Nikon D700

Q & A on HDR.

I recently was asked to show the before and after images of the Landscape Gate that i took last November in Dunstable.

Im not going to explain the HDR techniques as i have mentioned this a few times now,

HERE.

But this was to show my eye for HDR. As many will know i try and keep things looking as real as i can.

With a view like this in front of me, i knew HDR would work as the sky is too blown out for my liking. Some people will prefer the before image but its all down to our own opinions. No one is ever right or wrong.

I do not particularly think that "oh i will do a HDR image" for the sake of it, i look at the scene in front of me and if i feel that it will enhance the image then i will use it.

When looking at this scene on the lcd screen on my camera, i could see that either the sky will be blown out or if i expose for the sky, then the ground will be too dark.

Another options would have been to use graduated filters over my lens,

or take two images. one of a correctly exposed sky/ and then the ground.

Place one above the other in Photoshop as layers and hide/reveal the correctly exposed parts of the image.

Both good techniques, my train of thought here was, 1- i dont own any graduated lens filters, and 2 - trying to mask out this sky would of taken time. plus i like the textures HDR processing can produce.

The After image was created using HDR techniques with 8 images at various exposures. 

 

Please feel free to share this post on your social media, giving credit to the photographer Lee Ramsden www.leeramsden.com

 

Thanks

Hong Kong vacation.

Hello, 

Well it feels like a life time ago since i last made a post. But i have been a busy one with work and other commitments, so i am seriously playing catch up now, as have a large amount of images to work through. 

Hong Kong cable car ride

Here are some of the images from a recent trip to Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong view of the city

A view from the highest point on the Island.

Hong Kong market cutting up a chicken

Market Stall.

Hong Kong Kelly Moss Ramsden eating noodles
Hong Kong Spiral stair case
Hong Kong financial district bar enjoying a beer
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On the beach, where you can see the double Shark nets.

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 A British bar.   

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                                                            Part of the 5.5km escalator. 

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View from the 5.5km escalator. 

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Fantasy Police.

Hi All,

As like most photographers i have had lots of ideas floating about in my note books and so it is time to start creating these images.

The following idea kinda grew out of something else.

The girl friend has got a new car, a lovely little Mazda MX5, which is great fun in the summer with the roof down by the way.

Being mega happy like a big kid i thought that it would be nice to take some pictures for her with her new toy.

I had the idea of long boots and jacket with the car right from the kick off, but was looking for the right location to set it. A fellow photographer friend suggested this place as it has all the items that i was looking for,

Cobbled streets, iron fire escape - it was perfect.

Using  a public street like this certainly comes with its own troubles.

We have to be polite and considerate, if other vehicles come by we have to move, plus all the local nutters come out and talk to you as they must not see things like this very often.

Back to the shot- 

as i was looking for quite a dark styled shot, sin city came to mind, and so this character was born. A sort of dark comic book styled female police officer.

The props - the guns and police badge come off Amazon for a couple of quid. The pistols are bright blue plastic toy guns, as you can not have replica weapons in the street and i did not fancy getting swarmed by REAL armed police.

I hope you enjoy.

Kelly Moss Ramsden Police bad cop Mazda MX5

Strobist info :- This image was lit with 2 SB900's, one bare on the left picking up the car and creating the pool of light on the ground where as the second was in a softbox on the right of the image picking up the female.

Kelly Moss Ramsden patroling police cop car
Kelly Moss Ramsden bad cop Mazda MX5 out door flash lighting
Kelly Moss Ramsden Cop police girl officer handcuffs

Kelly Moss Ramsden Cop police girl officer handcuffs

Stage Writer. Jessica Luxembourg.

I was asked recently to do some portraiture head shots and promo shots for a fantastic stage / screen writer actress Jessica Luxembourg.

With having a little bit of notice with this shoot, i wanted to set it, in a relevant location.

I came up with the idea of having books in the back ground and so set about trying to find a willing bookshop.

I thought the best places to try would be small independently run stores, and so the search began...

They are becoming harder and harder to find. Even this store will be closed at the end of the month.

