My Christmas tree is decorated mainly with a couple hundred shatterproof silver and gold ornaments that I bought last year when my pup Lobo was just a few months old. While I have a collection of glass and ceramic ornaments, I decided not to use most of them since I didn’t really know how this energetic wolf-pup was going to react to a giant green and glittery thing suddenly (well, not that suddenly) appearing in front of the living room window with all sorts of shiny stuff hanging from it. The photo below is from last October, when he was about four months old, with a little piece of the back yard sticking out of his mouth. Highly motivated to carry things, it’s not unusual for him to bring in leaves, pebbles, and sticks — including sticks that are too wide to fit through the door without him taking a few seconds to figure out how to turn them and slip them through.
Toys and balls get taken outside, because, you know, carrying things works both ways. Dog biscuits aren’t eaten; they’re carried. Drop a pen: it’s carried. Socks on the floor, dishtowels, a fallen piece of paper: carried. You get the picture. So I was certain he’d snatch things off the tree and carry them around the house, and I got shatterproof ornaments just in case they were to be batted off the branches then carried away.
A year later — with the tree once again decorated with the new unbreakables — this is as close as he ever gets to it. That’s the tree skirt in the lower left corner; the tree itself gets barely a glance. He doesn’t lay under it because he doesn’t like being under things … a funny little personality quirk that I’ve notice since he was a pup: even if we’re tossing a ball around the house, he’ll wait for it to roll out from underneath a coffee table before he snaps it up. Should the ball roll under the dining room table and stop against the table legs, he’ll alarm-bark until the properly trained human retrieves it for him. So we can only get pictures of him near the tree, not under it. Dogs are such a hoot.
Here are a few shots of the silver and gold ornaments, installed on the tree for the sake of the dog. It was fun to see how the pictures came out, with the silver reflecting mostly blue luminance from the tree lights and the gold reflecting mostly red. The angels in the last four shots are on the tree also; apparently to the pup those do have carrying potential, and I catch him occasionally staring at those, most likely while working on a strategy to get them in his mouth.
Thanks for taking a look and enjoy the photos!
I took the six photographs below as an experiment after reading this article about photographing Christmas scenes, especially the sections on dealing with low light: How to Use Christmas Bokeh for Creative Holiday Photographs. I took more than six photographs, of course, and I’m looking through the others trying to learn what works well under holiday lighting conditions (!!) and what doesn’t. My camera has a “Night View” mode that I have used before but wanted to understand better, so some of the photos were taken with that setting — an automatic setting that increases ISO to enable a higher shutter speeds but also introduces noise and reduces my control over the results.
For some of the photos, I switched to using a tripod so I could try long-exposure shutter speeds and a lower ISO to eliminate much of the noise; for those taken with the “Night View” setting, I used Lightroom and the Nik Collection tools to reduce it and threw in some background softening to pretend the noise wasn’t there. I’m like a bull in a China shop with a tripod, mostly from lack of practice but also because my tripod isn’t quite right for the camera and isn’t strong enough to safely hold it with a lens attached (and it doesn’t work very well without the lens). I should invest in a new one — or maybe one of the Santas will stick one under the tree — but I’m not convinced I’d use it enough, though I’ll probably change my mind about that after a while.
Thanks for reading and taking a look; more lateron!
Three pups …
Two Santas …
One fish …