Google the Beagle (cross)

What if you left your house roughly a year ago intending to grab a pack of beer, but never came back, and suddenly feel like coming home ? Are you gonna get there and try to apologize and rationalize and explain, or would you rather walk through the door, go sit in your armchair and ask what’s for dinner ?

Those of you who used to follow this blog will see the analogy. Others will just look at the pictures, and probably though it’s a cute dog, with a rather pleasant, creamy bokeh…

googlemar17-01Yeah, it is noisy as hell, but please bear in mind this was shot in a very dark hallway at night, barely lit by a super weak durable bulb (you know, the ones we buy to save the planet and that take about 5 minutes to come to life), with a 6 yr old camera (at least), the ancient but nonetheless venerable NEX6. It’s shot around 1.5 on an 1.3 aperture 75mm (manual) lens, and in all honesty, considering the odds, I feel it’s pretty darn decent. Regarding the dog, meet Google, our Beagle cross girl. She turned 5 last december and I really can’t believe how fast time has passed since we went to fetch her in a rescue, in grief and a slight panic, after our adorable and unique miniature Spaniel got run by a car (to add insult, to injury, very likely ours -the car- ).

CannelleDec13-27I loved this midget of a dog profoundly, and so did our daughter. My husband didn’t care for her more than that, but suspecting he killed her by accident, he still cried on and off for a full week after the tragedy.

CannelleSept13-10So when we found her lifeless tiny crushed body, grief took us all by the gut, and wouldn’t let go its iron and twisting fist. We’d roam our beachhouse (it happened during a holiday, on a hateful beach I have detested going back to since) like ghosts, torn by loss and guilt (we did, after all, totally **forgot** we’d taken her along that day, and left the beach parking lot without checking she was in the car, very likely hitting her in the process). When our then 5 yr old daughter wouldn’t stop crying for 48hrs, and I wasn’t much better at all, I told my husband the obvious truth “we should run to a shelter and get another dog”. Bless the Internet. These days deciding which dog you’re going to grant the priviledge of being adopted is easy as shopping for a spouse on the web. I connected to the local shelter’s website, checked the available animals, and made a brief shortlist. A sly looking rough-coated Beagle mix named Google was on it.

GoogleAvr14-08And so we went, considered various options, and came back to our suburban home with “Google the Beagle”. As you can see, her first important mission was to mend our hearts as well as hers (she had, after all, been dumped at the shelter at the tender age of 2), and she did so fiercely and with much success.

GoogleSept14-03Google is my husband’s dog, first and foremost. She loves us all and will sneak into our laps on the sofa and give the best dog cuddles in the world, but Olivier is her favorite human (can’t blame her for that, that’s a proof of a fine taste).

Marla29Jul15-02Although Marla comes a close second

In August 2015 when we got our larger property in the Center (of France), I wished to add another canine to the family, some sort of “guard” dog, to keep Google company and help survey the place. We ended up coming back from the shelter with the sweetest dog that ever lived, who absolutely wouldn’t hurt a human even if they went at her with a chainsaw but having some pitbull ancestors down the line she is at least decently impressive to folks strolling by.

JuanaDec12-02PMBoth girls are spayed and absolutely adore each other. Juana bullies Google around, and Google annoys the hell of of Juju as soon as she gets a chance, there is a lot of teeth display and rough playing and dragging one another on the floor, but truth be told they are the world’s best buddies.

JuanaAug15-14And so very happily live two rescue bitches in our home. If Olivier (my amazing husband) would let me, we’d have a rescue operation on our own in this house, as not a week passes by that I don’t see a dog worth saving. But in his great wisdom he has kept the headcount down to two…

Boucs23Feb16-07PM… or so (that’s another story, for another day)

googlemar17-02So here was our Google’s story. We hope she lives a long life as she’s a wonderful naughty child, incorrigible runaway, obsessive barker, hard headed Bretonne, but she also has the sweetest heart, the most irresistible personality, not the mention the softest ears of any dog, ever ❤

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My camera has been busy

CDU_5571PMIn my (failing) attempt at being a pro photographer, I’ve done quite a bit of shooting lately

CDU_4963PMWestern, jumpers, dressage…

CDU_3827PMI just wanted to touch base with you friends with a couple of pictures

This is not working half as it should, but I’m having fun. Finding out that everybody wants free photographs, but very few people still want them if they’re not free, even very reasonably priced. It’s just a sign of the times, everybody and their dog got a digital camera and think what they’re doing with it is “good enough” (when truly, it’s often good enough for the trash, lol).

CDU_5123PMI’m not bitter, and I’m not disappointed, I’m just watching this industry of the local event photographer with a neutral eye. It’s a pretty tough job and I’ll be fine doing something else, but I also see how freebies have killed this market, at least have hurt it badly. I do clinic photography, and I see people shooting comparable events and offering access to all the images for free. Nobody cares they’re unedited and often not very good, heck, they’re “good enough” if you don’t have to pay for them. In the meanwhile if I really depended on this business to make a living I’d be starving and bound to the salvation army, no joking. It seems very complicated for normal folks today that a photograph has a commercial value.

CDU_5179PMI may be delusional but I really don’t think the quality of my work is lacking. What I’m probably lacking is the ability to sell myself. Maybe because to me it should be hard to push good images. But I’m probably an old fart stranded in the digital age 😉

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New kid on the blog

Dandy20Avr16-03.jpgMaking progress with this boy…

My dear readership (or what little has been left of it by my lethal inability to blog consistently for the past few months…), I feel awful for letting you down. I also feel pretty crappy about my photography these days. Even though the last event I photographed sold pretty nicely, the freebies have more or less killed this market and I’m pulling the plug on my business.

