A fun shoot in Silang, Cavite last year with my friend Weizel. She runs and owns Cocogreen, one of my favorite plant based stores in the city. She’s a vegan chef and a yoga teacher too. Shooting yoga is hard, this is my second try and it’s quite a challenge. You have to be familiar with the poses, check alignment and know which body parts to adjust to make the shot work. Not my best work but something I definitely wanna try again.
Photos from Leroy’s second birthday celebration in Liwliwa, Zambales. Woke up early to go for a run with the dog and of course to play fetch, his favorite game. I wanted to shoot him but he was too hyper for me so we had to play a few rounds of fetch to tire him out. Not that I did, it will usually take the whole weekend to tire him out but he did slow down a bit for me and was more receptive to my commands after playing fetch.
Liwa wasn’t pretty at all for this shoot, the season was changing and we had more rubbish on the shore than usual. Surf wasn’t good also so we pretty much spent the weekend playing fetch, drinking, eating, and just hanging out by the beach. Still a good weekend. 🙂
Went to Diliman with the dog, sister, and her friend Hp. I love the grounds at UP Diliman but I rarely get to explore the area because it’s kinda far from Makati. Had fun eating isaw and of course did an impromptu shoot with my dog.
“A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water logged stick will do just fine. A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?”
― John Grogan, Marley and Me
Photos by Mitch Escal | Post processed by me
We endured 6 hours of travel by ordinary bus plus insane heat and traffic in San Fernando, Pampanga… all because I insisted on taking the pup with me to Liwliwa in San Felipe, Zambales. But the 4 days of fun, surf, and playing with Leroy by the beach was worth the long trip. I took a lot of photos too (as expected!), about 600 or so. Which I later regretted because I had a hard time choosing the keepers. Haha! I’m a trigger happy human when it comes to my dog. 😉
On our travel back to Manila we were a bit wiser and opted for the 4pm schedule to avoid the heat and traffic in Pampanga. I realize though that it’s really time for me to think of getting my own car. I didn’t think I’d need it before because I worked at home most of the time. But now that I have out of town shoots, my dog, and a surf board to boot, commuting is becoming a big pain on my side.
My stress buster (Leroy) has been feeling a bit neglected. What used to be daily long walks have been reduced to 20-30 minute walks around the village. I’m thankful I get to work from home most of the time so most of my breaks are spent playing with the pup. And I do take him to some of the photo shoots if I could. To make up for it, I took the pup out to our favorite park and spent the afternoon playing and doing some recall training. The next few weeks are going to be crazy busy too and the pup will have to be content with shorter walks than usual… I’m pretty sure he won’t complain but I can’t help but feel guilty sometimes. 🙁
Because I’m the photographer in the house I rarely have good photos of me and the pup so before heading to the park I propped my camera on a pillow (I lost my tripod plate so I can’t use it), used the timer mode, and shot away. It was a hit and miss, the pillow moved a lot, but I did manage to get some photos that I can use.
At the park I had to tire Leroy out first so I could take some nice photos of him with Ayala Avenue as the background. One offshoot of shorter walks is that Leroy is more energetic than usual and though he listens to commands quite well I still prefer taking photos of him when he’s a little tired.
A friend asked on Instagram (follow me @tiaramejos) how I manage to get Leroy to look at the camera. Well, my pup is used to the camera, I’m a self confessed shutterbug so I take photos a lot using my phone and dslr. With new dogs I think it’s always good to have them associate the big chunky dslr with something positive, like food or play.
Leroy loves food and at home he’s very food motivated so I use that to my advantage. He knows that he’s going to get yummy treats if he stays and looks at the camera. Outside, food is not that effective and this is where play comes in. Leroy has a very strong retrieving instinct so when at the park I usually bribe him with a stick and a game of fetch. The camera clicks once, twice, or sometimes thrice and then I throw the stick and he brings it back to me and then I start taking photos again.
Leroy also knows how to sit, stay, and lay down on command and I know not all dogs are trained to do this but these commands really make a difference if you want to take good photographs of your pet.
I hope this post helps. 🙂
I trained Leroy but I’m no dog trainer. There are a lot of videos and articles online that can help, you just need to choose which method works for you. I’m a big fan of positive or force free training and if you need help Francis Cleofas of dogcoachfrancis.com is a good resource.
Meet Leroy, my 10 month old(as of today) labrador mix pup and my heart dog. I’ve had him since he was two months old and in a lot of ways we grew up together. He’s my companion, stress buster, inspiration, and model. I practice a lot on him and he puts up with me even though there are times when I feel like he’s bored already. Haha.