Friday, December 29, 2006

Santa Has Arrived!

Well, I'm not so sure it was because I was a good boy or not this year but Santa delivered a new set of coffee digs for me. The picture shows a La Spaziale Vivaldi S1/VII Espresso machine and a Macap M4 grinder. I am now in espresso heaven. I am also way over cafineated, having had several as I tune up the grinder and the machine. Happy holidays!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Lights Are On!

One of the things I always look forward to at Christmas is the luminaries. That was a pretty new thing to me when Karen and I first moved down to Raleigh from up north. Somehow the dark snowless backgrounds make the lights stand out even more. I think they would lose something in the snow. Tonight was our neigbourhood light-up. Here's one looking down the road to Julie and Howard's place.

Big Things In A Small Package

Karen and I had the deluxe pleasure of covering the DKC Rally and Obedience trials last weekend. We had alot of fun even with the long days and late evenings. Some great obedience and rally runs - here is one of my favourites. A very enthusiastic Daschund.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Rocking On!

Well, I am back in Cayman Brac again. Finally getting around to doing a little rock raking. If you haven't done it yet it is a very religious experience - sort of. These rocks are the ones that came up on our beach during Ivan. That's how far behind I am on my raking. Anyways if you are ever up for a little R&R for you mind and spirit - we have plenty of rocks a rake and a shovel!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas - What A Wonderful Time Of Year!

On my way to Cayman Brac today. Had a long layover in the Miami airport. It was made considerably more pleasant by a local school choir doing some caroling in the airport lobby. I do love Christmas!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Would You Like To Live Forever

Well, maybe not forever but at least a hundred years or so. These guys do. The Galapagos Tortoise. Not too much stress - just lay around and eat grass all day. Don't think Karen would let me do that:-)

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Keeshond MACH!

Oh do I love a nice cool sunny weekend at the trials. Had some terrific weather at the Agility Club of Chatham trials last weekend. Also saw some stellar runs including a MACH run by this great looking Keeshond.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Looking For Waldo

I love herding. Even though I own three golden retrievers. I am always amazed at the talent herding dogs display for keeping the sheep under control. That said there is always a few moments of uncertainty in terms of who is in control. Can you find the border collie in this picture? Thanks to the Piedmont Border Collie Association for a terrific herding weekend. Some terrific action and some great dogs!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

Well, Sunday was a bit wet - read very wet! That said we had great weather Friday and Saturday. Thanks to Teamworks for hosting the Youngsville trial. Always a great venue and terrific people.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Big Things In A Little Package

I love these little guys - full of "*iss and vinegar", all fired up and ready to go. Imagine a border terrior that was as big as a golden - wow! Thanks to CVAC for a great weekend. See you at Teamworks this weekend!

Monday, November 06, 2006

More Sharks

OK dog people I just have to get one more post in from our Galapagos trip before it's back to dogs. This one is from Darwin Island in the Galapagos. It is a picture of an 8 foot hammerhead with a lot more in the background. The female shows signs of mating scars from male sharks. I'm the one that normally gets the scars :-)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Whale of A Shark

We have just gotten back from the Galapagos Islands and are getting packed up for the Central Virginia trial this weekend. Lots of great shots and a wonderful trip. This one is the head of a whale shark about 40 feet long. What a beast! I'll post a few more as we get time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

All Legs

Here is one from a couple of weeks ago. We have been so busy getting pictures out from our weekend trials and getting ready for our Galapagos trip that I hadn't got it posted. This is a Black and Yellow Argiope, a common orb web spider. Orb web means it spins a web like a circle. This is the female - which at almost an inch and a half is considerably larger than the male. I really liked the colors.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Eyes Have It!

Thanks to the Gloucester Kennel Club for a superb weekend! I have always said - the eyes make the photo. I rest my case!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Horseshoe Bend

October is my favorite time of year to travel on out to the four corners. AZ, CO, UT and NM. We won't make it this year because of a great trip planned to Galapagos - stay tuned! Anyways here is one of Horseshoe Bend taken one early morning last year. The bend is just south of Page AZ.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Well a very very wet weekend at the Tidelands Agility Trials this weekend. Our hats come off for the Novice folks who perservered until the end. Seems like the dogs had a great time even if the handlers got a bit soggy!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shot Out Of A Cannon

Well not quite but that expression came to mind when I looked at this picture of Cider coming out of a chute at the DKC agilities trials last weekend. That is one darn fast golden!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Here Comes The Judge!

