Thursday, December 22, 2011

Maynard making steps toward a park

Acton park pano in October., originally uploaded by phaird.
check out the Maydog website to read about the small steps being made to a new dog park in Maynard. It's pretty exciting.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Toby needed a walk

To get Toby back in the swing of things at the park, we got there early and did the long walk on the paths behind the park.  I really love going on those paths when the weather is cool and the ground is hard.  In the warmer months, it can get really muddy and hard to avoid the swampy areas.  It's nice now because there is traction, not too slick and easy to get around.  Toby needed the walk to get his energy out and feel better about being at the park.  I had to coax him through the park but once we got up to the path, he was happy to lead the way.  We did the long walk that lasted almost 45 minutes.  He didn't seem that worn out even though I was but once we got back to the park, it was busy with people and dogs.  Toby wasn't ready to socialise yet so since he headed for the car, I followed and we took off.
This is a good first step for him and I hope he'll be back to his friendly self soon.  I don't want to be that guy with the mean dog that everyone keeps away from.  I like being that weird photographer guy who is always around with his camera, taking pictures and talking with people.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Pics, this weekend.

The next two weeks, I'll be doing a holiday photo shoot from noon to 4pm at Pet Source.  This weekend I'll be in Marlborough at their store and it should be a great event.  Everyone who gets a photo, gets a awesome goodie bag and if you sign up ahead of time, you can get a %20 discount on all your shopping at Pet Source that day.  I've already got a bunch of people signed up so I know it's going to be a BUSY day.  Hope to see you there.

There was some confusion about the dates and stores but it's all cleared up.  Come to Marlborough on the 10th and Concord on the 17th.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Starting over for Toby.

BW_Toby-Park, originally uploaded by phaird.
Looks like Toby is going to need lots of coaxing to get back into the park again. Last week he heard gun shots so this weekend, he didn't want to go. This isn't the first time this happened and I had to work hard to get him comfortable with the park. It will take some work but I know I can do it. The plan will bring him early, go for a walk in the woods and let him get his energy out. Once he's done that a few times, he'll be better off. I wish I had more time to bring him to the park but work and life gets too much in the way so far.
I decided to edit these photos I took of him to show how he was feeling. I'm using a program called Lightroom to edit my photos and it does a great job of allowing me to be creative. What do you think?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I need to keep an ear out

Watch out for the drool., originally uploaded by phaird.
The gloomy weather didn't stop anyone from coming out today. It was busy and I talked with a few of my regular friends. The funny thing was we were talking about how my dog, Toby has been so much better at the park. He was running around and playing with other dogs.

But then it happened. Toby heard the gun club. First shot he perked up but he was okay. But then it kept going and he tucked his tail and headed to the parking lot. I went and got Toby and, foolishly brought him back to try to get him to calm down. It didn't work and when other dogs came by and sniff around, Toby got very aggressive. After a few minutes, I had to leave the park. I felt so bad for Toby. He has been doing so well and made great strides and enjoying the park again. Now I’m worried he is going to be afraid again and it will take months of support to get him to like it again.

Next week will be a new week and I’ll try to give him time to walk up in the woods to get his energy out before all the other dogs show up.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Falling fast

Riley saying hi, originally uploaded by phaird.
Fall is finally leading into winter so every nice day is more and more cherished. This Sunday was a beautiful day with enough sun and warmth to bring everyone out to the park. There was a few new faces even like Riley. He wasn't wild about the camera but I got a nice photo of him.
It's been such a while since I've posted anything to the blog. Each weekend has been really crazy with photo events and clients or family. My next goal is to write up questions for the interview process for my book. I think I know enough people at the park now that I feel I can ask them to be involved with my book. I just need to know what I want to know next. More soon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quiet day at the park

