This week’s theme was a real challenge.  Our group was instructed to “find a stranger with a pet, introduce yourself and Project 52, and ask if their pet would be willing to model”.  Which would give you about 5 minutes.  That was no easy task, but it was much harder considering how much it has rained in Toronto this past week.  Most days, I did not want to go outside, let alone approach a stranger and ask them to stand in the driving rain while I photographed their pet.  I am pretty sure my equipment would not have enjoyed it either.

However, yesterday was a beautiful day with gorgeous sunshine.  We determined to get out to High Park in Toronto, in part to see the Cherry Tree Blossoms.  We have lived in Toronto a long time, but I do not think it ever registered that we have Sakura Cherry trees in our own backyard.  Once I found that out, I was determined to photograph them this spring.  It turns out that we were a bit early, as they are not yet in full bloom.  But, they are already beautiful.  Even better, High Park boasts its own off-leash dog area.  What better place to visit and see if I could find a willing, on-the-spur-of-the-moment kind of model to photograph.

Well, when we arrived, there were so many dogs out and about, enjoying the glorious sun with their humans.  But the one that caught my eye was the beagle standing on the pathway with her family.  Why?  Well, I am kind of a nut for beagles.  It must be a Snoopy thing.  Back when I was in grade school, I would write and illustrate stories about Snoopy on my own time!  And when little Uno became the first beagle in history to take “Best in Show” at the prestigious Westminster Dog Show in 2008…well, I have to admit that I had a little tear in my eye.  It is that great face, the unassuming personality and the fact that they seem to just be themselves.  At this point, I have pretty much decided that one day we will have a beagle in our home.  (But please, do not tell the resident kitties about this plan…)

For all those reasons, I was beyond thrilled when her human family stopped me out of the blue and asked me to take a photo of them.  At that point, I got introduced to Lola, their (approximately) 6-year-old beagle.  Lola’s mom explained that she had been a rescue from a pound.  They had gone to visit and realized that no one wanted her, which is horrible to imagine.  But, like most beagles, Lola leapt into their hearts and found her forever home.

Lola was a wonderful little model!  Even though this was early afternoon and therefore, the worst possible light you can have, she was more than willing to help me out.  Of course, it did not hurt that her Dad had treats on hand as rewards.  And the fact that she is so well trained.  She posed, in between breaks to go and have a grand ole’ sniff of something interesting.  It did not take more than a few minutes to find her look.

After everything, I just have to say:  Lola, I really enjoyed meeting you, hearing your story and having the privilege of photographing you.  We even snuck in a few images of you with your human family so that they did not feel left out.  A sincere thanks to you, and the three humans you share your home with who all helped make it happen!

Look at her “big dog” shadow!

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And we’ll leave you with one of the best things about Lola – her smile!

Blur – The Answer

For those of you who saw last week’s image and wondered how to achieve that kind of effect in camera, here is the answer.  It is nothing more than a zoom lens and slow shutter.  I set my shutter for 1.6 seconds and focused using the 70mm end of my zoom lens.  When I depressed the shutter, I then proceeded to zoom all the way in to 200mm while the shutter was still open.  It is that change in perspective that creates the lines.  The trick though is to pause ever so slightly at the 70mm focal length before zooming through.  That creates a slightly darker imprint of your initial image.  So there you have it – go out and give it a try!

Going Around in Circles

At this point, you all know the drill. Now, we are heading north to Collingwood to see Cynthia Wood of Georgian Bay Pet Photography and see who she met!  And then you get to click all the way through until you end up here with Lola’s smiling face.

Toronto pet photography mini sessions

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