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Little Dog Waffles – Spokane Pet Photography

“I am because my little dog knows me”.

I love this quote.  It would apply to any dog that blesses our lives with their endearing character and noble souls.  I met a little dog recently.  An exceptional little dog.  Back in March, I put out a model call for breed champions in order to create a series of fun blogs that look to the past where dogs were bred for specific tasks to help humans.  Now, don’t get me wrong, mixed breed dogs have regal bearing and make wonderful assistants/companions in life.  I’ll have a model call for a rescue/mix breed later this summer.  For the purpose of this series, though, I am looking at detailed distinctions that go back hundreds to thousands of years.  The first model of the series is named, Waffles.  She is a Smooth Coated Fox Terrier.  A sensational little gal with a completely secure self awareness.  We had an incredibly fun session.  Ground squirrels?  Read on!

Waffles full registered name is GCH Wildwoof Raylynn Coal Miner’s Daughter.  Pretty, isn’t it?  The GCH stands for “Grand Champion”.  You may be asking, “why the long name?” and it would be an excellent question.  Or, as The BFG would say, “You asked me right”.  Long names became tradition and then preferred as a means to identify breeding kennels.  A potential buyer could look back many, many generations to determine the legitimacy and health of the dog they were buying.  It also lent a brand, if you will, for the purpose of creating a recognizable kennel.  In some ways, the process is very similar to racehorses whose names are combinations or parallels of the sire and dam.  With dogs, it is up to the owner or kennel to add in a “call name” (the name with which the dog will be spoken to/called).  I’ve seen it done with and without the call name.

As for the Grand Champion title, a dog must “obtain a total of 25 points with three major wins (a major win is worth three points or higher) to become a Grand Champion” [akc.org].  I’ve learned over the years how hard it can be to earn majors in our neck of the woods.  We don’t have a lot of unusual breeds in the West.  To earn a major, you have to attend a show with a certain number of your breed entered.  The number entered determines the points given.  And, you have to find as many shows as possible with good numbers of entries.  Whew!  It is hard!  For that reason, I was impressed to hear that Waffles was not EIGHTH but actually the SIXTH Smooth Coated Fox Terrier in the nation last year!  So close to the top four which are invited to the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show.  I think Waffles would have been number one, if I were a judge.  She is gorgeous!!!

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Smooth Coated Fox Terriers were once a hardworking breed.  They are believed to have originated in England in the 18th century.  In fact, it is noted that a large number of terrier breeds originated from the Fox Terrier during this time.  They were developed by dog breeders looking for “a game, fearless, hardy workmanlike terrier, intelligent, active with an exceedingly good memory and quick enough to catch rats and other vermin above ground, whilst small enough to go to ground, all combined with being a very good looker” [http://www.smoothfoxterrierassociation.co.uk].  Although, they were most often used to flush fox from dens.  Fox hunters preferred them because they did not look like a fox (less chance of harming the dog during the hunt) and respected the terrier tenacity to pursue prey.  Pictured below is an image of Waffles seeking out a ground squirrel we found during our session.  She was so animated and focused!  It was fascinating to watch the carefully bred genes at work.  Disclaimer: I promise no ground squirrels were hurt! We left it in peace to continue on as it wished.

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Waffles was the first Smooth Coated Fox Terrier I have met, in person.  She was so enjoyable, causing me to smile with her various expressions and to laugh from her kisses.  If you’ve never seen one, go visit a local kennel club show to watch this and other breeds.  We have a local show coming up, in fact.  The Spokane Kennel Club annual show arrives May 27 & 28th at the fairgrounds.  Just keep in mind that terriers are not inclined toward obedience and their super high prey drive make them unreliable off leash.  They are a challenge, for sure, but so fun!  Wonderful little dogs.

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Some Memories Never Fade

How can we freeze time?  How can we remember those we loved?  For most of us, we take the time to have photographs of our families taken whenever possible.  Those images are treasured and honored possessions that often take prominence on the walls of our homes.  We are proud of what those images represent and the memories from those moments in time.  Frozen.  Remembered.  These are some of the most important two ingredients that I strive to answer for my clients with every session.  Our pets are our family.  They bring a lifetime of joy that we want to keep fresh in our hearts, forever.

