Nightly Dog Walk

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sara and I take Little Guy (LG) and Jazz out regularly for a nighttime walk. The Chiweenie, LG, is high-strung and ever so vigilant. God forbid a wadded up piece of paper blows across someone's yard a block or two away.  That's all it takes to set off one of his four-alarm barking fits. He emotes whenever he sees a pedestrian, a dog, a flicker of light, etc. We neutralize his loud rants by swooping him up into the crook of the arm of whomever is walking him and then cover up his eyes—with one hand. … Such a tiny face. Remarkably, LG is the most visually-oriented dog I've known.


















Sara walks LG as I follow behind with my camera and Jazz, our mellow senior dog. In the picture above, I pointed an LED pocket flashlight at the stop sign while holding onto Jazz's leash. She is used to my nighttime canine photo forays and holds still. With my free hand, I quickly compose the scene and then gently click the shutter.










































Next time you go on your nightly dog walk, take a camera along. Experiment and have fun. Advice: Set the camera to a high ISO, a wide aperture, and engage the image stabilization (IS) feature.  Have fun. Good luck. Then afterwards, muck around in Photoshop.

© 2014 by Robert D. Rosinsky

Prozac For Dogs

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oh no! Our Chiweenie is out of control. Prozac for dogs?


























Perhaps later. Now he is calm.

Two Dogs

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Two dogs. Our dogs. One old, the other young. One alert, the other inert. Black and tan, both rest in filtered morning light.




























Two dogs. Our dogs. What a life.

Trick Photography

Friday, January 10, 2014

Do you remember the phrase "trick photography"? I do. Anyone who came of age south of the digital imaging revolution does. "Trick photography" is the catchall phrase we used to use to descibe a still photograph that was either obviously manipulated or one that beckoned us to suspend our disbelief.

"Photoshop" is now the root of all catch phrases used to described photorealistic or photosurrealistic photography.
















The whiz-bang effects showcased in movies such as Gravity are created by weaving seemingly endless strands of zeros and ones. Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has attained a level of visual sophistication far exceeding anything a movie director could have imagined even back when Star Wars startled audiences nearly forty years ago. 

As a kid growing up in the 60s, the1953 movie War of the Worlds scared the s#*t out of me. In its day, it wowed audiences with state-of-the-art special effects. The scene with the street light in the picture above is a tip o' the hat to the menacing cobra-head Martian war machines that appeared in that 1953 flick.

Patient Santa

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

It appears as though this photo was taken fifty years ago. This image oddly resembles a 1960s Kodacolor print.


One patient Santa sits and waits for the storm to pass. Merry Christmas to all creatures great and small!


On Dog Photography

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


In my last post, I showed how I took pictures of Boo-Boo, a 14 ½ -year-old Pomeranian. In that situation, I opted to use high-key lighting.

I positioned the main light, a smallish octagonal soft box, 45° from the camera. I also raised the main light enough to tilt it down 45°. To fill in the shadows, I aimed a strobe with a snoot towards the reflector disc. For the background, I placed an octagonal soft box (slightly bigger than the main light) behind the dog. I dialed the intensity up as far as I could without clipping the whites.














Boo-Boo looks like a yeti when viewed head-on.


















From either side, Boo-Boo has an interesting profile. Since he is an unconventional-looking dog, I came up with a novel solution—Boo-Boo vis-à-vis Boo-Boo!










Too bad my WordPress template limits photographs to only 600 pixels across. Rotate your tablet, laptop, or monitor to enjoy a higher resolution version. iPhones, Androids, and Windows phones will require a lot of swiping—like petting the back of a virtual dog.













































Rather than having Boo-Boo appear decapitated, I opted to anchor him to a blue line.

Artistic License

Our sweet and gentle dog, Jazz, is asleep nearby. She is old, almost thirteen. The sound and rhythm of her snoring calms my spirit. Ah, serenity.

Our other dog, a high-strung spit of a canine, is sound asleep in our bedroom at the opposite end of the house. Sometimes I lie awake at night and laugh at the strange grunts, moans, gurgles, growls, and rumblings he sends forth. Wide-awake or out cold, that dog constantly verbalizes.

I spent last Sunday morning noodling on a picture of Boo-Boo. I thought about his age—14 ½ years. That is old for a dog. Eat, sleep, play, eat, sleep, play. It's a dog's life.





















Photographing Small Dogs

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It is easier to set up a studio shoot for small dogs than it is for large dogs.

A few days ago, a client brought Boo-Boo, a 14 ½-year-old Pomeranian, to the studio. Prior to our session, we discussed his temperament and distinguishing features. I think it is important to gather information about a dog and his/her owner at least a couple of days before the shoot. A window of even only a couple of days allows me to think about lighting, lenses, and an idea of how to arrange the studio. Although my dog portraits are minimalistic, they do require a good amount of preparation.

My family has a small collection of stuffed dogs and two real ones–a young eleven-pound Chiweenie, and a senior 40-pounder mixed-breed. My favorite stuffed dog is Snoopy. My wife got him about forty years ago; they were inseparable throughout her childhood.
















Either real or stuffed, our dogs help me prepare for a gig. I like stuffed animals; they do not demand treats or get restless. Snoopy is great for testing out lens and lighting combinations.
















Boo-Boo's Photo Session

Boo-Boo and his human arrived right on schedule. The entire session from beginning to end, including final review of the images on an off-camera monitor, took less than an hour.  Due to my prep work and having an assistant available to help manage Boo-Boo, the shoot went smoothly.































Afterwards, I rewarded myself by taking a nice long nap. Odds are that Boo-Boo did the same.

