Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful to my family and friends for the love, comfort and fun they bring to my life. And I'm also thankful for the canine company in my life. I took them for a walk this morning to the Delmar Loop. Here they are, taking a break on the walk back home.

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 23, 2009

Introducing Sara

Yesterday I adopted a new dog! Her name is Sara and she's from the St. Louis Senior Dog Project. She's 9-10 years old and had lived at the end of a chain on a small rural farm in North Carolina for most of her life. Her story is documented on the St. Louis Senior Dog Project blog here, here and here.

So far, Sara is doing great! She seems very happy and I love having her. Read more here.

Introducing Sara
Through the patio window...

Friday, November 13, 2009


My sweet beagle Dawson died earlier tonight. He took a turn for the worse this afternoon. My friend Cherry and I had been managing his condition very carefully, given his back problem and his cancer. For weeks now, our focus had been on him being happy and not in pain. There were a number of ups and downs during this process, but we did pretty good. For example, just the other day, Dawson was digging a hole in the backyard, burying a bone! Today, however, he took a turn for the worse. It was time to help him out and to let him go.

I miss him terribly.

Please don't take my Polaroid away

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rainy color

Here's another shot of the fall colors as seen through my rain-covered windshield on the way to work the other morning:

Streaks of autumn color

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


We've been getting a lot of rain lately in St. Louis. I usually don't take any outdoor pictures when it's raining. But yesterday on the way to work, I decided to take advantage of the rain. Here is a photo taken from inside my car, looking through my rain-covered windshield at some vibrant fall color:

Rainy autumn morning

Monday, October 26, 2009

What a difference a week makes

The fall colors in St. Louis are either at or just past their peak. Below are two photos taken from a window at work, the first taken this past Friday and the other one taken seven days before that.

Corporate fall :: one week later
Corporate fall

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

iPhone photography

I'm am really getting into the camera on my iPhone. The iPhone is almost always with me, and the best camera is the one that's with you. There are some incredible iPhone apps to enhance photos by the iPhone. Here are two images I took yesterday of some beautiful fall color. Click on each image to read about how I processed the original image taken by the iPhone into what you see here.

Vintage fall Luminous leaves

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lucky dog

Regarding Dawson, my beagle with cancer, this past week started off pretty rough but has gotten much better.

I thought that Monday was going to be his last day. His walking had deteriorated over the weekend to the point where he was barely able to get up. And he was barely eating anything. So I asked his vet (my friend and neighbor Julie) to come over to look at him, assuming it was time to let him go. She diagnosed his difficulty walking as a problem with his spine, not something related to his cancer. She increased his pain medicine and on Tuesday evening, put him on a steroid, prednisone.

On Wednesday morning, he ate. And since then, he hasn't missed a meal. And he's getting around much better. And, very importantly, he seems very happy.

So, while he still has cancer, the cancer is not yet getting the better of him.

And something else happened this week that has been wonderful. While I'm at work during the daytime, Dawson stays at my friend Cherry's house. I drop him off on my way to work and pick him up on my way home. Cherry is the person who had Dawson for his first ten or so years. I adopted him when Cherry got very sick 3-4 years ago. I am extremely grateful to Cherry for her help and for being so good to Dawson. Yesterday, for example, he seemed quite full when I picked him up. Cherry had fed him a huge bowl of food -- and a hot dog!

Here's a photo of Dawson taken this morning on this first sunny day all week. Dawson is flanked by Bose (left) and Oliver.

Crisp autumn morning

Friday, October 16, 2009

The best camera is the one that's with you

There's a book on my wishlist called The Best Camera Is The One That's With You by Chase Jarvis. The photos in the book were all taken with Jarvis' iPhone over the past year. As stated on "This book is geared to inspire everyone, regardless of their level of photography knowledge, that you can capture moments and share them with our friends, families, loved ones, or the world at the press of a button."

While I love my new camera (a Nikon D40) and the sharp, beautiful photos it takes, this afternoon it did me no good, sitting at home on my kitchen table as the beautiful, fall-colored tree outside my office was screaming at me to take its photo.

With my iPhone in hand, I got a nice photo, and with the new Photoshop Mobile app for the iPhone, I was able to make the photo even nicer before uploading it to Flickr to share with the world.

