Monday, February 28, 2011
Behind the Scenes
It may seem that the production of this blog only involves the quick writing of whatever I’m thinking about that week, plus a quick click of my camera. But there is more to it – it’s more complicated that it seems! So I’ve decided to give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to make this happen every week.
First, there’s the writing. Sometimes it’s so incredibly easy. Something obvious will happen and inspire me to write. Or a photo from the week will give me a topic. Sometimes I’ll write several in advance. But often Sunday night comes and I’m blank. No one said anything interesting, no one pissed me off, George didn’t do anything funny. Those are the times when I ask my husband for help. His third suggestion is usually a winner. That’s why he says he should get a byline on this blog.
The most fun thing for me is creating the photos. Sure, sometimes all I have to do is point and shoot, at the dog park or at Starbucks or wherever works for that week’s subject. But often I have to create the shot by posing George. And that’s where the Behind-the-Scenes action gets good.
George has learned that if I get out the camera, he is going to get a treat. So now he’s very good at posing patiently until I get the shot. But first we have to get him into the right pose.
The following photo from the post on February 23, 2010 is a great example of using a treat productively. I needed George to look like he was thinking about himself, so we moved our bedroom mirror into the hallway for better light and then placed him facing it. To get him to look at his reflection, we put his treat on the ledge of the mirror. You can see it if you look closely.
The shot of George cleaning (July 13, 2009) was easier than it may seem. We put the paper towel on the coffee table and then set his paws on it. Lance held a treat in the direction I wanted George’s focus to be, and eventually in his excitement he put his paw on the paper towel. Click.
The one on January 24, 2011 was difficult to take because I needed George to stand behind the stacks of books in our front room. He would walk behind them, but when I held up the treat to change his focus, he immediately ran around the books to get it. He was very confused, but eventually I got the shot.
On October 25, 2010, I needed George to sit in my cap and gown, and it was the easiest shot I ever got. Usually I need my husband to hold the treat or hat or whatever while I take the photo, but George was super patient. I safety-pinned my graduation gown so it would stay on his shoulders, slipped it on him, held the hat over his head with one hand and snapped the pic with the other. By the way, hats are often not really on his head. I try not to catch our fingers holding them!
On September 13, 2010, I needed a photo of George peeing on a fire hydrant – awfully specific. So I put him in the car in the morning before he had his first pee of the day, and I drove around trying to find a good hydrant. But it was hard. Many were in strange places or hard to get to or just not right, artistically. (I wanted a red one, but no luck.) By the time I finally found one, George was really anxious. I let him out of the car and he immediately wanted to pee on the nearest bush, then the nearest light pole, but I kept dragging him back to the fire hydrant, which obviously didn’t interest him. Finally he peed on it out of desperation. I’m sure we made a hilarious scene.
On September 7, 2010, Lance carried George around to the other side of our backyard’s wall and held him up so it looked like George was peeking over. (Another time when anyone nearby would think we were crazy.)
March 15’s post was the blog’s birthday, and George actually sat with that little hat on his head. He didn’t seem to mind at all. The crumbs on the plate aren’t cake – they’re crumbled-up pieces of his treat.
The tumbleweed in our yard on March 8, 2010 was not there naturally – I picked it up along the road and threw it in my trunk to take home for the photo. I think there are still stickers in my trunk to show for it.
Oh, what I do for my art.