One With Nature

I love flowers on my nature walks

This was taken with my Nikon D7100 and my Nikon 70-300 mm lens. Love the bokeh!

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, a walk usually helps. Sometimes I take the dogs, other times I take my camera and shoot away. I love being one with nature. Nothing can quite compare to the peaceful serene feeling I get as I take in all of God’s beauty around me. Even greater is having the ability to take some amazing pictures and photographs that actually turn out.

Caught this hummingbird feeding on some flowers by the roadside ahead of me. At first I thought it was a hummingbird moth.

Caught this hummingbird feeding on some flowers by the roadside ahead of me. At first I thought it was a hummingbird moth.

Hummingbird Photo

Sparrows, robins, and ducks are easy to take pictures of–they will even pose and do the funniest things sometimes. But I let to catch the birds that love to hide or sit on the highest tree or tuck themselves behind leaves and thickets. Recently I got a new lens, the Nikon 70-300 mm which allows me to get most of those difficult distant shots crisp and clear.

Below is an American Kestrel (Sparrow Hawk/Falcon) flying over some crops on a farm. Then I caught the beautiful Cedar Waxwing landing on a weed at the side of the road. Sweet!

 

American Kestrel Picture

For years I have watched these beautiful birds soar over the river as I took daily walks. Recently I've been able to captivate their true beauty on film!

Soon I will be testing out my newest Tamron lens — 70-200 f2.8. Originally I purchased both the Nikon and Tamron, but with the Nikon and Tamron pretty much capable of doing the same things, I decided to save nearly $1,000 and go with the Tamron.

This lens is supposed to be fast, great in low light, and excellent for sports and weddings/portraits. Next week I will be officiating a wedding so I may not get the chance to use it then, however I am hoping to go to our local fair tonight for the horse speed racing competition.

Lisa Freeman is a an author, pastor/speaker, photographer, and dog trainer from Owosso, Michigan. http://www.dogspawsforhealing.com 

The Six P’s of Perfect Photography

Here are some recent baby portraits I took. I went on this photo shoot to practice with my niece. Professionals say to use a prime lens. I used my Nikon 18-70.

Baby Portrait Baby Photograph Baby Picture Baby Photo Shoot Baby Portrait Baby Laughing Best Curious

Are they perfect?

Is there really a perfect portrait or picture? Can a photographer actually get that perfect shot in every portrait shooting? What is required to get such a thing? And what makes on portrait or photographer stand out from another?

These are all great questions.

Just as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is a picture or portrait. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Many great photographers such as Dorothea Lange who made history for her portrait of a migrant mother during the depression, Annie Liebovitz well known for her stunning portraits in the Rolling Stones Magazine, and even Jay Maisel who doesn’t get lost in costly equipment and backdrops–he keeps it simple, shoots with one lens and brings shapes and landscapes to life.

What Every Photographer Needs:

1. Passion– if you love what you shoot, others will too 

2. Purpose– What are you good at shooting? Baby portraits, family portraits, senior pictures. Or do you prefer landscape, still life, nature, animals, or wildlife?

When you find your purpose there you will also discover your passion.

3. Persistence–  By being persistent you will develop the skills to take clearer, crisper shots. If you stick with it long enough you will will achieve the purpose which makes the journey worth the effort.

4. Practice– I’ve taken good shots, I’ve taken bad shots, but I never gave up. Practice often, hone your sills. Practice leads to persistence.

5. Purchase– You don’t have to buy the best camera and lenses on the market to be a photographer. Jay Maisel has proven that. But you do need a decent camera and a basic prime lens to start. Then practice, practice, practice.

6. Prepare– Take hold of your future. Set realistic goals and work on accomplishing them. Don’t expect to get rich off photography. It can be a business if you treat it like a business. If you treat it like a hobby or something you want to do in the future, then it will become just that. When you’re ready to get serious about photography, then make that purchase.

