Caleb & Super

When we found out we were expecting a baby (Caleb), we were most concerned about how the dog would handle it all. Not necessarily that the dog would be jealous, since he’s never really been jealous of anything, but that he’d be too crazy around a new baby.

The dog (Super) is a lab, a breed that is usually noted for being really great around kids, but Super is a bit of a maniac in general, and anything to do with him usually involves some barking and jumping and running around, unless he’s in his other mode, which is lying on the floor in a mass of fur.

Sometimes I joke that if it had to come down to choosing between the baby and the dog, it would be a tough choice, but I think sometimes jokes are funny because there’s a grain of truth. It really would have been tough to say good bye to Super, because (I also joke), he was my first love – I had Super before I had Jon.

When we first brought Caleb home, Super had this thing where he would bark every time the baby cried, which was terrible. A crying newborn and Super going nuts. I had visions of myself with the dog locked away in the basement, barking pathetically, and my future as a zombie, unable to get either the dog or the baby to stop making noise.

I guess we should give Super a bit more credit, since he stopped the barking after about a day. And he was also pretty good with the pet hamster I used to have to bring home on the weekends from my classroom, back when I was a teacher.

As much as I say I like the idea that Caleb is going to grow up hiding under tables in the shop, and making a mess with all the “Do Not Freeze” stickers in the packing area, I have to say I’m also glad that Caleb has this old pup to grow up with. Every kid needs some fur-beast to teach him the important things in life, like how to take the most comfortable spot in the bed, and how to zero in on food dropped on the floor.

I’ve been taking pictures of the two of them with our Instax camera, and I’ve been popping them like they’re candy. Jon keeps complaining about how much film he has to keep buying.

The real problem is that Super looks like a dark blob in most of them.

Caleb sitting beside wooden xylophone that he never plays with, in front of dark mass of fur.

Caleb sitting beside wooden xylophone that he never plays with, in front of dark mass of fur.

Caleb lying on couch, in front of dark mass of fur.

Caleb lying on couch, in front of dark mass of fur.

Caleb "helping" to clean waxy dog ears.

Caleb getting involved and seriously focused in cleaning the dog’s ears..

The only time the dark mass of fur looks alive: when there's watermelon being eaten.

The only time the dark mass of fur looks alive: when there’s watermelon being eaten.

12 thoughts on “Caleb & Super

  1. mickeyobe

    I am not familiar with the Instax camera but from the photos and the film cost comment it appears to be a Polaroid type instant camera rather than a digital which costs $0.00 per picture.
    I have been an amature photographer for 70 years so if you will tell me which kind of photosensitive material it uses I might be able to help you get both of your glamor boys properly or near properly exposed in one picture.
    It is really very easy.

    1. Liz Post author

      Yes, it’s like a Polaroid camera – here is a link to the film, although we buy it locally here:
      It is very difficult to take photos of Super! Sometimes he just looks like a shadow with hints of his grey beard showing through! Although of course it’s more difficult because I am basically just a point-and-shooter 🙂

  2. mickeyobe


    Some day I may learn to spell amateur.
    Okay. Film, even colour film, thinks of everything as being shades of grey.
    Light meters and auto exposure cameras try to make everything they see into medium (18%) grey. That would be the perfect exposure. Some everyday objects such as an asphalt road, green grass a clear blue sky at 90 degrees from the sun are equal in brilliance to 18% grey. But that is immaterial right now.
    When you point your camera at a subject the centre of the viewfinder is usually what reads the light intensity and that is where it wants to put the perfect 18% exposure.
    When you take your photos that include Super you usually point your camera at Caleb or the brick and mortar shop or some stunning scenery. Poor Super is ignored and comes out much too dark.
    If you can point said camera at Super and press your shutter release only 1/2 way down and hold it there while you frame the picture whereupon press the release the rest of the way Super should come out his true. beautiful bittersweet chocolate colour.
    However the rest of the picture may be overexposed (too light). Then again it might be perfect.
    The simple solution for which one must set the camera manually is to point it at Super and note the exposure. Then point at the background and note the exposure. Then manually set the aperture half way between between the two readings. Both subject and background colours might be compromised but with the remarkable latitude (tolerance) of today’s films you should get a perfectly exposed photo.
    Example using 1/100 shutter speed. Super f5.6. Background f11. Set aperture at f8 and fire away.