I think due to the Internet, people do not seem to visit these places any more. Even i am very guilty of this. As it is far to easy to order books from say Amazon or if going to a store we head to Waterstones as they have a huge collection of items. It is a great shame with the changing world the "small business" has an almost impossible fight to remain in the game. 

This was shot in the book castle over in Dunstable,

A big thanks to the ladies who run the shop, They were great and very friendly, with out their help i do not think i would of been able to achieve my goal and so would of had to resort with another back drop.

Jessica Luxembourg stage writer actor 01
Jessica Luxembourg stage writer actor 02 black and white
Jessica Luxembourg stage writer actor 07 books
Jessica Luxembourg stage writer actor black and white books

Biography of Jessica Luxembourg

Jessica Luxembourg is an award-winning writer

(International Student Playscript Competition, Arc Productions sponsorship, Time Out DVious Shorts Award)

Whose work has been performed at venues including the Hackney Empire,

the Soho Theatre and the Pleasance Courtyard.

Her short film "Phil's Job" was produced by Blaze, The Trail with Nick Rowe (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels)

in the title role and screened at the Cannes, Melbourne and Raindance film festivals. Jessica is a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, and of Cambridge University.

Jessica's plays include:

Denver, Contact Theatre, Manchester (2006);

Babel Junction, Hackney Empire (2006);

The Devil's Own Goldfish Scam, Soho Theatre (2003);

Insane Jane, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, transferred to Soho Theatre (2003);

Reflecting Flesh, UEA Studio Theatre (2001);

Losing Track, UEA Studio Theatre (2001);

and Craze, UEA Studio Theatre (2000).

Her short films include: Phil's Job, Cannes, Raindance and Melbourne film festivals (2001).

Teelan Stack.

Hi all, 

Well, what a busy couple of weeks with re: to the photography.  

Last week i had a fantastic child shoot with the little Teelan seen below, 

It was the first toddler shoot that I have done. I have worked with babies before and they are great as they tend not to move.... 

As you can see Teelan is full of character and is a fast little runner keeping me on my feet and having to think fast. 

Big thanks to the Stack family and hope to work with you again. 

Teelan Stack child photography 01
Teelan Stack child photography 02
Teelan Stack child photography 04

Over the next couple of weeks ill be posting other photography work that i have been working on, 

I had a corporate head shot with a great stage writer, 

some portraiture work with a model, 

a couple of shots with the Dont Let Dunstable Die ladies,

plus i have started a personal project which can be seen over on the main website. 

Perspective going wrong.

Here is a quick post mainly to point out something you need to consider when composing a shot.

As photographers we are always looking for a different perspective, which if done correctly can add weight and interest to our images. Here is an example where it can go wrong...

Following the previous post, i was trying to take a portrait of the salon owner Kelly, and thought of the idea of showing her with her laptop on the desk to show her working.

MyTime Health and beauty receptionist at work

 

As you can see from the above image the perspective is very wrong... 

Unless Kelly is tiny or the Laptop is Huge! 

which neither apply here... 

Even the desk in this image is way to over powering and makes the subject appear smaller.

So when you are lining up your shots as a photographer you have to think in 3D, 

If something is in the foreground, how will this effect the image and work with the background? 

Same with the Back ground, how will this look with a subject in front of it?

MyTime health and beauty receptionist on the phone therapist Kelly Moss Ramsden

You can see with the above image, by standing up and raising the perspective you can see it places the desk and laptop into a more acceptable perspective. Making them appear to be more normal in size. 

These images were lit with a single SB900 strobe placed on the laptop keyboard reflecting off the screen.


Many thanks

Lee

Mytime Health and Beauty.

Mytime Health and Beauty is a fantastic beauty salon based over in Potters bar. 

I was asked recently to do some images for their website and blog updates. I am very impressed what a great salon and how its run by a professional team. 

MyTime health and beauty award winner

An Award Winning Salon.

Escape

"MyTime aim is to give all our clients:

A sense of wellbeing and escape from the stress and strains of everyday life. 

Treating you holistically, meaning that your beauty comes from within. 

Help your body to work correctly. 

To promote a healthy mind, body and skin. 

After the first consultation we will recommend a bespoke course of treatments to meet your individual needs. You may be looking to enhance your appearance and look a million dollars or to re-balance your health and improve your posture... If so then we are here to help.