My Picture Perfect Life in Michigan

My new rescue dog Kota

My rescue dog Kota

There are three things I love in life: dogs, photography, and nature. My husband, John and I travel all over Michigan to do dog training and motivational speaking events. Most of the time we are in a hurry to get back home so he can get ready for work, and I don’t have time to even take even one photo of the beauty surrounding us. Oh how I long to be a part of the nature I see out the van window.

Hawk Eye

In the past four years I’ve lost my son, my father, my sister, and this year my mother. So I’ve began taking nature walks to help heal my heart. On these walks I take my new Nikon D7100 and my 55-300 lens and shoot away. The bokeh (background blur) on this lens is amazing!

BEST Fat Robin

I’ve photographed beautiful butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, geese, ducks, birds perched and in flight, as well as a rare blue heron fishing or a hawk up in the treetop.

Hawk or Eagle

But recently, we took a three day nature trip and visited three different cities in Michigan. Our first stop, Saginaw, the Shiawassee Wildlife Reserve also called the Shiawassee Flats. What a great place to view Eagles, Egrets, deer, muskrats, raccoons, birds, frogs, turtles, and so much more. They even have a 6.5 mile drive where you can get up close and personal with the wildlife, and they have many spots to stop and take photos. We even saw a deer swimming across the lake! It was so far away I didn’t get a good shot, but it was amazing to witness nature at its best.

Deer swimming 2

BESTEST BIRD

Cool Bird

Egret 4

Seagull Water Nice

Turtle

Our next stop was Lansing. We went to Fenner Nature Center where we saw an entire deer family up close. There were three fawns.

Deer Family 2

Deer Family 3

We also went to Potters Park Zoo. There were so many amazing animals there. A peacock on the ground allowed me to get close enough that I could bend down and pet her if I wanted to. And the eagles, lioness, tigers, lemurs, and other animals were so photogenic that day.

Tortoise

Tiger

Silly Lion 5

Monkey Best

Peacock nice

Lion 2

Falcon American Kestreel

Donkey

camel nice

Binturong BEST 2

Bald Eagle Best 2

BEST GOAT

Our third and final stop was St. Joseph southwest of where we live on lake Michigan. It was there that we saw the most beautiful sunset.

Red Sunset Sailboat 6

Sunset Red BEST

Sunset Red Seagul 3

Sunset Red Seagulls 4

Sunset Romantic

This is my picture perfect life in Michigan and I wouldn’t change it for nothing!

7 Tips to Stop Your Dog From Bolting

Off Leash Advanced Dog Training in the Woods

Off Leash Advanced Dog Training in the Woods


All Puppies and Dogs Can Bolt

We rescued a Carolina Dog pup last November named Kota. He was a bolter. Any time the door would open, Kota would run out. Even worse, he’d leave the yard and sprint through the woods behind us.

Beware of the Chase Game

I learned a few things from Kota and his bolting. Carolina Dogs are fast. Any puppy and dog love to be chased, it becomes a fun game, and they will run even farther away if you run after them and are unable to catch them. The come command is useless when they are distracted by the zillion other things surrounding them: squirrels, rabbits, wood chucks, deer, etc.

Bolting Can Be Dangerous and Fatal

When we first rescued Kota, he caught onto the basic obedience commands inside the house, but it was a different story when he was outside. In the beginning, any time he was loose he ran out of the yard. I was frustrated and feared he would either get hit by a car or lost in the miles of woods behind our home.

Training and Play Go Hand in Hand

So, I began training him both indoors and out. I worked on staying whenever the door was open and not bolting out. Then I worked on teaching him the boundaries of our yard and staying within them. Even off leash, he stayed in the yard while playing fetch and doing advanced training. I even took him up in the woods off leash and let him romp while I shot pictures of birds, deer and other wild life. Kota stayed within a few feet of me at all times. I was pleased.

The Real Test

But the real test came last night when he was outside on the chain alone in our backyard and the chain broke. My husband called me on my cell. I was out of town at a dog training session. He rarely ever calls, so I thought the worse, either Kota ran away or got hit by a car. My heart sank.

My husband said, “No, actually he stayed in the yard and he’s still laying on the porch.”