Walking out of the park, originally uploaded by phaird.
It's Columbus Day weekend and even though the weather is perfect, it wasn't very busy at the park. We got to the park early so I could get back home. I had a busy family day planned so I wanted to get to the park early. Even still, the park was almost empty when I got there and was still pretty quiet even when I left.
This new puppy Shepard was there. He is becoming a regular at the park and even though he's a puppy, he's doing really well. He listens and gets along well with all the other dogs. Puppies often get a lot of extra attention from the older dogs but this little guy has been holding his own. He doesn't get chased too much and listens well to his family.
I borrowed a telephoto lens and have been trying to learn to photograph dogs running and jumping better. My style has been to shoot with a wide angle lens and get close but I'm always trying to get better at shooting. Look at the other photos on my flickr page to see some of the the action pics.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bring treats and it's a PARTY

Bring treats and it's a PARTY, originally uploaded by phaird.
Between all the new puppies and the summer like weather, Sunday was a pretty great day at the dog park. I really needed it too. I've been flat out, photographing all kinds of events lately. It's good to be busy with my camera and dogs but slowing down and spending quality time at the park and with my family is really important.
For me, it's about making time in my crazy schedule to do the things I want to be doing and move out the things that don't matter.
I invite my boys to come and some times the do but most times they don't. I think that will change when they get older but this is the one time just for me.
Everyone talks about how they bring their dogs so they could run around but that is only part of the story. The community is important too. The ability to slow down and just talk to someone of common interests. These are the things I love about the park and why I started this blog and book idea. The community that builds at dog parks is a unique event. I'm really interested in other peoples stories and I want to know more. I just need to make more time to prepare the book and talk to people.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Busy day at the park

Busy day at the park, originally uploaded by phaird.
It was a gorgeous Sunday at the park. Lots of people were there, hanging out, dogs running everywhere. I brought my boy, Geoffrey who had fun with the dogs, and throwing rocks into the pond. I'm not surprised it was so busy. Today's weather is so nice and everyone is trying to enjoy these nice days because fall isn't far away.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fun with frisbee

Fun with frisbee, originally uploaded by phaird.
Today was a busy day at the park. After last weeks hurricane Irene, everyone was glad to be back. Some people were there for hours just letting their dogs run or walking the trails. It was also a day for new puppies to show up at the park. There were two golden puppies, a German Shepard puppy, and a few others I forget the breeds. Puppies always get a lot of attention but with the warm weather, the muggy day, everyone was just happy to be taking in the last weekend of the summer.
I know my summer flew by. I had lots of projects to work on and  made it to the park as much as I could and over all had a good summer. Like most, I want it to last longer but the fall offers new projects. I'm doing a fundraiser photo even for a group called Smile for a Cure which raises money for Canine Cancer research. I'm shooting some smaller events in September and will shoot at Woofstock on October 1. I'm really busy.
I'm not giving up on my book project. I've been inspired by a project called Project Dog. They did a kickstarter fundraiser to get a book published. I know if I got my book to a level of completion, that I could totally get a Kickstarter project funded. I've talked to more people at the park and know I have a good group to interview. My ideal is to get a good writer to work with. We'll see.
Either way, I'll be back at the park, next week, taking pictures, talking to people and having a good time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Perfect day for a pano

Pano dog park 1, originally uploaded by phaird.
Sunday was cool and overcast with a threat of rain. A perfect day to photograph. Well, not normally but because I was testing out a panoramic head, it was perfect for me. The way it works is I attach my camera to a special tripod head that allows me to rotate my camera at a central point. I take about 24 photos as I spin the camera around and then I stitch them all together in Photoshop. A lot of the software (and even some cameras) make it really easy to put together photos that aren't centered properly. Because it's overcast, the lighting is the same all the way around me so my exposure is the same all the way around.
The only down side is that the park was kinda quiet and even though I tried to get around everyone with dogs, it still looks like the park ins empty.
I'm going to the Cape this weekend so I am going to bring the pano head again and do more on the beach, if I can get early enough.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shelby Chasing dragon fly shadows

Shelby Chasing dragon fly shadows, originally uploaded by phaird.
I'm BACK! Our road trip across the east and the south was great. I didn't get to visit any dog parks this trip but I did hear of a great one in Cleveland called the Lakewood Dog Park. It's in a really nice area of Cleveland and can be busy all times of the week. They even have their own website which means there is a lot of support for dog owners. Let me know if you've ever been to it.

