As usual another month has flown by, and we are heading towards Autumn, and, I hate to say it, as a retailer I need to start thinking about Christmas!! Sorry for the use of the “C” word.
Anyway, August was busy with more shop renovations, mostly inside the main part of the shop, although we did the kitchen area up a bit too.
We laid a new base in the shop windows, which has greatly improved the look of the window displays.
And we then moved a few things about in the shop and built a new display stand for the “Brillant Bygones” bits and pieces.
Still got some things to do as and when finances and the refurbishment enthusiasm lasts!
We have also been doing a bit of housekeeping on the website, and opened up an ETSY shop: Brilliant Bygones
If that wasn’t enough, we went to a dog show, where Fidget picked up another rosette:
… and he has mostly been doing this sort of thing:
… and we’ve been playing with lots of his friends, old and new.
Now that September is here we plan to run off for a quick camping trip in North Devon, and to chill out for that rush starts for that thing I mentioned at the top of the post, but I won’t mention it again this month.
So, it’s August; which must mean I should be keeping you all updated on whatever has been happening in July. So here goes.
Let’s start with a top secret photo shoot I did back in June, it was for a July birthday so I can tell you about it now. It was a very hot day and we headed to the grounds of Dartington Hall to photograph the lovely Rubi and Luci. Conditions were challenging – very bright light (dimming to very little light in the trees), shiny coats, wet dogs (due to an unplanned dip in the river), and sun burnt photographer!
Most of July has been spent continuing with the re-vamp of the shop, mostly the shop front this month, but also some other bits and bobs out the back of the shop. Really pleased with how the shop front is looking now, just need to save up some pennies to get the main sign changed.
Hasn’t all been hard graft though, we’ve had time for a bit of messing about in the studio.
And hot summer weather wouldn’t been complete with out some beach trips and a bit of practice with the “in the water” gear.
Despite having mostly boring blue skies (well from a photography point of view, and that of the poor plants on my patio!), there was a fantastic sky over Brixham Harbour the other morning.
So the next step in the shop re-vamp is to sort out the window displays, the material I have lining the window areas has been there about ten years now, and has faded really badly, and is a real pain to keep clean. So I think that is next week’s job.
Blimey, July already; the country is full of world cup fever, and Wimbledon fever, and in the middle of a heat wave – what on earth is going on?
Meanwhile, I haven’t written anything on my blog since May, so I had better get a move on and tell you all about what we’ve been up to.
Firstly, Fidget and I went on a short camping trip to Cornwall. We had a wonderful spot on the cliffs above Tintagel, a bit breezy but the view was awesome. Normally our May camping trips tend to be rather wet affairs, but we had wall-to-wall sunshine this year.
It was a bit of a shame to come home, but we had lots of exciting things we had to do when we got back. The revamp of the studio and shop needed to be done, and after much procrastinating we got on with it. The little studio area was changed around to give us more room, the back office got knocked about, and now Tom can work on the computer without having to move every time someone wants a coffee or to wash their hands; even the shop area got a bit of a change around.
We even got some pictures up on the wall in the studio, and even as we speak the front of the shop is now getting a going over as well – we’ll report back on this once it is complete.
Fidget kindly helped me try out the new studio layout, and some rather lovely new backdrops, by offering his services as a model.
He has also been busy making new friends, and helping me practice some “in the water” photography – which had some bizarre psychedelic results due to having a strange combination of filters on the camera – we won’t do that again (not accidentally anyway)!
Now it’s back to the excitement of sanding, and painting, and constantly being told “You’ve missed a bit” by well meaning passers-by, as we finish off the new improved shop frontage.
By the time you read this, I suspect England may well have been knocked out of the world cup, and the last Brit (even though he is South African) will have been beaten in straight sets – but we can live in hope, weird things are happening so maybe it’s our year.
So May has been a rather busy time here at Shooting The Dog, the (mostly) lovely weather has brought a flurry of dog photography customers, and Fidget and I have been making the most of the bits in between to have some fun too.
First up, we finished off the Cockerpoo puppy shoot at the six week stage and put together the puppy boxes for our client; these were then received and dispatched with the puppies to their new homes.
The boxes were looking good and were filled with a USB drive of the pictures we had taken over each of the three shoots, along with a book showing the progress of the puppies, and some yummy bags of treats from The Dog Treat Company, who are based locally.
So after a successful prototype, we launched our puppy pack service onto the world (well, to Torbay and the surrounding areas anyway).
Then the glorious sunny Mayday bank holiday saw us heading to the beach with Buttons, for our first “in the water” photo shoot of the year; the lovely sunny weather meant for a rather busy beach, so things were far from ideal, but we had great fun and got some lovely pictures.
