Thursday, June 7, 2012

5 Tips For Taking Pet Pictures (Without Ripping Your Hair Out)

I don't claim to be an expert in photography, pets or pet photography, but I have been taking pictures of adoptable cats and dogs at Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation for over a year. Here are some tips I wish I had known before I started:

1. PATIENCE Before you start, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it may take longer than you had anticipated to get that killer shot of your pet. This picture of Sasha is by no means perfect. There are shadows and a floating hand, but sometimes you have to take what you can get (Sasha is a very energetic dog and to be honest, it was a miracle that I got her to sit still at all).

2. BE READY Even though they are parts of our families, pets are not people and sometimes their surroundings are far more interesting than your pleas to look at the camera. Calling "Say Cheese!" rarely ever gets their attention (unless you're photographing a mouse). Have your finger on that trigger ready to press when you get the expression you're looking for. If you are taking pictures of your dog with people in the picture, have the people just smile continuously at the camera so that everyone will be ready when your four-legged friend finally deems you interesting enough to deserve a glance.

3. WOO WOO WOO Speaking of getting their attention, have something that makes noise that either an assistant can use behind you or that you can hold above your camera to get them to look at you. If you don't have anything, try saying "Woo woo woo" in a high pitched voice. I'm not sure why that one works, but more often than not, it has worked for me. If you're in a quiet area, sometimes just the camera shutter going off is enough to pique your pet's curiosity. Unless you use film, there's no harm in just snapping some photos to try to get their attention. You might even get some great candids.

4. EARS UP, MOUTHS OPEN If your dog or cat is stressed out, they tend to put their ears down giving them a scared or aggressive appearance. Make them feel comfortable. With more timid animals, this can take awhile. Find an environment that is familiar to them where they can be themselves. After all, the best pictures capture the personality that you love. Be patient enough to let that come out.

5. HAVE FUN Don't stress yourself out if everything isn't perfect. As long as the picture is in focus, the lighting is decent, the background doesn't distract from your adorable subject and you feel as though you have accurately captured your pet's personality, you're doing pretty well! Look at it as a chance to get to know your furry friend better...even if all you discover is that you both have short attention spans.

Have some tips that you've picked up along the way? Add 'em to the comments!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

4 months later...

So, about that whole blogging my half-marathon training progress thing... turns out, I had nothing to write about. I'm up to 5.5 miles and will be running my first 10k in 11 days in Boulder (read "at breathe-sucking altitude"). I've just been taking it little-by-little to get ready. Nothing has been overly challenging, but it hasn't been easy either. My feet are basically the ugliest things you've ever seen because I've been running so much. Good thing I never had visions of being a foot model. 

I plan on waking up early to run tomorrow. I'm producing my first A's Pre and Postgame shows and will be needing to run off all the nervous energy. It's an excited nervous. No matter what happens (hopefully I don't cause anything to explode), it's such an exciting opportunity and hopefully the beginning of something I've been working towards for the last 10 years when I decided I wanted to be the A's play-by-play person someday. My goals have changed somewhat since I was 14. I was exposed to and fell in love with different elements of television, but the bigger goal of working in sports television and covering the A's never changed and thanks to several amazing people who have helped me along the way, I get to do something pretty darn cool. I've loved this team since I was a two-year old and I get to produce a show all about them (facing a huuuuge rival) tomorrow night. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mile 1

I do believe I've just learned the importance of setting tangible, concrete goals for myself. I just ran my first mile without stopping to walk since...well, a long time ago and while, it was somewhat physically challenging, I think the issue for me has been the mental challenge. I've attempted to become a runner many times before now, but never with a set goal. In the past the goals have been abstract, such as, "I want to be in better shape" or "I want to get healthier." This time, I have a number and a date and that was what pushed me to get past any thought of, "Well, I know I SAID I wouldn't walk today, but this is getting tiring and a little boring."It's amazing how much of a mental aspect there is to reaching a challenging physical goal.

On a related note, if I'm going to play the part of a half-marathon runner in my head, I'm definitely going to have to look the part with some really sweet new shoes. Any suggestions? I like bright purple.

Follow me on Twitter if you're not already. That's where I'll post a lot of shorter notes about my running exploits (along with a lot of pro sports talk).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taking the Plunge

I've decided to join the legion of crazies; that group of people with whom I never thought I could ever have anything in common. I forget how the idea got planted in my head. I believe it was a mention about it from my boyfriend that lead to the formulation of ideas and "what-ifs". Soon plans were being made and I began to get excited about it. Excited and scared. And now there's no turning back. I'm going to be a half marathoner.

Initially we were talking about a date in October or November, but while looking at races we noticed one of the San Francisco marathons takes place on July 29, 2012. That day also happens to correspond with my 25th birthday. And, while my ideal birthday doesn't involve me passing out or puking, I have decided that there is no better way to celebrate my first quarter of a century than with a major accomplishment.

I've decided to keep a blog for two reasons. The first is to keep myself accountable (although that didn't work out very well with my 365 day photo project...see below). The second is for inspiration. It will inspire me, putting finger to keyboard about my experiences, but just maybe it will inspire you to challenge yourself in some way. If I, the self-proclaimed running hater, who uses bad knees that are only bad sometimes as an excuse and who has not run more than a mile without stopping since they made us do it in middle school, can run a half marathon, then you sure as heck can do something pretty cool too. I'm also going to need your help to motivate me to keep going and to share any tips or words of wisdom you might have. Ok, that was three reasons. Apparently neither running nor math are my strong suits.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A graduation party was here (74/365)

I've been home all weekend, but I spent the night in the city last night due to the Emmys. My plan was to be back in Danville no later than 11:00 so I set my alarm to 10:00 because I was sure I would be awake before then, but figured that was the absolute latest I could wake up so I set my alarm as insurance. From the time my head hit the pillow to the moment my alarm went off, I don't think I even moved. I've been running around so much this weekend and apparently, I needed sleep. I made it back for Steph's graduation party, which was capped off by an awesome slideshow that my mom made. I then had to run off to one of my oldest friend's bridal shower where I learned that I am totally unprepared for bridal showers! Apparently, there are all these rules and traditions that I didn't know about! You make a bouquet out of the ribbons from the gifts for the rehearsal dinner and if the bride breaks ribbons while she's opening gifts, the number of ribbons she breaks is equal to the number of kids she's going to had. Apparently everyone knows these rules! I must have missed that day in school. I had a great time, though. She and her family are amazing and I thank them for initiating me into the world of bridal showers!

SRVHS Grad Night (72/365)

My sister graduated from high school this weekend and I got to be the official Grad Night photographer. The event lasted from 8:00 at night until 5:00 the next morning. It was filled with activities including bath tub races, jousting, a velcro wall, sumo suits, make your own music video and the highlight of the night, a hypnotist. Here are some of the best pictures (mostly of my sister or her friends...I don't want to be creepy and post pictures of too many random kids). Enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

My New Best Friends (71/365)

This is an awful, awful picture, but this is who I hung out with today (for work), Brian Wilson and Victoria's Secret model Chanel Iman. Sweet.

I did spend some time talking to a woman who worked for MLB PR about Victoria's Secret and MLB teaming up to create gear for female fans. She said that baseball has the largest female fan base of any sport. I told her how much I loved the new stuff because as a girl, we want to support our team without necessarily being forced to wear pink, rhinestoney attire (which actually some of the VS stuff isn't sparkly at all) while still feeling feminine and not feel like we're drowning in a huge jersey made for a man. It's just nice to know that baseball is indeed catering to and valuing its female fan base. Because we are plentiful.