DudeRanchAvr16-08PMThat being said, I’ll still pull the camera out of the bag now and then 😉




DudeRanchAvr16-04PMI would just hate not to

But first and foremost, I write this post to let you know that my primary focus having changed, I’ll be starting -and hopefully maintaining- a horsemanship oriented blog, called My very own Jac. If you want to have a peep at it now and then, I would love to have you there. There might be less pictures, and a little more talk, but fine horsemanship relates to all ares of life, in a pretty surprising way, so the curious and open minded among you might find it not entirely boring. Anyway, the only way to find out is to try it ! So I hope to meet you over there, and I’ll try to add a little to the photo page as well, as the better weather will be back soon. Stay tuned !

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Shooting a working equitation workshop (March 18/16)

12Mars2016-10PMLast week I got to shoot a spanish/portugese working equitation workshop

12Mars2016-64PMThose events are heavily classical dressage based, with a touch of obstacle handling, and some livestock sorting. Great looking horses, for the most part

12Mars2016-44PMI’m very familiar with the beautiful equine facility that took place in. The covered arena is just enormous, and the light is fantastic… if you can handle it ! A lot of crazy backlighting and white light pooling among shadows, not for the faint of heart

12Mars2016-67PMOr anyone lazy or relying on the camera’s metering. Forget that, unless you’re shooting mirrorless and have real time live exposure simulation. Using the Nikon D750, I didn’t, so Manual mode it was…


12Mars2016-59PMSituation like this, for example. You can’t have best of both worlds, even with a full frame sensor, the camera’s dynamic range is well exceeded by the scene. Just expose for your subject, and live with blown backgrounds. And don’t even mention RAW, I kept more than 2000 images for this event. Sorting out jpeg files was enough of a nightmare 😉

12Mars2016-32PMMost horses were spectacular, and with sharp looking riders, to boot

12Mars2016-39PMYoung stud was acting up, so the instructor hopped on, and he behaved

12Mars2016-78PMHorses were either purebred Spanish or Portugese breed, or Lippizaners


CDU_0090PMAnd the greatest fun for everyone was sorting out cattle !

12Mars2016-11PMI got a crush on a few of those horses




12Mars2016-79PMAnd this light is…. delighftul, once you handle it properly


12Mars2016-83PMSome traditional outfits added a nice touch


12Mars2016-30PMHorses had a blast with the cows



12Mars2016-48PMIcing on the cake, I sold a boatload of pictures !

CDU_0174PMThe cattle pics sold like crazy, despite the busier backgrounds and wonkier exposures

12Mars2016-80PMAll in all a great experience, and an audience that loves pictures and will buy

12Mars2016-20PMAbsolutely to do again !

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For monochrome lovers (March 16/16)


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Goats (Feb 26/16)

Boucs23Feb16-18PMOur four boys. From left to right : Sven, Blacky, Domino, Chocolat

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Back when the sun shone on us (Feb 25/16)

AutomneBerry-06Not so long ago, but it seems we haven’t seen the sun for ages. Please sun, come back !

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A long, WET winter (Feb 23/16)

Boucs23Feb16-07PMMea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I apologize, I have been horrible at (not) maintening the blog properly since Christmas. It’s being (not been, alas, we’re still enduring it) a long, warm, drab and WET winter. Our whole property is literally soaked in water. So obviously not the best circumstances for shutter therapy…


However, here are a few images of our new backyard maintenance team : 4 young neutered male goats (how do you call those anyway, bucks ?)/ Domino, Sven, Blacky and Chocolat


The youngest are about 6 months old and fully weaned, so now they can binge on the 3000 square meters of unmanageable shrubs that grow in one part of our property

Boucs23Feb16-08PMThey either stick all together, or go by pairs, the two dark ones, or as here, the two light ones. Goats are highly photogenic models, so get ready to see a bunch of goat images soon 😉

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That special moment (Feb 10/16)


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New colt, new project

Joli03Nov15-01PMAs the most faithful of view might remember, my young Portugese cross, Joli, has been sold to a new home. He’s doing fantastic, entered a Western competition only 4 weeks after his rehoming, and placed 3rd of out 12, against teams who’d been training for this event since September ! Obviously, I’m VERY proud of him, and thrilled for his new owner… But then, I was horseless !

Chex26Jan16Not quite… some friends quite generously offered me full access to one of their young horses, a wonderful 3.5 yr old Quarter Horse gelding, Chex Big Man, whom I had a blast riding for a while. I was still looking for my own training project, though…

Smoky23Jan16-06So I traveled ten hours to go check a colt way out West, agreed to buy him… until the seller pulled the rug under my feet by changing heart and refusing to sell !! When that kind of stuff happens, one’s first reaction is to get really mad, and/or have a pity party and hate the world. But deepdown I knew there must be a reason for this colt eluding me. And indeed… I just found MUCH better, shortly after :

Dandy06Fev15-04PMMeet Dandy Lena Boon

Dandy06Fev15-02PM21 month old Paint Horse, with great conformation, a solid reining bloodline…

Dandy06Fev15-01PM(something left of) a flashy blond mane

Dandy06Fev15-05PMA great looking rear end

Dandy06Fev15-06PMand a gorgeous head ! He really makes the other colt looks sorry 😉

Dandy06Fev15-03PMThis young man is halter broke, aside from that he’s as green as they come. Raised on the pasture with another stud colt of similar age. Will be home by Feb 28th… Stay tuned !

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