That balance between time spent at the computer and time spent doing other things, like getting a good dose of fresh air and exercise has been a bit off balance for me lately. So when the opportunity to go on a hike with a friend came up, I was in.
Horth Hill, here I come!
The moment I pulled into the parking lot I was in awe of the gorgeous fall colours. Are they more vibrant this year? I don't know. Maybe because it's been raining, everything just looked super fresh and extra vibrant.
Then Jill arrived with her OWL crew (Ollie, Wilson + Luke) - 3 Weims who are all about outdoor fun and adventure! I've known Ollie and Luke since they were wee pups and met Wilson as a young'un. Wilson came into their family as a medical foster after suffering a broken pelvis and other injuries after being hit by a car at 5 months old. And surprise, surprise, he never left! He's all healed up and keeps pace with his brothers no problem. All three have been to my studio for photos, but this was the first time I got to see them let loose and release the zoomies!
It was magical.
Up trails and down hills
and me catching my breath
admiring vistas, fungi and a no-eyed dog
photo ops (and outtakes)
for one who led his own expedition into the woods
and dogs on a log
amidst the canopy
and through conversation
and by the end, the crew could've done it all again... and again.
p.s. our route looks like a boot kicking a plastic shopping bag.
fridays at fleming, vol 9
two crows seemed to want friendship today
one big, one little
they followed us around
while we gazed out to the ocean
stopped to say hello to George
one showed off its meal of a poor crab
good job crow
then we continued on
one stood on the fence while the soft rain landed on its feathers
all the while being watched by big black eyes
then I make a 'click click' sound
and they came closer
hoovering up the crumbs of dog treats
modelling, questioning, scavenging
and being a bit human too.
The rain had been starting and stopping.
And then drizzling.
And then stopping.
We met a wee pup. An Icelandic Sheepdog.
And then a dog in the distance. Shannon wondered if she knew it.
Almost. Her name is Rainey.
She was out for a walk with her cousin Flaka, a transplant from South America who seemed to only care about one thing. Her stick.
The light drizzle was getting my camera a bit wet. Trying to keep the lens mostly dry, we ventured to the marker where a gull was hanging out.
It flew away when Tica arrived, but clearly wanted back because as soon Tica wandered away, the gull swooped back through my frames as I was trying to photograph some Common Mergansers out on the water.
We hit the beach to explore for a few minutes then it was on to the dock because Tica was feeling brave today.
I watched the haze of drizzle with my eyes
and then through my camera.
Thanks for stopping by!
Being the first Friday in February, I've decided it's the official, unofficial start of Fridays at Fleming, a weekly photo essay of my visit to Fleming Beach/Macaulay Point here in Victoria.
I've been going for about a year now with my friend Shannon, her dog Tica and sometimes my dog Mr Coco joins us. Sometimes my husband comes too. Recently I've started bringing my camera again because even though I know this place well now, each time I visit it's a bit different and I want to try to capture that same, yet differentness. Translating what I see and feel.
Here is installment one:
It all started with two seagulls just sitting on the boat ramp,
but then dogs were headed in their direction so that moment of peace was short.
The water was so calm -- literally the calm before the storm as the wind gusted up to blow-the-lid-off-a-garbage-can level in the afternoon.
Tica had her first treat on the picnic table.
Mr Coco wanted to be carried for a while.
We trundled along and happened to meet up with our friend from a couple weeks back, Rowan, who stopped in for treats. There were more dogs, crow friends, a face in the rocks.
A sky that tells a different story every time I visit.
Little surprises along the way and a seagull who could strike a pose.
A very happy dog and her stick, little Uncle the Schnoodle puppy and then Sophie, who was one of the friendliest dogs I've ever met, stopped by to say hello.
Then we were back at the docks where a little one checked out the scenery and then the geese flew overhead.
The wasp nest.
There were times I felt I had been transported somewhere very far north (or south)...
... or felt moody and dark.
There were times of remembrance,
and watching the water come in and cover the green rock,
and being captivated by the birds.
And I didn't forget my rocks.
This little gem was taken to the vet a few weeks ago to be euthanized.
Thankfully the vet knew they had a superstar in their midst and they contacted the Victoria Bulldog Society to see if they could help.
And VBS stepped up, because even though Kenny has a few issues - IVDD, skin issues and a wee bit of a cleft palate - they're all treatable.
And he's the happiest little guy!
One of the VBS volunteers brought Kenny over for a photographed with love session and he was so much fun. Could he sit and stay? Not really. But those who know my style, know that's not a biggie. Kenny did show me how he loves treats, his toys (especially tug!) and getting some bum and neck scritches.
He can catch treats and I'm sure turns into quite the cuddle puddle when he's sacked out.
His side eye is on point, he's got a classic wunderbite and a pointy little tail that doesn't stop wagging (please watch video at the end of the photos).