This last Sunday was great. The weather was perfect and I got to meet Shelby. A spunky 1.5 year old pointer who will chase any shadow it can find. Today, the dragon flies were out and he was loving it. The funny part of the whole thing was that it really seemed like the dragon flies were playing along. I don't really know the pattern of how dragon flies fly but they seemed to run in circles and stay around the grass where Shelby could find them to let her chase the shadows.
What was really funny was just figuring out what he was doing. I could tell she was chasing something but I couldn't figure out what. When I talked to his owner, he explained her love for the chase. The only thing that could stop her was a belly scratch but you could tell he was looking for the chase.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Only a boarder collie

For all of my Boarder Collie friends at the park.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Another day at the park

Snuggles leads the way, originally uploaded by phaird.

I was at the park early Sunday because I had lots to do at home that day. I brought my boy and dog and we had a good time but my boy, Geoffrey, gets board pretty quickly. The life of a three year old. We were walking out when Becky and Dan were walking in with everyone and it was starting to get busy.

A few weeks ago, I was talking photo stuff with someone at the park and the idea of offering a photo workshop came up. So readers; what do you think would be a good photo workshop? Would you be interested in one? Would you like a beginning or advanced workshop? Would you want a 1 day (4 hour) thing or a multi day process? Let me know.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fur flying love scratches

Fur flying love scratches, originally uploaded by phaird.
Ah to be back in the park. It was such a nice summer day. A little muggy but the sun was out, not super hot, and dogs all around. There are ball dogs and water dogs and stick dogs but in general, it breaks down to two types. Dogs that love other dogs and dogs that love people. This gal is a people dog. Before I took this photo, I was squatting down, shooting other dogs. When I put the camera down, She was standing right in front of me, waiting for a butt scratch. Very cute.
Toby was over the moon about being at the park again. No cone of shame so he got to run around, jump in the pond, chase other dogs and just be a dog. He has really been wanting to go to the park for a while now. I've been so busy with photo events on the weekends, that this weekend was the first time in 3 weeks we've been at the park. It's going to be a crazy summer so I'm going to be real hit or miss at the park but I'll try to keep up with posts and events.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welcome back Sunday

June has been a crazy month for me.  I've been setting up my photo tent at different dog events which has been keeping me really busy.  Whisker Walk and Bark in the Park were both a lot of fun and I got to meet all kinds of great dogs and owners but I miss my Sunday at the park. It's the one day a week just for Toby and me to just be.  This Sunday, I'll be at the park again, camera in hand and dog at my side.  I'm still looking for people and dogs to photograph for the diptych project so if you're interested, drop me a note and I could come by some time since the park is not the best place.  Most people I've talked with aren't dressed for their picture.  I'm not worried because it's just fun and a portfolio builder for me.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Whisker Walk this Sunday

I won't be at the park this sunday.  Now that the nice weather is here, there are a lot of dog events going on and I'm going to try to get to some of them.  This year starts off with me actually setting up a booth at Whisker Walk which is a really big event.  It was the first event I did last year and even with lousy weather, I was really busy.  Now with GREAT weather expect, I should be totally slammed. If you're in the area, stop by.  I'm setting up a portable studio and will be doing 5x7 photos of dogs for only $25.  It is a lot of fun and every animal friendly group will be there.
Toby posing for test shoot for this years Whisker Walk

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A good shake

A good shake, originally uploaded by phaird.

