Snow Days

Snow Days

Buster and Buddy are two BARKography clients sporting their coats during our session.

Snow days in Charlotte are a big deal. The famous Charlotte weatherman Brad Panovich has starting making his #snOMG forecasts and that means the bread and milk aisles at the stores are already empty.  The following is a true story and personal testament about keeping your dogs warm when it is so cold outside.

Many of you have read stories about my previous yellow lab Sam. Sam was a dog that loved life. She was always happy, wasn’t fearful of much and generally was just a pretty balanced, happy go lucky dog. He LOVED the snow. He’d get the zoomies. If I leashed him and took him for a walk, he’d walk with his nose to the ground. His nose was literally plowing the snow as he walked along.

As he aged, he starting losing his muscle mass and he got skinnier. He reminded me of a frail elder man. He still loved the snow but I’d always put his coat on him whenever we went out because he would shiver. One particular snow day, he zoomed around and then rolled around on his back like he always did. We didn’t stay outside too terribly long but it was too long for Sam.

When we got back inside, he wouldn’t stop shivering. To the point that it scared me so I called the vet. They said that his internal body temperature had gotten too low and I needed to SLOWLY warm him up. They suggested putting a dry coat or sweater on him (which I had) and wrapping him in blankets. They suggested warming up some water with a little bit of broth in it so he’d drink it.

I did that and it worked but it scared me.

Please be careful with your pets in during snow days or even just in cold weather. They don’t know when enough is enough. You need to know that for them. Dry them off. Get any packed snow out of their paws. Clean off their paws if they’ve been on any salt.

Have fun in the snow but be safe. #dogsincoats

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Adopt a Cat Commercial

Many of you know I am a supporter of rescuing and I saw this video promoting “adopt a cat” so I had to share it. We have dogs in my house so I tend to post more about dogs but I am a proponent of any kind of rescuing. I think this adopt a cat commercial is brilliant.

The man in the video is Paul Preston. He lives in Atlanta and his sister Helen volunteers for this rescue, Furkids Animal Rescue and Shelters. His sister came up with the idea and thought her brother would be perfect to cast. I think she was right.

So many rescues struggle to get their adoptable pets noticed. I’ve started photographing pets that are available for adoption in hopes of proving better images for the public to see. I believe that better images of dog and cats that are available for adoption will help the pets get adopted. This afternoon I’ll be photographing a dog that is looking for his forever home. I’ll share those images soon.

I read an article about the commercial that said it took about 30 minutes to shoot. If only every rescue had the capability of producing this type of media attention. I think a lot of cats and dogs would find their forever homes.

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Halloween and your Pet

This weekend many of us will celebrate Halloween and many of us will include our pets. I am photographing a dog Halloween contest and parade on Saturday at Social Pet in Pineville from 11-2pm. Come on out. I photographed the event last year and had a great time.

puppy in Halloween costume

Her name is Wash and she was a puppy when I met her last year. I’ll get to see her again on Saturday and I’m sure she’ll be a lot bigger!

However, keep in mind that not all pets like to wear costumes. My yellow lab Willow doesn’t like to wear anything. If it is raining and I put a coat on her, she freezes and won’t move. She doesn’t like the rain either but apparently she’d rather get wet than wear a raincoat.

If you try to dress up your pet for Halloween and you get a similar reaction from your dog, perhaps you should forgo the costume. My other dog Moose could care less about having a costume or coat on. However if he is around other dogs who have on costumes that even remotely resemble something he’d like to put in his mouth, he will. That’s another thing to think about if you have a crazy dog like my Moose.

Something else to remember: make sure your dog can’t get in the Halloween candy. Chocolate isn’t good for dogs – it can be fatal if enough of it is consumed and the wrapping that is on a lot of the candy can cause blockages. Keep the trick-or-treat bowl and your kids’ stash out of your dog’s reach. Your kids will be happier about that too, right? 🙂

On Monday evening my neighborhood will have a Halloween party in the cul-de-sac. There will probably be a few dogs there although I’m not sure if they’ll be dressed in costumes. This is our 2nd Halloween with Moose. This year we are forgoing handing out candy because Moose is a lot to handle with all that candy around and the doorbell constantly ringing. We’ll give out our candy at the neighborhood party. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Do Dogs Remember Each Other?

