Coonhound Companions (CC): First, how did Honeybug come into your life?
Sandra Ann (SA): I actually was looking at another hound at a rescue in Virginia; but when I inquired, that hound had been adopted. I then gave Bawf Rescue the type of hound I was looking for: shy, timid, scared, and a failed hunting dog. This describes the previous three I have had, and I know they are difficult to adopt out. They almost immediately found one at a local shelter and pulled her for me. Living in an apartment, I have always adopted the shy and gentle hounds because they tend to be less vocal. In fact, 2 out of the 4 I’ve had never barked in the years I had them. And Honeybug, like the others, rarely bays except for a minute of excitement when I get home.
SA: I believe all coonhounds or foxhounds have star quality if treated well and with patience. A photo of my lost foxhound Daiseybug went viral. I later stumbled across a painting, jewelry, and t-shirts of her on the Internet created from the photo I posted years back. At that point I even made her a facebook page: Daiseybug American Foxhound, which now has posts of my beautiful Honeybug.
CC: I’ve seen great action shots of Honeybug as well as lovely portraits. What camera set-ups and settings do you use to photograph Honeybug?
SA: Nearly all photos are taken on my Galaxy smartphone.
CC: How much image editing do you do in terms of cropping, adjusting exposures, tweaking colors, etc?
SA: I rarely edit any coloring or exposures. I try and wait for the right time of day or night. However, on occasion I do have fun with the Prisma app that makes a photo look more like a painting.
SA: Well, Honeybug is pretty cooperative and queen of the side eye. I just have to be patient and give her time and space, then snap several at a time. I do not really teach her any commands; instead, I focus on her responses to everyday noises, distractions, and nature. She was in a shelter for over two years and was scared of a leaf falling. Its been 3.5 years now, and I still see many things that she isn’t comfortable with; so I don’t push. I don’t want her to revert to being so scared and anxious.
CC: Honeybug’s face conveys a luminous sweetness in many of her pictures. How would you describe your coonhound’s temperament and personality, and how does this inform the images you capture?
SA: Honeybug is a very good girl. She is never destructive or loud. She is shy of humans but loves other animals and doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She acts scared and puts her head down when a stranger tries to pet her but is completely harmless. Once she warms up to someone, she may even let them get a pet in. She’s a couch potato with very little to say. She is just so happy to be loved and cared for that she sticks by my side. She is pretty attached to just me. Even though my elderly parents have Honeybug every day when I am at work, she doesn’t come out of her shell until she hears me walk in to pick her up. Then she comes running out of her bed and jumps all over me.
SA: She’s gentle with anyone and any animal she comes across. Honeybug has been nose to nose with deer, raccoons, opossums, cats, dogs, and even vultures. She simply sniffs them and walks away. They also must know she is a gentle soul, since they do not fear her either.
SA: Patience, patience, patience. Let them be comfortable in whatever environment and take a candid shot. Forcing them in a position or environment they are not comfortable with will not benefit them or the photo.
CC: Has the time spent photographing Honeybug and focusing on her images influenced your understanding of and relationship with your hound?
CC: Thanks for sharing Honeybug with the hound community and contributing that engaging photo for the calendar cover. We’ll be tracking Honeybug on facebook.
The opinions expressed in this guest blog are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily endorsed by Coonhound and Foxhound Companions.