What an amazing day. When our weather has been all over the place between cold and wet, to warm and humid. Today's weather was perfect. Not too hot or humid. Just enough of both.
The dogs were loving the pond today. They were all running in, chasing balls, or just cooling off. Even kids and grown ups were in, knee high. One new dog to the park that Toby was getting along with (Toby had a good day), was really confused about the water. He seems to really confused that he couldn't walk on the water. He was really enjoying himself even though Toby kept trying dominate him (and everyone else).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Did you say CHEESE!

emma on the move, originally uploaded by phaird.
Well, my big idea for photographing people and dogs at the park last Sunday was a bust. Toby was NOT on his best behavior. So much so that an over zealous dog mom got in my face when I put Toby back on his leash. Anyone who I did ask refused because they were in their dog park best which means they were wearing their grubbiest clothes. I didn't care about that but they did. I did get my best dog park friends to let me take some pictures but I guess I'm going to have to ask people ahead of time for now. If you want to be part of the process, just leave a comment to let me know.
I'm not too upset. It's just a minor setback. I've got lots of other projects going on so I'm excited that I've been using my camera so much. I've even been video taping which is a whole new level for me.
I'll be at the park this Sunday if all goes well. See you there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another day we didn't make it

_MG_1232, originally uploaded by phaird.
Toby just got into the park today when he heard the very busy Maynard Gun Club. I know it seems crazy that a gun club that is over 4 miles away would bother my dog. Anyone who asks what is wrong doesn't even know what that sound is. It's so distant and faint.
But Toby. He knows. He HATES it. We just got into the park, did some business, and then as soon as he heard the first shot, he was back in the parking lot. At this point, there is little I can do. I didn't have my leash with me and even if I did, I end up dragging him along, he's not happy; I'M not happy and I have to walk him around for 1/2 hour in the woods to get him to start to calm down, IF we make it that far.
It was a gloomy day anyway. The park was quiet. I was just hoping to start photographing people and their dogs today. I brought in my sample pictures and knew I could get a few more people to photograph. It's just a minor setback. I really planned to photograph next weekend so if you read this and are normally at the park; make sure you are ready to get your picture taken. It's going to be fun. The pictures are turning out really great so far. I've only got 3 but I really want to do a lot more. I'm hoping to photograph about 25 people and dogs and end up with 15 or so really great photos.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Emma on the run

Emma on the run, originally uploaded by phaird.
It was a beautiful day this last Sunday. Because of Mother's Day, it was a little quiet but many of the regulars, like Emma, was here.

With the sun shining, it was not too hot or too cold, it was perfect for all the dogs. Some have lost their winter coats already and others are still holding on. The swimmers got to swim and the runners got to run so overall, it was beautiful at the park.

Emma's dad was explaining that Howard Stern might become my competition. He's been talking on his show about how much he is getting into photography but instead of taking all his new camera gear on the road, he has been taking photos of his dog. I don't think he's going to quit his day job so I think I'm all set.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Building new photos

As most of you know, I'm working on building up my portfolio which has given me a flood of ideas.  One is to create a diptych of a dog and it's owner.  I'm hoping that fans of my dog park blog who see me at the dog park would be interested in being photographed but I'm also making a bigger call to everyone and anyone who will let me set them up and photograph them.  My idea is to photograph a portrait of the human and then do a portrait of the dog with the owner behind them.  This might be a little tricky.  Most dogs want to be looking at their owner or go to them if not wondering off to do their own thing.
This photo is of Bill and his dog Tyson, a little rat terrier.  I'm excited about the outcome and think it would make for a good series of images.  The plan is to set up a shoot day at the dog park on May 22 at the S. Acton dog park.  The dog park  is always full of dogs on Sunday morning so anyone who wants to bring their dog can get a photo done and I'll create a diptych of each. Everyone can get a digital file of the final edit of those I use or if you want it printed, I'll make it available as well for a small printing fee.
Leave a comment if you're interested.
This post was first on my main site's blog.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Run in the park

Run in the park, originally uploaded by phaird.
It was a beautiful morning at the dog park. Quiet because of Easter, but still a good crowd came out. Holiday or not, our dogs need their exercise. There was still areas that was really muddy but the grass is starting to take hold of the earth so it wasn't nearly as bad as the weeks before. The warmer weather added the extra moment where you could just stand around, gab with friends and watch the dogs run.
Of course, the dogs were loving it too. Most took advantage of the pond while others rolled in the mud. I watched a Golden walk out of the park looking like a brown lab, she had so much mud caked on her. A lot of dogs still have their winter coats still and will be getting trimmed soon. Another great step into spring heading for a hot and exciting summer.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring is slowly coming to the east