I hope you like the following moment that I captured:

Corporate fall

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Dawson's cancer

Looking through nose printsMy beagle, Dawson, has cancer. I haven't written about this on my blog until now.

I found out about Dawson's condition several weeks ago. He looked like he'd lost some weight, was moving around a little slower and was experiencing some back pain. I asked his vet (who is my friend and neighbor, Julie) to come over and take a look at him, and she suggested some medical tests.

The back pain turned out to be severe arthritis, but an x-ray and ultrasound revealed tumors outside of his heart and also within his spleen. I don't recall the technical name of the cancer, but it's a kind that comes on very quickly. And unfortunately, kills very quickly.

I was told that Dawson has a couple of days to a couple of months left.

There are no treatment options for his cancer, and even if there were, I don't think I'd put him through that, especially given his age. He's somewhere between 12-14.

I asked my vet what to do. Her advice: Give him whatever he wants. Make him comfortable. And appreciate each day with him.

That's what I've been trying to do. I've taken him on more walks than we've gone on all year. He gets lots of yummy treats. I take him with me on errands, as he loves to ride in the car, especially in this cool fall weather we're having.

And with my renewed passion for photography, he's become my favorite photography subject of late. Fortunately for him and his eyes, I've been doing a lot of no-flash photography.

Dawson's spirits seem pretty good. He seems to be enjoying life. I worry that he may be in discomfort from time to time, but I'm told that this type of cancer shouldn't cause him to be in pain. Instead, he'll just continue to slow down until he reaches a point where he has almost no energy. That will be when it's time to help him out.

This experience with Dawson is reminding me to truly enjoy and appreciate life, one day at a time. That's certainly what I'm trying to do, for both Dawson and myself.


A monarch butterfly hanging out in my herb garden from a few Saturdays ago:


More comments on Flickr.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dawson and the RFT

Special thanks to Nick at the Riverfront Times for the following tweet. On behalf of Dawson, we are both very honored!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dawson at Blueberry Hill

Dawson at Blueberry Hill

Read more about my photo here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Me and the beagle

Last night, Dawson and I went for a long walk to the U City Loop. Along the way, we ran into some old friends (Deborah and Mike) who I knew when I had my apartment in the Loop ten years ago. Deborah took this fun iPhone photo of Dawson and me.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Balloon Glow

Attended the Forest Park Balloon Glow on Friday night and saw it as an opportunity to try out my new Nikon low-light lens, a 35mm f/1.8. Here is one of my shots. More shots in this Flickr set.

Balloon Glow

Friday, September 18, 2009

Neighborhood watch, part 2

Neighborhood watch, part 2

Bose joins Dawson this time for watch duty. More photo details here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Neighborhood watch

Neighborhood watch

Taken last night. Click here for the description/context.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Here's my friend Cherry visiting with my dog Dawson, from yesterday. I think of Cherry as Dawson's mom, as she was his owner until several years ago when her situation at the time could not allow her to keep Dawson. Cherry had found Dawson in the 1990s as a young beagle wandering the streets of North County during an ice storm.

I could tell that Dawson was very happy to see Cherry, and I think this photo does a decent job of capturing the fondness between the two.


To capture warmer tones that seemed so appropriate for this setting, I went without the flash and with a higher ISO of 1600. A little grain is noticeable at larger sizes.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009

Three tomatoes and three dogs!

In my backyard is an upside-down tomato planter growing some beautifully-tasting "sun gold" tomatoes. My neighbor Joan had picked out the tomato plant after reading of how deliciously-sweet the tomatoes are. And she was right! Well, today I noticed a beautiful cluster of three not-yet-ripe tomatoes, and I knew I wanted to get a photograph of them. Well, I did better than that -- I got three photographs of them, each starring one my dogs. Click on the photos below and read more about them on my Flickr photo site.

Tomatoes and Dawson
Tomatoes and Oliver
Tomatoes and Bose

Sunday, August 30, 2009

In memory of Max

Scooter and Max

Sympathies to my friend Steve on the recent loss of his dog, Max. Max is shown here with my dog Scooter (who passed away last month) when Max stayed with us over Easter weekend in 2007.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Don't worry... crop away!

As I'm editing some photos I took at my niece Jaime's birthday party, I found myself struggling with a cropping issue. Is it best to get a person's whole head in the photo, or is it okay to crop the top of the person's head slightly?

