Two Years Old Today!

It seems hardly possible that our big burly boy is two years old today. Truth be told, his birthday is more of a guesstimate but we are going to go with it.

Odin came to live with us at 5 months of age. He was found as a stray, living on his own, in a northern community. A kind community member was able to capture him and brought him to a Winnipeg rescue that was holding a spay and neuter clinic. They accepted him and brought him into Winnipeg. He was then taken on by Winnipeg Animal Services as part of their Northern Outreach Initiative.

Shortly after his arrival, I was asked to take his adoption photos. Odin was now safe but extremely scared and he responded in the only way he knew… by completely shutting down. My heart broke at his pain and later that day, Roland and I brought him home to foster.

It wasn’t an easy transition for him or us but thanks to our family dog, Lacie, who Odin simply adored, we were able to get close to him and eventually gain his trust.

With that trust, we came to know and love this happy bouncy pup, who we discovered could howl like a banshee. It wasn’t long before we knew… Odin was home.

Happy Birthday big guy!

Love you!

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, filling an emptiness we didn’t even know we had.” – Thom Jones

Project 52 | Week 19 – Leading Lines

The theme for week 19 of the Project 52 Pet Photographer’s blog circle is “leading lines”.

In photography, leading lines refers to a composition technique where lines are used to lead to and/or emphasized the subject, thereby enhancing the story. Leading lines can be found everywhere… roadways, fences, shadows, rivers, the list is endless.

Here are some examples captured, with Odin and Lacie, on our morning walk.

For fun, here is a quick outtake of Lacie and Odin as they broke their “stay”.

Still within the lines. :)

“Every line tells its own story, even the very tentative ones.” ~ Gillian Redwood

Project 52 _______________________
This post is part of the Pet Photography Project 52 blog circle. To see what the next photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Leading Lines”, visit Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching portraits in Coppell, Carrollton and the greater Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here. Enjoy!

Project 52 | Week 18 – Let There Be Light

The theme for week 18 of the Project 52 Pet Photographer’s blog circle is “let there be light”.

Without light, there is no photography and it is the art of playing with the light that brings life and emotion to an image, thereby creating a story.

The first light that comes to mind, and especially with my camera in hand, is the gorgeous morning light. With the longer days, capturing the sunrise is becoming more ambitious, but walking with my dogs in the early morning is something that we do every day.

Spring is starting to make itself known. The snow is gone but it is still too early for the green that is promised.

None-the-less. the new warmth and lovely light bring fresh stories every day.

“What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.” ~ John Berger

Project 52 _______________________
This post is part of the Pet Photography Project 52 blog circle. To see what the next photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Let There Be Light”, visit Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching portraits in Coppell and surrounding communities in the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here. Enjoy!

Project 52 | Week 17 – Before and After

The theme for week 17 of the Project 52 Pet Photographer’s blog circle is “Before and After”.

During my 10 years of volunteering and photographing the adoptable dogs at Winnipeg Animal Services, the comment I hear the most is… “I could never do that, I would end up bringing them all home.”

This reaction does have some validity and it is hard sometimes. But nothing can match the joy that comes with knowing that what you did may have helped a homeless dog find it’s forever family. It is witnessing the before and then seeing and hearing about the after that keeps us coming back week after week. Nothing beats these “before” and “after” tales.

Both of my pack started out as shelter dogs… here is a little bit of their before and after stories.

Before

A little over a year ago, I was asked to photograph a terrified, 5-month-old pup that had been brought in from a northern community after being found at the garbage dump, living as a stray. This poor baby was so fearful and shut-down that adoption was not yet an option.

Believe me, I had NO intention of bringing home another dog, but after showing this pup’s photos to Roland, that is exactly what we did. The plan was to foster ONLY! But it wasn’t long before we knew that Odin was home.
.

After

Lacie and I first met 5 years ago when she was brought into Animal Services as an unclaimed stray. She was a very timid girl trying to hide at the back of her kennel, tail tucked.

After a little time and many treats, I was able to coax her out of her kennel and we headed to the outdoor enclosure in the hopes of getting some adoption photos. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get a good photo of this scared little gal so I tossed a squeaky ball and hoped for the best.

