Can’t take a perfect picture of your dog in the snow? Think again!

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Hey you Instagram/social media users!

Yes you.. especially you dog lovers and owners!

We can all relate how hard it can be to take the perfect shot of your adorable fluff ball, especially in the snow right??

Well, it may not be as hard as you think…

All you need is something that your dog thrives for. It can be treats, toys, or even a snowball, whatever can catch your dogs attention and make them fully in tuned to you! I used a snowball since Sandy loves eating snow and thinks it’s a toy!

Ready for the big secret?? This can be done by using an iPhone! So don’t think that you have to bring your fancy camera out in the cold weather! With the right lighting and editing APP, you can make your photos look as if a professional photographer took them! I love using VOSCO editing app for my photos. Not only is it easy to navigate, it has so many effects and editing features. Just be aware that some effects may cost $1.00 but there are many you can get for FREE (which I use)!

Here are some tips that can help you when you are taking the photos. First, sprinkle some snow on your pup, if they don’t have any snow on them from playing or rolling around. My favorite places to sprinkle is the nose, back, chest, and head. I especially like to sprinkle some around their chest to give a framing effect of their body.

While I took the photos with one hand, in the other was my distraction hand. Once they know you have their possession, they will do anything for it. This makes you totally in charge! It makes it easy for us photographers because this gives us great opportunities to capture many shots from different angles. One technique I used was having Sandy sit, stand or just getting her full attention and then waving my distraction hand(the snowball) in all different directions; left, right, up, down. As I was waving my distraction hand, my camera hand continuously  captured photos from every angle. Remember, dogs have a short attention span.. Don’t tease your pup for too long or else they will get very impatient and try to lunge towards the toy. Wave it around for a good 5 or 10 seconds. This is the best way I believe to capture photos of your pup. They become completely in tuned to you!

Don’t be discouraged if your pictures didn’t turn out as you wished. You may have to do this for a bit of time, depending on what exactly you want to capture. My goal was to get a photo of her with snow perfectly on her nose with her puppy eyes twinkling.

In VOSCO editing app, I used a high exposure, low contrast, and a bit of shadowing to help me bring out the twinkle in her eyes.  I also used some saturation and a cool temperature(blue) to give the cool effect. In some pictures I gave a pink tint to give off a warm feeling to my viewers.

So enough of the “ughhh this is impossible” Because this mission impossible, became a mission possible!!!

Check out my Instagram for more!

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Welcome to Hawk Hill!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset“Snow falling soundlessly will always fill my heart with sweet clarity” Novala Takemoto

St. Joseph’s University

Top 10 reasons why I love St. Joseph’s

1. Gorgeous campus

2. In a perfect location (easy transportation, in the city but away from the chaos).

3. Professors and staff are friendly and outstanding. Always willing to help you.

4. So many opportunities are offered ranging from jobs to being involved in clubs and activities.

5. Meet many new people.

6. Many resources are offered to help you, for example the writing center and the tutor center.

7. There is a Starbucks on campus :)!

8. You can see the Philadelphia skyline, which is beautiful.

9. The library is gorgeous and has a lot of space for studying. It even has a snack bar area that even has the news displayed on the TV (I am so behind on the news).

10. Although I do not like the cafeteria named Campion, there is a food court down the hall that sells much better food including subway, hawk wraps, grill works, and sushi!

This is my first year at St. Joseph’s. I have not fully experienced what else is has to offer. So far I have been really enjoying my first year meeting new friends, adapting to the crazy work load, balancing my time, and exercising at the gym. Sophomore year is coming fast. I just completed my housing for next year and I am about to pick my courses next week. Spring is right around the corner, what I have heard is that the campus is stunning once flowers bloom and the grass and trees turn green. I am very excited to take more pictures of campus and share the beauty of my school with you!

Check out Mary’s helpful site about St. Joseph’s http://maryvmellor.com/hawkward/

Also, check out St. Joseph’s site for further information

http://www.sju.edu

Beach over snow. The power of imagination.

“I’m definitely much more of a beach bunny. I prefer the sun over the snow.” Gillian Zinser


Today St. Joseph decided to give us the day off since we have about 12 inches of snow. I think the snow is beautiful and its beauty is unique… For the first 5 minutes. After 5 minutes I am ready for the beach and warm weather!

I was on my Snapchat this morning and came across a post from good friend I went to elementary school and middle school with. She is currently in Miami soaking up the warm tropical weather. Her pictures are all of palm trees, tropical drinks, and the light crystal blue ocean. I am so jealous. I had to do something to relive my envy and sadness. Therefore, I looked this tropical picture of the beach and imagined I was there, taking the picture right now.

I closed my eyes and let my mind and imagination take over me.