From searching the web, I liked this advice:
If it looks good to you, and captures something you like, then
don't worry about it.
And here's a good one:
There is a famous story about a famous photographer who did a portrait of the famous Marilyn Monroe. In his excitement he cut off the top of her head. When he apologized to her she said, "Don't worry. Everyone knows I have a top to my head. No one will miss it.
And here's the photo that got me started:

Jaime - Sweet 17!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Showing respect for Scooter

A friend of mine shared the following thinking with me, and I asked her permission to further share it. I thought it was really touching and insightful:
Just remember that you loved Scooter and when you lose a loved one, you grieve. I think people do not give themselves permission to grieve for animals. You get told "It's just a dog" and you end up feeling strange because it impacts you emotionally. But your grief shows respect for Scooter and her place in your life. It would be far sadder to die and have no one grieve.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


My sister shared the following quote with me:
If you dare to love, you must have the courage to grieve.


I lost her this morning. It hurts too much right now, so I'm just going to point you over to The Snikk Blog for a nice little tribute.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Launch Day!

Today was the launch day of the iPhone 3GS. My friend Steve & I stopped by the Apple Store over lunch to check out the new phone, which adds the capability of shooting video. Here's a video I took:

And there is a lesson learned here: Hold the iPhone sideways next time when shooting video!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

In memory of Carol Sanders

A longtime friend of mine, Carol Sanders, died last Tuesday in a car accident. Carol was a wonderful person. She was pleasant and calming and fun to be around. She demonstrated care for others in how she expressed herself. She was very insightful and intelligent.

Three years ago in April, two of my three dogs died. Maddie and Brandy were both quite old but losing both of them within eight days of each other was nothing I would ever expect to happen.

The day after the second dog, Brandy, died, Carol happened to send me one of those "Hey, it's been a while -- how are things?" e-mails. I responded by telling Carol about the dogs and adding, "Your note came just when I needed it most. Thanks Carol. God works in mysterious ways."

Carol wrote back:
Tom, I am so sorry to hear about Brandy and Maddie. Wow. I can't imagine how tough this is going to be on you and Scooter. You gave them both such a great life by taking them in and making a home for them. Losing such close friends does really help bring you back to the important part of life, the relationships you weave with others. Maybe it is time to reach out to another dog and bring them into your home. Maybe this is in the big plan.
Carol's own words are appropriate and beautifully haunting, three years later.

The important part of life -- the relationships you weave with others.

Thank you, Carol, for being an important part of my life. And to her husband Dave and her family, my sincere sympathies.

* * *

A beautiful article about Carol is available from The St. Louis Beacon. I highly recommend it, even for those readers who never met Carol. The article provides insight into human beauty and passion.

* * *

The above photo of Carol is courtesy of her family.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Roy G. Biv

My photo group at work, which meets monthly, had an exercise: One photo representing each of the main hues in the visible spectrum, plus a photo focusing on black, white or shades of gray. Click on the photos for larger versions.

Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo/Violet Shades of Gray

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Five hundred!

Congrats to Ellen Ellick and the St. Louis Senior Dog Project for finding homes for 500 dogs in 2008! As Ellen points out on her blog:
They came from everywhere -- shelters, owners, puppymills, the streets, and even a few from a research facility. Some came to us in good shape, ready to slide easily into new homes. Others needed a lot of work before they were ready. We hope they're all happy now.
I've adopted twice from the St. Louis Senior Dog Project. There was Maddie, who I adopted in 2003 and who passed away in 2006, and Dawson, who I adopted two weeks after Maddie's passing and who continues to be a lot of fun!

Below is one of my favorite photos of Maddie. She's on the left and is with Brandy (who I also lost in 2006). For some reason I had woken up at 5 AM (very early for me!) to find Maddie and Brandy on the same dog bed. I don't think either of them realized that they were sharing the bed until I turned the light on. Camera in hand, I was thrilled to capture the stunned look on Maddie's face!

Good morning!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Dog walks

Trying to do more dog walks. The dogs love them and the exercise (for them and me) is great! Here are some photos from a couple of dog walks over the weekend:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Let it snow!

Let it snow!

A view of our snowy outside, looking through a thick glass block in the outside wall at my work. I took this photo yesterday during the storm; we ended up getting about 8 inches of snow!