Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Golden hour at the dog park

Golden hour at the dog park, originally uploaded by phaird.
Sunday was the first really cold, overcast day of the winter and was soon followed by a icy storm that blanked the area with ice. It was not the best day to be out but that didn't stop many people from coming to the park on Sunday. A small crew of regulars came out with their dogs and let them run and play to get their energy out. Most dogs that come to the park know when it's Sunday and get extra excited for this one special day.
This Sunday was the day for Golden's. The newest of which is Cassie. She's only 11 weeks old and is super puppy cute. She's a scrappy little girl who is getting along with all the older dogs. Puppies always go through the gauntlet between humans who want to pet and hold them and older dogs who want to wrestle and dominate them. Cassie though is taking it all and stride and is going to be a well behaved dog when she grows up. Cassie is in a great home too. Her owner had Oscar, who've I mentioned before here. Oscar was a beautiful golden who had cancer on the front paw way too young. His owner did everything to keep him healthy for as long as possible and Oscar was brave till the end. Oscar and owner stopped coming a few years back and we knew Oscar must have passed. It's been a few years and with hearts mended, the need for a dog was back and I'm so happy for Cassie and her family to be back at the park.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Shooting for a purpose

Aussie jumping for ball at dog park
jumping for a ball, originally uploaded by phaird.
For the past few weeks, I've been missing the Acton dog park but I have been out shooting. My friends from the dog park let me photography their 3 aussies running around for the purpose of building my photo portfolio. Each photo shoot, I've been creating new work and testing out shooting styles. Some have been to test gear and others to try new points of view.
I don't go out so much with an agenda but to be able to create some fun photos and build up my portfolio.
Yesterday, I was at the Acton park but went to the back half of the field where most people don't visit. They didn't even know it existed but I know it's the nicest place to shoot. It's well maintained and the morning light is really nice. Today we were running and jumping in an open area while using a small strobe kit. Some of the photos came out really well. I'm hoping to get more soon.
I've got some plans for some studio work too but that will take some more work. Toby will have to be my test for that because it just takes a lot of work to set it up.

Friday, November 2, 2012

It has been a while.

Getting some puppy luv, originally uploaded by phaird.
Wow, where has my time gone. I've been trying to get to the park every week and I've been shooting but I haven't been able to make time to post any new photos.
Last Sunday was kinda strange because it was the calm before the Hurricane Sandy storm. It was overcast and really calm. Now with Sandy passed, I've heard there was some down trees but not too much damage. I hope all my readers got through without any issues.
Now I'm just trying to get ready for winter to start and am looking forward to seeing the regulars who come to the park on even the worst days. It's great what we do for our dogs. Even if we don't like going out but our dogs do, we brave the cold for them. The aussie and husky dog owners know best. My little Toby isn't so wild about snow and cold but once he's out and gets going, he's pretty happy. I just need to get some of that Mushers for his paws to keep his paws safe.
Hey fans, I wanted to also let you know that I'm working on growing my email list for my photo business to let people know what is going on in the world of fred levy art photography. Please sign up to my email list and at the end of the month, I'll be raffling off a photo shoot of your dog worth $300. You can sign up to my private email list (never to be sold) at my Mailchip address. I've also gotten Pawsh Boston Dog Boutique to offer a gift certificate for their store (off Newbury St. in Boston) to a runner up. Please sign up and get a chance to get some amazing photos of your pets and find out more about getting photos for your whole family.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Early at the park

Carmin, early at the park, originally uploaded by phaird.
Wow, has it really been almost a month since I last posted to my blog. So sorry about that. It's been kinda crazy and I don't even know what happened to my summer.
For the past few weeks, I have been coming but just extra early. Two weeks ago, I met Carmin and her owner and we had a good talk about dog parks. It was great being early and not being overwhelmed with the mass of dogs (who I love) that comes after 10am. I've just been so busy that I can't seem to get everything together each weekend to get to the park and then come home and write a post.
Last Sunday, I came early again and it was even more quiet. I think most people who were there came for a walk in the woods. I wasn't there long because Toby heard gun shots so as I was trying to walk in, Toby was heading to the car. That was another short trip to the park.
Hey, (a bit off topic but still related) I wanted to let you know about a photo project I'm doing. I'm offering a special photo shoot for this month to support a group called Smile for a Cure which raises money for canine cancer research. $125 of the shooting fee from any photos this month will go towards the group. Check out my website for more details and feel free to spread the word.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Puppy Love

