All posts by hoofnpawrart

Hero’s – Spokane Pet Photography

Last year, I became inspired by an idea after meeting a wounded veteran and his service dog, a Newfoundland named Sam.  Because I was working on a portfolio building project, I did a free session for them.  Eventually, the man and his wife became members at my dog club and our friendship deepened.  I found out they had a dream to breed and train Newfoundlands for military veteran’s.  The idea fascinated me and I enjoyed watching as the couple added Newfoundlands to their pack and actively pursued training knowledge .  These dogs have the perfect temperament for service dog work!

With their work in mind, I knew that I wanted to create some kind of photography session for veterans that would give back and show appreciate for their service.  I’m almost finished with the final touches.  In the meantime, Hoof N Paw has been available for a free 8×10 photo for these folks.  This past weekend, was just such a special moment.  One of my AKC S.T.A.R. puppy students, Liam the Newfoundland, was going home with his veteran.  A whole group of Newfy owners, connected to Liam’s breeder, gathered together at a local dog park to see Liam off.  My friends, the owner’s of Sam, were there with the newest Newfy addition in their pack…little Aria, eventual “girlfriend” to Sam.

I met with Liam’s new PERSON and could see they were perfect for each other.  It is such a joy to witness dogs coming alongside humans in need and changing their lives.

So, stay tuned for Hoof N Paw’s very special veteran photography package to be posted!  In the meantime, enjoy some photos I took at the dog park.


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And, a couple of randomly fun shots of dogs having fun…





Project 52, Isolation

I’ve been absent!  I guess that’s what happens when you take a plunge off a 16 hand thoroughbred horse.  Thanks to a concussion, I’ve not been updating my blog but it’s still been busy!  I have a double blog post to share:

One is some photos I worked on this week in keeping with the Project 52 Blog circle assignment, called Isolation.

The other selection of photos is from my cat portfolio work I did in February.  These were my first kitty sessions and they went incredibly well!


I really appreciate how well timed this weeks Project 52 assignment is.  Just last week, I had been going over my images and wanted to do more adjustments with my apertures for variety.  I almost always choose f1.8 aperture on my camera because my 85mm lens is typically on and that width gives great bokeh (background blur) at appropriate distances.  Yet, when I swap to the 5o mm, I feel like details can often get lost at f1.8.

In laymen’s terms, aperture decides how much detail is included in a final image.  For some odd reason, the powers that be decided that a “small” aperture number should be called “wide open” because it allows the most light into the camera.  Yes, that twisted my head around for a bit.  My brain doesn’t think that way!  Shooting at the “widest” aperture gives images that desirable background blur with the subject sharply in focus.  The bigger the aperture number (say, f8) means that the camera is restricting light, becoming “narrow”.  The more narrow the aperture, the more details the camera captures.  Landscape photography is a good use of “narrow” aperture as it gets an entire mountain scene in focus.

To be entirely honest, I was having a day like none other when I worked on this assignment.  I’ve yet to encounter a difficult client session and my own dogs are competition trained.  This time around, Mr. Balan gave me nothing but trouble.  I chalk it up to senior-itis and forgave him.  However, none of the images are worth writing home about.  I decided to edit them all in black and white for better contrast/comparison.  When I got to f16, Mr. Balan decided his extensive “stay” training was lost in the past, and, moved.  Thus, the different pose.  But, you can still see how more of the background bushes are in focus than the wider apertures…

I still LOVE f1.8 but I think that the f 3.5 looked pretty good, too!


My very best friend of 24 years has 4 beloved cats.  One of whom is not doing well; dealing with diabetes, pancreatitis, and kidney disease.  His name is Tobey.  I was determined to make the drive to her place and get some great photos of Tobey before it was too late.  Her kitty crew became my first stop on February’s cat portfolio building sessions.

Here is the gang, left to right…Tobey, Mikey, Lucky, and Kenshi.

My second kitty portfolio session took me back into town, to the home of a prior interior design coworker of mine.  She owns two gorgeous cats, Channel & Mae.  Channel is a lovely cream color and Mae is black/white.