OMG! How awesome! All that training and hard work has really paid off.

 

Kota nice

7 Tips To Stop Your Dog From Bolting

1. Teach your puppy or dog basic as well as advanced obedience skills inside and outside

2. Teach them yard boundaries by walking them around and playing with them

3. Correct them when they go out of bounds

4. Never Chase Your Puppy or Dog, rather have them follow you

5. Reward them for staying inside boundaries

6. If they do bolt, but then come back to you, always praise them for coming back

7. Get your dog micro chipped so if he does run away you can find him easier.

 

 

Dog’s Need to Play, Listen, and Obey

He has been taught to "Down and Stay" until I release him.

He has been taught to “Down and Stay” until I release him.

Took my dog, Kota, out this morning for a game of fetch. He lost his interest quickly. Don’t know if it was the wet ball or what, so I decided to sit on our new swing (was my mother and fathers who both recently passed away–I so love that swing–memories). I coaxed Kota up next to me and we cuddled.

A few minutes later a squirrel bounced across the lawn a few feet away. Kota’s ears perked and he got into that pouncing position. I gave him a stern “Leave It” and commanded, “Stay!” He obeyed me and relaxed. BUT he kept his eyes on that squirrel the entire time.

Then we had some visitors, our neighbors dogs came bolting over playing a game of chase with one another. Again he was ready to engage in play, but again I enforced the “Leave It” and “Stay” commands and he sat back without a whine or bark and obeyed

Just minutes later, a very friend pitbull from up the street walked into our yard, this time I gave Kota the okay to play. When her owner came to pick her up Kota did not want to leave it and stay, he wanted to go with them. Who could blame him?

He’s such a great dog!

 

 THIS SQUIRREL HAS BALLS!

This Squirrel Has Balls 2

Squirreling Around

These little guys are cute to watch at times, even saw a pair of squirrels mating in the tree and then playing a game of chase with like four others. But lately they have been taunting my dogs by swishing their tails and cackling like a monkey in the trees or on the ground just where the dogs can’t reach.On a walk the other day after I told my dogs “leave it” and to stop barking at a squirrel that ran up the tree, that same squirrel proceeded to run back down the tree and chase after my dogs!

Acrobatic Bratts!

This particular squirrel in the photo has been shaking my hanging bird houses and emptying them daily–they are supposed to be squirrel-proof! I watched a squirrel jump from about 5 feet and land on the top one of my bird feeders and shake it empty! They are amazing acrobats! We feed them separately too… they are smart, but bratty.

Anyone else have a squirrel with balls? Do Share!

He was taunting my 4 pound Yorkie who was sitting at the bottom of the tree!

This squirrel was taunting my 4 pound Teacup Yorkie who was sitting at the bottom of the tree!

Group Pet Therapy Visit Cheers Elderly Woman

Kota (my therapy dog in training) and I go on weekly visits to see this elderly woman in her home, she has dementia and alzheimers, but she has never forgotten Kota or his name 🙂 On this group visit she was calling all the dogs Kota 🙂

For more information log onto http://www.dogspawsforhealing.com

Dog and Owners: Reunited and it Feels So Good!

Image

The past two weekends did not go as I planned. Last Friday night we took in a Pit/Lab mix and kept her overnight until we could find her family. She was lost and had been dodging cars on a main highway.

Image

Today my husband and I were returning from a shopping trip and saw a Husky running loose which nearly got hit by a truck. Of course we followed her and was able to get her leashed, into our van, brought her to our home and checked her out. She was well cared for, but had some minor injuries and was in heat.

After posting a pic of her on facebook we headed to the vet to check for a chip. No chip, so we brought her back home. When I checked my facebook there was already a message from one of my friends pointing me to the post by her owners. Yay! Two lost dogs in two weeks, found, rescued, and reunited with their owners! Nothing on earth gives me a greater feeling than helping others! Thank you to all you who partner with us and who donate into our non-profit. This allows us to buy leashes, food, and anything else these dogs may need who come to us. 

Please visit our website and see what we’re all about.