Back from the Durham Kennel Club trials this weekend. We finally had some cooler weather and the dogs certainly showed it. Still there was definately some grumbling over the shorter course times. As the courses get tighter and the times get shorter we definately appreciate judges that can show us how it's done. Here's one of Blair Kelly running the course at Chatham a few weeks ago!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Worth A Second Look

A wonderful weekend in Gloucester, VA at the RDOC Agility Trial. A special thanks to Nelson and Emily for hosting the event. I saw something I haven't seen before - a bulldog running agility! Definately worth a second look!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

Had a great weekend in Warrenton. Thanks to the PVBSC and Warrenton Clubs for having us. Border Collies always amaze me in terms of their superhuman (supercanine) speed and agility. Here's one of supercanine taking a tire jump. Awesome!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bigger Is Not Always Better

We were up in PA a couple of weekes ago doing hunt tests with Spinner. We spent a couple of days at Bushkill Falls on the eastern end of the state. Very pretty place and some great hiking. Although there are some very big falls here, I really liked the smaller pools along the river that fed the bigger falls. I guess sometimes bigger is not always better.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thanks To The Agility Club Of Chatham VA

Well another excellent weekend of agility in Chatham VA. The weather co-operated for the most part. A bit warm in the afternoons but no rain other than a short downpour Friday night when we pulled in to Peter's field. We finally got Zinger back in shape and Karen ended up pulling a muscle - oh well comes with the territory I guess. Some great runs from the dogs during the two days of trials. There was lots of cool pictures to choose from but here is one of my favorites from the weekend.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Yahoo! Espresso Tomorrow

I can't believe I've missed three weeks of Friday morning visits to Counter Culture Coffee. This is were the local coffee geeks hang out on Friday morning. A great roaster with people who share as much passion for coffee as I do. They just get to work with it every day! Here's a shot, "no pun intended", of a double shot of Forte in progress, one of CCC's great espresso blends.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Aiming At A Distant Past

In between hunt tests last week Karen and I managed to get in some site seeing. One stop that we will definately repeat was Gettysburg. The National Militay Park is huge, covering well over 5,7000 acres and containing 1,000 monuments and cannon and over 40 miles of scenic avenues and drives. You can feel a presence there when you hike through it. Over 51,000 soldiers lost their lives there in one of the nation's bloodiest battles. The picture above is one of the cannons still pointed at some unseen foe.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Nature Red In Tooth and Claw

A well known quote from Lord Tennyson on nature's survival of the fittest, this brought home more than ever yesterday with the death of Steve Irwin. Karen and I have spent much of our waking hours underwater with these placid creatures. All creatures of the sea have the ability to protect themselves. It is a shame that such a freak accident will undoubtably lead to characterizing the stingray with the same fears as subscribed to the shark.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

YaHoo - Spinner Gets Her Junior Hunter

A week well spent. Spinner and Karen finish off their Junior Hunter in four straight tests! A shot of Spinner bringing home the bacon!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hersey - More Than Chocolate

Spending the week in PA between hunt tests on the weekends. We spent a day in Hersey and of course visited the chocolate factory. Also took a tour through Hersey Gardens. These are wonderful gardens with a really cool butterfly house. Could of spent the whole day shooting in there. The picture here is of a white peacock butterfly.

Monday, August 28, 2006

In The Field

Just finished up a wonderful weekend just outside of Dillsburgh PA. That's close to Harrisburg. Spinner, our little one year old got two legs on her Junior Hunter. We're headed for Gettysburg for a tour there and then onto Hersey to taste some chocolate. The picture is of Spinner bringing home the bacon!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Better In The Water Than On The Plate

Just finished up an article on the ever disappearing Nassau grouper population. That's me taking a picture of a friendly Nassau grouper that we see often in Little Cayman on Donna's Delight. Nassau groupers are under severe decline as over fishing destroys the remaining grouper spawning sites. Although grouper is a wonderfully tasty fish, maybe we could pass up a few meals in an effort to keep these friendly guys from disappearing completely. Karen and I are on the road for the next week, so probably limited blogging until we're back.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Unexpected Guests

Well our apple tree is laden with apples this year and the dogs are beginning to put on a few pounds from all the apples they are sneaking out around the trees. We also have a few unexpected guests drop by to sample our crop as well. These include a big fat groundhog (obviously having been sampling our apples for awhile), plenty of birds and deer. The picture here is of one particularly cheaky devil who doesn't mind stoppping by for a few apples in the late afternoon after the dogs have moved back into the house.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Antelop Canyon

