I was ready to head out on the walk by 7:15am but it was pitch black inside and outside. The only way I'd ever walk with Stella in the dark is having the retractable leash attached to her collar. So we waited ... and waited ... and waited. It was another morning of getting up earlier than planned but I'm okay with it anymore. I just keep reminding myself when this happens after April it will be 6am not 5am. That will give me plenty of time to blog and plenty of time to get projects knocked off the 'to do' list. So how did Stella remind me that today started a new week?
LOL ... she changes routines.
Only today I was either not paying attention or was unprepared as I was starting my Apple Watch to track time, distance, calories burned blah blah for our walk. While I am doing that and concentrating on keeping the camera strap on my right wrist ... Stella walked right through and out into the middle of the dead ragweed and proceeded to capture every burr possible on right right side. Yes ... I yelled !!!! I couldn't believe it. She was in the middle of all of them!!! I would have taken pictures because the right side of her was just a few burrs short of being completely solid ... solid with burrs!!!! Lined up in neat even rows!!!! Burrs on top of burrs!!!!
The thing is I have to stop and pull them out right then before they get deeper in her coat, become tangled and almost impossible to pull away. I slowly took the camera off my wrist, turned it off and slid it into my parka pocket. It was going to be a major project getting the burrs off of her. She always knows what I am doing because she stands really still, never resists or tries to get away. Once that last burr is pulled off, she does a full body shake and then runs ahead of me without even a thank you. LOL
Stella was definitely in her 'tracking' mode today ... more than I had ever seen in the three years that I have had her. I guess with the melted snow, warmer temps, the deer must have been out. I was beginning to wonder if she and I were ever going to make it to the first turn. I had never seen her like this, exploring every inch along the edge of the field and the bushes that separate the woods.
Although it seemed warmer, with most of the snow gone in the yard and driveway by 10pm Sunday night, every device I looked at said it was 26° this morning. We have about a week of 'warmer' temps with highs in the 30's, which I can live with. This weekend those highs are going to drop into the teens for a few days. By that time we will be in the third week of January so that isn't too bad. Photos from last year show we had snow in late March and early April, so my dreams of spring are still a distant rumor.
I have to say Sunday morning when I got up and headed out on the walk with the old Nikon D3200 in my hand to take pictures for our walk ... I had plans to be at Best Buy when they opened at 10am, to return the Canon camera. Something held me back from leaving that early ~9:15am. I was still writing the blog post for Sunday morning and by the time 10:30am rolled around I was not in the mood to drive to Bloomington. The camera had survived another day. It was the few great pictures the camera had taken the past week plus the pictures I took after the hounds had their lunch on Sunday ... when I decided I was going to keep it.
It was NOT the camera screwing up ... it is 'user error' .. me!
The thing I had noticed, no matter what time of day (lighting) I was getting better pictures shooting in the "M" mode with automatic focus compared to fully automatic. Even on this walk this morning I used both modes, can you tell when I switched?
It is rare that Stella moves into the woods or the brush before the woods. It has to be very interesting for her to go that far off the path. I wanted to see what she would do so I let her roam a little bit in that area to see if she would come out on her own. She did, without me calling her.
I kept thinking about the reasons I decided to buy the Canon G9X earlier in the month after months of research. They were still valid reasons on Sunday. It is definitely more handy to take this camera with me, like I will today when I drive to the recycling center, than it is taking the Nikon D3200. I am still reading, researching and practicing with the maxed out zoom, with hopes of getting clear pictures. On the forum for that specific camera there are other users with the same issues I complain about on this blog.
During this time I have had the camera I have been taking different kinds of pictures inside the house of the dogs in low light conditions so I can compare it to my iPhone 8+ pictures, which has outstanding picture quality. The 'Feature Image' that is at the top of this post, Stella's face, was taken last night while I sat on the couch. I used the flash and found this picture to be just as good if not better than the pictures I have taken of the dogs with the iPhone 8+ camera the past year. I have included a picture of Heidi below, taken a few seconds before I took that one of Stella.
The indoor pictures I've taken with the Canon since the 9th of January have been better than the ones I've taken with the Nikon D3200. So it kind of fits between the iPhone 8+ camera and the Nikon D3200 camera. Here is what I mean by that. The Nikon has fantastic quality at 200mm zoom, the Canon is still a work in progress at that setting until I can figure out what is going on. The iPhone camera is great indoors with low light, or outside, but not any more zoom than 2x. When I used it on the walks last year the quality just wasn't there BUT now there are new ways of editing those pictures in much more detail. Would I be able to edit them enough to make them as good as the Canon? or the Nikon? I have no doubt I will always need the Nikon for the 200mm feature. IF I could get the Canon to work consistently as good as the iPhone camera, I could replace the phone with the watch. The Apple Watch is that good.