    By the way, your close ups are really good. You might try a large white piece of paper or cardboard to fill the dark shadows cast by the pens.

    The simple alternative of which I am not very fond is to use your automatic flash, even out of doors, to fill the shadows. Try this first. you might like the results. If your camera does not provide for manual operation try this.

    If my explanations needs further explaining just ask.


    1. Liz Post author

      Wow, thanks so much for such a detailed explanation! I think I’m going to need to spend some time practising, though! 🙂 I have not had very good success with flash, even indoors or in darker situations – of course I just haven’t learned to use it correctly (yet). I’m going to have to spend some time with my two “models” and see what comes out! Thanks again! I really appreciate it.

  3. mickeyobe

    The flash does not care whether it is light or dark but it is very adamant about not being too close or too far from the subject.
    The most important accessories you can get for your equipment is free.
    I still carry mine with me. They take so little room in a camera bag.
    Read them then read again with the equipment in your hands and do dry runs as you read.

    1. Liz Post author

      A camera bag! You mean, it’s not just bouncing around loose in the diaper bag?? 😉 Just kidding. I will take a good re-read through of my instruction manuals as well! Thanks for the tip 🙂

  4. Anali

    I always find that dogs surprise us. My parents dogs(Who live with us about half the time since my parents work away and the dogs can’t go with them) love my kids. Our border collie who is almost manic most of the time follows my kids around and lets them get away with being quite rough with her, and our retriever tries to sit on the kids to get closer to them, she also loves wrestling with them. Before the kids came my mum informed me that if it came down to it the dogs would be gone if it had to happen that way. Thankfully it hasn’t even been an issue, all 4 of them love each other so much.

    1. Liz Post author

      We were pretty thankful!! We know someone who had to give away one of their two dogs because of worrisome behaviour, including biting off one of the owner’s fingers!! The remaining dog is a bit scared of the now-toddler, and it would be terrible as a parent to always have to be anxious about the dog’s fear turning into something more!

  5. mickeyobe

    Hi, Liz,
    Me again.
    With film the photographer was always/usually taught to expose for the shadows and develope for the highlights.The highlights usually retained a usable latent image that could be forced out by over developing.

    With digital the opposite is true. Expose for the highlights. There is almost always a good useable image in the shadows that can be easily brought out in the computer. Overexposed highlights have most details washed out – gone forever. Digital is a quite remarkable process..

    With Polaroids you have little control except for your initial exposure. That’s all there is.

    Today it is possible to get a decent point and shoot digital camera at a very reasonable price. Let your honest, knowledgeable, reliable sales clerk be your guide to one that will meet your needs.
    Then, other than the purchase of a processing programme such as Photoshop Elements, your costs are zero other than the printing paper and ink which are also reasonable. Cheap compared to Polaroid.
    You already have the computer so you are well on your way.


    I am sure that Jon would not put up much of a fight when he realized the savings between Polaroid and digital.
    Would you, Jon?

    1. Liz Post author

      We’re actually two doors down from a professional camera equipment sales + rental! But I’m pretty sure they would laugh me out of there with my little point and shoot 🙂
      I think my biggest problem is that I don’t know how to use any photo editing software!! I’m supposed to be of the digital generation, but I am not too hot when it comes to sorting, editing and labelling photos! Most of my pictures go up completely unedited, so they have to be “good” when I take the shot! We are thinking maybe this summer when things get a bit quieter I’ll take a class at a local college on using Photoshop, or maybe even a photography class so I can use the manual settings on my camera! When I was in high school, I took a photography class in film, and I loved it! Which is maybe why I love my Polaroid and Instax photos, even though they don’t always turn out so great 🙂 I think Jon has given up the good fight, since he’s keeping up my supply of film, haha!


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