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While I have never owned a cat in my life (being a crazy dog training lady), I was captivated by these sessions.  I truly enjoyed it and I hope to have many more feline sessions in the future!

I encourage you to continue through the blog circle and enjoy more photos!  Next up is Jodie Pholi Images.


PROJECT 52, Week 5: RAW Exposures


As a highly visual person, I found this weeks Project 52 assignment tough but rewarding;  to rely solely on the mechanics of the camera rather than my sight.    Here is the breakdown of what was required…

  • Shoot in RAW formatting (not new for me as I always shoot in RAW).
  • Turn on “blinkies”.
  • Use histogram ONLY for judging exposure rather than the camera screen image.

For many of you reading, the above terms will be confusing.  My goodness, other than RAW files, they were foreign to me up until a couple weeks ago!  So, don’t feel bad if your eyes crossed as you started reading.  I beg of you to bear with me and continue on…

  • RAW files description per – “A raw file is the image as seen by the camera’s sensor. Think of it like unprocessed film. Rather than letting the camera process the image for you, turning it into a JPEG image, shooting in raw allows you to process the image to your liking.”
  • BLINKIES – Haha, this one is the funniest name ever for a photography term!  I laughed out loud when I read about it.  “Blinkies” is actually a THING.  There is a setting in most DSLR camera’s that allow the photographer to turn on highlight warnings.  Those highlights will literally “blink” for you on the screen.
  •  HISTOGRAM – That funny looking mountain graph on the camera’s screen or when post processing.  This tells the photographer where their exposure is.

I was lucky to have another subject to photograph this week.  It was my Mom’s birthday and we had a party for her at my sister’s house.  So, it was a pleasure to borrow my sister’s English Cocker Spaniel, Finwe (in between the cake and gifts).  He has been dealing with pancreatitis this past month and I wanted to get some photos done.  Finwe is getting up there in age and it served as a heartfelt reminder of why I do what I do:  making memories to honor these dear, furry (or feathered) friends of ours for their short time on Earth.

Here is a view of my only hint at what was happening in the camera, per the assignments instructions.  So tiny!  It was hard to not rely on a full image!  I took this photo with my phone so it made the screen white hot.  Blah, my smart phone lies!  I continued to use spot metering to work on exposure and shot to the right (brighter rather than darker).


Below is the actual image with minimal editing in Lightroom and Photoshop as well as my 2nd favorite photo…

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Finwe LOVES to carry around my sister’s shoes when visitors come to call.  I would normally have dropped flat on the floor to get that sweet photo but my sons and their cousins would have trampled me into a battered pancake.  But, I know my sis will love having a print capturing one of Finwe’s fun quirks.  I hope to get some photos of him outside one of these days, when the weather warms up.

Thank you for stopping by and visiting!  This month, I have multiple cat models lined up (totally new for me!) so keep coming back to check on those.

Next up in the blog circle is Sydney & MAC Creative Designs – Photography for Pets and Their People – Washington DC Metro Area.





What a vast and impressive realm photography is!!!  I seem to learn something new, daily.  On this weeks Project 52 workbook, we are studying metering and how it affects exposure.  Metering is entirely unfamiliar to me and reading through the material has been fascinating.  I can’t get enough of it!

Thanks to Ansel Adams, we have an exposure model called the Zone System.  According to our study book, The Visual Toolbox, “the Zone system divides the spectrum from white to black into 11 zones.”  Instead of experimenting with all 11 zones this week, our task was to take 3:  white, black, and grey.  It can be best to use a grey card for metering and I happen to have a set which I’ve used for white balance in the past.

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Frustratingly enough, my world has been ALL grey this past week.  We’ve not seen the sun for 4 weeks.  With heavy rain and fog, I took off for the local park with my Bron where I knew there was a pergola to shoot under.  I got set up and took my shots according to my zones.  I was very disappointed with a couple of photos but I liked the grey zone (card) the best.  I chose to NOT do a single ounce of editing so that all of you can see exactly what occurred with my experiment.  Check out the visual diagram below…


When I was done trying out the 3 zones, I decided to put my camera in AF mode to see what shutter speed IT would decide on when metering the grey card.  Below is the results.  I liked it better than the others so I did do some basic editing.  Ugh, look at those rainy grey skies, though!  My grey card fit right in, lol.

