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Bitter Pill

march 2006

Fun With A Wide Angle Lens

June 14, 2006 12:20 AM

I don't shoot much with a wide angle, but I'm starting to appreciate them a lot more. Up close they distort pretty bad but it makes for some interesting shots, like the fully-recovered Jack.

I'm also learning that I'm good at taking pictures of one thing in particular: Dogs. A few weeks ago I took the telephoto to the dog park (no, not the now-infamous airport dog park, rather one on the Mississippi River) and snapped off a bunch. I've posted up an album here.

Carry Your Camera EVERYWHERE

June 11, 2006 11:44 AM

After running several errands yesterday morning, our last stop before home was the Mall of America. Now, living within 5 minutes of the "MOAB" I have been completely desensitized to its size, selection, and general touristy-ness. It's the same everytime you go, and rarely there's something exciting to be seen.

Until yesterday.

Nina is leaving for Paris in a few days and she wanted to stop by Barnes & Noble, which in the MOAB is right next to the large rotunda. For once, I was amazed at what the MOAB had to offer, with an amazing event going on in the middle of the rotunda: The Midwest Regional Yo-Yo Championships.

Oh what I would have given to have my camera and my telephoto hanging off my shoulder right then. It would have been spectacular.

Tougher Than Me

June 9, 2006 2:20 AM

Yesterday after work I thought it would be nice to get Jack (The Dog) out since he's been recovering from drinking a bit too much lake water while we were up North. He's been stuck inside recovering, but was doing really well the last day or so. I decided to take him over to an off-leash dog park that's literally right between the two main runways at the airport. It's a huge open field that he can just run around in and have fun with the other dogs.

We were there for about 20 minutes, and he was having a blast. It was really warm out (just shy of 90), but I took a ton of water with me and he seemed to be doing OK. There's a small wooded area so we made our way to the shade and bumped into another dog and owner whom Jack was very calm and nice with.

Then came the poodle...

A man walked by with a white standard poodle. Jack (as he always does) trotted over to say hello and the poodle ATTACKED him. It was a ball of fur until I could yank him out of there and the owner of the poodle could get his dog out of there. Jack wasn't hurt by the other dog, but he almost died right there.

After the dogs were separated, Jack's eyes were literally in the back of his head, he was panting uncontrollably, and starting having what I can only describe as a seizure. He kept trying to stand up but had hardly any control of his body and his eyes still weren't straight. I tried to help him up at first, but he was shaking, scared, and just out of it. He even vomited.

I started giving him a ton of water, and shortly after that a few others who were nearby came over after recognizing that something was clearly wrong with Jack. One was a vet and recognized the symtoms as heat stroke, which dogs are especially prone to. That, coupled with the adrenaline of being attacked literally started to shut Jack's body down, much like being in shock. Another woman who came over had a gallon of cool water that we immediately poured all over Jack's belly. After about 10 minutes of drinking, soaking, and shade, he could finally lift his head up. he tried to stand, but still couldn't control all his extremities, particularly his hind legs and tail.

While a few stayed with Jack, I ran over to my car to move it closer in case I had to carry him. He's 85 pounds folks, and it's a LONG walk to the car from the trees. Anyhoo, while returning from a closer parking spot, Jack was still laying down, but with his head up. When he recognized me, his tail finally wagged. Granted, not very strong.

He drank about another 1/2 gallon of water before he started to mellow out a bit. After that and a bit of goosing, he stood up on his own and shook off his make-shift bath. The vet told me to get him to a cooler area (i.e. home) and keep a close eye on him. We walked over to the car and he seemed to do OK until I lifted him into the car. He doesn't like the back of my car to begin with, and it sent him into another make-shift seizure.

I could barely get him out of the car, but when I finally did he just collapsed on the garage floor. I ran over to get the hose to start cooling him off, and by the time I turned around he had crawled out into the lawn. I began hosing him down and filled up a dish with water. He started to calm down quickly and soon was doing much better. We hung outside with the hose for about 30 minutes until he felt like going inside on his own accord.

He plopped down on the cold tile in the basement and slowly pulled himself together. The vet guy gave me some things to watch for, and Jack appeared to be recovering. After about 45 minutes he finally came over and laid down next to my chair, which he normally does. By the time Nina got home, he was back to "Tired Jack" mode, wagging his tail but moving a bit slowly. Encouraging to say the LEAST. He was going to be OK.

This morning when we got up I let him out and he was back to his old self. Running up and down the fence line with Beau and Cody (the neighbor's ankle biters) while they chased and barked at him. His attitude was back, and he was 100% Jack.

The vet from the park called me today to check in on him. He said he was concerned about him, but given how he was in the morning, he should be totally fine in the long run but should take it easy the next few days.

Jack went to the brink and back, I'll tell you. I've never had an animal do anything CLOSE to what he was doing at the park. I read up a bit about his reaction to the heat/attack, and he's one lucky/tough dog. The combination of all those things should have ended it right then and there, but Jack's too stubborn for that.

I'm still in shock myself. I can't imagine anything bad happening to that dog. Even more so, I can't imagine what it would be like if he was a child. (Well, he sort of is...Except furrier.)

Thanks to ALL the unbelievably helpful and concerned folks at the dog park. You guys helped save that dog's life, I'm convinced of it. I owe you guys a lot.

Time for bed. I'm sure Jack's already laying against the wall with his belly in the air, looking like a moron and being just what I want: Himself.

G'Night Buddy.

Lake Vermilion in Color

June 8, 2006 1:11 AM

I changed the Vermilion album to include the color AND black and white shots. The difference is amazing. Link is on the left.

Lake Vermilion in Black and White

June 8, 2006 12:35 AM

I managed to burn through BOTH memory cards I have in two days up at Nina's parent's cabin/home on Lake Vermilion. For those of you unfamiliar with Lake Vermilion, it's easily one of the most beautiful lakes in the state. Their home is on the East end of the lake, which is very quiet with nobody nearby. It's very relaxing, yet they maintain every modern accomodation you could imagine, even wireless Internet access.

The telephoto lens never came off the 10D. Nina's Dad has a lot of plants and flowers around, so I shot a bunch of those as well as a ton of candids of her family. I converted several of my favorites to black and white to see how they would turn out. My "Title Picture" is a shot of my watch, the point being that when you're on an island with nothing to do but enjoy life, the last thing that matters is the time. My personal favorite is the pop cans. Just a GREAT shot, even in color. They all look completely different than the color frames, in part because I finally figured out the saturation settings on the camera.

Maybe I should post the color versions too...

See the pictures

EDIT: Changed link to new color/B & W album


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