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I spent a lot of time over the Winter months sick with various cold bugs and flu’s .  It must have been my year to enjoy every variety.  While my posts have once again been few and far between, business was never far from my mind and the two dogs pictured above, not far from my heart.  I met Lilith (left) and Ignis (right) in late November.  Their doggy parents, Michelle and Dallas, needed to get some beautiful photos of Lilith before it was too late.  At only four years of age, she was battling lymphoma and we had to freeze time for her family.

Michelle and Dallas describe Lilith as the “always loving and happy” pup.  I saw that instantly when we met for their Golden Road Session.  I don’t think I have ever seen a smile so full or beautiful on a dog.  She is a wonder!  Very pleased with life despite her circumstances.  You wouldn’t have known she was going through such a grueling battle.  So much beauty and vibrancy.

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Ignis is Lilith’s “sister”.  She is described as a “princess” whose characteristics of nobility come naturally.  Siberians are known for such lofty sense of self as they are one of the few breeds whose traits closely resemble a cat.  I adored her for it!  So confident and comfortable with herself.  Not phased by the world, it was there to serve her.  What a fantastic dog!  Ignis has gorgeous eyes, too.  Mesmerizing, engaging, and sharp.

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Despite the pouring rain, we all enjoyed the session.  I admire Dallas and Michelle’s dedication to their pups.  Both are a really great couple.  It is always the best gift for me to see tears of happiness and full hearts when my clients see their images.  It was no different at our investment and image reveal appointment where I handed over the paw print painting I did of Lilith.

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And, when Michelle and Dallas received their amazing wall art a few weeks later, Michelle spoke through tears that the experience had “made her year”.  Well, it made mine too, Michelle!  The very soul and purpose of Hoof N Paw is to create an experience like none other, where the lives of our pets are immortalized for all the years we live.  Images that will stand the test of time.  Lilith and Ignis will never be forgotten.

Time, Memories, and Pups – Spokane Photographer

“The butterfly counts not months but moments and has time enough.” ~ R. Tagore

I have come to empathize with the butterfly in these past 6 months.  Time can be measured in moments and there have been plenty of those to look back on.  I’ve not posted a blog in a long time.  Not necessarily because I’d rather be outside photographing than writing but because so many moments came my way that kept me from putting them all down into words.  I’ll cover them all in order so that you can follow the progression.

Back in the July, I met the most incredible rescued German Shepherd, Shadow.  His Mom, Kathy, had put her name down for a session I donated to a local auction benefiting one of our shelters, S.C.R.A.P.S.  Kathy and Shadow won!  The moment I met that big boy, I fell in love.  I couldn’t believe he had been on the kill list at another shelter.  I have met and trained many GSD’s but this guy was the sweetest I had ever encountered.  I am so grateful to Kathy that she snatched him away from death and gave him a beautiful life.  Even now, I miss his burly hugs.  Here is a photo of him from our session at Mirabeau Meadows…shadow-0592-ee-new

On the heels of Shadow’s session, I was contacted by a delightful woman who has a Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie cross),  Michelle and Jack.  They booked an Aplenty Session and we met at Manito for our photos.  At that time, I had rented a Sigma 35mm Art lens and it became the predominant choice for the session.  It ended up not being the focal length that I like but I’m glad to have tried it out.  Jack was a ball of energy and fun.  Just a puppy, wanting to see the world with all his senses.  We had a blast watching him frolic about the park.  Michelle became a good friend, too.  Here is a photo of Jack boy…

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And, then…the moments slowed and narrowed.  My father-in-law was hospitalized in August.  He was in late stage Alzheimer’s along with my mother-in-law and living in a memory care facility.  While enduring heart disease, he had still been plodding along life.  But, a sepsis infection set in.  By late August, he was gone.  Jim was very much a father in my life.  A jewel of a man, kind and generous.  He is greatly missed.  img_8138-ee

September was a whirlwind.  School started for my kids and I began teaching another quarter of S.T.A.R. Puppy class at the dog club I belong to.  I was also asked to participate as a 2nd shooter at a wedding by a very dear friend and fellow photographer.  I’ve never officially photographed a wedding before.  It was exhausting but a lot of fun, too.  The bride wanted a country western wedding and the venue was a ranch.  Horses and dogs galore, to my delight!  I took this image of her dog, Shank, lounging outside in the rain.