I was cleaning up some of my image files today and came across this photo from our trip out to Page Arizona last year. The photo was taken in Antelop Canyon a famous slot canyon just outside of Page. Light filters down through the narrow canyon reflecting off the sandstone walls picking up this beautiful rich orange color. The purple is from the blue light reflecting directly off the blue sky above the canyon.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Vet Hab - Rehab

Well, Zinger was off at agility trials this weekend and came up a bit short. We think she is having some trouble jumping - maybe a sore shoulder or something. Anyways it's off to our favorite vet rehab clinic - VetHab. Run by Dr. John Sherman this is the place to go if you have a performance dog that is having some physical problems. The place is amazing. A ton of equipment and more importantly alot of dedicated people who love dogs. Let's keep our fingers crossed on Zinger.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Asleep At The Wheel

Well about this time every year I begin looking forward to the start of trial season again. I really enjoy being in the motorhome and on the road. I think we have pretty much every weekend booked up until the end of November. Our dogs like traveling in the motorhome as well as we do. In fact we have named our home "The Chatmobile" after Chat who absolutely lives to ride. Zinger takes a more laid back approach to riding. This one is of her having a little snooze in her favorite spot on my captain's chair at the helm. No I wasn't driving at the time!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Definately A Bird Day

Well, up early and off on my weekend ride. My first turn puts me in front of our neighbour John's place. I guess it's his 50th today because there is 50 pink flamingos out in front of his house with a sign - It's Nifty John is 50! I do remember mine - a while back though. Continue on and run into our local flock of 8 guinea fowl on the road behind us. A mile or two down the road and I come across a rafter of wild turkeys. That's a bunch! No males in the group I saw but had to have been twelve of them. What's with all the birds today. Finally almost back home and I pass a gaggle of geese in a lot a mile or or so from home. Boy a pile of birds for one ride! The flamigos were pretty cool - Happy Birthday John!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Galapagos Here We Come!

Well, we're almost ready for our photoexpedition to Galapagos this October. We had all the folks that will be traveling with us out to Fantasy Lake last weekend for a heavy wetsuit checkout. Boy it's been awhile since I've had anything on heavier than a 3mm. We plan on using 7mm suits this trip. No we didn't see any turtles in the quarry. But I bet we'll see a few when we head out to Darwin country in October. This one is of Alan a couple of months ago when we were in Little Cayman. He got himself positioned perfectly for the shot of the hawksbill turtle. You can tell it's a hawkbill because of the scalloped edge at the back of the shell.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Best Toscano In Town

Out shooting some pics for Counter Culture Coffee (CCC) yesterday. Went to a couple of their customers places: Pheasant Creek Coffee and Shade Tree Coffee. This one is of Geoff, the owner of Pheasant Creek Coffee, behind his custom built La Marzocco FB-70 Hybrid. A beautiful machine which with the right hands on the portafilter manages to pump out some of the best of CCC's Toscano in town!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Staying Connected

With today's email, wifi, cell phones, PDAs, etc., it's hard to just unplug for awhile. There was a time not long ago when I swore I would never carry a cell phone. So look at me now! Karen snapped a picture of me "staying connected" in my kayak just off shore from our house in Brac. It does highlight how nice an office I have in Brac but it also reminds me of how compulsive I'm getting about keeping up with my email:-)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Seeing Motion

I generally shoot performance dogs with a very high shutter speed. They are just going too fast to catch them with anything slower than about 1/1000 of a second. Pictures generally come out tack sharp showing all the details you missed because they happened so fast you didn't see them. Once in awhile I like to add a little motion back into the picture. Rather than pan with a slower shutter speed I find it easier to add it in after with a little help from photoshop. Here's one I did of Cider. A wonderfully fast golden owned by Bill Gates. You can just feel how fast she's taking the jump!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Close To The Action

Spinner is our young pup. One thing that I find very funny is her daily feeding antics. She gets fed twice a day. We feed her a raw diet - email Karen if you want to find out more about raw. Anyways, when we are getting her food ready she always jumps up beside us and closely monitors the complete process making sure we do everything absolutely proper.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Our Motley Crew