Brothers from another mother, originally uploaded by phaird.
I showed up a little early to the park just to get out before it got to hot. Well, that didn't work because it was already hot before the day even started.
That was okay though. I brought my boy Isaac today with Toby and the three of us had a good time.
We got to meet two puppies this week which I was really excited about. I saw the Dachshund last week but didn't get a chance to say hello. Today, another person brought her puppy. This American Mastiff experienced all kinds of firsts today. He got to run and play with lots of different dogs. He learned was it was like to play in water and he got to meet this Dachshund who was the smallest dog he'd ever seen. It was a really cute little meeting and the Dachshund made sure to be the top dog. Both are really cute and I hope they keep coming to the park. I'd like to see how big this Mastiff gets.

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's good to be back

Aussie catching air, originally uploaded by phaird.
It feels like I've missed out on the park for weeks when in reality, it's only been a few weeks. I just got back from a week in TN where it was so hot and humid. This weekend weather was cool and overcast. Such a nice change and it felt so good to be back in MA.
The Aussie families were out in force on Sunday. This dog here I don't know very well but the other Aussie parents spotted them from the other side of the field and even remembered their names (which of corse, escapes me). They live a ways out but must come to this park because it's so popular among Aussie owners.
I'm really glad to be back at the park and letting Toby run around and play. He was a little agressive with a few dogs but over all, has been very good at the park. We bought him a Thunder Shirt and though I didn't make him wear it at the park, it has been helpful for him with thunder storms or the Maynard gun club. It's not a cure all but sure helps.
Check out my other photos from this weekend by clicking on the image to get back to my Flickr page.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Maynard goes to the dogs and goes green.

Last night the Town of Maynard, MA got the whole town together to vote on the proposal to convert the old covered land fill into a solar pannel farm and off leash dog park.
"...the large scale photovoltaic facility developer shall construct an off leash dog park on 16,000 square feet, more or less, may only fence in six acres encompassing the actual photovoltaic facility and shall at the end of the term of temporary lease, provide access to and improve the top six acres of the top of the landfill for passive recreational opportunities..."
This is great for the May Dog group who have been requesting for a few years to get a dog park in Maynard.  I remember going to the first meeting with the City and they were very resistant to the idea.  The group putting in the solar panels though saw the opportunity and knew it could be done with little effort on their side.

Sustainable energy and dogs go great together. I don't think it will stop me from going to Acton on Sunday's because it's right next to the Rod and Gun Club. Toby can't deal with gun shots from our house so going right next store will be a bit much.

I also wanted to write that I'm sorry I've not been at the park the past few weeks.  This month has been really busy. I shot at Whisker Walk last week. I'll be in NYC doing a shoot this weekend and next weekend I'll be at Bark in the Park.  My next chance to get to the park is June 24th so don't think I forgot about you. I want to come shoot more and meet all the new dogs and people but this time of year gets really busy.  Keep up with what I'm doing on my Facebook page if you want to come find me at these events.

Monday, May 21, 2012

An advantage of being early.

Sunday was beautiful at the park. I had to come early to the park but I wasn't the only one with that idea. Coming early has a few advantages. It can start off really quiet being one of the first few at the park. My dog, Toby, likes that because it's not overwhelming with all the dogs and people yet. As people start to show up, it's not as jarring and he can deal with the transition much better. It also gives me a chance to talk with a few people or just take photos of the dogs running around. Toby can also get his nervous energy out and calm down as well before the crowds show up. Best of all, once it get's too busy, we can leave and feel we got a good day at the park. Staggering dogs at the park can really work do our advantage.
These two dogs are family and were loving the water and chasing the tennis ball. They would chase anything so even the small stick ended up being a tug-of-war between them. They were super cute and had a great time. I hope to see more of them next week.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bella and the crowd.