I think he should've been wearing a cape though because he can even do a superman pose!
Pretty sure Kenny's motto is play hard, nap hard.
Thanks to the VBS for helping this little man!
For adoption info, or if you want to donate to help with Kenny's vet bills, please contact the Victoria Bulldog Society!
And last but not least... Kenny, in slow-mo and real time...
Have you ever been to a bulldog parade?
Yeah, me neither.
But when I heard there was one happening this morning I just had to go and check it out!
The Victoria Bulldog Society set it up as a chance to take a little walkie and celebrate the hallowe'en season.
It was also a chance to introduce Lemon, their newest addition to the VBS crew. Lemon is the sweetest little being! From the moment I arrived, she came over to investigate and stayed for loves. She LOVES LOVES! And when all was done I lifted her into Mel's car (she's a wee bit heavier than a flower) and she fell asleep with her chin resting awkwardly on the console as Mel and I chatted afterwards. GAH!
Some squishies showed up in costume, some not, but they all showed up and it was so cute I thought I could just lay down on the grass and die happy. Even honourary squishy Hudson showed up!
My volunteer photography usually leans more towards shy or fearful dogs, so being amongst a bunch of social butterflies is a different experience. They all wanted attention and as soon as I would crouch down to try for a low-angle shot, someone would inevitably trundle over to check me out for treats or some bum scritches.
This made for lots of photo bombs and a few smudges on my lens.
But I wouldn't have it any other way.
Yes, there was lots of drool, a symphony of squishy noises, and a couple even tried to join in on the soccer games with the kids. Those that wanted to play, did. And others just sat and observed, did some stealth-sniffing or looked to whoever had treats on offer.
We even tried a group photo... bless them all for their patience!
I tried my best to get photos of them all and I hope I did... and I wish I'd gotten everyone's name - I like to make sure I get names - but that fell by the wayside. So until I can put names to faces, please just enjoy the photos for what they are... a bunch of cute dogs on a nice fall day who are all very much loved by their humans.
And every dog got to take home a stuffy!
If you know my style, you know, I share a lot of photos from sessions to help give a better sense of the personalities of our dog friends. Today was no exception.
So here are 100 photos.
Thanks to everyone for coming out and sharing your squishy with me!
p.s. Don't forget... if you're looking to adopt, Lemon is the sweetest little lemondrop you'll ever meet!
“Meeting Roe: summer edition” a mini book to celebrate the newest addition to a friend’s family. This wee Pyr is growing fast-can’t wait to see how big she is for the next edition 🐾
I love 📸 impromptu and casual visits, turning them into moments in time that can be held and held on to.
'Twas a big day yesterday.
I had the privilege to be a pinch hitter for my sister Jill -- who's a very talented photog up in Tofino, BC -- and help out with a palliative session for her friend. One of her two beautiful rescue doggos isn't well and has been going through tests and treatments at a local vet clinic, but there's not much more medicine can do so it's now about enjoying what's left.
Of course I accepted... how could I not?
It was very last minute, but that's how these are sometimes. So much unknown can make planning hard, but when it needs to work out, it does. We met at a local beach, but with strong winds and pouring rain, it just wasn't going to work. So we took a little drive to find some shelter and hoped that the weather would give us a break... and it did. Two dogs, two humans and one photog (me) found a window of space and time amidst a rain and windstorm where sun shone through the trees onto a magical rock covered with moss under trees covered with lichen.
Thank you L, P, K + J.
UPDATE: December 14/21: I just found out lovely, little Lily passed away. Much love to her humans for rescuing her and giving her a life of unconditional love.
A few hours later I was off to photograph 3 dogs. These would be former sled dogs coming into care of a local rescue. Three more dogs who were now going to be covered until animal protection laws. Bamboo, Meso and Saturn are #s 206, 207 + 208 in my decade-long project advocating for the adoption of former sled dogs. But numbers aside, they were beautiful beings, understandably nervous of all the newness in one day, but whose lives are going to change for the better with the love, care and support of a huge community.
I'm no stranger to photographing dogs who aren't feeling well - both mentally and physically. I think most of my work follows that commonality. I try to branch out, but I'm always drawn back to them. "Them" being those who've been discarded, left behind... utterly in need of help. And this year, well I just realized that the bookends of my work this year have been palliative pup sessions - as well as one in the middle too. So when I think back over the year, along with the last 10+ too, it becomes more clear, that this is me. My place. I want to be that person who can be there with a camera, capturing moments that may be otherwise unseen. Being a part of that sadness while being able to see some joy in the memories that are created. To take that pause and hold that space in time. It may take a bit to understand it all, but having lost one of our dogs this summer - not unexpected, but more quickly than expected - I wished I'd had someone there near the end, capturing our little Bella Boo surrounded by us and our love for her.