Bernese getting a but scratch, originally uploaded by phaird.
Even though we had around 4 inches of snow on Friday, it all quickly melted away and the sun is warming up our little park.
It was a really nice morning at the park. Toby and I came early, sloshed through the mud and went for a walk up in the woods. Toby wasn't on his best behavior but once he had his walk, he did okay. Last year, I started coming early to keep him from being overwhelmed and this spring and summer, I'm going to do the same. There is also a group of early birds I don't normally get to see and am looking forward to getting to know their dogs too.
There was a lot of energy at the park and the dogs knew it. Everyone was running around, playing chase and having a good time. As things thaw, I think the dogs start to pick up the scents of things that were buried under the snow all winter. I love seeing all the different dogs who don't always make it during the colder months. I hope to see even more as the grass gets greener.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Visitng the early birds

_MG_7998, originally uploaded by phaird.
I had to be home early today so I went dog park early. Another cool sunny day, the ground was still hard and there were only a few people there. I got to photograph one of the biggest dogs that come to the park though. This beautiful Irish Wolfhound towered over the other dogs and stood at my waste. It is amazing to see such a large dog and know that he is so gentle too. Unlike my Toby, he mostly just check everyone out and played a little. Good thing for him there were some very playful dogs who egged him on to play. A good time was had by all.

Monday, March 21, 2011

pick up poop day

pick up poop day, originally uploaded by phaird.
I love my dog park. I try to go every week but I've missed a few lately (as you know) but the park still has a life of it's own. An idea surfaced last week by a few people to come to the park with shovels and buckets to pick up all the stray poop bombs that were missed over the winter. It's not surprising that this is needed. When unpacked snow is over 2ft high, it's not easy to get to, let alone, find you dogs waste over the winter. My hats off to all the dog owners who came out early, with shovels and buckets and walked from edge to edge of our park. The Town of Acton should be proud to know that their are so many people who care and appreciate this soccer field we share all year round.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week three without the park

I'm not sure if this is really a bad thing for me. I miss my dog park friends and taking pictures at the park but it's March. The weather is slowly warming up and the snow is melting. Sounds good. The bad part is the MUD! I'm sure the park is a muddy mess. Most dogs don't mind that and as any seasoned dog owner will tell you, you don't wear nice clothes to the park. But I'm okay with missing out. Toby isn't a mud dog (thank goodness) and with the dirt and mud and how messed up the field gets, I'm not going to feel guilty for not going.

I do hope to be there this next week though. Finally have a free weekend and can get back to the park. I can't stay away too long. It is my ME time that I get to share with Toby and be surrounded by so much great dog energy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What are you thinking?

Hey Dog park fans. Because I can't make it to the park Today, I decided to think about the dog park book project. Since I got a video camera, I'm even more excited about capturing stories as a stepping stone to writing a my dog park book. (and with cool tools like iPads and nooks, the options for a multi-media book sound even better). So I'm wondering what are some good questions to ask. As park lovers, what are you most interested in? Post comments of what you'd like to know more about either from individuals or just general ideas.

My hope is to get to a point where I've got a good foundations of interviews (I've got LOTS of photos) and start a Kickstarter request to self publish this book. I'd love to have this at a level of completion so I can move onto my next long term project - Working Dogs.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Missed park two weeks in a row

toby dual focus 7/52, originally uploaded by phaird.

Well, even with great weather on Friday, Toby and I didn't make it to the park for 2 weeks in a row. Very sad. I won't be in town next weekend either so I'll have to find other interesting stories to send along to my blog followers.

I've been wanting to do three updates a week but that has yet to happen. Time gets away from me and by the end of the week, I barely have time to sleep, let alone blog about the dog park.

