My daughter took advantage of the chaotic impact of the pandemic on her career to get a puppy. She named the dog Heinz in homage to both her Pittsburgh roots and the environmentalist philanthropist Theresa Heinz. I’m not sure if Ms. Heinz Kerry would consider that an honor or not. Actually, the dogs full name is Heinz-Ruth-“Fluff Butt”-Kuntz.
Having a puppy around the house that I have almost zero responsibilities for provided me with a couple of opportunities. I got to enjoy a nice small, affectionate, Miniature Australian Shepherd/Poodle mix that does not shed. And, I used this cute subject to explore using my moto x4 phone camera.
For those that know me, the puppy and the cell phone camera might seem like a radical change to my personality. Read on.
First of all, some people confuse me saying “I would never own a dog” as meaning I don’t like dogs. I do like most dogs. However, in my opinion, only a select group of dog owners consistently take care of their pets. The old 20/80 rule applies. I do not want the responsibility of being a dog owner and therefore I will never own a dog! Secondly, I am not a fan of cell phone photography. I do know a very small group of photographers that create nice images with these cameras. But I prefer the latitude and versatility of DSLR’s. Especially the diversity of optics. Old school or not, I have a comfort zone with a camera that isn’t easily changed.
None the less I began to take puppy pictures with my phone.
The personality of the puppy, the compactness of the phone in tight environments made for interesting opportunities. However, I found holding the phone while trying to get a framing I liked to be awkward. I was also less than happy with the focus. Fat fingers are also a problem.
As I’ve always known, being on the same eye level of the subject is usually best. However, the “Jack in the Beanstalk” perspective standing over the puppy with almost a drone like perspective yielded a few interesting shots. However, my favorites were when I was on her plane. Getting up off the floor is another story.
It doesn’t matter if it is a person or a puppy, if you capture emotion or character in your subject you have the foundation of a good photo. The emotions of a dog are much more subtle if you have not spent time with the pup.
Some photographs have a deeper meaning when you are aware of the backstory. Sitting in a chair with one of her many toys may not be interesting till you know that this is the chair I usually sit in. She knows I’m a push-over when she’s looking for a playmate or someone to give her belly rubs.
Another inside joke is the Christmas present I got for her. In the next few months she will be traveling to Brazil with my daughter. I got this pillow to put into her carrier so she would have a friendly face to travel with.
Since I never spent much time around a dog I wasn’t aware that they nap a lot of the day. Maybe it is part of her breed, but Heinz is really good at napping. She doesn’t have one favorite place but has many places where she can grab a few winks. She loves in front of the warm furnace vent and fits perfectly on a step.
It’s fun to instill human like qualities like dreaming into dogs. In this picture of her looking out at the snow I imagined she was fantasizing of being a sled dog.
Not only is my affection for Heinz reciprocated but she has brought many smiles and laughs to our home during this pandemic winter. She also has given my daughter an immense amount of joy. It’s easy for me to understand how people can become so attached to their pets. I only wish more dog owners were more responsible in their care of these 4-legged friends. I will continue to enjoy the benefits without the work with Heinz. I’m sure I will miss her when it comes time for her to leave. Having a dog in your life this way is the best!
As far as the cell phone photography goes, I doubt I will ever do much with it beyond snapshots. For those people that always have their phone within reach it is a nice way to capture and share memories. A few may even capture decisive moments I would miss not having my camera handy. However, having a camera around my neck, looking thru a viewfinder and holding it with both hands is part of the process I go thru when I try and capture what I see in my mind’s eye. Forget about the jokes of an old dog and new tricks. For me it’s a phone.