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The Derby Dress!

Yesterday, as I frantically tried to get my Texas details in order ….

I came across the perfect dress to wear to the Kentucky Derby.

You may remember, I’ve already purchased a gigantic purple Derby hat.

Finding a dress to go with it has been much more difficult than I expected.

Derby dresses are supposed to be spring-ish and ladylike – very Southern Belle-ish.

And …. finally!

DerbyDress

I’m thrilled I finally found something.

It’s in my closet and waiting for Derby.

I think I’m going to wear nude shoes with it.

It’s such a relief … the Derby is only a couple weeks away!

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Packing – Again

I’m about to leave for a few days in Texas.

I stayed home for five months and now I’m cramming three air-o-plane trips into a four week time period.

I’ve been in town for a whopping four days.

I’ve tried to fit two weeks of STUFF into those four days.

(I haven’t even had a chance to take any photos of Fred!)

Yesterday began with a biopsy on my leg.

(I’m sure I’m fine … I’m a melanoma person/surviver so my doc is very diligent about such things.)

The day ended with an army of police and emergency vehicles all over my neighborhood.

Apparently, an underage party at a neighbor’s led to chaos, injuries, and drunken stupidness.

(Remember those days?)

In any case, I’m not taking my computer on the Texas trip.

I’ll be back next Tuesday.

If I can, in the meantime, I’ll post a photo or two and/or possibly a brief post via my phone.

If nothing else, I’m sure I’ll be on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.

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Outgrowing A Home Office

I work out of my house.

My work no longer fits inside my house.

In fact, it hasn’t for awhile.

My cramped quarters, and less than ideal set-up, affects my productivity dramatically.

When I first began working from home, I was working part time.

Now, I’m continually stressed out by my lack of space.

Also, people think it’s okay to interrupt me because I work out of my house.

After all, I’m HOME aren’t I?

I don’t have a solution yet.

Rent in Southern California is VERY expensive.

But, I need a working studio – badly.

This has been an issue I’ve been struggling with for the last year.

Recently, I lost a bid on an $80,000 job.

I was bidding against one other photographer.

I was told the client preferred my work.

But …?

The other photographer prints all of his own work and his cost was substantially lower than mine.

I have to pay a middleman to print for me.

I can’t compete on really big jobs without printing my own photos.

Commercial, large format, printers are extremely expensive.

They’re also HUGE …. the size of a large couch.

In my current situation, I don’t even have a place to put one.

Suggestions?

Input?

Have you, or someone you know, gone through anything similar?

I’m so frustrated and I don’t have a solution ….

Yet.

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Weekend Recap

I had a fun weekend in Northern California.

I flew into Oakland last Friday.

I spent the afternoon getting caught up with my friend, Thomas.

Towards the end of the day, we drove into San Francisco to meet one of his friends, Scott.

I got a little play time in Scott’s car.

Me – in Scott’s Polaris.

We had a fun evening/night in the city.

We started at the Redwood Room and the evening progressed from there.

The Redwood Room:  Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

On Saturday, Thomas and I spent the day shooting in the Central Valley.

The beautiful (?) Central Valley.

There’s nothing quite like listening to Credence Clearwater’s song Stuck in Lodi as you photograph the city of Lodi.

I love when someone else is driving on road trips so I can shoot.

There are always so many photo opportunities from the car.

Lines and Shadows:  Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

Saturday night was spent working on large format prints.

Here’s an iPhone photo Thomas took of me holding a print we made:

Prints

Making BIG photo prints is fun!

The photo I’m holding is a flower shot Thomas took.

We printed it on metallic paper as a 44 inch by 44 inch square.

All of the huge prints we made came out beautiful.

(By the way, the printer we used is the size of a couch!)

On Sunday, it was raining.

We spent the morning at a museum.

Once the rain stopped, we began shooting west Oakland.

Thomas photographs graffiti as part of his shoot America project.

There’s a lot of graffiti in West Oakland.

Graffiti – West Oakland

We went from Oakland to Berkeley shooting.

Eventually, the day ended with more printing.

I got home late Sunday night.

And now …?

I think I need a nap.

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Happy Weekend!

I’m in Northern California for the next few days.

I hope you have a great weekend.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a post up on Monday or not.

I’ll try.

If not, I’ll be back on Tuesday for sure.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

San Francisco City Lights:  Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

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April 1, 2015

I’m going to be a little sporadic with posts over the next few days.

I imagine a lot of you will be absent due to holidays anyway.

I’ll be in Northern California Friday through Monday.

It’s a photography trip.

My friend, Thomas, and I are going to be  drinking wine and  making prints on Friday.

He has a “real” (professional) printer.

I wish I had one!

We’re shooting all day Saturday and Sunday.

I’ll be getting home late, late, late, on Sunday night.

I imagine I’ll be exhausted by the time I get home.

(We tend to cram five days worth of shooting into every day we work together.)

