Visual Exercise and Sniff Stops

By Thursday, April 10, 2014grafphoto

With so much bitter cold, snow and ice this past winter, we didn’t go for many walks in the woods with our malamute Willow this year, even though she would have loved it.   This past week was a time to revisit the woods behind our house to see what was what.    And every walk getting away from the standard smells of the neighborhood, especially a woodland full of various critters, is like a kid in a candy shop for her.

Sniff Stop #1

Sniff Stop #1

I decided to bring my Fujifilm X100S along with me just for a little mental and visual exercise.    I usually can shoot one handed with this camera without too much trouble.

The prolonged cold, winter weather had a way of zapping my motivation to get out.  The woods are largely in a state of brown at the moment, much like November before the snow buried us.     Some ice still remains on the ponds.   A time of year where finding visual stimuli can be challenging as it looks so …. well – brown without much contrast anywhere.

Of course, Willow couldn’t care less about all of this, and as you can see here, pulling in her typical malamute stance of “I want to sniff this and you aren’t going to stop me.”  She was very anxious to get to the sniffing agenda at hand at the path entrance – Sniff Stop #1.

Despite the homogeneous nature, this time of year is quite pleasant in these woods for walking.   In a couple of months, the trailsides till be filled with poison ivy, and soon thereafter, mosquito hell.   The wetland and abundant flood plains around here make certain of that.   That is when we take our walks elsewhere, unfortunately.

Carnage at the Stand

Carnage at the Stand

Larger scenic photographs are hard to come by, especially with a strong 85 pound pulling machine attached to one hand.   By now, we are at Sniff Stop #43 or so.    I wanted to check out a stand that I found someone built last fall or so, wondering if it was being used for poaching the local deer population.   I wasn’t quite prepared to find the carnage discovered at this scene.

Continuing on, we went back to the main path and headed up a hill overlooking a pond.   There are various fallen trees and decent vantage points up here, chances of some photographs are growing.   I try to steer Willow off the path a little to a dead tree, but first we need to stop at Sniff Stop # 64, 65, and 66.

I managed to get a few shots in this area I thought were interesting, for now at least.

Dead Tree

Dead Tree, Fuji X100S

Dead Tree

Dead Tree II, Fuji X100S

Tree Reflections

Tree Reflections, Fuji X100S

The path we took ends up in a very swampy area, usually the sign it is time to turn around.   Cleaning off a muddy malamute is no fun whatsoever.

What lurks inside?

What lurks inside?

As we near the end, of course we stop again – at this point, Sniff Stop #4,892.   A hole that didn’t look too inviting to me.    But for a curious malamute, a must sniff with the full nose plunge technique.   By this time, I think we have both had satisfied our goals for the day.





Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • Bernie Kasper says:

    At least it wasn’t a stuffed rabbit, great pics btw. Winter is finally ended down here third straight day of 70’s and the woods are coming to life, You will get there I promise !!

  • Tom Whelan says:

    Poor teddy bears – they probably never saw it coming. The wood abstracts look great. Hope it’s warming up where you are, we just got smacked with a bit of snow and cold weather.

  • Tom Dills says:

    Kathy & I take a lot of “sniff stops” when we hike too, although we don’t have a dog! Having a camera and tripod also makes for a great excuse to stop! Out of breath? Not me! Just stopping to take a photo…. 🙂

    I’m with Earl in really liking the dead tree photos, and I would love to know the story behind the bears. Really interesting and hard to imagine.

    • Mark says:

      Ha! That’s funny Tom… although I think my dog probably has you beat, and if she doesn’t, well – then I am concerned. 😉

      I would like to know the story behind the bears also, maybe I should leave a note there. Then again, maybe I don’t want to know.

  • 4,982 is a lot of sniffing. Probably give me a headache. I have no pets but I do enjoy knowing there are people who interact with their pets on a regular (daily) basis and consider them as part of the family. I was surprised to see the carnage image when I enlarged it. My favorite is the reflection of trees. We are getting snow this morning. Supposedly 3-5 inches by the end of the day. The positive thing about Colorado is it will all be gone tomorrow.

    • Mark says:

      Carnage photo purposefully kept small to not scare too many people away.

      We woke up to snow this morning Monte. Can’t say it is very welcome – but will be gone for tomorrow.

  • The carnage shot is brilliant. A scene straight out of a Stephen King book. The Tree Reflection shot is also good, evoking a similar eerie, spooky feel.

  • Earl says:

    Mark, I very much like the dead tree images but I’m a little traumatized by the bear (teddy) carnage photo — they just left them where they died. I hate to think how much bad karma will be coming back to someone over this. 🙂

    Willow is a beauty!

    How you liking that Fuji?

    • Mark says:

      The trauma applies to you and me both my friend. It was a very strange scene indeed, right out of a horror flick if you ask me. Are they the victims or the bait????

      Willow thanks you for the compliment, although she kinda knows it and uses it to her full advantage.

      I love the Fuji. Every time I pick it up it reminds me how much I should be using it more. The fixed focal length sometimes has me wishing for more, but I work around it to what it is capable of. Keeping things very simple has its benefits you know. Walks just around my neighborhood don’t have many inspiring things for me to bring it along for every dog walk. But when we venture into the woods, I think I will be taking it every time from now on. You never know when you come across those murder scenes and need something more than your phone to document it.

  • This is the perfect example of how a good photographer can find a good shot anywhere they go. The dull brown landscape still revealed great abstracts and reflections.

    The great teddy bear massacre of 2014?

    • Mark says:

      Thanks Alanna. I realize the more time away from the camera, the more I need practice just to get back into the act of seeing things. Even if I am just shooting nothing I will keep, it helps just to try. The three shots here were just some possible keepers of the bunch.

      As far as those bears…. well – perhaps I stumbled on the lair of Teddy Bundy! ? 🙂 It was quite bizarre indeed.

  • The snow here in my West Michigan woods that backs up to the house is getting to the point it’s time to take the dogs through the woods. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that with Shirlee’s illness and the major snowfall. I have a close to 100lb Black Lab mix and a 25lb Cheagle who thinks he is all beagle and has to sniff at every spot and then pull at 100 miles an hour to get to the next spot. Love your work.

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