Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why I do what I do

Many times during networking, I get asked what is my favorite part of my job. On days like today where I woke up to 6 inches of snow, it's being able to stay home in my slippers if I want, unless I feel like going out to photograph the new scenery. But one of my other favorite things is getting to bring a smile to someone's face and to help them in some small way.

I did a photoshoot earlier this month for a family and their five dogs. Yes, I said five. They have a couple of their own and some long term fosters as well, so they all came out to Cherry Creek Park and we had ourselves a fine time.

Autumn the Chessie/Shepherd mix

 Orpheus the Lab was in Heaven with all the water still in the streambed.

 Satchel leading the charge

Sinister the Rhodesian/Rottie/? mix. He is teh awesomesauce!

And then there was the grand patriarch of the family, Mozzie. Mozzie had a very rough go of life for a very long time before he ended up with Mile High Weim Rescue and this family. Then he was so pampered he didn't know what to do, except rule the house.

Old dog smiles rule

What made this shoot so special? Because Mozzie had a bunch of health issues and that included not being able to walk very far for very long. But luck smiled on him and us that day and he had a blast through the hour, even making it down into the riverbed with everyone else. He was having a Very Good Day.
Mozzie loves his mama

Because I'm friends with his family on Facebook, I was privy to the updates following this shoot. Mozzie had a great night that night. The following morning he wasn't feeling too hot. It progressed through the day and got worse each day afterwards. Trips to the vet to see if there was more medication to give him, something to help ease the vomiting, anything. 

Mozzie was helped over the Bridge about four days after this shoot. 

What makes me happy about this is that I am able to give his family picture proof of his last good day, complete with smiles. 

It's the little things that make me love my job.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Fall Color Contribution

Even though the only thing that says "Hey, Summer took off for a few months and left me in charge" is the brilliant colors on the trees, Fall has arrived, if only for a short time.

My neighbor's gorgeous maple tree

Something I'm learning about Colorado is that there is Summer, Indian Summer, Winter, Not-Quite-Winter and Summer. The median seasons sort of get run roughshod around here. So while this weekend is going to be in the 70's and sunny (perfect for the Chazzer BBQ!), by Wednesday they're predicting snow. *sighA fellow forum member has been getting some absolutely brilliant action shots with her 50mm lately and it's making me a tad bit jealous, even though I'm adoring this thing for portrait work. So I decided to slap my 50mm on my camera and see what I could come up with.

 Unfortunately, I'm not quite bendy enough at the moment to get the angle I wanted (all tree/dog, no house) and still hold up the rubber duckie for his attention. Sawyer was being...less than cooperative that day. 

 Still, though, how freaking awesome 40's Golden Age of Hollywood handsome is this??

 "How YOU doin'?"

Words cannot adequately express how much I love this dog. Even when he goes all cavedog on innocent toys.

But then he goes back to looking like this and I just *melt*

Since the trees are gettin' all glammed up and such, I thought I'd join in on the fun and paint my nails. Since, you know, they're getting all long and pretty and this is a great way to get them to break off to the quick. But damn if they don't look good while doing it!

Before/iPhone pic (fluorescent light)

After two coats of Essie's "Thigh High"/iPhone (natural light)

This was part of the Reds collection I won in a giveaway from Laquer Ninja and also came with a fabulous "Malibu Blue" from Essie as well. I love how this stuff wears, especially with the topcoat. I'm rather hard on my nails and it's not often I can get them long enough to where polish looks good. Now, thanks to taking JuicePlus+ for a few months and the season winding to a close at the stables, they've actually had a chance to grow. Which means I have a chance to murdercate them in the name of beauty.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Change of Plans

So in my last post I mentioned how I was constantly amazed at the sheer obliviousness of people? Now put those people behind the wheel of a car and get ready to *facepalm*.

About like that...

Carriages have turned into such a novelty that people have wholly forgotten that A) horses are living, breathing, thinking animals and B) they don't have that German-engineered finely tuned precision steering that your BMW does. Also, they're sort of slow. So when you see a carriage in front of you in whatever downtown you happen to be in at the time, please remember to PAY FUCKING ATTENTION TO WHERE THAT CARRIAGE IS GOING. If the carriage is half in a turn lane when you come flying up on the back of it, they're probably going to be turning and is moving into position. This does not mean your correct response should be to try and squeeze in between the carriage and the curb. And especially not at speed.

 Even Picard and Riker know that.

No, I'm really serious here. It's like meth. Don't do it, not even once.

But that's exactly what happened last night and I about died of a heart attack. The horse nearly died of a V8 engine. Luckily, thankfully, there was *just* enough room and I was frantically hauling back on the reins as fast as I could to both stop and get the horse stepped over, but please refer to the above part about not being a finely tuned etc. etc. so no equine to fiberglass contact was made, but it was damn close.

And then there's that whole Occupy Everywhere thing going on, right? I don't much get into politics on this blog, BSL being the the rare exception and I'm not going to start now as to where I stand on the whole issue. However, last night I was keeping a very close eye on my Twitter feed about the whole issue, because where the protesters were massed was not all that far from where we park in between rides and was definitely on one of the most popular routes. So when I started seeing tweets mentioning that the riot police had started trashing everything and forcibly shooing people out of the park, things got a little tense. An unknown amount of riled up people were now marching through a semi-confined area on 16th St. Mall and it could turn pretty ugly, pretty quickly. We ended up bailing as soon as we could hear the shouting, mostly to save the horses the trouble of getting spooked.

