Category: PHOTOS (All) • jf

Kelly – the boy nobody wanted

Kelly, my boy dog (breeders named him after the clown Emmett Kelly) died today at age 10 (born  6/30/06). Little did I know that when I first met him during this visit to a kennel (photo below), that he would become my dog about a month later. I already had another Gordon Setter, William Wallace at the time, who died 1.5 years ago (10/9/15). Both died from heart failure. Ugh!

I fell in love with Setters while reading Jim Kjelgaard’s Irish Setter books as a teen, and ended up getting an Irish Setter, who I named Harvey. I had to leave him with my parents when I moved to Montana and Alaska in 1980. After Dad died, Mom moved to Alaska and bought a house, so I could again have Setters, starting in 1993. This time, we bought Gordon Setters (Mom got a girl), and we’ve had one or two ever since, until today.

When I met Kelly at the kennel I was visiting in the lower-48, I was playing with and taking photos of the male dogs in the very large fenced-in area. I laid down on the ground, face up, to capture a different perspective. All of a sudden, a dog laid on my chest, and got right up again, which surprised me because this isn’t typical Gordon behavior. This one was also the most interactive with the camera too, as the photo below shows. He was only 33 pounds.

Afterward, I asked who that dog was, and found out that Kelly had failed their hunting dog standards, so was basically stuck in the kennel as they couldn’t find a home for him. I wasn’t looking for another dog, but a month later, they suggested I take Kelly for free, as long as I paid the costs to get him to Alaska.

I had no idea how much trouble he would be, having never had a dog with serious issues before, including chewing steering column control levers & etc. in our cars.

Kelly was a true rescue dog. He had teeth that couldn’t close against each other properly, so he had trouble chewing food, which they didn’t tell me about. He had some type of ADD, which they didn’t tell me until later, and that they had considered him a troublemaker. Three long years in the kennel with too harsh discipline and hardly any TLC made him extremely wary of women. A woman was in charge of the kennel, and she later told me how she had treated Kelly, when I asked her advice on what to do. It took him YEARS to warm up to Mom, despite Mom being so sweet! And at first, he wouldn’t look me in the eye, and had a mind of his own. He was a bird addict, including smaller ones that sporting dogs aren’t supposed to be interested in. While riding in the car, he constantly scanned the sky, looking for birds with great excitement, as if he actually would have the chance to catch them. And often, while I was photographing nature, he would spend the entire time trying to catch birds, sometimes getting into the picture. I’ll post some of those, now that he can’t be James-3 cursed anymore. I learned this the hard way with a previous Gordon who suddenly acquired and died from lymph cancer at age-5, after using her photo as my profile image on my blogs.

He’s the first dog I’ve had who would go off on his own during walks but then would too often get lost, being unable to find me. I would have to find him, and usually could within 20 minutes, but a few times it was more like an hour? The beeper collar helped; though, only worked at close range.

Mom has often said how he found the perfect home, because we had the patience and love to work through all of his special problems.

In his later years, he let himself actually miss me a lot when he got lost, and he’d let the world know it by barking. And after William Wallace died, we got very tight. He would almost always be where I would be in the house. At the computer, he’d be by my feet; watching TV, nestled by my side on the couch — or sometimes next to Mom. That took so long! Mom grew to really love him too. His hair was so soft, Mom would say: “like velvet.”

And he was the most hands on dog I’ve ever had. He used his paws like hands in ways. For example, if I didn’t respond to his walking to and from the door right away, he’d touch me with his paw. He was also the only Gordon to sleep right next to me at the top of the bed, not the bottom.

I’m recalling some key moments:

I watched when Kelly saw his first moose in our yard, who sometimes forage on our trees. In the kennel, they had a full grown horse. Apparently, they were friends, because Kelly went right up to the moose, but the moose kicked him. I couldn’t tell if the hoof made contact, but probably did, because Kelly never did that again.

He could sometimes appear vicious, such as when certain people walked by the house on the street. I had such a hard time getting him not to bark without me having to tell him not to, each time. The breeder is the one who later told me he’s ADD, which I don’t understand, but saw it in action.