Standing barefoot with my toes hidden beneath the sand, gazing out at the light blue ocean from my Tiki hut. With my camera around my neck and water in my hand, I gradually made my way through the palm trees to a large rock, that was planted firmly in the water along the shore line. Eager to arrive and capture an everlasting memory.

As I arrived at the tall rock, I gradually bent my knee, lifted my foot and softly placed my foot on the warm bumpy rock. With all my might, I extended my knee and rose above the rock, as if I was King Kong standing on top of the Empire State Building. Gently, I bent my knees and lowered myself on the rock and let my legs rest easy, hanging over as if they were immobilized.

Gracefully toke in deep inhales and long exhale and as I sat upon the rock. Taking in the beauty that surrounded me and the floral scent that soothed my mind. Watching the gentle light blue rippling waves that calmly approach the shore. The white and blue striped hammock that hung motionless from the tropical palm tree. Each palm swaying gently to the warm ocean breeze, relaxing over the calm ocean water.

Letting my mind take over me and imagining that I in beauty, warm weather, and peace. It made me think that this snow not all so bad. All I need is a picture of a beach, a silent room, and my imagination.

You will never believe how I took a still puppy picture.

I know it has been a while since my last post. Last week as well as this coming week is crazy with course work. Thankfully next week is spring break and I can finally see my golden retriever puppy. Her name Sandy Beach Dixon. I love her so much!

I took this picture of Sandy when I had winter break (for a full month). At the time she was only 2 and a half months old and has been living at home for a month. She has been such a joy and has such a warm and loving personality. Sandy thrives for attention from my family and especially from visitors. She always looks forward to visitors and loves to play with them although, she does bite hard which needs to stop, but she is a puppy and is still learning her senses.

Taking pictures of puppies is very difficult, especially for one who cannot stand still for a full second. To get this shot, I had to think of a way to make her stop in her tracks and freeze. I knew already that she loves chasing people, running after her ball, and hearing her name called. Some way I had to use one of those techniques to make her freeze for a split second. So an idea came to me of throwing her ball. My plan was to get her attention with the ball in one hand and my camera in the other so, I could quickly take a picture as she was processing my action before her reaction.  This idea is extremely risky because I potentially could ruin my camera if she pounced on me. I might be too late taking the picture if she reacted quicker than I expected, but it was worth a shot.

As I was about to grab the miniature tennis ball from my pocket, Sandy stopped frozen in her tracks, gazing upon the falling snow around her. Without any hesitation, I instantly gripped my camera, focused on her and shot continuously. I could not believe it, Sandy is always moving around being a crazy energetic puppy and for once, she was in a standstill and watched the snow fall gracefully. It was like she knew that I was giving her the attention as a paparazzi would to a celebrity so she knew to pose for me.

Why I love the arctic air…

“There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.”
Charles Dickens

Boat House Row, Philadelphia Pa.

February 2015

Finally, I had the opportunity to get off campus with my boyfriend and go shooting with my camera. I left around 6:15pm, when the sun was fully set and the sky was full of darkness with city lights. I knew that this would be a perfect opportunity to learn and work with the light, using different exposures, apertures, and shutter speeds. The first place I went to was Belmont Plateau, which is about 2 miles away from St. Joseph’s University. The Plateau is a beautiful park and the city skyline in the distance, along with a large hill with a tree to lay under with a significant other one is a very romantic spot. Unfortunately, my pictures did not turn out as I hoped they would. Since I am still a beginner, my exposure was off as well as my aperture. Well now I can use this unfortunate turnout as an excuse, to go back over and shoot again. I was off to my next and last destination of the night, boathouse row. I had a good feeling that I would get a great shot there since I knew what I did wrong at the Plateau.

I will never forget standing outside of boathouse row in the stinging arctic air, with howling winds beating upon my face and numbing my fingers. The longer I stood, the more difficult it became for my frozen fingers to press the small buttons and rotate different nozzles, as wearing gloves would restrict me from adjusting different settings. An hour later, with my fingers immobilized and my body starting to cringe from the arctic air, I had to finally call it a night before my whole body would become an ice-cube. As I climbed in the warm cozy car, my hand felt as if, burning hot needles where ripping through my skin from the radical temperature shift. The pain I felt was like I had just run my hands under steaming hot water after soaking them in a freezing ice bucket for a long period of time. Over some time the pain subsided and I could see how my pictures turned out. By far this is my favorite picture, not only because I am in favor of the exposure and aperture along with the captured setting of Boathouse Row, the city skyline, and the Art Museum; standing there was when I felt a sigh of relaxation and peace. It has been a couple of months since I last went out shooting, so being able to pursue my passion gave me a natural high along with love and happiness. Even though I was freezing, I finally got to experience the incredible rush from doing what I truly love. It was totally worth the pain.