Karen just arrived back from Cayman Brac on Thursday. Of course I have been insanely jealous of her being there while I was stuck here. The only saving grace being that I had the deluxe pleasure of looking after our three goldens for the week she was gone. For any of you who don't know who they are here is a picture. Chat is on the left, Zinger is in the middle and our newest addition Spinner is on the right. Chat, the smartest, has figured out that if he acted dumb and refused to learn anything he would never have to work too hard for his supper. I that he has succeeded! Zinger is our champion and she carries the title OTCH MACH2 Hideaway's Red Zinger UDX JH. At 10, she is slowing down a bit but has more than made up for Chat's less than stellar training regime. Spinner is a wonderful blend between Chat and Zinger. All of Chat's wild enthusiasm for the field and Zinger's trainability. She is taking up a good portion of Karen's time now with field, agility and obedience.

Friday, August 11, 2006

More Good Things About Summer

So hummers may be my favorite summertime creature but fresh, ripe tomatoes are right up there as far as food goes. Our cherry tomato bush is overflowing at the moment. Those plump, little red berries are wonderful in salads. We also have some hot chili peppers ripening nicely. They add a great little nip to our summer salsas.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Little Bird - Big Appetite

For me summer has some of the worst and best things of the year. The worst - poison ivy. Auchh, I always get it around August. The dogs run around the yard and into the natural areas, run through poison ivy and then rub up against my legs when they come back. Man I hate that!

One of the best things - hummingbirds! I absolutely love these little creatures. This year has been a good one for hummers. We regularly get five or six fighting over the food that we hang out on our back porch. Wow what an appetite. Right now I'm filling their feeders about once a day. That's a lot of sugar for a little bird.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Underwater City

Karen is back in wonderful Brac this week. A really cool thing going on there is the Atlantis project. Foots, one of the local artists has been building and sinking an underwater city modelled after the infamous city of Atlantis. If you ever have the chance to get over to Cayman Brac. This and the wreck of the Captain Keith Tibbetts are must sees!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Espresso My Other Passion

It amazing what a photographer will take pictures of isn't it? Take me for instance. Karen puts up with my somewhat overzealous passion for espresso. I belong to the Triangle Area's "Coffee Geeks". We meet weekly at Counter Culture Coffee, a wonderful specialty roaster, in fact my absolute favorite roaster in the country. If you have never tried fresh beans then do yourself a favor. Find a local roaster and give it a try. Like Morpheus said, "Once you take the red pill ..."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fish Pics Above Water

copyright Karen and Ian Stewart 2006
Karen and I recently had a chance to visit and shoot an art exhibition by Alan Bennett. The Bennett Fish Show is being held at the Cedar Creek Gallery just off Creedmoor Road between Raleigh and Butner. Alan does an incredible job of recreating life sized clay sculptures of the underwater marine life. This is a must see if you can get there. Besides this has to be the first time I've shot fish without getting wet!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lure Coursing - Speed Demons!

If you are a speed junky then you will love lure coursing! An event designed to test the physical prowess of the site hound breeds. This event has a course set up in a five acre field that simulates a hare zig zagging around the field to avoid pursuit. It was a hot weekend in late July when we were there but the dogs sure put up a show.
Our thanks to the MAHA club for inviting us to cover their trial.

PWG Trials

We covered our first Portuguese Water Dog Trial last month. What a treat! The trials are designed to emulate the work the dogs were originally bread for. To Quote the Dog Breed Info Center "Developed from working dogs brought by invaders and settlers to the Iberian Peninsula, the Portuguese Water Dog has aided Portuguese fisherman for many centuries. He herded and caught fish, carried messages between ships, retrieved anything that fell overboard, and guarded the catch and boats when in port. The dogs were valuable enough to be considered part of the crew and were given their share of both the fish and the money earned for the catch. Retired fisherman would often rent out their dogs to bring in some extra money. Gradually technology replaced the Portuguese Water Dog. Radios sent messages and winches pulled the nets. By the 1930's the breed was almost gone. Luckily, a wealthy shipping tycoon, Vasco Bensaude, took an interest in the Portuguese Water Dog and set out to gather fine specimens and start a breeding program. United States interest in the Portuguese Water Dog began in 1958 with the importation of the first pair. The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America was formed in 1972 and the breed was accepted for AKC registration in the early 1980's. In the United States, the highly intelligent Portuguese Water Dog is primarily a companion dog, but also excels at water trials, obedience, agility, and as a therapy dog and assistance dog.". Here's a picture from the training sessiion leading up to the event. Also thanks to the Movers and Shakers for having us.