Dogs, Stories

2018 Casterton Kelpie Muster


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I know it’s been well over a month since the Casterton Kelpie Muster weekend but wow! What a weekend!

The two days of pure heaven, surrounded by kelpies of many shapes and sizes was great.

The atmosphere of excitement, dogs barking, wagging tails, people chatting away to complete strangers with smiles on their faces knowing they all had one thing in common, the love of the kelpie.

Being an introvert, I’m generally not one to put my self in situations where there are lots of people in one place. Nor do I usually put my self in situations where I might have to talk to complete strangers.

But when it comes to things that  I love like Kelpies, then I am willing to put myself through a little discomfort.

And it was totally worth it!

What also helps is having two dogs that can be uncomfortable in these kinds of situations so I’m often busy worrying about the dog’s feelings rather than my own.

The week before the big weekend

With the ute packed the girls and I headed for Hamilton on the Tuesday before the weekend, staying with good friends of the family.

Hamilton proved to be cold but great for early morning photographs while taking the dogs for a walk.

The plan was to enter Noisy into the Kelpie Triathalon which consists of the Kelpie dash (a 50m sprint, fastest dog wins), the Kelpie high jump and the Kelpie hill climb (fastest dog to get to the top of the hill wins).

We spent a couple of days leading up to the weekend practising the hill climb on someone’s property nearby. Noisy picked up the gist of it pretty quick, get to me at the top of the hill as quick as possible.

Saturday

Saturday was an early start for us. Hamilton is approximately a 50-minute drive to Casterton, and we needed to be there between 8-8:30am to sign up for the Triathalon.

I didn’t realise until half an hour before we left that I had left my camera on all night and the battery was almost flat.

Lessons learnt, one: always make sure you turn your camera off and two: invest in a spare battery. So with the camera battery being so low I only managed to get a few photos for the day.

Because Noisy had been knocked back a few years ago for being too fluffy therefore not looking like a pure kelpie, I didn’t sign her up sooner in case she was knocked back again because of a terrible haircut.

Which meant that when I went to sign her up on Saturday morning, I was too late. They were already full. So instead we only signed up for the high jump.

_DSC6448The weekend is always started off with a street parade consisting of old cars, the local kids in different chariots, all of the kelpies competing in the triathlon and more!

The brand new information centre in town featuring a section dedicated to the Kelpie was fantastic to take a look at. 

For a reactive dog, Noisy handled it all so well. She had random kids coming up giving her pats (and usually kids terrify her), she had other reactive dogs in her face, and there was just so much going on.

But Noisy took it all in her stride with not a growl, snarl or bark to be heard.

They hold a few different novelty events (which the dogs don’t have to be kelpies to compete in) such as the Kelpie Idol which Noisy won for the second time (shake hands, roll over and spinning round in circles can really win the crowds).

Her high jump performance wasn’t her best though, she was knocked out at just 2.1 meters where she would usually get to at least 2.6 meters.

But she still managed to be one of the most popular dogs there with plenty of people cheering her on and coming up to us afterwards asking me questions and congratulating us on our efforts.

By the time Noisy was knocked out of the high jump, it was getting cold with the sun going behind the hills.

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Sunday

The Sunday is the day of the Working dog Auction, and I remembered to charge my camera battery.

Before the auction, the dogs and pups that are available for sale are put on sheep to show their prospective buyers how they work.

This is my favourite part of the weekend.

Watching these dogs work is amazing. And it certainly helped me refocus my passions and dreams.

It made me realise that someday I want to sell my own dogs at this auction.

It was incredibly exhilarating watching the dogs be auctioned off, especially when it got to the highest priced dog which went for $22,000.

The whole weekend is well worth the trip even as a spectator.

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For more updates on what myself, Pepsi and Noisy are up to, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also, to make sure that you don’t miss out on a new blog you can now get email notifications! Simply click on the follow button on the right, and you will receive an email each time I post a blog.

KPN

Agriculture, Equine

Why KPN excels​ in Agriculture & Equine photography.


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When I go out to a farm or an equestrian event, I’m often asked questions like “Aren’t you bored with this?” Or people say “It would be hard getting a good photo of animals.”

They seem surprised when I respond with perhaps too much enthusiasm “I love this! I’m in my element here.” Or when I tell people that I don’t find photographing animals difficult at all. Sure, they don’t always stand where or how you want them to. They don’t always look at you. But that’s part of the challenge. And sometimes the photographs you take turn out much better than the ones you had in mind.