Bella and the crowd., originally uploaded by phaird.
Another great weekend at the park. This Sunday was family day. Lots of people have been bringing their kids to the park. There has even been a few strollers coming. All the dogs are always so good with all the kids around too.
Some people get really upset when dogs scare their child in the past but everyone has to remember that this park time is scheduled for dogs. It is pretty rare though that a conflict comes up that isn't quickly resolved. With all these different breeds running around, some might think that it would lead to problems all the time. It's just not the case. Many dogs just love being off leash but will check in with their owners when they wonder too far away. These people love their dogs as family so the dogs expect love from everyone. That is just was dogs do. That is why I love coming to the park every Sunday. I get all kinds of love and I don't even have to have treats with me (though that would help).

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunny day at the park

Isaac and his crew, originally uploaded by phaird.
We are still in our spring weather and it's nice. Not freezing but not warm. This is my kind of weather. I asked my boys if they wanted to go but only Isaac decided to join me today. We had a good time tossing stones in the water and playing with the dogs. It was a good water day for the dogs who were all chasing tennis balls or just chasing each other in and out of the pond.
I love that I always get to meet new someone new. Isaac was learning to play with a little girl who was at the park but his attention span was too short to stay involved with the game. He was much more interested in getting to the water.
I also found out that there is a Facebook group just for this park. As soon as I got home, I looked it up. I'll put a link to it soon but if you want to find it, just look up "friends of Great Hill Park". So far, there are only 20 people involved but I'm sure more will join. I'm going to recommend it to everyone. I hope to keep more people connected.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Sunday at the church of dog.

Romeo hanging out at the park., originally uploaded by phaird.
I was running a bit late on Sunday to get to the park and I figured it would be quiet. Boy was I wrong. The church around the corner from the park uses the dog park parking lot when the other lots get full so there was a lot of people going to church and then the regulars at the park were also out in large numbers.
I brought a longer lens and a video camera to try to shoot both still and video images and it worked out okay. I love this photo of Romeo. I've gotten some nice photos of him lately but this one turned out great. That is Tika in the background. We were all hanging out on the edge of the play area. I wanted to be out of the way because Toby has been a little aggressive lately so by staying on the edge helped for him. Next week I'm going to try to start scheduling people to interview for some fun short videos. I've been collecting photos long enough through this blog that it's time to start get my butt in gear to get a book together. I'm super excited about the possibility of doing an e-book as a multi-media project and this summer, I'm going to really get something started.
Feel free to keep me on track and give me a hard time. I'm going to need to interview lots of people so let me know if you're interested.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Summer gives way to early spring

Sam the man in the water, originally uploaded by phaird.
We had our week or more of warmth, walking around in shorts and t-shirts. It was nice while it lasted but last Sunday was the beginning of the end of the early summer weather.
But our dogs don't care. They want to go out and run, play and swim. The past few weeks I've been bringing my younger son, Isaac and like all 2 year olds, he loves the water and trowing rocks into the water. There must be some driving force that compels them to do it. The joy of youth. Well, Sam, this golden, wanted to fetch what ever isaac was throwing. There are a few dogs who will chase anything and Sam is one of those. He didn't get too pushy which is important because he'd knock Isaac flat if he did. Poor sam though. Isaac doesn't have much of an arm for the long throw yet so every pebble and stone he threw didn't go very far. Sam waited though and just stood in front of Isaac, hoping for a tennis ball or good stick to just appear. Maybe next time Sam.
The last few weeks have been quiet because I've been caring my video camera with me. I wanted start collecting video footage and if I got the chance, even talk to someone about their dog. I've only gotten a few stories recorded so I'm hoping to edit them into more. Shooting and editing video takes a lot more time.
Keeps me busy though so that's good.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

bark softly but carry a big stick!

bark softly but carry a big stick!, originally uploaded by phaird.
Why can't my Toby be like this little guy. One of the smallest dogs at the park and gets lots of big dogs attention but just blows it off. This little dachshund wanted this stick and wouldn't give it up to anyone. He didn't fight or get scared, he just held his own and kept the stick.
My Toby gets one butt sniff and he gets all defensive. Starts fighting and then shamed out of the park. The only good thing is that Tank (the bulldog) put Toby in his place. He squished toby in a mud puddle so Toby had to go home and get a bath. That showed him. I hope this next week is better. It's hard to take photos when my dog is getting in all the other dogs faces. Sorry park.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mud bowl