Okay. Enough of the pity party for myself. I hope you like the pic of Toby.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The chase is on

The chase is on, originally uploaded by phaird.

There is SO much snow at the park now. It's crazy but that doesn't stop too many people. There was still lots of dogs and people at the park today. Our space was a little smaller then some of the dogs might want but there was still running room. Where the snow wasn't packed down, it was at least 2 feet deep. Some of the lighter dogs could walk on it but most were swimming up to their noses when then ventured off the packed area. The fun trick for dogs who like to fetch is to throw a snow ball out in the unpacked snow and let them try to get out and back. A great way to get there energy out.
I know I don't get Toby out enough with all this snow. There is no space around my house for our daily walks so visits to the park is precious for him. Well, to be honest I really like it too.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Video about Tika

Tika: The perfect dog from Fred Levy on Vimeo.

This Video is one of the first from the park. I've started bringing my camera and have been talking with some of the regulars I've become friends with. Now I've got 2 cameras around my neck so I hope this will add to some exciting stories beyond just Toby and me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cold and sunny day

walking-in-snow, originally uploaded by phaird.

Sunday at the park was really cold and sunny but not too windy. It ended up being a really nice day but I was worried I wouldn't even get past the parking lot. Toby isn't a fan of the cold and I had him wearing a sweater because it was in the teens. I figured he'd hate it and not even get out of the car. He did though and once he started running around, he seemed to enjoy himself. Many of the regulars were out and even a new Aussie puppy that everyone was fawning over.

I avoided the park for the past weekends because of the crazy weather that Toby isn't wild about but when I do go out I always like the photos I come back with. With the bare trees and snow on the ground, I am often really happy with the pictures I come back with. I brought out my new video camera too but editing and uploading those take a lot more work but I hope to have some great stuff soon.

For those of you who come to the park and read this, I'd be really interested in recording some of your best memories of the park any given day so when you see me at the park shooting, just strike up a conversation and let me record it. It's great to share memories.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Local Dog sledding

I didn't make it to the park this weekend but I did get Toby out a little bit.  Most know Toby isn't a cold weather dog.  I did see though this short little story on WBZ about sled dog sprint races.  It's not the long drawn out race like in Alaska Iditarod but more of a sprint race around a track in a park. This is something I'm going to have to find out more about.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blog gets a makeover

It's a new year and with that new opportunities and more chances to spend at the park, taking pictures, and enjoying each day.  It is also a good time to look at all my on line work and see what is out of date.  Using bloggers new templates, I decided to give my blog a face lift.  It is a whole new look but I think it is for the better.  I'm also hoping to continue to make more updates and expand my blog even more.  Keep connected and let me know what more you'd like to see on my blog.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mini Pin on ice

Mini Pin on ice, originally uploaded by phaird.

it was a cold and icy day here at the park. Kids were skating on the pond which I always love. I grew up on CA and never had to deal with snow till I moved to MA. I've been here a while now so I'm use to it.

This little guy needed that sweater though because it was a cold morning and the wind was blowing. Toby and I started the morning by going for a walk in the woods before coming down to the open park. We needed to get our blood flowing and after that, it wasn't so bad.

Winter is always a little quieter at the park. I knew it would be too. Last week was warm and all the snow was melting and slushy. Now that it's cold, it's all frozen and icy. Makes for walking kinda tricky. Even the dogs were slipping around on the ice. That never stops them though. Might slow a few of them down but not the young ones. They still want to run, chase and play. That's a dogs life.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A foggy rainy beautiful day

_MG_6239.jpg, originally uploaded by phaird.

Happy new year to all my fellow dog park fans. Sundays weather was warm which caused the snow to raise up into a thick cloud of fog. As the fog was lifting, it started to rain so I didn't stay at the park very long.

It is a new year so a new chance for new beginnings. I got a video camera and plan on bringing it to the park on a weekly basis. I'm really eager to start collecting stories from people at the Acton park as well as some other area parks. I've been meeting people at other parks and want to go back and meet some new people and get their stories.

This year will offer some great opportunities and I'm really excited for them.