And he never did learn how to be completely sociable with other dogs he would meet on the trails. Unlike any dog I’ve ever had, he would often go off-trail to avoid them, but some chased him anyway, which he didn’t like.

He really learned to trust me. Twice, he found porcupines and came back with DOZENS of quills sticking out of him. He allowed me to remove them with a pliers even from the inside of his mouth — no problem; even though, it must have really hurt — especially one. It must have been in the tender nail bed of his toenail, for when I pulled it out he snapped at my hand — and was still okay with me pulling the rest out. That was the only time he ever snapped at me. Many dogs wouldn’t have allowed that, which then requires an expensive vet bill.

I’m guessing that Kelly learned his lesson with the porcupines, because there never was a third time; though, I started to avoid photographing in areas where he’d most likely encounter them, or tried to keep him near the water and out of the woods in these areas. I also bought a small, collapsible pliers which I’ve carried in my pocket ever since, so we wouldn’t have to wait until we got back to the car. I’ve read that removing them right away makes it easier, but thankfully, I never had the opportunity to test this theory.

Incidentally, my previous photo buddy, William Wallace also had two major porcupine encounters during his life, so maybe that’s how many it takes, and Kelly was no different this time?

I affectionately often called him Kells, after the “Book of Kells.”

So my most problematic dog ended up being in some ways my favorite.

I’ll miss you, Kelly.

When-I-first-met-him post reposted below:

I thought I’d post a photo from my recent trip to California and Oregon.


This one is so cool! What a riot!

God bless!

Jeff : )

_MG_1979 - 550pt no sat

_MG_1979 - 550pt no sat

_MG_1979 - 550pt no sat

Notice how small his foot is. I took this with the widest possible, non-fish-eye lens (Sigma 12-24mm at 12mm on a Canon 5D Mark II), which gives this perspective. His face and paws are very close to the lens. And that’s my foot at the bottom of the image. May 5, 2009

Photo-a-Day #76: Bass Pro Shops Stunning Front Entrance – Anchorage!!!

Bass Pro Shops Alaskan Outpost – front entrance!

Absolutely GORGEOUS design!!! I love everything except the statement above the door that legitimatizes lying: Welcome Fisherman, Hunters, and Other Liars. They’re actually telling us: only liars are welcome. TRUTHERS should not feel uncomfortable walking through that door.

Despite what TV preachers say, lying is no laughing matter:

“But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners… sexually immoral… and ALL LIARS, their part is in THE LAKE that burns with fire and sulfur….” – God in Rev. 21:8

Corporate America is leading US astray, everywhere we look. But they sure do it with style, which makes the deception easier to swallow.

My father was a real ‘sportsman,’ which meant honesty back then. He both obeyed the laws and did not exaggerate.

ALL CHILDREN deserve honest fathers. Companies should promote honesty, integrity, and what’s best for people.


November 14, 2016

Canon 5Ds R

• • •

One of my NWA coworkers and I would sometimes quote these words to each other: “You’re playing with fire / Cause the Devil is a liar.” He was raised in Hawaii, and told me about the band!

– –

“Nobody’s watching you now / You can take what you want…”

Don’t be a fool

You’re playing with fire / Cause the Devil is a liar

Don’t let the Devil do his number on you, child!

Seawind: The Devil Is A Liar — “Don’t let the Devil do his number on you, child”

Photo-a-Day #78: Supermoon – Closest since 1948!

I was shooting from hillside, Anchorage, Alaska, doing a follow-up of yesterday’s shoot, which didn’t work out, so I looked for a plan B. The moon looked interesting; though, I hadn’t heard:

The supermoon (perigee full moon) on November 14, 2016, will bring the moon closer to Earth than it has been since January 26, 1948. What’s more, the moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034. That makes the November 2016 full moon the closest and largest supermoon in a period of 86 years! (source)

So I’m glad plan A didn’t work out.

Moon Distance: 366,082.58 km = 227,473 miles.


November 16, 2016

Canon 5Ds R

Raspberry Frosty Road

I photographed this about 200 feet from our house as the sun was going down, at 3:20 pm in Anchorage, Alaska.

