Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blessing of the Animals - for the love of Dog

The St Martin's Anglican Church's blessing of the animals was held Saturday, October 12, at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer. I was moved by the love as people lined up to have their pet cat or dog blessed by one of three Reverends. Was even more amazed when an old City of Calgary police horse and a reluctant donkey were led to the alter for blessings.

This was the first time I photographed this.  I almost went to the wrong church.  A friend from work told me he was taking his dog to be blessed and I thought he was going to the St. Francis RC church, right behind the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer.  I'd seen news stories about the pet blessings that packed the tiny St Francis church.  Because St Francis is so small, I sat myself across the street, ready to take photos of people taking their pets inside.  Then I noticed some women walking two or three dogs at a time towards 7th Avenue.  When I followed them I found a donkey on the front lawn and people and dogs greeting each other at the entrance.

Normally I don't go into churches except for weddings and funerals, but this was too irresistible. I asked a church usher for permission to take photos and had a blast.

I tried out the TAv setting on my Pentax. TAv allows me to set the aperture or shutter speed or ISO on the fly. Whatever I change, the camera adjusts the other two settings automatically. I got the shots I wanted, but unfortunately the auto ISO settings were really high.  The noise pretty much washed out any details in shadows or black. So my photos of the horse and any black dogs (and there were a lot of them) didn't quite work out.

The love in this one was too good to discard, so I used the in-camera Pastel digital filter to make it look like a drawing and then lightened the mid-tones in Photoshop.


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