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Once I got back home, I decided that it wasn’t enough to practice outside.  So, I scooped up my youngest son’s stuffed puppy to see what my grey card could tell me…


Okay, I am officially a metering nerd.  What can I look for to meter next?  I think I’ll make a list, hahaha.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Please feel free to comment with questions or thoughts about the zone samples.

For the next stop in the blog circle, it would be wonderful if you would head over to Future Framed Photography, located in South Dakota:






PROJECT 52, WEEK 2 “Consider Your Vision”

I believe that this week’s Project 52 theme is perhaps the most meaningful out of all prior themes, to me.  When I first put my hands on a DSLR camera, I was hooked but never knew my surprising passion would find its way into a business.  So, I spent a couple of years having fun with my Dad’s Canon Rebel t2i on the weekends.  While I was photographing everything in sight, my friends noticed that the photos of my dogs were getting really good.  At last, in the Summer of 2014, a good friend suggested I make a business out of photographing pets.  I didn’t know there was such a thing!  I fell into it hook, line, and sinker.  I bought my Dad’s camera from him before later saving up enough for the Canon 6D.  There is nothing I would rather be doing each day!  Even the drawing portion of Hoof N Paw has taken second place in my heart!

As an Anne of Green Gables type of a gal with an old soul, the spirit of a country road, and the longing for a little home in a nest of fir trees, my photography is an attempt to mirror all those simple blessings in life.  Typically, my style has included a lot of earthy tones with bits of jewel hues mixed in.  Yet, my eye is continually drawn to soft photos with the feeling of romance or mystery, like that of Rupa Sutton’s Photography.  While I’m still working on creating my own style of editing in that soft look I desire, I am trying to hone my work so that the concept is clear.

For now, here is a progression of images starting at the beginning (2014) and slowly getting closer and closer to the vision I dream of.


It was tough looking for a suitable location for a current example of my work due to the usual dreariness of January.  However, I managed to find a little corner of heaven to continue the pursuit of my vision this week.  As of January 2016, this is where I am right now…

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I thank each and every one of you for stopping by, supporting my endeavors, and following the journey!

Next up, take a look at the work of Amyranth Pet Photography, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA…

Project 52: Consider your Vision

Project 52, NEW

We are starting off 2016 with a very apt theme for Project 52: NEW.  I have so many new things planned for 2016 already that it was hard to decide how I would run with the theme.  I’ll be working on marketing, setting up an Instagram account, creating a list of new photography models (horses, cats, & even sheep!), some graphite drawings planned, and there will eventually be a web site tied to this blog.  Hoof N Paw is stepping it up a notch and I’m so excited!

In the end, I decided that it was high time to work on off camera flash for this weeks theme.  I’ve had a flash unit but only used it once, outside.  Never inside.  I prefer the light of the sun.  This week, however, our snow was going through a melt-off (that icky, brown muck) so I needed to take photos inside and with the flash.   I played around with how the light bounced off my ceiling for quite a while.  The Border Collie boys got a bit bored with me but I love the end results!


Yes, Mr. Balan is a gentleman wearing flowers, hehe.  I found the flower clip at Hobby Lobby this week and had to get it for all the future pet ladies I photograph.  I told Mr. Balan that he would need to oblige me, this time, and wear them so that I could see how they worked out.

As in most of my photos, I used my Canon 85mm f1.8 lens.  I have the 50mm but the 85 just can’t be beat.

Now, please head over to Shelley Castle Photography for more NEW photos.  Link below…

52 on Friday :: New

Mr. Balan, Winner

Each month, the Hair of the Dog Blog does a fun pet photography contest.  I enter my Hoof N Paw photos according to the monthly theme.  There are often close to 200 images from amazing pet photographers around the World!

For the month of December, the theme was “tails”.  I had just the photo to enter.  Mr. Balan, holding a stuffed kitty by the tail.


And, we won!  So happy to make a pleasant splash into the new year.