Speaking of that Apple Watch ... last night I was within taping a choice button on my watch screen, letting it know that I DID NOT FALL !!!! before it would have called 911. What did I do for the watch to detect a fall and prepare itself to call 911?? I was trying to open a can of biscuits. Following the instructions to place pressure on the container seam with a spoon to open the container, it wouldn't work. So I did it the old fashion way and slapped that container of biscuits against the sharp edge of the kitchen island. That opened the can of biscuits I was going to bake but it also told my watch that I MAY HAVE fallen !!!!
Luckily I felt the vibration on my wrist soon enough to tap the button "I'm Ok" ... and all was good.
It's times like these I have thought about just letting Stella go where she wants no matter how long that might take. It might take longer than an hour if I were to let her roam. At 26° I didn't want to do that this morning but it might be possible this spring, or in February or March when we have an unexpected very warm day. I want to see if she will go back into the woods on the north side of the field like she use to with Sadie.
Otherwise it was just another casual Monday morning stroll with her. Here she is enjoying the scenery, the exercise ... she looks happy to me.
There was just one more spot she needed to check out before we walked along the back side of the field.
She then returned to that strolling pace as we were about to turn and head toward the house.
I forgot I had the camera set to one picture at a time. If it had been set on 'continuous' I would have been able to catch Stella running full speed at me. By the time (2 seconds) it took for the camera to process this picture and then refocus automatically, Stella was past me and gone.
While she lingered inspecting, I moved around her and headed home, while hoping to get more pictures of her from the front. Again, I barely caught her running. She was definitely energetic this morning.
It has not happened often the past year or two, since she either tweaked her back, grew older or whatever ... she still likes to play/wrestle. Her and Sadie played a little in early September. She has played with me a couple of times since, so that tells me the joint supplements I am giving her must be working. When I caught her standing this way I knew something was up. I tried my best to get some pictures of her playing with me but these were about all I could come up with.
She kept running and jumping up into me with her chest, then playfully growling ... spinning around and charging at me again. She liked it most when I could get my shoulder into her shoulders and wrestle with her. She would try to grab me with her front paws. No yelping of any kind or sounds of pain as she did this. She did a lot of full circle spins and then jumping back into me.
This is the type of look she and Sadie would do as they stopped playing immediately, standing still, trying figure out what the next move would be. For new blog readers or those that joined after I moved my main blog to WordPress on December 9th ... that old fence post with the roll of barbed wire hanging on it, plus the wire fence you see on the other side of the trees .... were there in the 1940's when this property was nothing but a field. In that time period my great grandfather from Ireland owned this land and my dad who was a teenager in the 40's would plow this field with a team of mules. It's amazing that roll of barbed wire, the fence post and small section of fencing is still here in pretty good shape 75 years later.
Stella wasn't through playing with me. As I attempted to walk away thinking she was finished, she charged into the back of my legs, then spinning she headed off in the opposite direction before coming back at me again.
Finally she was finished ... and started walking toward the house. It was a good ten minutes of wrestling.
After four or five attempts I finally got a picture of the rising sun that I liked.
I don't know what the dog's name is but the big St. Bernard that lives across the highway is barking loud enough at us that Stella stopped to listen.
This is the picture I took of Heidi last night with the Canon with the flash on. It's awfully hard to include pictures of her in the morning posts because she is sleeping before and during the time I write it. About the only pictures I can get of her are included in the early evening post of the day IF I post two in one day. Otherwise I will include any pictures I take of her in the afternoons into the post the next morning.
Well it's not quite lunch and I don't want to leave Stella locked up during her lunch hours while to drive to the recycling center. I think I can load up my two 32gal cans that hold mixed recycling material (I don't have to sort it) and get back before Stella would freak out and attempt another breakout from jail. I am still using the cord tied to two door knobs because after that one time where I left her during her lunch time, she has not attempted to break out of the bedroom since then. I hope to get some pictures of the local area that I did not get last week on our drive. It's not much different from what you saw because it's west of us and all of that land is also flat for as far as you can see.
It's going to be a good day in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana today.