As soon as her eyes spotted the ball, the fearful shelter dog dropped away and this lively happy pup appeared. My heart didn’t stand a chance and three days later we brought Lacie home.

Before

I think anyone who has loved a shelter dog wonders about their “before”. I know I do, especially with Lacie.

She was thought to be about 4 years old when she arrived at the shelter, she wore no identification, was not spayed and her coat had been severely clipped. When I took her home it quickly became apparent that she had had little experience riding in a car and/or walking with a leash.

Where did you come from girl? How did you end up at the shelter? Is someone missing you?

So many questions with few, if any, answers.

But in the end, her past doesn’t matter. We love her and she is home.

We are her “after”.

And, to this day, she loves her ball more than anything.

After

And, just for a smile, here’s a little “Then” and “Now”.

Then

Now

“After was better. Before was only there so After could happen.” ~ Augusten Burroughs

Project 52 _______________________
This post is part of the Pet Photography Project 52 blog circle. To see what the next photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Before and After”, visit Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography presented by Shae Pepper Photography. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here. Enjoy!

Project 52 | Week 16 – Isolation

The theme for week 16 of the Project 52 Pet Photographer’s blog circle is “Isolation”.

This is kind of an emotionally tough one…

By definition, to be isolated means to be separate from others, to be alone. For many around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has made this their new reality.

But this experience of isolation does not feel new to me. My own personal journey with this way of being started 5 months ago when my husband Roland died after a short but intense battle with brain cancer.

On that day my world stopped and I could feel myself being pulled away from all that I knew. The perception of “being safe” was lost and I found myself turning inward in an effort to hold back my fears.

Grief, for me, is a very private, personal experience not easily shared. Its very presence leads to feelings of, and even a need for, isolation.

While I live with this grief, even when with others, the sense of aloneness prevails and I feel set apart. Today I recognize this feeling of separation, and the sadness that accompanies it, as part and parcel of the journey I am on.

The imposed pandemic isolation has merely added another layer to it all.

I know the world and I will come out on the other side of all of this… and that, and my family, and my dogs are what keep me moving forward, one step, one day at a time.

I miss you Roland, every day.

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.

Robert Browning Hamilton

Project 52 _______________________
This post is part of the Pet Photography Project 52 blog circle. To see what the next photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Isolation”, visit Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati, the San Francisco Bay Area, and destinations nationwide. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here. Enjoy!

Project 52 | Week 13 – Shallow Depth of Field

The theme for week 13 of the Project 52 Pet Photographer’s blog circle is “shallow depth of field”.

In photography, the term depth of field simply refers to the area of the scene which appears well in focus. When the depth of field is small, or shallow, the image background and foreground appear blurred, with only a small area in focus. A wider depth of field keeps most of the scene in focus.

A shallow depth of field is often used to isolate the subject from its environment while adding a pleasing artsy feel to the photograph. Obtaining the desired focus does take a little practice but the end results can be strikingly beautiful.

When photographing pets, I often strive for a shallow depth of field. I simply like the look and love how it makes the subject pop while adding some interest to the story being told.

The photo below is of our goofball, Odin. He had just come back from having his nails trimmed at the groomers. He did so well, and I was so proud of him. He, in turn, was exhausted!

The paws at the end of the day

And last but never least, here are a few recent hopefuls from the shelter. A shallow depth of field, with the resulting blurred backgrounds, in conditions where the backdrops are limited, allows for a much more pleasing adoption photo.

This week my heart is heavy. For the first time in many years, I will not be going into Winnipeg Animal Services to photograph the adoptable dogs. The COVID-19 pandemic has the shelter closing its doors to the public. Sadly, but understandably, this includes the volunteers. During this trying time, the amazing staff will continue to provide excellent care for the dogs. Adoption requests are being done by phone only.

No one, it seems, is left unaffected in this unprecedented time.

Stay safe, stay well.

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” ~ George Lucas

Project 52 _______________________
This post is part of the Pet Photography Project 52 blog circle. To see what the next photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Shallow Depth of Field”, visit Elaine Tweedy of I Got the Shot Photography, serving pets and their people in Northeastern PA and surrounding areas. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here. Enjoy!