Here’s why I love photographing agricultural or equestrian subjects. I’m sincerely interested in these subjects, I want to learn about these subjects and have dreams of working in these industries one way or another.

I am not off a farm nor do I have a background with horses. I was the youngest of four kids and the only girl. I grew up trying to do everything that my older brothers were doing. From mowing the lawns to chopping wood (mainly the kindling).

My dad was a national park ranger and took us kids hiking, camping and skiing, so I learnt to love the outdoors. My mum did her best to get me to wear dresses and play tea parties inside. But I was happiest wearing jeans and playing outside (I did have the occasional tea party outside). If I was inside, I was often in my room on my own playing farms. Using pencils as fences, little plastic animals, little cars and tractors and lego men. This was my happy place and my down time away from my brothers.

Just like any young girl I had a love for horses that I’m sure my parents hoped that I would grow out of. When I was eight years old, I had discovered that I was allergic to horses so I had to make do with horse posters on my walls, reading whatever book I could get my hands on and the occasional ride on a friends horse.

When I was twelve years old, the Australian series McLeod’s Daughters came to our TV screens. I saw these strong female roles working hard on the land and realised that I could do that too if I wanted to. The more I watched McLeod’s Daughters, the more I wanted to be able to do what they did.

It was around this time that I had a fall off my friend’s horse which I didn’t think at the time I was hurt all that badly. However a year or so down the track my left knee started giving me problems.

When I was 14, I was diagnosed with asthma and bad hay fever. After some tests and a trip to an allergy specialist, it was discovered that I am allergic to practically all things involved in the Agriculture and Equestrian industries. From the dust particles, the grasses to the cows and horses.

I was advised against pursuing a career in these industries, and I went through several years of desensitisation programs. By the time I had finished VCE, and I had decided to study children’s services my doctors told that I was all clear to work in the Agriculture or Equine industries.

Instead, I became a Nanny working near Tamworth, I spent some time travelling around the western half of Australia and then moved to King Island, Tasmania, to work as a Nanny again. Travelling around these rural areas fed my dream even more and I finally decided to apply to Glenormiston College to do a Diploma of Agriculture. However, because I’d spent several years away from the industries, my allergies had come back. I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

I was a little apprehensive. Not only was I a female trying to get into a male dominant industry. I am a small female. I am short, and I am not exactly made of muscle.

I was relieved when I realised that of the Ag students we were all females. I was surprised too. There were only five of us young women doing the Diploma of Agriculture in what would be Glenormiston College’s last year of running courses.

On completing my Diploma of Ag. I eventually got a job milking cows back home in Gippsland (you know despite what “they” say it isn’t easy finding a job as a graduate). After three months of milking cows twice a day, six days a week my allergies really weren’t happy. I had to cover myself from head to toe to prevent skin contact with the cows and the cow’s poo (yes I’m allergic to cow poo).

I decided that milking cows wasn’t for me after all and got a job on a beef property instead as a farm hand which I loved. I only got an asthma attack on the odd day if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction while feeding out hay. However, my body was struggling.

One morning I woke up to find that my left knee would not hold my weight at all. After seeing a chiropractor and then a Physio it was discovered that my knee had spent 10 years overcompensating for the right side of my back which has led to early stages of arthritis, muscles that don’t do what they should and tendons that are easily torn. Or, as I put it, I have a worn out knee.

For the second time, I was advised to find another career. My body just isn’t up to handling the demanding work of a farm hand.

I was still determined to be in the Ag industry though so I got myself a job as a receptionist for a herd improvement company. At least this way I was able to still learn.

There was some hope that if I stuck with building the muscle up in my knee and did the exercises I was given then I might be able to learn to artificially inseminate cows. However, that never happened. My body was not in any condition for that sort of labour. If I spent too long standing behind cows or spent a couple of hours lifting heavy milk crates I would pay for it the next day or more.

So I mostly stayed behind the desk in the office with the occasional outing on farm to assist with AI programs or to deliver milk samples for herd testing.

After almost three years in this job, I was going through some other health issues which were eventually put down to stress. Just when I was diagnosed with this I had decided that I wanted to become a full-time photographer, giving the company 4 weeks notice.

I could see that I wasn’t going to be getting any further with the company and found it difficult to go to work most days, my mental health was not in the best condition, this I did know, but I did not realise that it would affect my health as much as did.