Paul Newman is seeing me Monday morning in an effort to help me through the ugly aftermath.

I love Paul Newman.

I don’t know what I’d do without him.

In other news, yesterday a lizard the size of Godzilla was running around my family room.

I had left my back door open for Fred to go in and out as he pleased while I was doing a few chores.

I’m not afraid of lizards.

Unless they’re running around my family room.

Fred was no help at all.

Fred The Newf – Five Months Old

Fred is not a “normal” dog.

I’m pretty sure Fred is three quarters teddy bear and only one quarter dog.

He looked at the lizard, looked at me, and shrugged.

A “real” dog would have chased the lizard.

Real dogs don’t SHRUG when they see a lizard run in front of them.

(In Fred’s defense, he was very interested in a rabbit he saw later in the day.  And also? Quail!)

I had a few errands to run after Godzilla appeared, so I left the back door open while I was gone.

I hope Godzilla made an exit the same way he came in?

I’m a little concerned Godzilla will startle me by making an appearance in the house when I least expect him.

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Training Fred The Newf

Fred has had a busy few days.

He’s losing multiple teeth each week as more of his baby teeth are replaced by adult teeth.

We worked hard with his trainer over the weekend.

Fred is doing great with his lessons.

At the same time, he’s testing me a little bit sometimes which he wasn’t doing before.

Fred’s trainer tells me it’s perfectly normal behavior, and right on time, too.

(Five months is, apparently, the equivalent to “the terrible twos” for puppies.  Fred turned five months old yesterday.)

I know I will have Fred’s “teen years” to deal with in a few months – around his one year birthday.

Fred is still “ahead of schedule” with his training.

He rings a “jingle bell” I’ve hung on our door when he needs/wants to go outside.

This is something I’ll keep him doing, so he won’t scratch on the door.

It’s also the first step on learning to touch/pull something to open a door for me.

Everything else he’s learning is, for the most part, basic obedience training.

Fred knows these commands:

Sit, down, stay, wait, heel, touch, come, stay, watch me, sit-stay, down-stay, stand, enough, leave it, and drop it.

We are working on staying for longer and longer periods.

I’m taking him places with more and more “distractions.”

Fred is still very puppy-ish when there are a lot of distractions around – other dogs, in particular.

It’s very normal because he’s still so young.

On Saturday, I took him to a very busy retail store.

Fred was invited to come in, even though he hasn’t completed his service dog training.

(They didn’t even know he’s a service dog in-training.  They just LIKED him.)

Fred was SO good in the store.

He sat calmly next to me as I asked.

People approached, one after another, to pet him.

Fred’s behavior was impeccable.

I was a proud mama.

Later in the day, Fred and I went down to the beach and walked around (the very busy!) San Clemente pier.

Fred’s behavior was NOT impeccable.

He wasn’t horrible, but he got excited about pigeons and pulled on the leash a little.

(Thankfully, he didn’t pull THAT hard.)

Then he got excited about some of the dogs walking by and pulled again.

When Fred pulls on his leash I stop and stand still and/or turn around and walk in the opposite direction.

It’s a standard training technique.

(I used it even with my past dogs.)

The difference with Fred, however, is his size and my bum arm.

He’s big and strong.

Even though he hasn’t (yet) pulled on his leash with all his might –

Any pulling is a potential problem with my arm.

I can’t hold Fred’s leash with two hands/arms if he decides he HAS TO meet a pigeon.

The trainer has worked with people with various disabilities before.

He gave me some ideas on how to use my body to act as reinforcement for my left arm.

Hopefully it will help until Fred matures a little and is 100% pull-proof.

It’s just going to take some time and practice.

But really?

I’m pretty amazed at how well Fred’s doing at such a young age.

I hope we can keep up the great progress.

I’m very proud of how much he’s learned.

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Photos As Wall Art

Last Friday, I visited a corporate business office to see some of my finished work.

I didn’t have my camera with me, so I snapped a couple quick iPhone shots to share with you.

I was very rushed, because there were Very Important Business Meetings going on.

(In other words, I was in the way!)

When you walk into the building, the lobby looks like this:

Corporate1 © 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

That’s my photo printed on one piece of, thirty three foot long, seamless, fabric on the back wall.

The receptionist’s area is to the far right of the table and chairs.

There’s a hallway behind the mini-wall/partition you see in the above photo.

The same image is also being printed onto a huge rug for the above pictured lobby.

The rug is not finished yet.

I can’t wait to see it when it arrives.

(The same image is also being used for a separate project with the same corporation.)

If you were to walk to the right of the table and chairs seen above, back to the hall where my photo is …

And then turn, and walk right down the hallway …

You’d turn a corner and see a large mosaic.

The mosaic is made from another one of my images.

Corporate2 © 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

As you can see, above, there’s a desk and chair (sort-of) in front of it.