Downtown Denver is never boring, to say the least.

I know I said driving carriage was going to provide a lot of blog fodder and that's true. However, this is the last post about carriage driving I'm going to be able to write. After the episode with the car, combined with the fact that things are only going to get busier as the holidays approach and the reality that downtown and my ADD just won't work together (I hate driving a car downtown for the same reasons and try to avoid it at all costs), I talked with the owner and quit.

Moar stress? Do Not Want.
Sinister, part of a family photo shoot I did the other week and will talk about in a later post.

Thankfully, I was able to do it in such a way--and I had made a good enough personal impression with her--that we parted on good terms (she's still going to be my Scentsy customer!) and the offer stands for me to come back and try again should I ever feel the urge. I love horses, I think carriage driving is fun, but I can't take the stress and pressure of driving downtown. I have it too ingrained in my head that people have a sense of self-preservation, that people in cars pay attention to details such as a half a horse sticking into their lane. Silly me! I don't know how the Amish do it these days, driving on the side of friggin' highways. Hats off to them!

I finished out the night and did all the usual end-of-night stuff, pushing my carriage back into place, cleaning the harness, all that stuff. Turns out it's a really good thing it was the last night, because in the course of all that, I threw my shoulder out. Again. This whole "getting old, healing slower, getting nagging injuries" really blows hard, y'know? I was looking forward to getting to play Ultimate Frisbee again for about the 5 minutes between quitting and realizing what that "pop" in my shoulder signified. I'm hoping that I'll be able to play Spring league, as Fall league is now shot.

In the meantime, I've got some photo gigs coming in, Scentsy is picking up quite nicely and I just interviewed for a supervisor position at a new pet food store that's opening up about 15 minutes from me. If I'm going to have to work outside the house this winter, at least I won't have to drive far to do so and won't have to actually be, you know, outside. And I'm pretty stoked about the fact that I'll have my weekends back again!

More time for me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

End of the Summer

Means a return to blogging and other techo-oriented type things. Yet another summer managed to get sucked into the stables, depsite me spending all spring going "NO, NO, I'm only going to ride on the weekends!" And then the weekends turned into, "Well, Thursdays are getting pretty busy, they need the help..." and it just went from there. Suddenly I found myself in the saddle for six days a week again. It's not all bad though, money is always nice, riding is awesome and I got to bring my camera and play around.

A little bit of artsy: "Tools of the Trade"

A little bit of people; these two girls were inseperable best friends, until August. Then the red head went to college here in Colorado and the blonde went to Kansas. So they had a "last hurrah" shoot before they parted ways. It was one of the most fun shoots I've done in a while--and they made it SO DAMN EASY.

I've actually gotten some good business from that shoot, just from how much people like the photos. Hooray!

Then there was the horses themselves. They're always a blast to photograph, especially when they feel like kicking up their heels.

Manitou, 22 years old and one of our best trail horses. He still knows how to get down and party.

I finally managed to snag that 50mm f/1.8 portrait lens I've been coveting for oh so long. I sold the 18-200 for enough to literally turn right around and buy the 50mm. This is a spiffy little lens!

Lazy Dog Days of Summer

I seem to have made one gross miscalculation though. Seized by a moment of panic back in August, I realized that my sort of steady stream of income was going to dry up and while photos and Scentsy are bringing in some nice pocket change right now, it's not guaranteed that everyday I'll be getting handed money. And camera equipment is expensive. So I asked the owner of the stables if he knew of anything, he pointed me in the direction of a carriage company downtown, who essentially hired me on the spot.

I don't know nuthin' 'bout drivin' no carriages, Miz Scawlette!

But I'm learning. There's more that goes into it than I thought there would be, mostly because PEOPLE ARE FUCKING STUPID. Seriously. I'm driving a big white Percheron, attached to a big white carriage.

Pretty much this exact setup, except that horse would blend in with my pants instead of making them look plaid.

One would think, "Hey, that should be easy enough to notice, right? Especially in an area where one has to constantly be on the look out for big giant buses that take great delight in trying to run over anything in their paths."

One would be sorely mistaken.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many people have walked straight into the horse or the carriage, or backed up into the horse that has been standing still for 15 mintues and then act super surprised that we were there, or they'll just traipse blindly out in front of us as we're moving. I very nearly ran over a group of three people that just walked in front of us, as we were trotting down the street to try and get out of the way of the bus coming up behind us and THEY DIDN'T NOTICE. I had to pull up so short my poor horse about sat on her haunches and THEY DIDN'T NOTICE. The people behind them noticed enough to yell at me though. It's like, seriously? Isn't one of the first rules any of us learned "Look both ways before crossing the street?"

Ted likes to go on long-winded philosophical rants about the obliviousness of people and how it's such a heavy contribution to what's currently wrong with the world. I like to hear him ramble, so I don't really stop him, but in this case, it's true. And what's even more screwed up, is that I would be the one held liable for someone else's rampant stupidity. I can't even slightly bruise them to try and make them pay just a little more attention to their surroundings.

This job is going to probably give me a few more grey hairs but at least there will be plenty of blog fodder.

Anyway, here's your Happy Ending Puppy.

Plz only squish me with luvs!