you have good eyes

52 Weeks of Champi

Nikon D300, 16-85mm, f/3.5-5.6, shot at 24mm f/8

Check out this shot of Champi’s first experience on the beach.  I think we all were excited and exhausted from our long road trip from Dallas to San Francisco.  As expected, Champi (and all of us, really) were happy to not be in the car after 3 full days of travel.  Shortly after this shot was taken, Champi became a little more couragous with the water and began biting at the surf, which led to biting at the sand…lol.  Pups, what can you do with them!? Champi has only spent a few days in her new home, but she seem to be getting along just fine.  We think she really appricates the more temperate Pacific climate with all that fluffy fur she wears. As she tends to pant quite a bit less already. =)

For anyone that saw my previsous post about losing a bunch of photos to a corrupt memory card, I am happy to report that I was able to get all the original files with a disk recovery software!  (Hence the photo you see here!!) So if you are ever in the situation when you think you may have accidentally wiped some photos, possibly not all hope is lost!

Nikon D300, 16-85mm, f/3.5-5.6, shot at 24mm, f/8

I am happy to announce that the road trip to SF was a success!  Dorothee and Champi are comfortable in their new apartment and I am already back in Dallas.  The trip was fast and exhausting, so we are glad it is over…now I need to take care of selling our house in Dallas so I can join my wife and pup.  As for shooting, the good news ends here.  Unfortunately, my memory card corrupted and I was only able to get a small amount of pictures off off it.  Luckily, I decided to play around with D-Lighting on the camera body while on the airplane ride back to Dallas.  This saves out a .jpg copy of your file with post-processing on the camera.  For some reason, I was able to capture this photo off the memory card before the whole thing got wiped.  So, I am thankful for that. With that said, I am really bummed about it since I purchased what I thought was a quality Lexar memory card.  Grumble… Life goes on, I guess, and now I am even more egar to visit my wife and dog to take more pics…but that won’t be for a month.  😦

It’s ok, that’s life, sometimes you have got to roll with the punches.  Just remember everyone, use multiple memory cards and don’t forget to backup all of your already captured memories. Come to think about it, I am a little overdue to backup the archives myself.  One more “to do!”

Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, shot at 14mm, f4

Amongst all of the preparations for our road trip out to San Francisco, I managed to sneak away with Champi for one last visit to White Rock Lake.  You could easily say that this was my favorite place to take Champi for walking and shooting.  She really comes alive when she is around wildlife.  Akitas, or at least Champi, must have a natural urge to survey the area.  She is always looking for anything that may catch their attention.  Champi loves to watch birds and is becoming quite fond of chasing insects around too.  It makes for quite a show!  I think she naturally likes being close to the water too.  And I emphasise close…I have never seen her attempt to get any closer than knee deep.  But then again, it may be the cautious puppy in her.  I have heard that her cousins, the Shiba Inu, have a similar preference to the water.  We will see how Champi fairs with the ocean after our long drive to SF this week.  Wish Champi lots of luck for the big car ride…we are going to need it!  =)

Nikon D300, 60mm Micro, f/3.2

Big changes are happening in our life.  Dorothee and I had tossed around the idea of moving away from Dallas in a few years, but an opportunity came by quite suddenly.  Dorothee received a great offer to work in the biotech industry in San Francisco.  I am very happy for her, and us, but sometimes good news comes with a mixed bag of reality.  Long story short, this means that we are taking Dorothee and Champi to their new home in SF next week.  Work is still good for me in Dallas, so I am going to stay behind, continue to work, and sell our house.  Yikes! It sounds like a lot right now.  But, I am confident that we will make things work in the big picture.  My goal is to be out in SF in August, and pick up the 52 weeks project right where we left off.  Not all hope its lost!! 🙂  I will continue to add archived images of Champi to my photostream just to tide me and everyone over till then.  And, as schedule allows, I will be visiting my girls and hopefully get to snap a photo of Champi once a month.  So there you have it.  Not an ideal situation for the project, but rest assured, I’ll be back in action before you know it!!  Until then, I will participate in the non-dog photo challenges.

I See Me 7/52

Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, shot at 16mm, f9

As a lot of you dog owners probably experienced with yours truly, Champi is completely fascinated with her reflection.  It does not matter where or when.  She will look at it quite curiously.  She has even startled herself with a bark sometimes.  I think in this case, she was debating whether to jump in the water, but I am glad she just stared at her reflection inquisitively.

Nikon D300, 16-85mm, f/3.5-5.6, shot at 24mm f/8 (SB-900 off camera left, fired via pop-up)

Champi, Dorothée and I spend so much time at the lake that we figured it would be a nice to get a shot of Champi with the Dallas skyline.  This also provided a good opportunity for me to have a go with the new flash.  I am new to using more than available light, so this is a good challenge.  I am still figuring out how to get the most out the flash, but it is pretty amazing how Nikon flashes sync wireless info from the built in flash on the camera.  In this case, I used the flash to add a little fill light on Champi’s front side with the sun illuminating Champi’s back side.  I plan on continuing to practice with the flash and hopefully get some good night shots before we know it.  Hopefully, I won’t keep Champi up too late after her bedtime…  =)

First Snow 5/52

Nikon D300, 16-85mm, f/3.5-5.6, shot at 35mm f/4.5

We were in for a big surprise this week as this is Champi’s first expereince with the snow!  Living in Dallas, I never thought she would have this much snow to experience, let alone how long it has lasted.  Champi really comes alive in the snow,  She is playful and definitely right at home. Actually, her first experience with the snow, she was quite cautious…but now, she can’t wait to play!