Doctor Archer Is Trapped

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The imagery in this artwork alludes to archery, medicine, China, tic-tac-toe, and rattraps. I leave it to you to interpret this visual poem to your satisfaction, or not. My only hope is that it encourages contemplation, just like trying to remember the details of a dream.

The size of the image unframed is 52 X 17 inches. Due to the limitations of WordPress, I rotated the picture clockwise 90°.

I have entered it into two art shows–one in Lakeland, Florida, and the other in Tampa, Florida. The Lakeland judge, an eighty-five-year old pastel artist, mumbled, "You are a good photographer."  Tiny and frail, frigid air rushing through one of the vents in the gallery almost knocked her down. The gallery manager stopped the gush of air by adjusting the thermostat.

Doctor Archer Is Trapped Bob Rosinsky 2013

"Doctor Archer is Trapped" failed to win a prize in either show. Rats!

Dogs Are Cute But Often Display Vulgar Behavior

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I mostly like taking pictures of dogs. As of late, I have been wandering outside during the daylight hours to take pictures of dogs. Canines behave differently outside than they do in a photo studio outfitted with pristine seamless backdrops, an array of strobe lights, and a photographer nearby (me) aiming a lens directly at them. Liberated from the studio, I am more inclined to toss a pinch of poetic license into the mix. My creativity often spikes during the editing process in the wee hours of the night, while I am doodling and noodling in Photoshop.

Interrelationships between humans and canines have a long history. As species go, dogs and people mostly accept each others' quirks. Here is a charming picture I took at an event sponsored by the local SPCA. It took place outdoors in March; the temperature in central Florida was atypically chilly. The dog and human pictured below dressed appropriately—cute, very cute indeed.

dog wearing a hoody

The following week, I tested out a new telephoto zoom lens at a dog park. Curious to see how fast and accurate the combination of my eye, camera, and lens would perform, I searched for interesting and fleeting scenes. Conceptually, my intent was to capture social interactions among domestic dogs in an open space.

dog behavior

The trio of strangers pictured above got along well from the onset. These dogs knew and accepted their social ranks. The Great Dane obviously commanded respect and admiration. So confident, she allowed lesser dogs—a white Pit Bull and a brown Pit Bull pup to engage in a convivial meet-and-greet. Quirky? This situation appears vulgar to most people, but not to dogs.

People use conversation, eye contact, and body language to make and rate new acquaintances. Dogs sniff, lick, and employ signals with their ears and tails while sizing up each other. A stranger dog only greets an unfamiliar dog with direct eye contact to assert dominance. If the other dog disagrees, a fight ensues.

Everyone I know who is close to a companion dog deals with their pet on human terms, especially when in the company of other dog lovers. However, when dogs are free to romp in a dog park, we tend to dissociate ourselves from them. Ironically, people often perceive dogs interacting with other dogs as vulgar. Tussling about in the dirt, sniffing, snorting, licking each others' orifices, and mouthing detritus in full view falls way outside acceptable human behavior.

The picture below is an abstract interpretation of vulgarity. It started out as a picture that I took at the dog park.

Vulgar dog picture

I strive to avoid anthropomorphizing dogs. Intellectually, I realize dogs are simply dogs. Whatever I perceive as vulgar is my baggage, not theirs.

Puppy Love

This dog's human companion unabashedly engages in a public display of affection. Dog behaviorists unanimously agree that dogs do not like to be hugged. Hugging is what primates do to express their feelings towards each other. Dogs do not hug each other.





Little Guy the Dog Muse

Sunday, May 27, 2013

We have two dogs, Jazz and Little Guy. We adopted Jazz from a shelter in Dedham, Massachusetts, almost eleven years ago. She is a sweet, mellow Heinz 57 kind of a dog. I owe much to her. She enabled me to experiment with lighting, cameras, and behavioral psychology to hone my craft. She prefers not to work as a studio model anymore. She is old and arthritic.


















A year ago, we adopted a Chiweenie named Bailey from a Dachshund rescue organization in South Florida. Bah Bailey—what a stupid name for a feisty eleven-pound Chiweenie. Within a week, we were calling him "Little Guy." He quickly caught on to his new name.

While Jazz is a self-assured forty-pounder, Little Guy is always slightly anxious. He is the type of dog that reacts to the sound of a person sneezing three houses over.  Annoying? Yes. He sometimes pushes us over the cliff. Cute? Yes. He cracks us up with his repertoire of facial expressions, consistently stinky breath, Napoleonic complex, delightfully tactile coat, silly antics, and independent spirit. His vocalization skills are beyond impressive. I daresay his range spans four, five—maybe six octaves. He talks in his sleep. He is the silliest canine friend that I have ever had. I love him for that.

















A couple of months ago, my daughter Helen and I took him to the local dog park. Of course, he pulled us along into the area sectioned off for big dogs. Much to our surprise, he headed straight towards the agility course. Helen and I looked at each other in amazement. Human passers-by could not help but comment about his prowess. He was the toast of the park. He outclassed all of the other dogs.


























Not to diminish my love, admiration, and appreciation for Jazz, Little Guy presents a wider range of artistic possibilities as a photography subject. Perhaps it is his kinetic nature, or maybe he is simply an absurd creature who presents endless photographic opportunities—in the field and in the studio.
































































Little Guy inspires me to push dog photography to new heights. Jazz helped me learn how to capture the essence of a dog's personality in a studio environment. Little Guy is teaching me how to break the boundaries and take dog art to new and interesting places.

Between muzzle and tail, every dog has at least half a dozen stories to tell. Thank you for helping me expand my vision, Little Guy.