The salon will be a clean, comfortable and a pleasant environment to relax and enjoy yourself. Add a little of Mytime in your diary. Looking forward to seeing you soon."

The team offers a wide range of beauty, grooming and health treatments for both Men & Women. (The team: Holistic therapist, nurse performing Botox, Beautician and Advanced Cosmetic Procedure Specialist).

Mytime Health and Beauty is a short drive from the M25/ A1000 (5 mins). Conveniently located in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.

Free parking outside the Salon, also there are car parks surrounding. Mytime Health & Beauty is almost in view of Potters Bar main line Train station & Bus stop.

Mytime Team

Kelly Moss, Owner/ senior therapist. Specialist

 in Facials for all skin and Massage for both relaxing and health problems.

Kelly began her career in 1996. She has worked around the world on cruise ship for the rich and famous and in top luxury spas and hotels in and around Hertfordshire and London.

Kelly has recently won Gold Salon Award in the UK 2009. An outstanding achievement for a newly established salon. Kelly has also been featured in magazines.

MyTime health and beauty welcomes you for a treatment

Louise Randall, Nail technician

Ross, Botox Nurse.

Mytime Health and Beauty, 

offer a luxury Stream room and Sauna as an exclusive and private Pre treatment for clients who require a deeper or corrective massage without the pain.

A fantastic way to enhance the de- stress and relaxation feel to both the body and the mind whilst at the same time increasing the body circulation and improvement of the skin.

MyTime health and beauty sauna
Decleor pairs professional products

Mytime offer all the latest treatments and products from large brands such as Decleor and Crystal Clear.

Crystal clear products and service offered at my time health and beauty

Thanks again to Mytime.

An early train station

With moving down to the south of the UK, I am really enjoying heading into the capital.

There is always so much to see and do when in London. 

The activities alone as you can imagine could fill a blog site on their own. 

Here is an image that I took while waiting for the train at stupid o'clock one morning. 

We both loved the sun rising in the background, so rather then have a brew in the warmth,

we stood out in the freezing weather and a few images had to be taken. 

The face was a bit under exposured, against this background. I brought what highlights i could back with the adjustments brush in camera raw. 

Kelly Moss Ramsden early morning train

Few behind the scenes images.

I am currently trying more and more to improve and learn flash photography. I love natural lighting work, and would never try and annoy my clients with flashes going off at a wedding or event

With portraiture work and bridal shots I find flash lighting  can certainly aid in creating great images.

Here is a quick image showing with and without additional lighting.

blog+01a.jpg

As you can see the model certainly stands out and the image looks much better with additional lighting. It is as you can imagine not just a simple task of  turn on your flash and away you go. Some thought and testing has to be done.

From the images you can see in both that the background is how I wanted it.

Using a speed light in these images I didn’t use a light meter. I took an image without the light to get the back ground exposure correct and then I add the light.

Starting with the speed light on around half power and then I can turn the power up or down according to the exposure, or move the light source towards or further away from the model.

As always im learning while I do this, one thing I learnt from this shoot while lighting was to try and not to light the back ground so much. As you can see in the image above with the lighting, I love how the model stands out, but I would like her to stand out from the background more. From analyzing the images back at home on a large screen I think next time I will try and get the light too fall off the model better and not illuminate the background so much.

 Here are a few images of behind the gear, and from the serious shots before you can see how we have fun and laugh taking pictures.

All the images were lit with a single Nikon sb900 speed light in a ezylight soft box by lastolite.

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snow outdoor flash light Ashridge Berkhamsted Hertfordshire 02
Nikon SB900 Exy soft box Kelly Moss Ramsden snow outdoor flash light Ashridge Berkhamsted Hertfordshire 01

Ashridge Snow Shoot.

Good afternoon,

This post is about a shoot I did a couple of weeks ago, but with my day job I have not been able to process and post these until now.  With the recent snow fall I really wanted to do a shoot out in the snow,

I chose Ashridge as I love shooting there,  it has so many different scenes and sets within a few feet from each other.

I will be posting a blog in the next couple of days of my ideas of flash lighting and the usage.

