camera.

One thing I am cognizant of is that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and I have to be aware of what I’m giving up in order to gain something else. The Canon has great weather sealing (although the lens I was using had none) and it is a speedy little thing, and the Sigma 17-50mm 2.8 lens I bought to hold me over back when I couldn’t decide on the full frame Sony has proven to be a charming little lens despite its shortcomings. Even without weather sealing, since it didn’t cost me much to purchase it and I’ve gotten a lot of use out of it I didn’t think twice about shooting in the snow all morning, I did my best to keep it wiped clear of water drops and it did just fine. Sadly nothing like it is available in the options I’m considering, although those options are more portable.

And goodness have we come a long way since I first got started in digital photography, something I’m aware of whenever I edit old pictures. I’ll always remember this day with my pup and I’m as thankful for these pictures of Ellie as she is for the treats she got for posing for them. The off-leash dog park we visit is just up the hill to the right, I took her leash off for the pictures.