(Which makes taking a photo of my photo very difficult!)

Also, this is exactly where Important Business Things were happening and I had a millisecond to try and take an iPhone photo.

Corporate3 © 2015 Suzanne Haggerty W

It’s pretty cool, though, isn’t it?

It gives me such a strong sense of satisfaction to see finished work up for other people to enjoy.

The two images seen in the above photos are these:

California Sunset

California Sunset is the image used for the large lobby wall and rug.

Alone is the image made into a mosaic.

Alone

My photos have been used in many other corporate buildings and projects.

This, however, was the most creative use of my photos.

At least, it’s the most creative use I’ve experienced so far.

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Let’s Talk About Service Dogs

•  Fred has a babysitter today.  It’s too hot for him to be outside all day and I need to be outside most of the day.  I can’t leave him home alone for an entire day.  So, Fred has his first babysitter.  I’m sure he’ll enjoy it once I’m out the door.  (Have I ever mentioned he cries/whines when I leave him?)

•  Did you know it’s against the law to refuse access to a service dog?  Yesterday, I had someone tell me Fred would not be “allowed” access to where I was.  I didn’t even have Fred with me at the time.  I had mentioned I might be bringing him with me, in the future, once he’s completed his training.  I was told, “Don’t!”

I was floored.  

I was outraged.

And yes, that’s when I began reciting federal law:

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go.

•  I belong to a few service dog “communities.”  I’ve heard people express outrage at the way they’re sometimes treated.  I, honestly, didn’t expect I’d run into a “situation” before Fred has even completed his training.  In fact, I naively didn’t expect I’d run into a “situation” at all.  Clearly, people are more educated than that?

•  I realize there’s a problem with some people abusing the laws.  I’ve personally witnessed a woman, in a restaurant, with a dog on her lap.  She let the dog get on the table.  She confided in me “He’s not really a service dog.  I don’t like to leave him home.  I got a little vest for him on eBay.”  SHE TOLD ME THAT!!  Do some people do things like this?  Yes, they do.  Some people will ALWAYS abuse “the system.”  They’re called narcissists.  They don’t care about anyone or anything except themselves.

•  MOST people, however, do the right thing.

•  Not all disabilities are visible.  Don’t judge.  You don’t walk in anyone’s shoes but your own.  That person over there … the one who has a service dog with them, but looks (to you) fine physically?  He/she might be suffering from PTSD.  He/she might have a seizure condition the dog “alerts” to.  YOU DON’T KNOW, DO YOU?

I “look” perfectly fine to most people also.  My physical scars are covered 99% of the time.  An astute doctor, or physical therapist, would notice I don’t use my upper body normally.  Can I get by without a service dog?  I have so far.  It isn’t easy.  The point of a service dog, is to make life easier/more manageable for people with very real challenges.

•  Please ask permission before you pet a service dog.  Please don’t be offended, if the answer is no.  Most people do not want their service dogs pet.  Petting distracts the dog from what it’s supposed to be doing.  You (hopefully) wouldn’t go up and grab a person’s wheelchair, right?  So, why would it be okay to go up and pet/squeeze/hug a dog who is in the process of helping its owner?  Everyone, and every situation, is different.  One person might be okay with petting.  Another person might be okay with it at certain times, but not at others.  If you feel like you just have to pet the service dog, please ASK PERMISSION FIRST.

It shouldn’t be difficult.

It’s all common sense.

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Fred The Newf is 21 Weeks Old!

I can’t believe Fred has reached 21 weeks of age!

Yesterday, we went for a walk to enjoy the ocean breeze.

Fred has become accustom to my ever-present camera, sitting for me while I’m busy shooting, etc.

Fred The Newf – 21 Weeks Old!

I know you can’t tell by the above photo, but Fred began the day looking nice and neat.

Of course, he was a mess by the time I took his photo.

Yesterday, on his 21st week birthday, he also lifted his leg and peed like a boy for the first time.

I thought that wasn’t supposed to happen until he was at least six months old??

(But then, what do I know about male Newfoundland Dogs?)

I guess I’m learning more each day!

Fred has also begun exhibiting a little more  stubbornness  independence lately.

We will be working on that with his trainer.

I think he’s testing me a little bit right now.

Maybe he’s beginning to get a surge of male hormones?

I’ll talk to  our  his trainer this weekend and see what he thinks of Fred’s new behavior(s).

For the most part, Fred continues to be his lovable self.

He is very bonded to me.

He loves everyone, but he would prefer I never leave his side.

I’ve got a few trips coming up and, I admit, I’m a little worried about leaving Fred.

I know he’ll be fine, but there’s so much GUILT when you have to leave a devoted dog for a few days.

But, I don’t want to put him through air travel if I don’t have to.

And, he’s not fully trained yet either … so he can’t go with me everywhere.

I think I’m having separation anxiety before the separation even happens.

Oh, Fred!