It took a good few months of starting a full-time photography business to find my niche. But I realised that I still had a passion for Agriculture and horses, I know what to look for in the Agricultural and Equine industries that appeal to not just my clients but to viewers of my images. I look at different angles to depict the animal’s personality and to capture our client’s needs/wants.

And the best thing is I still get to learn, I still get to be amongst the atmosphere, and I get to capture it and show it to the world. I get to teach other people what these industries are about and how they benefit everyone not just for the short term but for the long run.

You can trust KPN Photography to capture the images that you want to reach out to your audience. We do our job with enthusiasm and perfectionism, and in a manner that doesn’t stress out your animals or you and your staff.

For more updates on what myself, Pepsi and Noisy are up to, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also, to make sure that you don’t miss out on a new blog you can now get email notifications! Simply click on the follow button on the bottom of the page, and you will receive an email each time I post a blog.

 

KPN

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Landscapes, Photography tips

How to photograph the Super Blue Blood Moon​!


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Interested in how I got the Super, Blue, Blood moon photos? Keep reading to see my process, the equipment and settings I used to get my very first attempt at photographing a lunar eclipse.

There’s been a lot of hype on the super blue blood moon (lunar eclipse) which hasn’t been seen in 35 years and according to NASA will not be seen again until 2037.

I’d never attempted photographing the moon before let alone an eclipse. I had done a little bit of milky way photography a few times last year, but I knew that with the moon being full there would be more light which would affect my camera settings.

Before the night of the eclipse, I made sure that I found out the times for each phase, from when the moon would rise to when the eclipse would finish. I then did some research on what settings I should try using.

Being an avid photographer and always keen to learn more, I am part of several photography groups on Facebook. The people in these groups do not just share their photos; they share some great tips too.

If you are a keen photographer and you are on Facebook, I can recommend joining some photography groups. There is a massive range of groups ranging from landscapes, camera specific, nightscapes etc. You never know what you will learn and most groups are great at encouraging.

 I found a great article in one of these groups that gave some great tips on how to photograph a lunar eclipse. These tips ranged from the equipment you need to the settings. 

The moon was scheduled to rise before the sunset, so I did not worry about capturing the moon rise. As it got dark, I prepared the camera, making sure the lens was clean (nothing worse than spots on the lens),  the batteries were charged (it was going to be a long night) and the SD card was empty.

My equipment list was:

  • Nikon D7100 with a 70-300mm Nikkor Lens.
  • A Manfrotto BeFree tripod
  • A Nikon wireless remote
  • My phone (you will see why soon)
  • A blanket, ugg boots, hoodie, beanie & gloves (it was surprisingly cold for the middle of summer).

The start of the eclipse was scheduled at 10:48 pm and I was set up and ready to go well before 10:30 pm. After reading the tips on photographing the moon, I thought it would be worth experimenting with the camera settings before the actual eclipse started.

The lens was set at 300mm, zoomed in as far as it would go. I started off with the camera’s settings on the following: ISO = 800, f25 and the shutter at 1/25 of a second. At this stage, there was a lot of cloud cover, and I was not happy with the lack of detail in the moon.

_DSC3289After a little more fiddling with the settings I settled for: ISO = 320, f25 and the shutter was left on 1/25 of a second to get the shots of the Blue moon amongst the clouds.

It was at about this early stage of the night that I had the bright idea of doing a timelapse of the whole event. My camera enables you to set it to automatically take a fixed amount of photos at a set amount of time. However, I had a slight problem.

Because the lens was zoomed right in on the moon, I discovered that by the time 5 minutes had passed the moon was no longer in the shot!

So instead of setting the camera up automatically, I sat out in the cold with my phone’s timer set for every 5 minutes,  readjusting the camera on the tripod before using the wireless remote to take the photograph.

Using a wireless remote ensures that there is less likely to be any shaking of the camera and lens when you press the shutter which means the photo will be sharper. However, I discovered that because the lens was zoomed right out and there was a bit of weight, there was still some shaking in some photos as I did not wait long enough after adjusting the settings on the camera.

As the eclipse progressed, I found it harder to find the right settings and time was of the essence. So I set my camera to bracketing. This means that your camera takes multiple photos at different exposures and shutter speed. It is used a lot by landscape photographers who wish to have a High Dynamic Range (HDR) effect. They do this by layering the photos and allows them to highlight the areas they want and vice versa.

