Meet our Minpin

Minpin in his holiday sweater

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, however you chose to celebrate (or not). Pete and I had a mellow day. He made a giant pot of a bean soup we are calling Pete Stew. It featured beans from Rancho Gordo and Italian sausage from Olivier’s. I made a green salad with persimmon in it and a creamy lemon dressing, recipe courtesy of Emily Nunn’s excellent newsletter The Department of Salad. For dessert, the best pumpkin pie, from Arizmendi’s, with fresh whipped cream (hey, we needed to use up the leftover cream from the salad dressing recipe). We watched The Magnificent Ambersons which I’d never seen. It has a fascinating history. Even though the film was made in 1942, it felt strangely relevant and modern (if you equate the invention of the horseless carriage to a startup). 

I also spent a lot of time photographing the dogs, yes plural. We adopted another doggo! I wanted a senior after meeting so many cool dogs at Muttville and I thought, maybe an older dog will calm our puppy down, because that is what a sane person would think, right? Muttville is a rescue that specializes in dogs seven years and up. I fell in love with them immediately and volunteered to help them with videos even before we adopted. When we did adopt, I was amazed that our little guy had already seen a vet, gotten a full blood panel and extensive dental work. I’ve never heard of a rescue doing dental, which as you can imagine, can run in the thousands.

I’m very fond of our sexy senior, Minpin (perviously known as Retro and before that Joe). His new name is derived from the the fact that he is a Miniature Pinscher and also because it’s fun to exclaim, “Mini! Pinny!” or, “Pinniped!” when he starts wriggling around and dancing. He looks like a Doberman Pinscher that was zapped by a shrink ray. Although, every site will tell you that Miniature Pinschers pre-date Doberman Pinschers. He supposedly 10 years old and he’s a sweet little Mister. He came from a property with lots of dogs, we heard 22, then we heard 26. He is *very* tolerant of other dogs. At first our pup Nutmeg was not on board, but she warmed up when she realized she could steal his rawhides. She still growls softly every time he climbs the dogs stairs to get up on the couch or the bed, but it’s half hearted, more grumpy than threatening and he 100% completely ignores it.

Nutmeg listening for the sound of treats

Armed with the excuse of volunteer video making (it’s for the doggies), I rented a fancy camera, the Sony Alpha 1 (A1) . Wow wow wow. A friend of mine who knows everything about cameras recommended it and he was right. Great detail and wonderful with action. It’s complicated! There are so many menu options. Like, there is eye autofocus that allows you to choose from human, animal, or bird which means YOU CAN TRACK THE EYE OF A BIRD.

Thank goodness for explainer YouTube videos. I am a huge fan of Mark Galer and have been watching pausing and re-watching Sony Alpha 1 Camera Settings for Shooting Action and Birds in Flight. Mark, I will be joining your Patreon! And shout out to Logan, who helped me with my order from Borrow Lenses where I rented my photography gear. He gave me tons of advice. I rented three G Master lenses: the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2, the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 and the so-heavy-it-has-its-own-handle Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8. There is some overlap there, but I wanted to experiment. 

Nutmeg in the park

I forgot about how much work goes into production, especially with a crew of one. Lots of lugging equipment around, buying props from Target and IKEA, googling camera features. The nice thing is that because I’m making this video for free, it’s fairly low stakes, except that I would like it to be perfect.

Min looking noble

There were snafus right away. My backdrop was super wrinkly and my steamer sputtered hot water everywhere so I had a wet wrinkled backdrop. I needed to swap out a lens. I bought the wrong media card reader (what the heck is CFexpress Type A format, anyway? We have four, count ’em four, media card readers and none of them work with this format). Photos on MacOS wasn’t displaying RAW images from the A1 so I went ahead and purchased the Adobe Creative Suite (40% off Black Friday deal!). I’m using Adobe Lightroom for the first time. It’s good. I like it. There are a lot of photos with action photography and I immediately ran out of disk space on my computer. I haven’t even started recording at 8K, yet! And so it goes. Lots of hard drives and backups. Moving files around I started to get misty about a pinhole camera made of a Quaker oatmeal tube. Guess what? On that thing, there was not an option to track the EYE of BIRD. Just instructions for making oatmeal.

The talent has been cooperative, collaborative even. Minpin noticed the light was better on the bed and we moved the shoot up there. Good boy! However, the dogs do have a tendency to wrestle while on set.

These are a few of my favorite things right now:

Cozy blanket from The Vermont Flannel Company

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