Valentine’s Day & Cooper’s Birthday Photoshoot

Cooper turned three-years-old on February 2 — a perfect excuse for a Valentine’s Day themed photoshoot.

I ordered Valentine’s Day themed balloons from Target and gathered decor for the shoot from around the house, including a cream blanket, blush-colored pillows, fake flowers, a few real flower petals from our backyard, and some antique-looking teal bins.

Originally, I was going to use a photo backdrop, but decided that the teal wall in our guest room tied in perfectly with the decor colors.

Cooper and Fidus have become rather grumpy about food and treats in the last year. As a result, I generally take their photos separately when I know I’ll be asking them to sit still for treats so that they aren’t stressed about the other dog taking food from them.

Cooper was up first. A border collie through and through, Cooper is amazing at following orders. With a little nudging and persuading with treats, I got her in just the right spots in the photo space I’d set up.

After a ridiculous amount of herding the dogs around, it was Fidus’ turn. He is much more treat-driven than Cooper. While Cooper is happy to have a treat, she’s far more pleased to complete a task. Fidus, bless his soul, just wants the treat. Nothing else exists besides that treat. His nose slowly moves closer and closer to the camera (where I’ve balanced a treat atop the lens) during shoots.

Can you see his eagerness?

When doing photoshoots that involve props with pets, be sure to keep an eye on them. Cooper was a little too interested in the fake flowers and the real flower petals. After some redirections (and moving the decor further away from where she was seated) she stopped. Fidus, surprisingly and unsurprisingly, did not try to snack on anything besides the treat teased in front of him.

We didn’t do anything too special for Cooper’s birthday this year — but the next weekend we took her and Fidus on a hike during the Super Bowl when we knew the trails would be emptier than normal. We are thrilled that the hike went well! Cooper learned to politely sit off trail without barking or becoming fearful of the people passing by — a huge step forward for her. Photos coming soon.

Behind the Scenes with Zip

Back in October, I had the delight of photographing Zip, an energetic border collie, as a Christmas present for one of his owners. I’ve held back posting some of his photos, wanting to wait until after the holidays to avoid spoiling Zip’s photo surprise.

I met Zip and his other owner in Davis, California at Northstar Park which provided a varied backdrop for our photos. The park features two ponds, large open green spaces, trails, sports fields, and more.

I had a wonderful time running around capturing Zip from different angles as he used his border collie stare to lock in on any one who daned to pass by — something I’m very familiar with thanks to my own border collie, Cooper. Can you tell which photos below he’s using the stare in?

We walked along the park’s main trail and stopped at different spots to take advantage of the park’s different looks. Take a look at some of our favorite photos from the shoot below!

Pupper – A “Lover” Parody

Fun facts about me: I love Taylor Swift. Her song “Lover’ has been a staple on my Spotify playlists since it came out, and my husband and I quickly began singing the lyrics to our often annoyed dogs with a slight twist of lyric. “You’re my, my, my pupper,” my husband would sing to them, over exaggerating the last word in very (Taylor) Swiftian fashion.

Taylor probably would have preferred a parody about cats. Sorry, Taylor!

As a result, shortly after Christmas I began to come up with little tweaks to Taylor’s brilliant lines to fit with my husband’s version of the song. Eventually, one late night, I scribbled out all the lyrics in the Notes app on my phone. Fast forward again a couple of months, and with quarantine, it seemed only appropriate to finally do something with the parody lyrics sitting on my phone and this YouTube video was born.

I set out to capture the scenes I wanted, like a timelapse of the dogs following me around the house and taking them out to the bathroom a gazillion times a day (you know, things I wouldn’t normally whip my camera out to film). It took about a week to get the dogs to cooperate and get the planned footage needed. For the rest of the video, I delved through old phone videos to find clips of Cooper as a puppy and past cute things both dogs have done.

I couldn’t find video of this, sadly, but during my search through old phone archives, I found this delightful photo of puppy Cooper scared of our old neighbor’s cat. I had to share.

To create the video, I stitched the clips (made up of iPhone video, Google Pixel video, and DJI OSMO Pocket footage) together with Adobe Premiere Rush (it’s cheaper than Premiere for little videos like this, but Premiere is still far superior in my opinion!).

The Inspiration

I love my dogs whole heartedly, but it cannot be denied that dog ownership has its ups and downs. Just this week, our dog Fidus developed an infection on his paw and was sentenced to the cone of shame. An hour before he was due for a second vet appointment, he threw up — with the cone on.

I could have lived without cleaning up throw up from a plastic cone and subsequently our floor as Fidus ran around with his throw up cone before we could get to him. But at the end of the day, I couldn’t live without him!

With those thoughts in mind, I hope you enjoy “Pupper”! The lyrics are copied below and the YouTube video is linked above.

Parody Lyrics:

You can leave your toys out in the living room
This is our place, but you make the rules
And there’s a booming bark, a disastrous thud, oh dear
Is there anywhere in the house fur hasn’t touched?

You go, where I go
We can’t possibly be this close
I take you out and I take you home
You’re my, my, my, my pupper

You can command attention with just one bark
This is our place, but it’s all about you
And I’m highly suspicious that you’ll bite at strangers
You’ve gone out five times today, how many more?

You go, where I go
We can’t possibly be this close
I take you out and I take you home
You’re my, my, my, my pupper

Cooper and Fidus, will you please sit?
My hands are covered in dog treats and licks
Will you be good while I’m gone for a bit? Not my puppers
My house is trampled; I’m tired that’s true
But I wouldn’t be me; I’m lost without you
I’m absolutely obsessed – who knew? – with my puppers
And you’ll wait all day to play with me
And at every dog park, you leave me a treat, pupper

You go, where I go
We can’t possibly be this close
I take you out and I take you home
You’re my, my, my, my pupper

And if you haven’t heard “Lover” by Taylor Swift, today is your lucky day! Watch her music video below.