I set my bracketing for three frames, to adjust the Auto Exposure in the middle range. This meant that when I put the photos up in Lightroom I had three photos with slightly different settings and I was able to choose the photo I thought was best.

By the end of the eclipse, at 2:30 am, I was freezing, exhausted but still pretty pleased with the result and I was looking forward to getting the photos on the computer! But not as much as going to bed…

So here’s the end the result of my super, blue, blood moon timelapse.

More tips and advise:

  • If you do not have a remote of any kind (wireless or not), then you can use the timer function on your camera instead. Usually, a 2-second delay would be enough but if your lens is zoomed right out and you have a little extra shake try a 10-second delay instead.
  • As the eclipse progresses and as the light decreases and increases you will need to continue to change the settings of the camera, even while bracketing.
  • The reason I chose the 70-300mm lens was so that I could get good close up shots of the moon with plenty of detail. If I had chosen my usual wide angle lens (which was the original plan), you would barely have been able to see the moon amongst the landscape and night sky.

For more updates on what myself, Pepsi and Noisy are up to, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also, to make sure that you don’t miss out on a new blog you can now get email notifications! Simply click on the follow button on the right, and you will receive an email each time I post a blog.

KPN

 

 

Agriculture, Drone, Equine

KPN & 2018


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It has been six and a half months since I made the huge decision to quit my full-time job in the Agriculture industry and become a full-time photographer. I have certainly learnt a lot in those months, mostly the hard way.

Not having money to pay bills is always hard although not something that I have not been through before. However, having to ask your parents for money to put gas in your ute so that you can get to a job that’s not paying you all that well because you did not quote high enough is harder.

Also, having all these grand plans to do things that you know will help get your business out there and will increase your income but you cannot because you do not have the money is even harder again.

Let’s just say it has been a tough and emotional road. There have been tears; there’s been the occasional moment of doubt as to whether I should be doing this. Should I just go back to a 9 to 5 job like everybody else?

I went from doing any job I could get my hands on to deciding to concentrate on just the Agricultural and Equine industry. Something that I’m passionate about still.

I am still learning how to quote accordingly to my skills and creative value, tending to under quote (which I am sure my clients love).

However, I have discovered the value of good podcasts, books and social media experts that show you how to market, how to get clients that you want, who will pay the money you ask.

I’ve discovered that if you know how you can put your business on automatic so that you’re not spending hours on end in front of the computer. So that you can go on holiday but still have income coming in.

I have also discovered that people do not just value my photography skills but also my dog training skills.

Noisy, the photographers assistant

So I have finally made the leap and have started to set up a business called KPN Dog Training. This business will specialise in teaching working dog owners how to get the most out of their relationship with their dog, how to enjoy it and how to have their dog doing everything they ask it. In turn, this will reduce the owner’s frustration and the number of working dogs that end up in pounds or rescue centres.

This doesn’t mean that KPN Photography will be taking a back seat. Far from it! I am aiming to be able to have the freedom to get out and about this year to capture more landscape photographs around Gippsland. Landscapes are why I love photography; they give me time to clear my mind, recharge my batteries and just get outside. I would love to be able to gather these photos and put them into a coffee table book for all to enjoy.

I am also really keen to work with Agriculture and Equine businesses to help them promote their businesses. Also, to help the smaller farmers who are doing things a little differently, more sustainably, to educate their consumers.

You are also looking at the CFA’s first ever Regional Publicity Officer! This means that I will be driving around our Riverslea area taking photos of the activity that our volunteers are participating in to help educate the community and to encourage more volunteers to join up.

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This role is a voluntary role. However, I will be learning a lot about marketing, using social media etc. that I am sure it will benefit my businesses greatly.

Not to mention that I am still studying Animal Studies, leading to Vet Nursing.

I am going to be very busy this year, but I am confident that it will all pay off eventually and I will not have to worry about not being able to pay bills. That is what I am aiming for.

Soon you will be able to subscribe to weekly newsletters to keep in touch with what we are up to and perhaps some photography tips. If this sounds like something, you would like to read send me an email telling me what you would like to learn about. You can do this by following the link below.

Please contact us to tell us what you would like to learn about.

For more updates on what myself, Pepsi and Noisy are up to, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also, to make sure that you don’t miss out on a new blog you can now get email notifications! Simply click on the follow button on the right and you will receive an email each time I post a blog.

KPN