The Covid Days

I call these days The Covid Days.

Like I’m sure it has been for you, life has been different since the virus forced us into social distancing and staying at home.  I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing while staying at home.

The first week, I didn’t do much of anything. I felt tired and like I just couldn’t really breathe.  I was feeling the loss of my community and feeling terrible for the local businesses that would suffer and the isolation that people would feel.

But the second week I decided I needed to get organized and set a new schedule to make sure I was being productive and get to some of the things that I didn’t normally get to.

So I divide my day into several parts: 1. Exercise, 2. Work for my Business, 3. Household Project, 4. Creative Project Without My Camera, 5. Walk the Dog Twice Daily, 6. Read, and 7. Rest. Grocery shopping would happen once per week, rather than two to three times per week.

Most days I get all of these done, although some days I miss one or two of these options – usually the creative project or house project.

Here are some photos to show you what I’ve been up to.

Ray and I baked homemade, gluten and dairy free donuts.  They turned out pretty well!  If you really like food photos, I also started a new food photography Instagram page here.

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Work!  I’ve been working on a new website and it will launch very soon!

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I’m creating a coloring book made from photos I take of shelter dogs at Longmont Humane Society.

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Dabbling in different types of media while maintaining “art challenges” virtually with my granddaughter.  I pick a topic one week, she picks a topic the next week.

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We order out one time per week from our favorite restaurant to support them during such difficult times.  This meal is from Shine Restaurant in Boulder.  A totally gluten free restaurant that also serves potions like Fairy Bubbles.

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These are the Shine sisters….. Masked up for curbside service.

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I sewed 15 masks for friends and family.

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Window washing!evie-photography-boulder-portrait-825

 

Organized the utility closet.evie-photography-boulder-portrait-329

 

Exercise.  Les Mills Body Pump videos twice a week and Zumba or bike ride three times per week.  Notice the lazy dog in the background?

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Reading daily.  Usually at bed time.

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In a long line at the grocery store.

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Ray checking out our groceries.

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And, the occasional photo of Jackie!

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Dog of the Month – April 2020

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So really it’s gonna be Dog Pack of the month.  I couldn’t pick just one!

I took all of these dog photos last month in San Pancho, a quaint little beach town in Nayarit, Mexico.

I had heard there were lots of dogs there just roaming around town but I had no idea I would see so many. When I heard about the dogs running free in San Pancho, I was a bit worried I would see a lot of stray, unhealthy, unhappy dogs but that was not the case.

The normal way for dogs to live there is off leash, running around on their own free will, some out with other dogs, out and about in the streets, saying hi to people, playing on the beach and like the dog above, napping wherever and whenever the mood strikes.  We named the dog above Siesta as we found him napping in a new place each day.  Some dogs wore collars, others didn’t.  A few dogs were on leashes walking alongside their owners.

The locals told me the dogs roam free during the day and go home at night to be with their people. I found this to be true as I ventured out at 6:30 a.m. to roam the streets with my camera and found it virtually empty.  The dogs as well as the people started populating the little downtown area around 7:30 or 8 a.m.

It was great to see how the dogs co-existed with one another and with the people. Restaurant goers filled tables set out on the edges of the streets with dogs walking by, not begging for food.  Dogs walked into and around slow moving traffic as drivers slowed down and gave passage to the dogs.  Dogs were excited to meet other dog friends and play and run on the beach.

I hope you enjoy the photos below of the dogs we met in San Pancho, as much as I enjoyed meeting them and taking their photos!

If you have any questions at all, please let me know.

Stay Healthy!  Marsha

Evie Photography  www.evie-photo.com
Marsha Steckling  720-217-6573
marsha@evie-photo.com

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11 Tips for Taking Cell Phone Photos of Your Dog

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Getting good photos of your pet with your cell phone can be challenging. I’ve put together some tips to help you get picture perfect shots of your best friends. You can use these same tips for cats.  Use a cat toy to get your cats attention.