I’d love to know if dogs remember each other. I did a BARKography photo session earlier this week with Baxter, a dog that used to live in Charlotte and now he lives in Florida. I was introduced to Baxter and his family through my neighbor Tiffany. I’d done a photo session with Tiffany’s dog Jack and when Baxter’s parents saw the photos, they wanted to have a session with Baxter and they wanted to have photos of the 2 dogs together. The dogs used to play together all the time when they both lived in Charlotte.

I did an early morning session with just Baxter and later that day, I met up with Baxter at the Mint Museum and Jack joined us there. Seeing the two of them run around and play was a lot of fun.

do dogs remember each other

I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then and I wonder, do dogs remember each other? I have no scientific reasoning behind this but I think they do.

I know there are studies about a dog’s memory and many say dogs don’t remember things but I tend to question that. I think they remember certain things or events. When we rescued our black lab Buddy, he cowered if you lifted your hand over his head. I feel pretty certain he’d been hit in the past – he had to remember that and seeing a hand raised over his head made him remember being hit in the past, right? I can tell you over the last 6 years of his life, he was never hit again.

When Baxter and Jack saw each other, the first thing they did was sniff each other. There were a few other dogs around so they sniffed them all too but then they ran around together and played. I even captured a quick pic of Baxter giving Jack a little lick on his nose.

BARKography dog photography

I do think dogs remember each other. Perhaps it has something to do with their sense of smell. Perhaps they remember the dog’s scent. Seeing Baxter and Jack together was really sweet. I’m so glad I was there to witness it.

If you want to see more photos of Baxter, head over to my BARKography blog where I wrote a post about our time together.

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Moose and the dog sitter

I am a dog sitter and when we go on vacation to Hilton Head like we did last week and take Moose and Willow with us, we have to hire a dog sitter. No joke! This dog sitter hires a dog sitter WHEN the dogs are on vacation WITH US! And that’s because of our crazy Moose.

chocolate lab

Sunrise on the beach in Hilton Head. Moose is a happy dog: on the beach, off-leash and he has a tennis ball.

We were hoping that his separation anxiety would be better this trip but no, he didn’t like being left in the house alone. He isn’t destructive but it stresses him out. I’d love to have a doggie cam set up to see what he does but actually when I think about it, that might break my heart to seem him stressed.

no dog sitter needed

Moose loved his off leash time on the beach. Following is the sequence of him running to get his tennis ball.

It's a happy Moose!

It’s a happy Moose!

Getting ready to pounce on the ball.

Getting ready to pounce on the ball.

no dog sitter needed when Moose is on the beach

He got it!

So, Moose didn’t get left alone very much in the house. Luckily (or not so luckily for me), I’d planned to do quite a bit of work while we were on vacation. I have a ton of back office type of work that I need to catch up on so I’d planned to knock some of it out on vacation… and I did. Moose was happy to have me around.

We did plan to go out to dinner a couple of nights while we were there so the dog sitter came and stayed with him. He’s a funny dog. As soon as she got there and we’d go to leave, he followed her back into the house, perfectly content that we were leaving as long as someone was there with him.

Yay for the dog sitter and for her helping us and The Moose while we were on vacation! Do your dogs require special attention or treatment when you’re on vacation?


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See Spot Run Dog Walking & Pet Sitting

To all my dog walking and pet sitting clients, I have exciting news: I’ve launched my BARKography website and you can click the link to check it out.  If you do, please let me know what you think. This means several things. I no longer have to share my dog walking and pet sitting website with my photography site. Because I’ve spent a lot of time marketing the new dog photography business, it was taking over the See Spot Run site. No more. 🙂 The dog photography piece is still really important but so is the dog walking and pet sitting. It always has been. So now I get to blog about dog walking and pet sitting things here and I can blog about the photography side of the business on the BARKography site. If there is a downside, it is that I now have 2 blogs. Yikes….. 🙂

pet sitting doberman

I recently saw a post from a friend on my facebook page that was an article she shared about a pet sitter leaving a dog in a car and the dog died. The pet sitter was found through an online site. Here are my recommendations for finding a pet sitter:

  1. Ask your friends and family for a referral. If you have friends who have dogs, ask them who they use as a dog walker or pet sitter. Contact that person and see if she (he) covers your area. If she doesn’t, ask her for a referral. I get a lot of referrals and sometimes the person lives outside of my service area. I will always refer them to someone else. If it is someone I know well, I will tell them that. If the person has pet sat for me before, I will tell them. If I don’t know the person well, I will tell them that too.
  2. Ask your vet for the front desk staff at your vet’s office for a referral. Ask them how they know the person.
  3. Interview the pet sitter. Seriously interview them! (I would interview them as if you were hiring someone to care for your child. My dogs are my children and they are treated as such.)
  4. Check the pet sitter’s references. Really call them. Really check them out. Ask questions like: how long have you known her, how many times has she pet sat for you, were there any problems, how did she correspond with you while she was pet sitting for you, how frequently did she correspond with you, etc. Ask questions. Lots of them.

As a pet sitter, it breaks my heart to read the stories like what I read this morning. It breaks my heart for the family of the dog. I don’t like the black mark it leaves on my industry either. There are good pet sitters out there. Do your research and find them. You’ll have to plan ahead as this process will take time. Your dogs are worth it, right? Trust me if you find the right pet sitter, she’ll appreciate your efforts and your dog will too.

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Pet Photography Project 52, week 32: Lens Flare

For this week’s pet photography project 52 week challenge, we are examining lens flare. I’m so glad this is the assignment for this week because I have an image and I would really like some honest feedback on it. I took this 3 weeks ago. My mom was looking at all of the images from this photo session and she saw this one and audibly gasped. Now, she is certainly biased when it comes to the photos I take. I like this image but something doesn’t seem quite right and I don’t mean the fact that her front paw is cut off although maybe that is part of my issue. Does this image work? What would make it better? If you took this at a session, would you show it to the client?

lens flare

This is Tess. She is 12 years old and is the sweetest pup ever. I get to see her every week and her mom asked me to do a photo session too. She is a leaner and whenever I see her, she makes it very obvious my job is to pet her. 🙂 I took this photo at the very beginning of our session and when she saw me on the ground, she had to come over and sit beside me so I could pet her. I love her to pieces!

Here is another photo from this same session. I found the raw file while searching for the image above and just edited it now. I didn’t edit it before because I didn’t think it was good enough. Your thoughts? (Seriously, honesty is what I want. :))

lens flare

Lots of lens flare in this image… perhaps way too much??

Here is another of The Moose.

lens flare

Another sunrise photo. This is one I took when we were doing backlit photos and it also has lens flare.

Be sure to check back next week for some super exciting news!! 🙂 This is a blog circle. Click the link at the bottom of each post and you’ll see the other photographer’s take on “lens flare.” Next up is About A Dog Photography in St. Cloud MN.

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Pet Photography Project 52, week 31: Damn Trees

The theme of our 52 week challenge this week is actually silhouettes not damn trees however this week, my challenge revolved more around the damn trees than silhouettes hence the title! Let me set the scene. Grab a cup of coffee or if it’s later in the day, your favorite beverage. You may be here for awhile. 😮


My silhouette of Moose that required a ton of tree removal in the editing process

First of all, I love silhouettes. I always have. The first time I ever took one was in April when I was at Barkelona, the dog photography workshop I attended. We’d talked about how to take them during one of our classroom sessions and that night while out walking with 2 of the other attendees just before sunset, we crested a hill with an amazing view of the sunset so we took them of each other. We had a lot of fun but I’d not taken another one until this week. Finding a place to take them has been my challenge…. because of all the trees in Charlotte NC.

A few weeks ago a client hired me to photograph his two dogs. He selected the location which was a park about 30 minutes from my house. I’d seen the location in photos but had never been myself so I was excited. I loved the location with its wide open spaces and hills. I knew I wanted to go back to this location so when I saw this week’s theme was silhouettes, I knew where to go.

