Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dunsborough weekend : Bender's GoPro Video

It turns out that Bender is quite a keen cinematographer. The only problem is that, being a boofhead boy, he is very rough on the camera. I only let him wear my old GoPro Hero 2 as the 3 is a little too precious to me.

I cut this video together for him and he told me he approves.

Monday, October 20, 2014

GoPro Fetch harness @ the Riverside Ramble and Dutchfield Dog Survival

I promised that I would post some videos from Mouser's back using the GoPro Fetch harness that we just bought.

Mouse has worn it two weekends in a row now. The first outing was to a big open day called the 'Riverside Ramble' being held by the City of Swan. The West Coast Dog sports team were running a very short lure course, and Mouse's daycare (Pawpals) had a stall right next to it. The Italian Greyhound Club of WA did a lot of promoting on Facebook and invited Mouse personally.

As you can see the camera didn't hold at Mouse's top speed. It was also moving way too much to get a good image when she was running. I decided I would try it out on a couple of other PawPals dogs - but the second one didn't want to run with the harness on as she doesn't usually wear one, so she chased the lure, then stopped, then chased. When her mum took the harness off she ran the course normally!

The second event we took the GoPro to was Dutchfield Dog survival - it was a 5 kilometre cross country race with 15 obstacles the dog and owner had to negotiate. We got most of the obstacles on video, though the cargo net was a real GoPro killer - I had to take it off Mouse so we could get underneath it.

Mouse and I entered the competitive section, whilst all the other hounds were in 'recreational'. Mouse and I came dead last, but she did 13 of the 15 obstacles so I was proud of her. I think her favorite obstacle was the dark maze, she seemed all happy and bouncy when we popped out the other end!

We didn't have any opportunity to practice the obstacles as we didn't know what they would be. Now that my video is out there they might have to come up with some new mystery obstacles for next year to stop people from preparing! A lot of the dogs were naturals at it though! 

photo credit: Paul from Cheeky Monkey Photos
Nic entered the non-competitive section with Barbie. They completed all 15 obstacles but that was because the rules were a little bit relaxed for recreational and so Nic carried Barbie over the A-frame and over the log. I think running on the gravel was a bit hard for Barbie but she tried hard. It seemed like Nic felt more bonded with Barbie after the experience. 

photo credit: Paul from Cheeky Monkey Photos

Bender made his own GoPro video last weekend too, mainly involving long walks on the beach. His big wide shoulders make for a bit more of a stable platform, but he also tried his best at destroying the camera. That video, plus some more photos from the Riverside Ramble, are coming soon!!! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Visiting sister Olive and her housemates....

Cheeky sisters 

Mouse's sister Olive lives on an orchard with another greyhound, and a cat. They have also been fostering Angus for GreyhoundAngels of Western Australia  for quite a while now.

We have taken Mouse to visit twice. It was really nice to see Olive's new family and get cuddles from all the furry kids. Olive and Mouse are similar in many ways - they both chatter their teeth A LOT when they are happy, and have similar mannerisms.

Olive really does have an awesome home with her very own orchard to romp in!

It is kind of funny to watch Olive and Mouse push each other around. They may grizzle at each other but they do spend a lot of time pottering around together. I'm not sure if it is just that Olive is keeping an eye on her to make sure she doesn't get in to any mischief.

They certainly don't grizzle at each other when they have a chance to romp in the orchard with Cody and Angus.

On our second visit they didn't get to run in the orchard, so they had to make do with the backyard. The only time they really had some words were when Mouse was using Olive's mumma's bed as a trampoline. Cody and Angus seemed to enjoy having visitors, though I think they were all more interested in the humans than Mouse. 

Cody is like a big fluffy panda. He sheds more hair than I have ever seen come off a greyhound. 

Angus is a lovely boy and I am really surprised that he hasn't had much interest from potential families. He is a black dog, unfortunately that makes him difficult to photograph. We did have a go though, and he posed for this lovely portrait.

adopt me ?
He does have a pretty good life at his foster home and has adapted to home life really well. He's not skinny any more, either. He's not a huge boy though he does have a very long nose. The photos don't really show his cute long schnoz but it's always the first thing I notice about him when he's sidling up for scritches.

pleaaase ?
I think it's pretty cool that we get to visit Mouse's litter sister. I also enjoy seeing Mouse & Olive's mumma Bronwyn when we go on GreyhoundAngels walks. 

sister bums

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fun n Games with the Gopro Hero3

I got a new GoPro this year, and I have been playing a little bit with the 'burst' photo mode and the dogs. It is quite fun to take a burst photo and then recreate it into an animated GIF like this one, which illustrates Mouse's weird bouncy running style.

The advantage over N's DSLR is that it's small, waterproof and fits easily in my pocket. I got the black version which also can run a WIFI connection to your phone or tablet. 

Of course the image quality isn't always quite there, as you can see in this shot of Mouse's 'whiplash tuck' stage of her run. As always though the camera is quicker than the eye and gets some weird positions that you don't actually see in real time.

