Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘pets

Remembering Puppyhood

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I was cleaning out unwanted images from my archives last night when I stumbled upon some old images of Suki when she was a puppy. These are photos that I took long before I started blogging, so I think they deserve their own post today. The original jpegs were pretty flat and needed a little Lightroom 4 Beta love to wake them up, but here they are!

She was such a little rascal back then. In fact, our nickname for her was “Bad Doggy.” Not kidding! Of course, how could you ever be mad at that face?

The images above were taken with my first DSLR, a Nikon D70 with an 18-70mm lens. I borrowed it from my dad to start taking puppy pictures of Suki back in the day, and then hogged it for so long that he just let me have it. Actually, these first few pictures of Suki represent the starting point of my more passionate journey into digital photography, and she and I have both grown a little in our own respective ways since I took them:

I really wish I had more pictures of Suki as a puppy. It was such a short period of our lives, and was documented primarily using the crummy camera built into the original, first generation iPhone. What little we do have, however, we cherish =)

Written by Jonathan

February 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Champi the Akita

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If Suki was as big as she thinks she is, she’d probably look just like Champi, the most adorable Akita ever! We finally had a chance to meet this giant puppy over the weekend.

The best way I can think to describe Champi is, well….she’s like a massive Shiba.  She looks like what would happen if Suki ate one of those Super Mario mushrooms. Can you hear the sound effect in your head?

Look at that face! So cute it’s ridiculous. Whenever Champi would get close enough, I’d try to give her a great big Akita hug. But just like Suki, this pup is well versed in the art of evading human affection.

Evasive maneuvers!

A couple of Japan’s national treasures right here, apparently discussing which smaller dog to chase together:

The larger, Clifford-sized Champi would periodically take breaks from all the action, unlike the smaller Suki, who prefers to stay on her feet.

Despite the sun being out, it was freezing at the dog park, and high winds blew dirt all over my camera as well as Suki’s eyes. Not good for allergies (or for lens changing).

Trying to get both dogs in the frame is harder than you might think. More often than not, Suki and Champi would be moving in opposite directions. Most of my shots from the meetup look like this:

We humans had to duck, spin, dive, and spray bursts of frames to catch these two together!

Make sure your you check out the very epic 52 Weeks of Champi project! Of course, Suki has one as well ;)

All Images: Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10-30mm & 30-110mm VR lenses

Written by Jonathan

January 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm

A Shiba’s Life

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Life is pretty good for this Shiba Inu. The day begins on whatever soft surface she decides to sleep on through the night.

“Please don’t bug me with that camera.”

Next is usually some dog-centric outing, like a run along the beach:

In return, she has to tolerate her photo-geek dad chasing her around with cameras and lights. I think she gave me as much attitude as she could in the photo below. Can’t you see it on her face?

And of course, the day always ends where it began:

Yup, a good life for a Shiba.

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Images: Nikon D700 | Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G AFS

Written by Jonathan

November 27, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Suki…Unleashed!

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Fuji X100 | 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

Such a historic day for Suki, and as you can see, she’s quite happy about it. Today we granted her the most off-leash freedom she has ever had. There’s no better place in the city to do this than at Fort Funston, an old military outpost located at the south end of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. The area is full of wide open space, sand dunes, trails, and of course, there’s the beach.

When Suki was younger we let her off leash at this same park, and quickly regretted the decision as she bolted off into the horizon with no regard for her pack (her comparatively slow-moving human parents). Most Shiba owners have at least one Shiba-bolting horror story to tell….I have like…20. In fact, I took my opening photo of my 52 weeks project at this location. Check out the image here. See the leash? Yeah, I totally didn’t trust her back then.

But while I’d still never ever let her off leash on a city street (it’s not legal anyway in SF), I’ve come to trust the bond Suki and I have built over the years. She definitely knows we belong to each other, and while Bridget was feeling a little hesitant today, I knew that Suki wouldn’t ditch us this time.

So, at peace with the entire concept, we stepped out onto the ice plant and set her free:


Fuji X100 | 1/80 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200

The image above represents a very memorable moment for me. She actually bolted ahead of us, turned the corner and disappeared. Before I could even call out to her, she reappeared just as you see her above. That’s right. A Shiba Inu waiting up and making sure her humans are following….for reals?!?!

From that point forward, it was all smooth sailing:


Fuji X100 | 1/280 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/280 sec, f/5, ISO 800

Suki is definitely the recon member of our family, scouting ahead from time to time but never forgetting to pull back and let us catch up, even stopping when we stop:


Fuji X100 | 1/340 sec, f/5, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/850 sec, f/2, ISO 400

Thrilled with the entire situation, we continued onto a trail from the dunes down to the beach. At this point Suki had burned off a significant amount of energy, and now more relaxed, stuck even closer to us:


Fuji X100 | 1/950 sec, f/2, ISO 400

Unlike the puppy Suki of old, today’s Suki won’t chase absolutely anything that runs (above).


Fuji X100 | 1/340 sec, f/5, ISO 400

A simple “let’s go, Suki,” and she snaps away from what ever she’s doing and follows. If I didn’t have these photos I’d swear none of this was real, just an awesome dream.

The following are a few of the images I took at the beach, processed into black and white in post:

When we were done at the beach, it was a long climb back up the cliff. We took the stairs, and Suki…well, eventually got on the stairs, but not before breaking a few rules. In the image below, she’s looking at me as I yell out “hey silly, you do NOT qualify as wild life! Get back on the stairs!”


Fuji X100 | 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 800 (flash on)

Such a beautiful area to bring the dog, and such an exciting day for Team Suki!

One side note: I’m getting a lot of questions and emails about what picture settings I use when I shoot with my Fuji X100. I’ll go ahead and answer that question here once and for all. I’ve mentioned this before, but for most of my recent blog posts that involve shooting simple snaps and documenting life etc, I find it easier to work with the JPEG files from the camera than to shoot everything in RAW. So when I’m not shooting RAW, I use these picture settings:

Film Sim: Astia
Dynamic Range: Auto
Color: High
Sharpness: Hard
Highlight Tone: M-Hard
Shadow Tone: M-Hard
Noise Reduction: M-Low
White Balance: Auto
WB Shift: +2 Red, -2 Yellow

I make slight curve adjustments in post to my taste, and that’s it. Depending on the situation, I sometimes use the Provia film simulation as well. The other question I get a lot is “does the X100 produce great JPEGs?”

YES.


Fuji X100 | 1/420 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

I’m proud of you Suki. Today you have proven yourself off leash. =)