Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fireworks from Afar, and Neighborhood Dog Crisis

a little composition problem
It didn't look promising.

There I was in front of my house, digital camera on the fireworks setting, trying to take pictures of fireworks at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, a mile or two away. Each shot took a couple of seconds. Sometimes the camera didn't take a shot at all, and half the ones it did take were clearly blank. Houses and trees stood between me and the fireworks, so much so that many of the bursts did not clear the trees at all. I had no tripod, and no place to brace the camera except a nearby light pole. It hardly seemed worth the effort, beause they were pretty much the same old fireworks. And I was already a smidge depressed over the near-complete failure of my modest holiday plans (going to a movie, and picnic food without the picnic). Still, I tried to take my fireworks photos, and my camera battery ran low after a while.

By then I'd been sidetracked anyway, by the issue of the lost dog.

It was a medium to large black dog, not entirely a black lab, maybe not a lab at all. She was running down the sidewalk, obviously having been spooked by fireworks. This is something the public is warned about every year at this time, but it still happens.

A neighbor, Sally, was concerned about the lost dog, which had no collar or tags. Sally said (from examining her) that the dog has been a mother. We decided to walk down the street, back the way the dog had come. The dog followed us willingly. So much for taking pictures!

Several doors past Sally's house. the dog went up to someone's front door and whined to get in. Sally knocked and called until the someone finally answered. The lost dog wasn't theirs. Their own dogs were safely inside.

Across the street, Sally asked another neighbor if she was missing a dog, or recognized this one. She reported having seen the dog running down the street from the south. She did not know which direction the dog had come from beyond the end of the block.

At the end of the block, Sally asked a couple of men whether they were missing a dog. The men were watching the fireworks and almost certainly drinking, and didn't catch what was being asked. Sally tried to explain that the dog was lost, spooked by fireworks and obviously scared.

The man who answered seemed to think we were asking him to care about something that didn't involve him. "Is it my dog?" he said, rather beligerently.

"That was the question, yes," I told him.

The dog crossed the street, but only to sniff in the yard on the corner. She went a few steps east, and came back. Soon she was heading back the other way. Sally and I were discussing our options and past dog rescues when the dog, spooked by a neighbor's skyrocket, ran between a couple of houses across the street. A few moments later, Sally spotted the dog inside the house. We hoped that was the end of the problem. It wasn't.

The woman in the house (the same one, it turned out, who saw the dog running earlier) looked up from her tv show and noticed that she suddenly had three dogs instead of two. She shooed the trespasser out the front door. Then the three of us discussed the dog for a while, briefly joined by another neighbor, this one male. I forget their names, but the woman with the canine home invasion wore a Jeff Gordon T-shirt. None of them wanted to take in the dog, due to other dogs, cats and kittens. I wanted to keep the dog safe, but outside where her owners could drive up and find her. Every time a car or truck drove by, or people walked by, we hoped it was the dog's owners. It never was. The dog started to climb over the fence of the Jeff Gordon fan, which explained how she got in the house earlier. The woman hauled the dog down again.

The D-M fireworks were long since over. The Ventana Canyon ones could be seen, well off to the north. Nature's fireworks were starting too, light rain, a lot of wind, distant thunder. I agreed to consult with John about possibly taking the dog in overnight. I certainly wanted to give her some water, at the very least. Sally and I walked the dog all the way back to my house. Then Sally left. I got the dog as far as the front door, told the dog to stay, told John I had a lost dog with me, and grabbed a bowl of water.

I opened the front door. The dog was gone. There was no sign of her in either direction.

Maybe the owners finally found her, but I doubt it. I just hope she didn't run out onto nearby Wilmot Road. A black dog on a major street on a dark holiday night would be in grave danger.

What else should I, could I have done? I'm not sure. But I left the water bowl out anyway.

Surprisingly, I got some interesting fireworks photos, despite everything.

I think this one looks the way it does at least partly because of camera movement. As you can see from the top of this entry, the firework was in the lower left corner of the shot, more than half cut off. Still, it looks intriguingly like red yarn.

Again, I'm sure there's camera movement, but I like the shape and delicacy of this one. It looks like a sea anemone or something like that, or a tiered basket on its side.

Here's another one that came out kind of cool, with the red streaks and white spots.

fireworks composite
This last one is a composite of every fireworks shot from tonight that came out at all well. I cropped and arranged them, and in some cases copied and edited them so that I could have multiples of certain fireworks in different orientations and colors. Click on the photo for a much larger version. Can you see which ones are flipped, rotated, resized and in a different hue from the originals?

I hope everyone had a happy Fourth!


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Carly said...

I will think some good thoughts for the lost puppy. The fireworks photos are fun because I can see all kinds of things that my imagination provides. The firstone reminds me of a head on fire...LOL. The second one looks like a peacock spreading its feathers, the third one is spooky...like strange faces looking at me, and the last one reminds me of a Twister board. LOL. Someone call Freud! LOL.

Cool pics and story.

julie said...

Good pictures. Ours was a bit of a bust due to clouds and trees.

DesLily said...

those are neat pictures Karen... I hope the doggie is found by it's owner.. hate to see animals not being taken care of.

Becky said...

Poor doggy...we used to have a dog that was terrified by loud noises. Poor thing would go completely irrational during thunder storms or fireworks. He only wanted to find a place to hide...he would try to climb up people's pant legs and scratch the crap out of them. LOL Hope the dog found her way home.

Bea said...

What you did with your fireworks photos is outstanding. Despite all the problems you encountered in the process of taking them, they look great! It was so nice and neighborly of you to take care of that dog by trying to find its owner. Several years ago, our Irish Setter was outside when a storm came up, and she found shelter with a neighbor up the road we didn't even know. He brought her into his garage, gave her water. Calmed her down. The dog tag saved her. He called us and we got our dog back. It saddens me to see dogs on the road, running along on the grass, and they wear no collar. I live out in the country, so that is a pretty common sight. I know if the dog is injured or killed, the owners may never know about it. But then I wonder, if they really cared, wouldn't they have put a dog tag/ID on their pet in the first place? So either the owner doesn't care, or the dog doesn't belong to anyone. Either way, it's sad. I'm glad to hear that you did your part to help man's best friend.