Fidget and I squeezed in some time on the beach too and he enjoys a nice swim when conditions are good.
Last week-end saw us heading out on a covert “birthday surprise” photo shoot with Sam and Luna (Sam being a rather daft Staffy and Luna a typical Beagle). Lots of serious running about ensued, but the preconceived lovely picture of the two of them in the bluebells or splashing in a stream was unfortunately rather elusive. However, we got some lovely shots of the dogs and the client seems very happy with what we managed to achieve.
Finally this month, we had the fabulous Gracie in for a studio shoot last week, she was the perfect model and was so well behaved, not bad for such a young dog. She came with a few challenges because of her colour, black dogs are always troublesome when trying to get lighting right, and exposing for detail in the faces means the coats tend not to come out as black as they seem to the eye.
We are now off on a short camping break in Cornwall, so you can expect lots of news on that adventure in the next blog.
I think Fidget sums up how we are feeling after this month:
You get the feeling that summer is just around the corner here in Brixham, we have blue skies (occasionally) and we have even had a few days of sunshine (and heat) – I was even wearing shorts the other day, so it must have been hot.
Fidget and I have been out enjoying ourselves, and generally messing about; the lighter evenings mean we don’t have to rush about after work to get home before dark, and we can take our time and have lots of games and a bit of silliness before heading home for our dinner.
The sea is definitely not warm enough for me to venture in with the camera yet, so you will have to wait a bit longer for those shots. We have, however, booked ourselves in for a small break under canvas in Cornwall next month, so if you have plans for the middle of May that require dry, sunny days then you might want to reschedule, as we always choose the wettest week in May to go away camping!
We currently have an on going project photographing a litter of Cockerpoo puppies, which is great fun; and to be honest more puppy cuddling happens than photography. But at the end of my last blog I promised you puppies, so here we go.
Puppy promise fulfilled.
Next time: Who knows? But there might be more puppies, and some exciting new product information.
So, Easter has been and gone, we’ve all eaten too much chocolate and now we are waiting for summer to arrive. It’s trying to do it’s bit, and here in Brixham we have had the odd lovely day interspersed with rainy, grey ones. There seem to have been a few tourists here over the Easter break, and, as annoying as they can be when you are trying get somewhere or do something, they are important to the local economy, so we just have to try and accept that; and hope they will come and spend some money with us.
The Framing Dept. has been as busy as ever, with the usual run of the mill framing requests, along with some slightly more challenging (and some might even say weird) requests.
Meanwhile, Fidget and I have been out and about doing what we do, me taking pictures, and him chasing balls and rolling in the mud … there is so much mud everywhere, please someone let it dry out; I’m running out of clean dog towels!
With a bit of luck my next blog will have puppies in it, and maybe even some “in the sea” shots if the weather warms up properly … we can but hope!
So, there we were all enjoying the first days of Spring – sunshine, blue skies, everything was good in Brixham …
… then WHAM!!!
Winter came back with a vengeance.
Snow and ice, howling gales … what is going on? We don’t get snow down here, then suddenly we get it twice in one year and, just to rub salt in the wound, in the middle of March. Hate to think what effect it will have on my tulips.
Still it meant another snow day, time to close the shop and go and enjoy the snow; and Fidget had a wonderful time.
Then, just as quickly as it arrived, we were back to sunshine and blue skies again.
British Summer Time starts tomorrow, so let’s hope the weather gods are listening; we all really need to dry out down here now.
Back in the shop, and lots of framing work has been going on – a few of the jobs have been slight challenges but more of that in a later blog. We’ve had very happy bunny owners pick up their framed print, and discussions are ongoing regarding more work there. Lots of enquiries about different bits and bobs, so hopefully some of them will turn into paying work as well.
The snow has all gone, the winds have dropped and it’s beginning to look a bit spring like in Brixham.
These days, in our house, one of the signs of spring is the annual “puppy party” for my little dog Fidget, and his siblings, who turn four later this week. Every March we meet up with his brother and three sisters, along with his Mum and Dad and a few guests, for what can only be described as slightly controlled mayhem and birthday cakes.
A great time is had by all, and it’s so lovely to see how they have all grown and how well they all get along.
Now we have to get back to working and we are hoping that the nicer spell of weather will motivate a few people to come and book their pets in for a nice portrait session, or an all action session running about on the beach.
In the meantime, Fidget and I are enjoying the lovely mornings and making the most of the town and it’s surroundings before it gets busy in the summer.
We also have to decide which exciting place to visit for Fidget’s birthday trip out; maybe the woods or maybe a much needed trip up on the moors – I’ll let you know what we decide in next weeks blog.