And a massive

Happy New Year to you all from a chilly oil rig in the north sea….

Here are the images from a snowy shoot over at Ashridge. 

Kelly Moss Ramsden snow outdoor flash light Ashridge Berkhamsted Hertfordshire 02
Kelly Moss Ramsden snow outdoor flash light Ashridge Berkhamsted Hertfordshire 02
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The North Face sponsored Kelly Moss Ramsden snow outdoor flash light Ashridge Berkhamsted Hertfordshire 

The Vogue Collective. A brand new female band.

Hi all,

I was asked the other week to take some photos of a new fantastic girl group, who were having their debut night. 

Vogue collective battle of the bands london The Reveal

I googled the venue to try and get a feel for what the place had to offer. Great I thought!

I rocked up with a view in my mind of the venue and what shots I want. 

In reality - I turn up and was gob smacked at just how dark this place was!

The pictures off google now I realise must have been taken while the venue was closed, with all the lights on.

Certainly a good lesson to myself and something that I will be looking for in the future.

The stage was harshly lit with an incredibly dirty backdrop. So some serious post processing was needed.

The following images are of the girls, who I have to admit, were very good, and I will be looking forward to see them perform again.

Vogue collective battle of the bands Main Group Image

Vogue Collective consists of 5 god looking women who write and sing great songs.

In MY opinion they are not a cheesy girlie pop group, they certainly ooze talent and passion at what they do.

Look out for them and if they are playing in your town – go and see for your self, it will be a great evening.

Joey Bevan Vogue collective battle of the bands hair and make up
Vogue collective battle of the bands Corinne Burns mirror
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The following images were lit by the huge flash light on the video guys video camera, which was great but for this to work you have to think fast and watch the scene set up infront of you.

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A few words from the girls

“A new female band with a DIFFERENCE. Outstanding vocals, breath-taking performances, great songs.

This is NO girl group.

These are Five talented 'all Women' singers with a passion to succeed!

These five ladies- Becky, Corinne, Lucy, Melissa and Laurie are now VOGUE COLLECTIVE!”

Formed a month ago from competition ‘

Completing The Band

’UK UNSIGNED and founding band members

Becky Bray and Corinne Burns teamed up to form a band with a difference.....

They are currently taking bookings, 

Keep upto date with their latest news and videos on, 

YOUTUBE

Thanks  

Lee

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Multiple Image HDR's.

Hiya,

In this post i want to try and explain how i create some of the large HDR landscape images and to answer the question that i have recieved alot recently, on how you can make an image with 54 exposures from a

previous post 

From the following image i am trying to show where all the images go in the make up of the final image.

Hdr explained with multiple images

As you can see each section is made up of different exposures.

I used Photomatix Software to render these. I started with the lower center section, as this is the main focal point.

I made a note of all the settings i used on this section and rendered all the other sections the same.

If you fail to render each section the same, you will have some very unrealistic looks and will make blending to the final image extremely tricky.

Once you have 6 nicely rendered HDR images, i opened these into Photoshop and blended together to create the large image.

One massive point to remember when taking an image like this, is to overlap each image to make the blending process easier, and so you know that you have not missed anything.

You can always cut to much extra away but not add any missing data that you didn't shoot.

I hope that this makes sense,

as always feel free to ask any questions and comment.

 

Thanks Lee.

Adding Colour to your images with Photoshop.

Kelly moss Ramsden blue head scarf cropped

Hello, 

Here are a couple of images taken 2 weeks ago. 

Its been awhile since i last worked with beauty editing, and so fancied having a play. 

I've missed playing on images like these, smoothing skin, enhancing colours, changing background lighting effects etc etc. 

But in todays post i wanted to show you how to add some colour to YOUR images, 

in a simple couple of clicks in Photoshop. 

Im using Photoshop CS5, but this technique certainly works in older versions and Pshop elements. 

kelly head scarf in colour
Kelly Ramsden Blue head scarf

Open your image that you are wanting to colour into Photoshop. 

Next add an adjustment layer of Hue/Saturation, as you can see in the following image. 

HDR image photoshop tutorial

In the Hue/Saturation adjustment dialogue box there is a tick box called colorize, 

Tick this box and move the Hue slider from left to right and see the colour change. 

