What do dogs and landscapes have in common?
Well, when it comes to photography they have more in common than you might think. I find that the skills I used as a professional landscape photographer have definitely come in handy when photographing dogs. So how did I go from being a landscape photographer to being a dog photographer? Well, here is the story.
Prior to living in Portland, I lived in the Southwest where I started my landscape photography career. I was published in magazines, books, and calendars by Arizona Highways, I worked with galleries (including the one we owned in Jerome, AZ) and I taught photography workshops.
Sedona, AZ was my home base with my husband and our corgis. First, we moved there with Max and then Lucas. Of course, both the boys would go on photography outings and trips with me which meant that they would get their photo taken too. So I have always photographed dogs. It was just that they were my own.
Life and the economy happened, so we moved back to my husband's hometown of Portland, OR. I love the landscape here, but it does not inspire me to photograph as much as the Southwest. I wanted to continue with photography but needed to change direction. I realized that I was already a dog photographer after photographing my own dogs for more than 15 years so it made sense to make that my focus. Plus I am just slightly dog obsessed.
So I know you are still wondering what the two have in common. It goes beyond just knowing how to work the camera. The first and easiest one to understand is that I am an outdoor dog photographer. I prefer to do the majority of my work outside because I love seeing dogs interact with the landscape plus it combines my love of dogs and the outdoors.
Lucas posing on a tree at the Hoyt Arboretum.
Second, as a landscape photographer, you need a lot of patience. You have to wait for just the right light, for the wind to stop, for the snowstorm to pass, etc. I have stood for hours in the snow to wait for sunrise to hit the Grand Canyon just right. In dog photography, sometimes you have to wait for a dog to get used to you, the camera or location. You wait for them to sit or look at you. Combining my practice photographing landscapes with my love of dogs makes me very qualified to get the best photo of your dog. And I am more than happy to wait to get the right photo. Somethings are just worth waiting for.
This is one of my favorites from the Grand Canyon. We drove up before a snowstorm and waited 4 days for the clouds to clear and then stood in the snow for a while to wait for the sun to come around to the right angle. If I can wait that long, a couple of minutes waiting for a dog to sit is nothing. Plus sometimes I get puppy kisses and cuddles while your dog is figuring out if he is ready for his close-up. Bonus!
Lastly, in landscape photography you get dirty and wet. You lay on the ground, stand in rivers and creek, and get into some uncomfortable positions. Sounds like dog photography, right? To get down on your dog's level, I lay on the ground, and sometimes that ground is wet. I may have to twist into funny positions to get just the right angle to make your furry best friend look their best, but I love it.
The Narrows from Zion National Park. A three mile hike in up to waist high water that is a little chilly. So very wet and muddy by the time you are done. It was awesome!
And here is how it all comes together with a photo of my wild child in the Portland landscape.
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