_MG_5558, originally uploaded by phaird.
Last sunday was a muddy day and these two puppies wanted to get as much on them as possible. There wasn't anything they wanted to do but wrestle and play. If you look at the other photos on flickr, you'll see that even Toby got into it a bit. As a terrier though, he just wanted to dominate the action.
These two are both puppies and have endless amounts of energy. They were going at each other the entire time I was there. Running round wrestle, nocking into people, and getting every dog as muddy as possible. There was a lot of dogs that went right home and into the bath.
That's a perfect dog park kinda day.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The church of dog

Do the dance, originally uploaded by phaird.
Well, the snow is all gone and the brown is back but at least the sun was out. It was a fun day at the park and I got an extra treat because my whole family came with. My wife normally doesn't come to the park but she wanted to get out of the house just as much as Toby so we packed up the kids and all went to the park.
It wasn't all roses though. My 2 year old, Isaac got in the path of a dog and was ran over. He was fine but pretty sad about it. He's the real animal lover of the family but he is also the smallest one at the park walking around so he couldn't keep up with the bigger dogs.
I talked with one woman who didn't know much about the Acton park. We talked about how good the town of Acton is about allowing the dogs to come to this park and that there isn't any formal structure to it. We talked about how Sunday, this park is the dog church. It's a place where we can call come with one soul purpose. To commune with our dogs.
That's the life.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Let it snow!

Mini Pin Jumping, originally uploaded by phaird.
It's nice to finally see snow on the ground at the park. Some of the dogs were so happy to finally run in the powder again. Unlike last year, it's been pretty scarce. Snow on a sunny day is great! The brown of the tree's aren't as bad when the dead grass isn't so obvious.

This little Mini Pin wasn't so wild about it though but it wasn't because of the snow. She had a bad experience at the park with a bigger dog a few weeks back where the bigger dog was too aggressive. Now she won't leave the safety of her mom's legs. I know all about that because Toby is the same way. He's still fussy about the park and dog's have a good memory for bad things happening some places. I feel bad for the little gal. Her mom is making a good effort to get her out and playing with her friends though. These two dogs are super submissive and just wanted to play but she just didn't want any part of it this week. Maybe next week.

There are a few other fun pics on my Flickr Page so check them out.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Oliver and Jake at 13

Oliver and Jake, originally uploaded by phaird.
Two regulars to the park are Oliver and Jake. Jake I've known for as long as I've been coming to this park but Oliver and I are just getting to know each other. There is a beauty of senior dogs that just makes people melt like when the see a puppy. You dog lovers know what I mean. You see a puppy and you just want to pet them and play. Well senior dogs are similar to the point that you want to pet them and show them lots of love. They don't move fast or have big, excited expressions. They have seen the world and know all their is to know (for a dog). They know what is important: Their owner, a comfortable bed, a good soft treat, some time outside and love when they ask. Seems like they have the right idea.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Maggie flying solo

Maggie 2x, originally uploaded by phaird.
This weekend, Maggie was on her own. Normally, Maggie and Snuggles show up to the park and run, bark, chance and tag team all the other dogs. They do it all for fun but they can be loud and freak out some of the other dogs. We love them but this week, they decided to break them up. Maggie and Jake came but Snuggles went to another park. They were testing to see if Maggie could be on better behavior if she's just on her own.
I wasn't at the park long (still helping Toby deal with his issues) but it seemed to be a good start. Their are lots of Aussie's that come to the park so there is not shortage of dogs that want to herd anyone they can.
Maggie didn't stand around long, but I got these two nice shots of her just hanging out. I thought they made a nice pair. I need to take a photo of Snuggles to do the same thing. (I've got LOTS of photos of Jake so he shouldn't mind too much).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy new year

Bella waiting at the park, originally uploaded by phaird.
I'm excited that the new year is here. I'm already working on new projects and trying new ideas. I want to get to the park more and the way the weather has been, It should be pretty easy. Except for Halloween, there has been no snow. This weekend has already been in the 60's so I expect there should be lots of people and dogs out.
This photo of Bella shows watching the entrance to the park. She is always watching to see if her other Aussie friends are going to show up.
There are a more new people who have been coming to the park. A bulldog named Tank just started showing up. He's super cute and I hope to get some good photos soon. Last week, I didn't stay long because Toby was still upset but I'm planning on going early, tossing the tennis ball and see if I can get his energy out. He's getting up their in years but he still loves fetching.
Hope to see you at the park.