We heard last year there’s an annual Poodle Festival in Carmel. What could be better than a coadunation (yes that’s a word) of Carmel and poodles?
Last Saturday was the day, and we headed out early with a full agenda. We would spend the morning with the poodles, the afternoon relaxing around town, and the early evening at the beach.
With 620 dogs plus their owners, the poodle event was crowded. And by 8am the light was bright sunshine mixed with dappled tree shade — not the best combination for good photos. No matter. The first priority was general enjoyment.
There were many funny dressed up dogs, such as my favourite: giraffe dog.
And then there was blue-rinse dog.
And rainbow dog.
And a few pink poodles.
As funny as the colored dogs were, you can’t beat the elegance of a beautifully groomed standard poodle.
After a couple of hours with the dogs, we drove down the street to have brunch at one of our favourite places in Carmel. It’s a French bakery, where the staff really do speak French, and their breads and pastries have that French je ne sais quoi. We ate in the courtyard outside and the weather was perfect.
Young Louie was serious throughout lunch. I suspect he was contemplating the magnitude of Third World debt from the comfort of Mummy’s arms.
With all the feedings and nappy changes, everything is slower with a baby. We took it easy and wandered around the outside shopping area, poking our heads in and out of the art galleries and clothes shops.
There very few people around and the place was so peaceful. I scouted some locations for portraits and set up. I mostly chose shaded areas with a distant, bright background for good contrast. For the photos I added just a touch of flash to make my subjects pop.
There was no posing in these two photos. This is real-life Mummy and Baby. We are both so in love with our little boy and I enjoy watching how happy Kaori is when she’s holding him, even when he’s being fussy. She has so much patience with him, and handles him so gently.
I wanted to get some Mom-only shots as well. I love these next two because they look so natural. Who would believe this woman had a baby nine weeks before?
Kaori isn’t so fond of these next two, but I like them, especially the one on the left.
Of course, our fur baby had to get in on the act too. There will always be a few photos with Kaori and Sakura.
Dinner was at a pleasantly generic outside restaurant-bar, and we drove to Carmel River State Beach for late afternoon. While Louie K was refueling in the car, I wandered out to the river to photograph the hundreds of brown pelicans floating around and flying in circles. I’ve never seen so many pelicans — it was quite a sight.
They are not the prettiest of birds, but pelicans are morphologically fascinating. They they look so much more comfortable on the water than in the air.
With the low sun behind me, I was able to get some nice shots that contrast the birds against a dark background.
This pelican in this shot looks a little worried, but it was nice of him to oblige me with a close flypass.
As sunset approached, the birds out toward the ocean were silhouetted against the sky revealing their comic ungainliness.
When pointing the camera more toward the sun, the sky whitens for a different look. I caught this couple returning to a tent they’d set up on the beach. The man is actually carrying a pizza box, and they are both juggling warmer clothes for the evening.
There were actually many birds in the photo, but I removed all but one for a more interesting effect.
The sunset itself wasn’t spectacular, but once it had dipped below the horizon, I screwed on a neutral density filter and took some 30-second exposures. The strong waves were all averaged out to create a silky smooth ocean. This one was the last photo I took. A huge wave came crashing in, and I had to pick up my camera at 31 seconds and run for my life.
What a great day!