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Not long after the wedding, I was contacted by a vet oncologist, Megan, who I have known for a couple of years.  She competes in the local obedience, conformation, and agility with her dogs.  I had done some win photos of her and her dog, Zin, over the years at my dog club’s semi-annual trials.  Zin, a Belgian Tervuren, had lost a leg to cancer a few years back.  The cancer was back.  It had found a home in Zin’s spine and now she was dying.  So, we dropped everything and got Zin into a Golden Road Session as soon as possible.  We headed to Mirabeau Meadows where we created memories, moments to collect so that Zin’s spirit will always remain.  Zin is strong.  So very, very strong and it is impossible not to admire that inner strength and her beauty.  I will always admire her.

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And, Zin wasn’t the last.  I am working through the images of another Golden Road client right now.  Her moment on these pages will come soon and I’ll tell her story.  For now, I am grateful to be here, right now, catching memories for people to store away in their hearts forever.  Thank you for joining me on the journey.

Light: Shadows – Pacific Northwest Photographer

For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the visual contrast of light and dark.  I love seeing the depth in an image as the shadows create lines of fascinating emotion. Shadows give an image personality and dimension.  This is why I chose graphite and charcoal as my favorite art media when drawing.  But, I’ve never considered shadows as a potential artistic influence in my photography.  In fact, I try to avoid hard shadows because I don’t like how it falls across a subject’s face.  Especially with black dogs.  I need clean, broad shade with no shadows for black dogs.

A few days ago, I took my family and both Border Collie boys to Manito Park to create some head shots of my husband for his non-profit ministry.  He has some music on Pandora and other music programs where a head shot is needed.  Manito Park is heavily treed with gorgeous, large trees of mature age.  This creates a challenge of hard shadows mixed with bright sunlight.  In between wrangling dogs, boys, and taking images of my husband, I managed to practice on shadows.  I like the results of the deep, tree shadows in the first photo, best.  It caused both dogs to have one eye lit and one dark with splashes of sunlight in places on their fur due to the tree branches.  The colors were amazing, too!  It might look like Fall in this image but this is what happens to our natural, deciduous foliage as it dries out during Summer.  The colors will deepen as the heat continues.

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Below, I have included an image that I took with my preferred lighting (same time & place):  no shadows, broad shade, and open sky behind me.  I really like both, though, and I’ll keep edging out of my box to seek creative, organic effects.

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To continue on the Project 52 journey, please visit Little White Dog Pet Photography – Sioux Falls, SD.

 

 

Downtown Spokane & Light Reflections

Today is a double-up post!  I want to share with all of you a couple of beautiful Aussies that recently helped me out, AND, our session location fit perfectly with this weeks Project 52 lesson: Light Reflections.

For some time, I’ve been wanting to do a portfolio session in downtown Spokane.  We have so many old buildings with great textures and some fantastic artists who have worked on a wide variety of surfaces.  The efforts to beautify and uplift our city center has been wonderful and I know many people continue to work very hard at the endeavor.  I wanted to get more shots within Riverfront Park but parts of it are being closed or blocked to implement some fantastic new features and upgrades.  It has come a long way since the World Fair in 1974 and it is time for the park to receive detailed attention.  Because of that history, I HAD to get in as many shots as possible.

Insert, Jewel and Dallas…two gorgeous Aussie dogs who won an FB drawing/contest I did for friends.  They were such a great help as we navigated through an area of the park and one of our city’s main streets.  There is a lot of noise with construction, Pokemon Go players, kids playing in the park, sirens, and all the sounds of urban life.  But Jewel and Dallas are service dogs with great poise.  I couldn’t have asked for better models in working a new location.

