My New Camera & My First Shoot, My little Schnoodle

I am over the moon with my present from Santa myself, my long awaited Nikon D7100. I have been talking about buying a DSLR the past two years but other unexpected expenses kept cropping up and time literally flew by. I am an avid Pinterest follower/pinner and often felt envious of the beautiful images shot by other bloggers and I imagined when I bought my camera I would instantly be shooting such images. Of course when you do receive your first 'grown up' camera, it is not that simple, there is lots of frustration and tearing hair out at not understanding the myriad of dials and buttons...Oh, and the jargon! 'ISO, F-stop, RAW, aperture', totally a foreign language to me. When you do finally come to grips with a little understanding taking a beautiful photo is way more difficult than I ever imagined. Composition, light and understanding your camera in manual is something that will take time and practice, however, in the past few days, with a only a little understanding and a whole lot of practice, I have finally come up with a few shots worthy of publishing.

My subject is my darling little dog, Poppy, she absolutely loves posing and has lots of patience as long as she can smell her food reward. I am a complete beginner with regards to photography, however I think I managed to capture her intelligence and cheeky personality in some of these images. I have deliberately overexposed the photographs, playing around with how much I could get away with and I quite like the effect, although I am sure a professional would tell me to sign up to a photography course smartly! The inspiration to photograph my little dog came from the beautiful images I saw of Bleu, a little French Bulldog photographed by her owner Maria, from Dreamy Whites. I fell in love with Maria's charming photos of Bleu and decided I would try to capture some pretty shots of Poppy.

Poppy is a 2 year old Schnoodle, a cross between a Miniature Schnauzer and a Toy Poodle so she is only tiny and often mistaken for a puppy. Everyone thinks their pet is special and without a doubt I would put Poppy at the top with the best of them. I bought her for several reasons, one was because I was at a low point in my life caring for my mother who had terminal cancer, we desperately needed some sunshine in our lives, something to distract us and bring a little hope and happiness at this difficult time. Another reason was that my younger son, who had just completed his degree, was struggling to find a job. He had returned home while looking for work and spent much of his time shut away on the computer. I wanted to give him something else to focus on apart from job searching and I knew Poppy would bring him out of his room. Poppy delighted everyone that came across her, from friends and family to nurses, caregivers and total strangers and she continues to delight today. I just want to add at this point, I am so proud of my son who has since graduated as a Pilot Officer in training for the Royal New Zealand Air Force, which goes to show there is some light at the end of the tunnel, it's just sad my mother wasn't here to see him but I am sure she is watching from above.

From the age of only 6 weeks we discovered that Poppy was extremely bright and very much a 'foodie', so it was very easy to teach her lots of tricks. The tricks brought smiles to everyone's faces  and there was a constant request to see them. Poppy closes doors, rolls over, weaves in and out your legs, high five's, counts, sniffs out hidden treats, jumps through your arms, plus many more. Her two most requested tricks are "stick em up", where you say these words and she will sit and lift her little paws in the air then you point your fingers like a gun and go "bang" and she will throw herself onto the floor with a thud. Her other popular trick is "sleep", you can either give her the command when she is lying down and she will put her head on her paws as if she is asleep, or you can pick her up in your arms and hold her upright, say "sleep" and she will flop the top half of her body right over like a floppy toy, its just so cute! All Poppy's tricks are treat induced, she is a foodie to the max which makes it very easy to teach her almost anything. 

At the park, everyone knows Poppy, she is the most sociable little dog and will run and greet every person and dog that strolls into the park. Everyone at our local park knows Poppy and there are constant requests to see her tricks. Poppy is very obedient and will come at all times, however, sometimes if there are no dogs around and she wanders off on a sniffing mission, she can become slightly 'parent deaf', but if I shout out "I'm going now.... bye Poppy", she will prick her ears, turn and come running as fast as her little legs will carry her. Poppy doesn't want to miss out on anything or get left behind.

Poppy has a wicker basket filled with her toys, most are now threads and pieces of fabric as her mission has always been to shake them vigorously and try to remove all their stuffing. So, this Christmas my son bought her a very chubby soft stuffed lamb which is a little more challenging to her. Her lamb is often with her so rather than taking it off her for the photos, I decided to work with it. I am really pleased with the results of my first shoot, I think I have managed to capture Poppy's cheeky and intelligent personality in a few of these shots.

All shots above taken with a Nikon D7100 with 35mm Nikon Lens

I loved the effect in the last image from allowing more light, it gave an impression of Poppy and her toy being surrounded by snow.  

If you are a budding photographer with a DSLR camera, I would welcome your comments and any hints or tips.

Next week I will feature my first interior shoot, a traditional New Zealand bungalow with European flair, I am really excited about the results of the shoot and can't wait to share the images with you.

If you want to see a little of Poppy when she was tiny you may be interested in this earlier post when I first brought her home from the pet store.

Lee oxo

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