You can play with the saturation and light/darkness sliders to adjust to the desired effect. 

HDR image colourize 2

Don't forget by doing this adjustment on a separate layer, you can also adjust the opacity if you feel it is too strong for what you are wanting rather then directly to the image. 

In the coloured image of Kelly above, i used this technique with a mask on the colorized layer to "paint in" more colour onto the lips, and another layer to change and enhance the colour of the eyes, to really make them pop. 

There are many ways of doing this technique but i find this way certainly the quickest and most straight forward.

Also by trying the "Blend Modes" on the coloured layer you will see lots of cool effects and different looks to play with.

I hope you enjoyed this post and i look forward to produce other Photoshop technique posts.

If you have any questions on this post, or other techniques that you would like to see,

Please feel free to comment,

Thanks

Lee

Regiment Fitness training.

For a few months now i have been training with the guys and girls over at

Regiment Fitness

Here are a couple of images that i have created for them. 

01 Regiment fittness dunstable downs bedfordshire gate

Why not start Getting in shape,

 01 Regiment fittness dunstable downs bedfordshire

Here are a few words from Regiment on what they are all about..

"We are a fitness company who specialize in military style training outdoors. Our classes take place on the fantastic site of Dunstable Downs, where we are surrounded by panoramic views and plenty of fresh air!

Regiment Fitness provides a variety of enjoyable training activities within a supportive group, so expect something different each session to keep you on your toes!

Your instructors are fully qualified with military backgrounds and are helpful and encouraging, aiming to help you achieve exactly what you want from your fitness programme.

We cater for all levels of fitness and interests including team runs, paired skills, endurance running, muscular endurance circuits and much more. This variety of activities means boredom is not an option, something many people find training at their local gym!

Whatever you are looking for to get fit and STAY fit, Regiment Fitness is at the core of what you need!

Come and see for yourself… train outside, feel great inside!"

‘Help for Heroes’ is supported by Regiment Fitness. 10% of each session fee will be donated to this charity.

Regiment Fitness classes are now running -

Saturday mornings from 10:00am – 11:00am - Dunstable Downs site.

Sundays mornings from 10:30am  - 1130am - Stockwood Park Luton. 

Tuesday evenings  from 18:30pm - 19:30pm - Stockwood Park Luton.

Wednesday evenings from 18:30pm - 19:30 - Dunstable Downs site. 

Regiment Fitness can show you the path to success!

A play up Dunstable Downs this evening.

This evening around 1600hrs the sun looked stunning, and so i grabbed my camera bag and headed out, to catch a sunset.

the sun had other views and finally set behind a huge cloud. 

Here are the images i took, and so i hope that i did not waste my time. 

54 image HDR Dunstable downs

This HDR is made up of around 54 images. 

Dunstable downs bedfordshire

Another HDR image

This was lit by an oncoming car. 

 A play with car lights.

HDR Photography.

HDR.... No, stop, don't click away! I know that high dynamic range techniques can be controversial, mainly due to the way that the extreme forms of hdr - alien skies, over saturation, halos, are more like computer generated images than real photos. But if you have a go, and take it easy, you may find that the results are pleasing to say the least

The Meaning of High Dynamic Range Imaging in Photography

Some people might think that the purpose of HDR is to produce unrealistically colorful, flat, or artistic photos. In my opinion the real purpose of HDR photography is to produce a photo, the quality of which is higher than that of a normal photo. The purpose of HDR is to overcome the limitations of camera equipment. HDR photography has the following advantages when compared to normal photography:

HDR photography captures higher dynamic range

HDR photography can produce noise free photos

HDR Photography Captures Higher Dynamic Range

Let's imagine a situation where one photographs (without a flash) a high contrast scene where the subject is against the sky. Typically there is a problem in the result. Either the sky is too bright (over exposed), or the subject is too dark (under exposed). That doesn't equal to what was seen with eyes. Eyes can see details in both the subject and the sky clearly. Normal digital camera isn't able to see as high contrast as a human eye is. In other words a digital camera isn't able to capture as high dynamic range as a human eye is able to see.