At our first stop in the park, we were right by the Spokane River.  Perfect opportunity to work with Light Reflections!  In our Project 52 Visual Toolbox book, it mentions how photographers can get so focused with their subject that they forget to see how the environment around injects itself into the portrait.  Reflections from shiny surfaces or water can ruin an image if you aren’t taking it into account.  In my case, I wanted to see familiar landmarks of Riverfront Park reflected in the water behind my subjects.  Not in an overtly clear way, but subtly.  The dogs still needed to be the main focus.  But, I also needed to watch how strong the light bounced off the water.  Below are two different perspectives from two sides of the river…two Aussie dogs by the Spokane RiverAussie dog on 2 concrete blocks

You can see how differently the light responds based on which side of the river we were on.  I love both results, though!

We continued down Howard St. to look for urban textures.  I’m pretty sure this image is my favorite out of all the session photos.  Jewel is a uniquely colorful girl with golden toned eyes but the textures of her coat and walls had a black/white overlay calling to me.

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Thank you so much for visiting my blog today!  If you are interested in seeing more great pet photography, please follow the Project 52 blog circle to: Kim with BARKography based in Charlotte NC.

Meet Rip, Mr. Amiable – Spokane Pet Photographer

Yes, it’s about time I found a moment to write about this particularly sweet and affable black Labrador, Rip!  Rip’s dad contacted me with the plan of purchasing a Hoof N Paw Aplenty session for his lovely bride’s birthday.  Rip is a treasured family member and what better gift than lasting images of his cheerful self.

Given that we were in the latter month of Spring, the days were abundantly full of thunderstorms.  This meant a longer wait than we all wanted.  But, the day finally arrived for Rip’s session and it couldn’t have been a better one!  I was immediately enthralled with Rip the moment he came out of the car.  His black coat, so soft, and his eye alight with good humor.  Rip is a happy dog.  And, I discovered, exceptionally patient!

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As we walked about the session location, stopping for shots, Rip worked hard to not let his nose and desire to explore get out of hand.  It isn’t easy to be still and act handsome when there are other dogs running about, playing and sniffing.  He was the epitome of patience and didn’t give his photographer a moment of frustration.  A jewel among Labradors!

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On occasion, Rip likes to go hunting with his dad.  He does a pretty good job, too!  He listens and tries hard.  This inevitably came as a blessing because doing a lot of “sit-stays” or “down-stays” for an hour and a half can be wearying for a dog.  But, Rip was a champion!  He enjoyed our break for play-time and kept that smile on his face at all times.  Of course, with his customary, adorably upturned lip.

 

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Rip did a fantastic job and I know his parents are proud of him!  Thank you, Rip!

Project 52, Week 23 -Sketch

Spokane Pet Photography

Have you ever written an outline for a report or paper?  Have you sketched on a napkin an idea in your head for a product or painting?  Everyone who creates has some form of “sketching” that takes place.  That is the premise for this week’s Project 52.  I am so pleased to have found some time to contribute a blog post again to our Project 52 group!

The concept of “sketching” in photography typically involves photographing many variations of a subject to create sketches that will eventually culminate in a final portrait.  My version is only slightly different.  As an artist and photographer, I actually doodle out my visions on paper.  Because I want to have one new element that is unique to each client, I always create ideas on paper and take them with me to a session.  And, sometimes I’m working on a new concept idea for my portfolio that I will sketch out.  The doodling is never fancy but contains enough detail and notes to help me come up with the final image I want.

Once on location, I take a multitude of shots in each area to see how the light and shadows are working for me that day.  It also helps me decide on how to frame each shot for the final image.

For this weeks assignment, I decided to take on an idea I’ve had for some time.  Because I love herbs (the shapes, aroma, and taste!), I’ve wanted to create a headband using Rosemary.  In the process of sketching, I chose to add Baby’s Breath.  And, out of my two dogs, I knew I would be using old Mr. Balan because he can handle plants on his head the best.  The sketch I made with my initial idea is below…

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However, life has a way of catching us broadside and I found myself sick with a cold.  So, I didn’t make it to the location that I wanted for a dark background with a horizontal depth of field.  In these first two images, you’ll see that they are entirely different because I found the light changed.

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I still wasn’t seeing what I had imagined so I changed the perspective again…it is my favorite!  That sweet old face!

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So…same spot, some variations until I got what I wanted, and a photo to cherish!  If you’ve enjoyed today’s blog, please consider heading over to Northeastern PA Pet Photographer, Elaine Tweedy and her take on sketching.