Morning Light 4/52

Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, shot at 11mm, f11

I really, really enjoy going on early walks with Champi…I just hate the getting out of bed part. =)White Rock Lake is one of our favorite places to walk and it was especially empty on Wednesday morning.  So Champi and I had a lot room to expore.  We also found a nice little place where there was less cyclist traffic along the shore and I started snapping away.  There was no specific plan for the shoot, I just had my wide angle lens to get a lot of scenery in the view with Champi.  I noticed quickly how great Champi’s fluffy coat looked in silhouette against the early morning sun.  This quickly became a potential theme for the week and I tried a few different scenarios.  It was a tough call picking the right photo this week as Champi was cooperating quite well.  As always, she was more interested in watching the birds than anything else.  🙂
I put a few other siloette shots in my photostream jayaxe04 that turned out great, but not quite enough for the 52 weeks project.

With the Fishes 3/52

Nikon D300, 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6, shot at 85mm f/5.6

Sunday morning began with a walk through Deep Ellum.  This is a really cool artsy part of Dallas and conveniently very close to my work.  There is a residence that has this great artwork on their door, and it turned out to be a perfect place to stop and snap a photo.  After more wandering around the neighborhood, we ended up at the dog park on Swiss Ave.  It is a great place to hang out and meet new people and dogs.  It is quickly begining to be one of Champi’s favorite things to do.  And it wear her out running around…so we like that. =)

The Triangle 2/52

Nikon D300, 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6, shot at 85mm, f/6.3

The features of Japanese Akitas were commented on in a recently posted discussion thread,
Akitas: American vs Japanese. Many insightful observations were made about the 2 breeds of dogs. I read in an Akita book that one of the sought after features of the Japanese is to have a triangular shape from the top view when you connect the tips of the ears to the nose. Since I did not have a good picture displaying this concept, I thought it would be a worth while challenge for the next photo of Champi. I was lucky enough to slightly catch her gazed before she drifted off into a nap.

Shameless plug, Champi is “Cute Pet of the Day” on Paw Nation!

On the Road 1/52

Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, shot at 15mm, f2.8

Today marks the beginning of a long journey ahead. Champi, our Japanese Akita, my wife Dorothée, and I have taken the plunge and we are going to take part in the “52 Weeks” project! Champi is now about 4 months old, and already a companion for life. We try to take her everywhere we go, and now I will always have my camera with me. You never know when there may be a potential photo opportunity. Champi, Dorothée, and I hope to learn and grow with new and exciting creative photo ideas. This week’s theme: “On the Road” represents all that we have to look forward to for this year. We hope for many exciting experiences to document and also to read all of your stories that you post about your dogs.

Cheers to a great 2011!

Check out more about us on my blog.

Akitas: American vs Japanese discussion.

Happy New Year! 2011 is here and hopefully full of many fun and exciting things. A new project that the I am committing to is “52 Weeks For Dogs.” What is this, you might ask? Flickr has many online galleries for photo sharing, but the catch here is that this project requires you to take a photo of your dog every week for the whole year totaling 52 photos! And of course, no cheating by pulling images from archives or multiple images per week!! Dorothée, Champi and I hope this will be a fun creative way to combine our artistic and dog walking skills… we know which one Champi is more interested in. This project will be a big challenge so we are starting the year off right and took our first shot today.

Looking forward into a new year...

For the past couple of months, I have been able to watch the sunrise on my morning walks with Champi. It has been a major change of schedule for me, but it does have some benefits… (especially with the quality of light for photography.) Dorothee and I knew Champi would be ready to head out in the morning, so we bundled up for a cold and windy New Years Day walk. Naturally, Champi was already prepared. =)

When we arrived at the lake, we did not have a shot specifically in mind, I just knew that I wanted to get a start for the week. Whether or not we got a shot today, did not really matter to me, as we were feeling a little tired from celebrating the night before. We made our usual stroll along the shore of the lake and came across this big hunk of concrete. It seemed like an ok place to take photos as it created a barrier between us and the water, knowing full well that Champi would not mind perching up to survey the area. Not far from the shore is where a lot of birds feed so it kept Champi’s attention. I knew the sunlight was nice and warm coming from the left of the shot, so all I really needed was to get Champi to look in my general direction. I still have not found the best way to get her to pose, whether it is with treats or calling her name in an excited manner, but in this case, we were patient and let her take the time to look around and snapped when she looked my way. I feel that we are very lucky that Champi will naturally stand still as she looks around. The biggest challenge so far is getting her to look into the sun, as she naturally keeps it to her back. We might try the other side of the lake, or maybe sunset for another shot.

Well, this is the first of many, wish us some luck and patience…we are going to need it!

Come see weekly updates of Champi at flickr photostream jayaxe04.



One response

  1. Hi Jay,
    Your blog it’s great! And your “52 weeks project” is very nice.
    I’m Matteo and on Flickr I go by the name of goosebump82. Like I said on Flickr, I’m an Akita, Japanese Akita to be more specific (and by the way I agree with you about the distinction of the two breed) owner.
    Your photos are great and I think you’re a great photographer. Of course the subject of the picture is special to me but I can tell you that these are great shots.
    Champi is a great example of a Japanese Akita which, like you, I prefer.
    I think that they have a more elegant look than the American one. But I never saw an American one so I don’t really know a lot about’em.
    Of course, since I was a kid, I grew up with a Japanese Akita and, since then I fell in love with this particular kind of dog.
    I think that this is a one of a kind breed. They are loyal and protective with the owners, good with strangers but they recognize when they have bad intentions (one night Hirotoshi made a bunch of thieves run away from our house and they ran FAST!!).
    I started photography as an hobby one year and a half ago and I can’t wait to get some more shots at our new puppy.
    Now that I discovered your blog I’ll be sure to follow it as it develops.
    Bye Jay, keep up the good work!

    October 26, 2011 at 6:48 am

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