I asked my 13 year photography assistant if she was available (she said yes!) and we grabbed Moose (remember him?) Have I mentioned that every time I get my camera bag out now, Moose thinks that means he gets to go on an adventure? If Moose is involved, it is an adventure.  We hadn’t even made it out of the neighborhood before he’d unzipped my backpack/camera bag with his nose and grabbed my memory card wallet out and thought that meant they were his and he didn’t need to give them back.  Moooooose!

Some of you may remember that last week I said many times with these challenges in particular, I have an image in mind but it doesn’t necessarily work out that way. That happened this time too although it was because my memory stinks. Those wide open spaces and hills… they weren’t as vast and plentiful as I’d remembered because they were surrounded by those damn trees.

We walked to the spot I had in mind and the location didn’t work at all.Those stinkin’ trees were in the way. Ugh. 🙁

We walked around and had Moose stand in any open area we could find. The resulting photos are below. Just as we were leaving, we walked up on a picnic area. I believe my photography assistant and my model were ready to leave but I thought… I need Moose up on that picnic table, then those dang trees won’t be in the way. Guess what, they were still in the way. We had to hurry, the park closes at sunset and I had my dog on a picnic table taking photos of him. Others were exiting the park and I didn’t want to get in trouble for having my dog on the picnic table and and dark clouds were rolling in so that was even more motivation to try and get some quick snaps.

The bottom line: My search to find a great spot to take silhouettes around Charlotte continues….


This is the same photo as above, not edited at all. I wasn’t kidding when I said it required a TON of tree removal! I’m not sure what my assistant is doing but she saved me some additional editing by bending over like this and I appreciated it!



Moose on the picnic table. I thought for sure the picnic table would work… but no, those damn trees are in the way again! 


It was a beautiful sunset and I think all of us had fun!

For more silhouette photography, head to  Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area. Remember this is a blog circle and if you continue to click the links at the bottom of each post, you’ll end up right back here. I can’t wait to see what everyone else does… and I’m trying to remember if anyone lives near the beach. Photos on the beach would be amazing…. and guess where I’m going to be in a a few weeks? 🙂 🙂

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3 Dogs and a Trainer

I met Bella, Berkeley and Fisher’s mom last October at Barktoberfest. It was my first time photographing at an event and I had a blast. I had no idea that spending a few hours at this event would have such an impact on my photography career. This was one of the first steps that helped me get to where I am today. I owe a debt of gratitude to Berkeley pictured below.


Berkeley – rescued Australian Shepherd

Berkeley’s mom loved this picture of her. She told me recently that it’s still one of her favorites of him. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen photos of Berkeley already. (btw if you don’t follow me, click that link and please do! I tend to post most on Instagram these days.) Berkeley was sitting on a bale of hay in the shot and I got low so the cloudy sky was in the background. There are things I would do differently if I had the chance to take this shot again but I believe it is because of this photo that I got to know Berkeley’s mom.

Berkeley’s mom is Courtney and she is a dog trainer with Off Leash Dog Training. In November she hired me to take photos of Berkeley and her 2nd dog Bella, a pit mix. At the time, I was just getting started in the complex and difficult dog photography world. I’d discovered how hard dog photography was. I loved it but translating that into quality images was challenging. Getting the opportunity to photograph a dog trainer’s dogs was truly a gift. I was able to work on my craft with dogs that sat still. That is by no means a requirement for me to photograph your dogs but when I was new to dog photography, that was certainly a huge bonus.

Here are two of the better photographs from that first session.


Bella – of course, I fell in love with this dog.  Just look at those ears!

Bella, Mason & Berkeley

Courtney used this photo as her Christmas card last year.

I got a text from Courtney late winter/early spring that she was getting a puppy and she wanted me to photograph him once she got him. At this point I knew I was headed to Barkelona, the dog photography workshop so I scheduled the photo session for right after I got back. I knew I’d learn so much at the workshop, I wanted to be able to use that knowledge the 2nd time I did photos for her.