We’re facing the Chugach Mountains, directly east. I’m surmising the trees on the right are more gorgeous because the sun had risen to the right in the SE and set in the SW, so those on the right experienced no direct sunlight (except the top branches), while those on the left probably saw about 4 hours of sun, melting some of the hoar frost.

But still, much of the frost remains, which shows how little heat the sun produces this time of year, because it stays so low, where its intensity is held back by the earth’s atmosphere. The official high temp was 17° — plenty warm enough for the sun to melt the frost if it had more oomph.

Official sunrise-sunset times were 10:11 am – 3:59 pm, but the sun is below the mountains during some of that period.


January 4, 2017

Canon 5Ds R

Raspberry Road

Photo-a-Day #79: Ouch!!

Ouch!! The airborne girl in purple demonstrates why helmets really are a GREAT idea! I hope that’s a helmet. The boys, already down, are clearly so equipped.

Back in the day, growing up in Minnesota, we never had helmets. But since it was outside, we always wore thick stocking caps.

This is the “Ice Chalet” in Dimond Center, Anchorage, Alaska. The reason the ice is curved is because I was shooting the entire scene with a fisheye lens, and this is nearly a 100% crop of part of it.

The idea was to shoot at a slow enough exposure to blur any of the moving skaters’ faces, but still capture the essence of this fantastic venue that I hope will be able to stay open, despite the EPA’s new standard that may shut it down: The EPA’s War on Ice Rinks.


November 17, 2016

Olympus E-PL5 w/ fisheye lens

Photo-a-Day #80: Sunflower Patch Moose

So Mom and I were on our way to an event, just before sunrise. When I opened the door, it startled a moose who then trotted in front of our garage. The other more slowly made her way there. They decided to munch on our raspberry bushes, which are right next to our driveway.

Since we couldn’t leave anyway, I decided to do my photo-a-day thing to capture the event until they left the yard. The Mom has a nice disposition, and showed me a cute expression in one of my photos captured there.

As we drove away, we saw the pair about 100 feet away, above Raspberry Road. So I got out of the car with my big boy camera this time, and took this photo of the mom and calf eating sunflower plants.

This is the public berm built to deflect sound. Our neighbor had the great idea to throw some sunflower seeds there, which grew into these.

The mom has a wonderful expression here too, and the calf can be seen behind. And that is a car going by on the right.

After taking this, I had to skedaddle because we were blocking our neighbor who was trying to leave. And we actually barely did make the beginning of our event anyway.

In all of the years I’ve lived here, starting in 1980, this is the first time I recall the moose almost making me late for an event. Although, there have been many times I’ve had to turn around or take a significant detour while walking on trails.

One time, I was driving into our driveway with the window down at night, and a moose startled me, being only a few feet away in our raspberries.

Years ago, I was walking on a trail immersed in prayer, listening to music with ear buds, and could have almost touched the moose that I walked by. I usually now pay more attention and don’t listen to music at all.

I have encountered some ornery moose on occasion too.

In this photo, the light was a little darker than this. I lightened it a bit in post.

She’s cute! Check out her snout/mouth especially : )


November 18, 2016

Canon 5Ds R

Photo-a-Day #81: Hanger Duo – ConocoPhillips

Four years ago, during my last day working for Delta (NWA), I photographed these hangers from inside the Anchorage International Airport here.

Now I get to compose these stunning hangers from the outside with my best gear at the best time : )

ConocoPhillips 737s N959BP & N668CP shuttle their workers to Alaska’s North slope: North Slope company ‘bus’ is a plane.


November 19, 2016

Canon 5Ds R

Photo-a-Day #82: Christmas Arts & Crafts Emporium

Upon leaving the Christmas Arts and Crafts Emporium at the Dena’ina Center, downtown Anchorage, I spotted this scene.

Who they are:

Alaskan Boreal Bouquet’s Gourmet Herbal Vinegars offer a tantalizing taste sensation as well as a fragrant memory of the endless summer sun of the subarctic. Organically grown herbs are cultivated without the use of chemicals on a traditional Alaskan homestead nestled in the boreal forest of Fairbanks. Fresh bouquets of flowering herbs are hand harvested and suspended in seasoned rice vinegar, in an attractively labeled, square marasca bottle.


November 20, 2016

Panasonic LX100