X Marks the Spot

Monday, June 23, 2014

I like watching storms. I see a front moving in. I drive up to the top of a hill—a few blocks away from home.


As I pull into the cul-de-sac, I see an "X" on an embankment.


Windows XP is no longer supported.


An ominous front, it moves fast. Pink and white blankets in the foreground are discards from a tryst, I reckon. At night, city lights sparkle along the horizon. This is a lovers' lane.


Getting soaked, back into the car I go.

Original contents, © Bob Rosinsky, All rights reserved.


Bird Poop

June 5, 2014

A quiet golden-hour view at a rest stop: Nice.

Peaceful Rest Stop

Thup! Huh? What the hell…


Oh crap. A vulture dumped a load. … Look at that.

Vulture Poop On the Windshield

That night, I dreamt I could not wipe that spot out of my mind. … What a nightmare.


Do you dream in color or black and white?

Original contents  © Bob Rosinsky. All rights reserved. Photos are available for purchase.




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 hyper-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.

Another Version: Tip O' the Hat to Stephen King



The Wet Dog Across the Pond

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Every so often, a gift falls from the sky or drifts in from cyberspace. This gift arrived via the photography website that I have been visiting for years—The Luminous Landscape (LL). It is a wonderful place to visit, especially if you are interested in photography, photographers, tech-talk, and camera gear.

Every so often, I upload one of my dog pictures onto LL. My favorite place to post is in the section called "The Coffee Corner" located at the bottom of LL's discussion board page.

A few weeks ago, while checking out LL, I saw an excellent picture of a dog. I liked the image so much that I emailed the photographer to ask if I could show it on my blog.

The photographer, Jim Pascoe, emailed back. He gave me permission and attached that picture along with another.

I love the mood this picture evokes. It has the "feel" of a 1930s English film, a la Hitchcock.

Hello Robert

I enjoyed reading Jim Pascoe's reply. His note contains a pleasant blend of humor and irony.

"Hello Robert,

Funny enough, I was thinking of you when I uploaded the picture to Luminous Landscape, because I believe you are the guy who sometimes posts dog related stuff onto the site, and I am not really an animal photographer.

Glad you like the picture though, and I have attached two different ones for your blog. I was photographing two little boys in the New Forest here in England. Mum had brought along our dog who was making a nuisance of himself by running around in and out of the stream nearby—generally getting in the way as they (dogs) do! It was a muddy, wet, and grey day. After the shoot, mum strapped the boys into the back of the Land Rover and shut the dog in. As we were standing around chatting, I noticed the dog poking his head out of the vehicle window and looking around the woodland car park in an interested way—I was just inspired to point the camera at him. He was wearing a fluorescent yellow collar so the mono (B & W) conversion was an easy way out!

For the technically minded, I took the picture with my old Canon 1Ds mk3 and a Zeiss 50mm f2 macro lens (manual focus). The aperture was f2.8. Because it was quite dark, the ISO was 800.

I am available for dog portrait shoots in the US, subject to travel costs and accommodation of course! Hah, hah!

Best wishes, Jim"

Top Dog note: The wet dog across the pond pictures are among my favorite dog photos found on the web so far this year. If you have an interesting dog picture, please tell me about it in the "Leave a Reply" section below. I will respond with instructions on how to send a jpg to TDI world headquarters.


Retirement Home

Friday, March 29, 2013

Here is a postcard from the 1920s of a home for retired union workers who belonged to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners has been in existence for 130 years. At some point, the union eliminated "Joiner" from its name. The UBC is one of North America's largest building-trade unions.

In 1928, the UBC purchased 2,000 acres in Lakeland, Florida. It designed and built this postcard-perfect retirement home for old tradesmen who would have otherwise been destitute. During the home's heyday, nearly 400 white men resided there. Note the irony of a union retirement community in a state that to this day eschews collective bargaining.

A Restored Panorama Photograph

The building was completed and dedicated in 1928. A professional photographer, M. C. Mayberry of Saint Petersburg, Fla. took the panorama of the building and grounds upon completion. For decades, this picture languished on a wall somewhere inside of the sprawling building. Without central air-conditioning, heat and humidity penetrated the building and accelerated the picture's deterioration.

By the mid-1970s, with retirees receiving Social Security and pensions, the home no longer served a purpose. It closed in 1976. The First Assembly of God Church purchased the property in 1980 and changed its name to Carpenter's Church. The building served for several years as a church-affiliated school. It is currently vacant. (Historical information obtained from the Lakeland Public Library.)

A clergyman of the church loved the picture and decorated his office with it. When the churched closed, he retained the rickety-framed and faded photograph as a keepsake. The clergyman retired a decade or two ago. One of his friends, a former employee of the church, borrowed the photo for me to restore.