I met Fisher when he was just 8 weeks old.  Courtney commented that I seemed much more confident at the this  photo session and she was right, I was.


This was one of the first photos I took of him at the session. When I looked at it on the back of the camera and showed Courtney, we both teared up!



Seriously, how cute is this face?

golden retriever puppy

One of my favorite pictures of Fisher.

golden retriever puppy

Fisher and his frog legs.

Confession – choosing just a few photos here was hard! I actually have a sample photo album I show to clients and they are all of Fisher from this photo session! A couple of weeks after our photo session. I got together with Courtney to reveal all of the photos to her. At the end she looked at me and said, I want you to take photos of Bella and Berkeley again. I can see improvement in your work and I’d like more photos of them.

We scheduled our session the day after Berkeley was going to the salon. 🙂 What resulted were some of my favorite photos to date. There are still things that I would do differently if I got the chance to do this again. One of them would be to use a different lens. I’ve developed a love/hate (and actually more on the hate side) with my 24-70mm lens. Unfortunately when I got it, I was so new to photography I thought the problems I was having with it were my fault. Some of them probably were but after sending it back to the manufacturer for repairs because it wasn’t focusing accurately, I’ve recently gotten it back and it is still soft. It is the generic Tamron lens, not the Nikon and if I had to do it over again, I would definitely get the Nikon. I know other people that love this Tamron lens, I am not one of them.

Bella, Berkeley and Fisher

Another one of my favorite photos. There is something about a dog or 3 on this bridge that I love.


pit mix Bella

Bella – This photo required a ton of photoshop work because of the background. I learned a lot while editing this one.


Bella, Berkeley and Fisher

A dog trainer’s dogs posing perfectly while I got the shot. Well done dogs!

Australian Shepher

Berkeley’s mom might prefer the first photo in the blog post of Berkeley, this one is my favorite.

Courtney recently told me she is getting another dog…. yay me! I get to photograph another member of her family when that happens. I’m not sure where my photography business would be without Courtney, Bella, Berkeley and Fisher. I do know that I appreciate them more than you’ll ever know. Life is Good.

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Pet Photography Project 52 Week 30: Shadows

This week for our project 52 weekly challenge we are considering shadows in our images.  I feel like I say this every week with these challenges: there is an image in my head that I want to take but I can’t figure out how to get the shot. Most of you know that my full time job is walking dogs and when we are out walking I always notice the dogs’ shadows. For years I’ve taken cell phone pics trying to capture them but I just can’t get my angle right with the leash in one hand and my camera / phone in the other.  To make matters worse, I can’t take a one handed cell phone photo – I have not and probably will never master the selfie!

I have a photo on my phone of 2 dogs’ shadows painted on a brick wall that I took a long time ago. I just looked it up:  I took it on 2/25/16. I’ve had this image in my head for that long. That’s the photo I want to try and recreate but I can’t figure out how to get the dog’s shadow cast that high. I think it’s a physics thing and I didn’t do so well in physics in school.

You remember Moose, my crazy choc lab. Well, he is a very early riser. Our dogs get walked when we wake up and this week it’s been around 5:15am. (Our dogs get walked and then have breakfast as soon as we get up…. here in lies the problem and why Moose feels the needs to wake me up so early), his tummy is telling him it’s time to eat! This week while walking them that early, I’ve noticed their shadows. Moose casts a great shadow with his long ears and in the morning when it’s dark outside and the street lights are shining, the shadows are very dark. Hmmmm, I wonder if I can try one morning to take a picture of him in this kind of light? I’d have to walk him, feed him breakfast and then we’d have to go back out but after they get walked and fed then it is time for my coffee so this may not happen. (and it didn’t – ha!)

This week I made several attempts at getting a photo of Moose’s shadow. At one point he just stretched out on his side in the middle of the road – he was done with my camera and me! So these are the images I ended up with… one with him in focus and the other with his shadow in focus. I need a do over!

Moose's shadow shadows

This is a blog circle and next up is Pant the Town Dog Walking and Pet Photography in MA. Be sure to click the link at the end of each post and you’ll end up right back here.

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