  1. Be patient. Being patient will go far when photographing your pet. If you stress   out or start demanding too much from you pet they will stress out too and not cooperate. Make sure your pet has exercised so they are not too energetic when you want to take their photo.
  2. Make it fun for your pet. Remember, they don’t know what you are doing or           why, they just know you want something from them. So, make it fun and challenging for your pet and reward them often for sitting, lying down, or looking at you. Praise and treat often.
  3. Find good lighting. This means use a location that has a lot of natural light, but not in direct sun (unless taking action shots of your dog catching a ball for example).       This could be in the backyard in a shady area or in your home near a window. Have the light source behind you or to your side, to also create a catch light in their eyes – this really makes their stand out. And, turn off your flash!
  4. Use treats and toys. Using treats and toys can be a great way to get your pet to look directly at the camera and give you an adorable head tilt. Once you have your dog in position, squeak a toy, or show them a treat and most of the time they will look right at you and give you a great expression. Saying certain words or phrases can create a great reaction too such as “where’s the squirrel?”  Remember to treat often and use high value treats – something super yummy.
  5. Get down on their level. Shooting from their level gives a more personal and intimate perspective. It’s okay to shoot from above for a more whimsical image, but for most of your images, shoot on their level.
  6. Focus on the eyes. Focusing on their eyes creates connection and draws the viewer in. Use single point autofocus (or focus manually by tapping on the focus box on our phone, with the box over their eyes).
  7. Use the Sports Mode or Fast Motion Mode. Pets often don’t sit still so if they are moving around, even a little bit, your images may come out blurry. So set the Sports or Fast Motion Mode for a faster shutter speed that will freeze motion.
  8. Use simple backgrounds. Backgrounds full of clutter are distracting and take away from the subject. Also keeping your subject at a distance from background objects can help.   So find a clean, clear area to use as your background such as a backyard fence, trees, or bushes. If inside, put distance between your pet and the wall or furniture. This distance often softens the background, helping your subject to stand out.
  9. Easy on the Zoom. Try not to use the zoom,  move yourself closer to your subject instead. If you zoom in, you will lose of image detail and your image will look a little blurry or gooey.
  10. Experiment! Shoot a lot of different angles and compositions. Try black and white on some of your images to see what you like best. Figure out what your cell phone camera setting can do. You can even practice different settings while your pet is sleeping to make it easy on yourself.
  11. Print your photos. Did you get some great shots? Print them and display them so you can enjoy them! Two of my favorite places to print are www.artifactuprising.com and www.bayphoto.com. These two print labs have totally different paper styles so check them out and see what you like best.

More cell phone photos here:

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You can see more of our work at www.evie-photo.com.  I have been photographing pets, children and families since 1999.

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3,000 Shelter Dogs Photographed!

CaseyIs3000 I keep a running tally of the number of dogs I photograph at Longmont Humane Society and I total it up at the end of each year.  A little behind on checking my tally, I just did it last week and found that I have photographed over 3,000 dogs!  The 3,000th dog was Casey, seen above in blue bandana. (Bandana donated by Indy&Olly).  The other photos are a selection of some of the other amazing dogs I’ve photographed at LHS over the years. Between shelter dogs, client dogs and friends and family dogs, I’ve photographed well over 4,000.

I’ve learned a lot over the years while photographing dogs.  The most important thing I put into practice is patience.  Shelter dogs are just dogs like any other dogs.  They are simply in transition between homes at no fault of their own. But being in a new, unknown environment can bring up lots of emotions for them.

Like all dogs, some are nervous, shy, anxious, overly joyful, excited, wiggly, super happy, and energetic.  For all of these emotions, patience is required to get a photograph.  Shy and nervous dogs take time to warm up to me and my camera and I need to build trust with them.  Highly energetic dogs need time to settle down and figure out what I want from them in order to focus for a few short seconds.

So for me, patience means taking my time, getting to know the dog and letting them get to know me.  I often just put the camera down and sit with the dog, pet them, give them treats,  or talk to them.  If they are afraid of my camera, I let them sniff it and eat treats off of the camera or near the camera.  If they are super excited, I give them a calming massage.  If that doesn’t work, I join them and get a little loud with funny noises that usually stop them in their tracks to give me a two second pose and an expression for the camera.

Do you need tips for photographing your own dog? If so, send me an email  I’d be happy to answer your questions.