An HDR photo can have a very high dynamic range which makes it possible to capture scenes with extremely high contrast. HDR photo can include all the details that a human eye is able to see. In photography, the goal is often to capture the view and the mood that was seen and experienced. Unfortunately, because of the limitations of digital cameras, some details are often missing in photos. In high contrast scenes, a digital camera isn't able to capture both the brightest and the darkest areas simultaneously. HDR photography offers a solution to this problem.

Taking the photo(s)

So what is HDR? High Dynamic Range is creating images that contain more data than normal, usually by combining three pictures. This enables you to pull out details in the darkest and brightest areas of the image, without having to resort to lots of dodging, burning, gradients, or pasting two pictures together. A HDR photo in its original form is in no way a finished product - you have to use further processing to pull out these different details, this is usually called Tone Mapping, and tools in Photoshop, or the very popular Photomatix achieve this.

Here i am using the new HDR efex pro by Nik software.

To create an HDR photo you need at least 3 differently exposed photos of the same shot. That's not as difficult as it sounds. Many cameras give you the ability to change exposures from shot to shot. Since all cameras are different you'll have to figure out how to change these exposure settings on your particular camera. Look for Exposure, AEB (Automatic Exposure Bracketing), A-EV, BKT, or a little +/- graphic.

Important: Make sure the camera does not move between shots. Use a tripod or place the camera on a stable surface, minimizing movement as much as possible between shots.

HDR image of all exposures

Here are the 8 exposures i used for the final image.

HDR image photoshop tutorial explained

Using the new HDR efex pro by Nik software.

You need to make up your own mind up about hdr, all I will say is give it a go, and see what you can come up with. In the past i have over done it with HDR and so backed right off. With recently downloading HDR efex pro from Nik software i have certainly got the bug back to play. 
HDR image London eye westminster big ben

Mr and Mrs Hart's Wedding day....

A few months ago i was asked by a good friend of mine if i would be interested in photographing his wedding. I heard lots of nightmare horror stories of their experience, of trying to find a photographer.

Most were coming in at a ridiculous price, others were very demanding, with statements like...

i must have 1 hour with just the bride and groom right after the ceremony, and the couple genuinely hated this pushy sell and type of photography.

I arranged a meeting with the bride and groom to talk about what is it, exactly they wanted.

They really love the reportage style and not all the posy type images.

More importantly they wanted a photographer not to be pushy and annoy the guests, which you would think would be an obvious request, end of the day in my opinion the Wedding is the couples day and NOT the photographers! But lots of professional photographers seem to forget this.

I have not been on any training/portfolio building excersises. Or have i ever been an assistant to a photographer.

And so into the deep end i jump! and didn't take the challenge half heartedly!

I had such an amazing day and would certainly love to do more Weddings, so i can push the creativity and learn more.

Here are a few of my fave images from the day....

James Gemma Hert wedding 01
James Gemma Hert wedding 02
James Gemma Hert wedding 03
James Gemma Hert wedding male group shot
James Gemma Hert wedding wedding car bride
James Gemma Hert wedding entering the church
James Gemma Hert wedding posing for photos
James Gemma Hert wedding posing for photos outside
James Gemma Hert wedding posing for photos outside by the lake
James Gemma Hert wedding fish and chips
James Gemma Hert wedding best man speach
James Gemma Hert wedding humour pictures
James Gemma Hert wedding guests

 

What i loved from all this... was the reaction from the bride and groom when they saw the album for the 1st time.

Those few minutes made the hours and hours of work worth it!

Thanks Guys.

Lee

Horse's- some body, please help me understand..

Here is just a quick image of a horse that i have seen locally in a field near to where i live.

Its covered in flies and smells, so please someone help me understand the love and admiration people have for these animals?

Is it a status thing? "ooo we own a horse"?

or do they really give you joy and love back?

They cost an arm and leg in bills, and unless you have a nice plot of land,

will live miles away from your home.

To be honest my dislike is the blank look they have...

A dog say, if it is going to kill you its obvious,

from the signs of foaming at the mouth, the narly teeth and just general vibe.

Where as a horse...

It might kill you, or want to mate with you,

and you will never know...

Dirty Horse flies on its nose