Sometimes Mouse and I like to go to a local tennis court for some off leash time. It is a good place for training because there are not many distractions, but it also makes for some nice colourful photos. The fisheye wide angle effect of the Gopro is particularly evident in this shot (look at the fence line).

Of course the most scenic place for photos is the beach, where we don't have to worry about flying sand and salt water.

I am not sure if Mouse and Barbie are discussing the latest in toenail fashion, or which collar they might like to be purchased for them next. One thing is for sure, they are enjoying the beach in winter when there are a lot less people and dogs around.

Not much beats this shot though! I do love the GoPro and use it to make all the videos on the blog, but I do have a couple of very pricey items on the wish list. The cheapest is the new GoPro Fetch harness which provides a rigid, and stable as possible platform for the camera either on the dog's back or on his/her chest. I've always wanted to know what it would be like to ride a greyhound. Unfortunately I lack the technology to shrink myself to an appropriate size, so I think the GoPro is as close as I can get. I'm planning on picking up a harness very soon, so stay tuned for the resulting videos. 

The other thing I would LOVE to have in my GoPro armoury is a Phantom II drone. Really your imagination is the limit in terms of applications for this little camera. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mouse's Lure Coursing Season (who was the Fastest Dog in Australia)

The sport of lure coursing is really in it's infancy in Australia. There are two clubs in Western Australia, Lure Coursers Anonymous and West Coast Dog Sports. I posted before about Mouse's exploits at the WCDS fun runs, but there have been a few meets since then.

There was a fun little contest being run called 'Fastest Dog in Australia'. Both clubs ran trials, LCA had one down south in a paddock, and another in Rockingham (Naval Base). Coursing is not serious at all yet here, and the Fastest dog was a 120m straight track which got people involved and excited, without requiring judges.

Through coursing we have met aspiring photographer Amy Joy, who has been at almost every event taking photos of the dogs. The photos have been almost the best part of coursing, after of course, the thrill of watching the dogs do what they love.

Photo by Amy Joy of Studio Joy
The LCA run in the paddock was the first time that I'd timed Mouse on a run. She didn't have a lot of competition, there were whippets, salukis and 3 other greyhounds. The greyhounds were Barbie, Rosie and Jim. Barbie was not interested in the lure at all - she wouldn't even look at it, so she didn't record a time. Jim decided to visit the people in the timing tent on his run, and Rosie didn't really 'get' it either.

As a result, Mouse won her first two trophies ever - fastest Greyhound and fastest dog on the day. Jim won the 'slowest greyhound cup'.

WCDS ran their own heats, and Mouse only got to run one of her two runs as we had to leave early for another Energetic Composition painting session at Billy's Daycare for Dogs. She ran a very similar time to her first LCA time, though it was human timed instead of with timing gates. I think she was actually very slightly faster on the nice smooth grass instead of the rough paddock.

She was the fastest dog on the day at WCDS as well, and this time she beat at least one serious greyhound, maybe a couple. 

There was a lot of buzz and hype building around the competition, and the LCA crew teamed up with K9 Rescue and Beagle rescue people to hold the Rockingham event. There were a lot more greyhounds and we knew the competition would be very stiff. Mouse's uncle Miles had his first go ever, and he loved it. 

Photo courtesy of Amy Joy of Studio Joy
I was feeling like death warmed up because I was coming down with the flu. Mouse didn't care, all she wanted to do was chase the lure. Of course Miles, being the big softy that he is, made sure that he looked after me.

Photo courtesy of Miles' mumma
A few people were having trouble keeping their dogs on their leashes. There were quite a few escapees as we watched the runs. After Mouse had finished her first run, a black greyhound in a coat joined her on the field romping around with a huge smile on her face (she is on the video at the end of this post). I caught Mouse and was thankful that it happened after Mouse had recorded her time.

Photo courtesy of Amy Joy, Studio Joy
I found out later that the escaped hound's name was Abigail. She ran really well and I thought that we certainly had some competition for the fastest dog title. Abigail's mum was really nice and though she lives on the other side of town I'm sure we will organise some doggie dates in future so they can have a proper play together.

Abigail, courtesy of Amy Joy of Studio Joy
Seeing greyhound after greyhound run, I had no idea who was fastest. I knew that it would come down to fractions of a second. Mouse was really naughty and trashed her soft crate to try and get out after the lure. I can't blame her, it was a pretty stimulating environment for all the dogs.

LCA all fired up from Jet Ska on Vimeo.
After all the dogs had run we stuck around waiting for the results. It was harder than it should have been for me, as I sat bundled up and curled up in my camp chair. When the names were read out, Mouse was only third fastest. We were expecting the best times to all come out of this heat with a smooth paddock and electronic timing, so I knew that Mouse probably didn't win the Fastest Dog in Australia title. 
Abigail was the fastest dog on the day. We all waited on Facebook the night the Australia wide results were to come out with our fingers crossed that Western Australia would come out on top. With all the hot competition I thought we would.... and I was right! Abigail received the title. Mouse came third with the fastest Queensland greyhound coming after her. 
The biggest winners out of this were Miles and Mouse, discovering how much they love each other!
Can you see the family resemblance?

Cuddles time!
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