To see more photos of shelter dogs, click here.  To see photos of my clients dogs click here.

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Dog of the Month – February 2020

This is Tigger!  He is a one year old, 51 pound boy.  I photographed him just last week at Longmont Humane Society.  He is very affectionate and just a great looking, well mannered dog. And, as of today, he is still available for adoption.  He should do well with other cats and dogs and kids of any age.  Want to see more of our shelter pet photography?  Click here!   Oh, and that cute bandana was made and donated by Indy & Olly’s.

 

 

 

 

 

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Say “I Love You” With A Photo

Nothing says “I Love You” more than cherished photos of your kids, family, pet or significant other. Capturing the bond between family members, either human or pet is something I am absolutely passionate about.  Photos will be around for decades to come, in fact probably forever so not only do my clients enjoy the meaning of photographic memories, their kids do too and their grand kids will in the future.

We have gift certificates available for the special someone in your life.  Feel free to let us know what you’d like to do or if you need ideas for a great family, kid or pet photography session – or a combination of all of these!

 

 

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Why I Love Black and White

I have to say first of all that I love both color and black and white images pretty much equally.  I love color images because color shows us everything we need to know, the color of hair, clothing, trees, eyes, etc.  And color can look so beautiful in a large image on a wall.

But I also love black and white.  It brings out the simplicity of an image, the simple emotions and the simple things that are happening in that moment.  It is also great to use black and white for images with distracting backgrounds or clothing.  I also love black and white as it reminds me of old family photographs.  I have boxes of them and never tire of looking through them.  A large black and white print or canvas on a wall looks great too.

Here are some of my favorite black and white images from pet and family portrait sessions.

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New Backgrounds

A couple of weeks ago while taking dog photos at Longmont Humane Society, I was faced with super bright sunlight or a bush that was partially dead. So I looked around for a new background and found that the sidewalk and wall of the building would make a simple and neutral gray background.  I like the effect and the dogs really pop out.  As an added benefit, it was close to the dog kennels so I was able to take more dog photos than normal in a short period of time.  Dog photography can be challenging but mostly a lot of fun and photographing shelter dogs to help them find homes is super rewarding.

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Mrs. Pibb (above)

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Lamar (above)

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Lola (above)

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Jeff )above)

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Lamar (above)

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Lola (above) feeling a little shy at first, came around and was a great dog model!

 

Marsha Steckling, owner of Evie Photography is a family, kids and pet photographer based in Boulder Colorado and photographs homeless dogs for Longmont Humane Society to help them find forever homes.  She is available for private commissions in Boulder, Longmont, Denver, Louisville, Lafayatte and surrounding areas.

 

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Bianca’s Pet Photography Session

This week I had a photo session with Bianca, a young English Mastiff.  She is about six months old and weighs around 50 pounds.   I expected to have all kinds of crazy puppy energy,  but not with Bianca. She was calm and focused on me and my dog handler, ready to do whatever we asked of her.  We treated her often and gave her lots of praise with some breaks in between sets.  She is a super smart gal, with gorgeous looks to match!  I even got a photo of her with her two friends Meiko and Quinn.boulder-denver-dog-photographer-evie-photography-1046boulder-denver-pet-photographer-evie-photography-1001boulder-denver-pet-photographers-evie-photography-1013-bwboulder-denver-pet-photographers-evie-photography-1035boulder-dog-photographer-evie-photography-1049boulder-pet-photographer-evie-photography-1057boulder-pet-photographer-evie-photography-1066

Check out my facebook page here.

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Halloween Pet Photo Fundraiser in Boulder with RE/MAX.

In October I was invited by Laurie Kaufman of RE/MAX to join forces with her to do a fundraiser for Longmont Humane Society.  She would bring her clients with dogs in to the office where we set up a photography studio and I would photograph them for Halloween. It was a great success!  Many people came with their dogs, and even one cat for photos, although none of the animals were thrilled about wearing costumes. I took lots of pet photos and gave out lots of treats and I received lots of tail wags, licks and kisses.

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Cali

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Paco

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Eager to Pose for the Camera!

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Serious Old Guy

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Wendy

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Will work for Treats!

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Jeff

 

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