Early Panorama Photography

The most popular panorama camera of the early 20th century was the circuit camera—an ungainly, large, box-like machine. Mounted on heavy-duty tripods, wind and vibration necessitated they be securely anchored in order to capture a crisp image. Circuit cameras were marvels of mechanical ingenuity. They featured a clock-like mechanism that transported the film in one direction while the camera panned in the opposite direction, thus exposing the film quite slowly as it traveled past the lens.

Close-Up Details

Top Dog Imaging restores antique photographs, repairs damaged pictures, and retouches pictures for businesses and consumers. Contact Top Dog at (863) 607-9059 for a free consultation.

Dog Mannequins

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dog mannequins abound.  Doggie boutiques and groomers use them to display merchandise—sweaters, tee shirts, sun glasses, etc. 

We have been taking our dog, Jazz, to a groomer, Wags to Whiskers, in Lakeland since we moved here in 2003. Wags to Whiskers does an outstanding job. In fact, they are so busy that we schedule Jazz's appointments a week or two in advance. Jazz enjoys going there for a bath and a buzz cut. I catch myself anthropomorphizing Jazz. I wonder if she thinks of the groomer the same as my mom did about her weekly visits to the beauty parlor. Is Wags to Whiskers a place where Jazz learns about the latest local doggie gossip?

After patronizing Wags for years, I noticed that they have several dog mannequins. At one time, the mannequins showed off accessories like collars and tee shirts. Now they sit naked in a corner and collect dust.

I asked the owner if I could borrow a couple of the mannequins to photograph in my studio. She agreed. I took them home and set them on our dining room table. (Incidentally, the dining room table is where I leave prints to dry and where clients view their pictures.) We have not sat down at the table to eat a meal since Thanksgiving 2008.

Dog Mannequins on the Erstwhile Dining Room Table

Sometimes, when I walked by the table my brain would trick me for a brief second into believing that those were our dogs being naughty, not inanimate pleather dog mannequins.

Pleather Dogs

One of the things that I love most about photography is problem solving. I spent a couple of sessions in the studio fussing with lenses, lights, and backgrounds. Finally, I hit upon a workable formula.

I will present the next three photos in descending order—from most successful to iffiest.

Photo I

Photo II

Photo III

Dog mannequins are intriguing. I have already scoped out one made of white cotton and another one made out of wire mesh. I see a photo series about to take off called, "Dog Mannequins."

If you like this blog and would like to receive a monthly newsletter containing tips on taking pictures of dogs, amusing dog stories, and Top Dog coupons, please email me at Put "Newsletter" in the subject line.

I am also looking for an agent/rep to help market my dog photography business throughout Central and South Florida. If you are interested, or know of anyone that is organized, understands marketing, and knows how to sell, please call 863/607-9059 and ask for Bob.

Photography and Cats

 Monday, July 2, 2012

Thanks to the many photographers who volunteer their skills and time, countless dogs and cats in shelters find loving homes. The next time you visit your local shelter's website to look at the dogs and cats up for adoption, take note that someone volunteered his or her time to take those pictures. Have you ever tried taking pictures of cats caged up for a week or more? It is not easy.

I met a volunteer photographer at SPCA Tampa Bay who has been taking pictures of cats for their website. Despite the fact that she works a full-time job, she has been volunteering her photography skills for five years. Her name is Anne. She is passionate about photography and cats.

I am a dog photographer and an emphatic "dog person." As much as I appreciate the beauty and the mystery of cats, I have never owned one nor have I ever been close to one. I have only photographed cats a few times.

A couple of weeks ago, Anne graciously allowed me to observe her taking pictures of cats at the shelter. Aside from the obvious fact that cats and dogs are completely different species, their brains and behavioral patterns are as different as apples and oranges. I understand how to relate to a dog on the dog's terms. Cats are alien to me.

I watched Anne work with a couple of cats. My initial impression was that it takes patience and feline empathy just to remove some cats from their cages. Then, once a cat is out of its cage, the handler has to be extra sensitive to the mood and disposition of the cat. Anne spends a lot of time comforting and playing with the cats she photographs.

Anne explained that cats do not tolerate strobe lights. They are also acutely sensitive to their surroundings. At SPCA Tampa Bay, the cats get their pictures taken in a spare, small, quiet, window-lit room.  I learned a lot by watching Anne work. The pace and rhythm of photographing cats is completely different from photographing canines.

Dogs are generally more adaptable to their surroundings. Most are oblivious to strobe lights. Another important detail about dogs is that they are motivated by food. A tasty treat goes a long way as a means of incentivizing a dog to smile for the camera.  

A Brief Note On One Terriffic Dog

The SPCA Tampa Bay is fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers. During my recent visit there, I met a dog who helps out. Unfortunately, I cannot remember her name. This rescue dog is good-natured, despite having a paralyzed hind section and a poor bladder—she wears a catheter and her human pulls her along in a spiffy red Radio Flyer wagon. I am not sure whether her human is on staff or a volunteer.

Pets Uplifting People

Her little red tag says, "PETS UPLIFTING PEOPLE." I'll vouch for that.



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