Santa Paws at Nature’s Pet Salem

We wrapped our visit with Santa Paws at Nature’s Pet Salem. Once again, we had a grand time with Santa Paws.

I can’t even begin to thank everyone enough for coming out this year to visit Santa Paws. I loved each and every photo I took.

My last image of Santa Paws was of Mrs. Claws and Santa Paws headed south on I-5 back to sunny Southwest. I have it on good authority they kept him busy taking photos much closer to home in the air conditioning.

As it stands now, he will visit us for one weekend the end of August next year. Stay tuned for another magical visit from Santa Paws.

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Santa Paws at the Red Barn

Our second stop with Santa Paws was on our fenced acre. It was perfect. I had three different set-ups and enough time to work with everyone longer than the normal mini sessions.

The ideas for next year are swirling through my head for next year.

Santa Paws in the forest.

Polar Express

In the barn

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Santa Paws at the Farm

Santa Paws is one of my very favorite sessions of the year. Even though our Santa Paws has flown the coop and moved to Arizona, I whisper in his ear every year that what I really want for Christmas is to have one more chance to work with him. This year he agreed as long as he could come when the weather was still somewhat decent. Imagine that, he didn’t want to leave his sunny weather to come to Oregon when it was raining.

Our weekends were slated for the end of September and we had awesome weather. We wanted something a little less traditional than a store, so we spend one day at an alpaca farm and it was the best. We moved that old antique settee from location to the next chasing the shade and we had a blast.

He told me earlier this year that this would probably be his last time to Oregon. BUT! Wait for it, I sweetly whispered in his ear that all I wanted for Christmas was to work with him one more time and it looks like I will get one weekend at the end of August next year and I am already making plans to make it even more special.

One year at a time with Santa Paws.


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When Santa Paws comes for a visit

weimaraner and Santa Paws

Santa Paws and Buck.  

At the end of the September we had a visit from my favorite Jolly Ol’ Elf. Santa Paws made a journey from his sunny home in the desert southwest to Salem just for Santa Paws photos.

We had an amazing time during those two weekends and it was way more fun than normal because we could be outside. The appointments were set so that with each pet I had a little more time and we could wander around so that I could be a bit more creative.

Buck is a litter mate to our little granddogger Maverick.

One of the sessions we had was at our acre and it was perfect. I had three set-ups ready to go and this one in particular was over near our giant cedar trees.

I was so excited about the photos, but I promised myself I wouldn’t post any until after Thanksgiving. I guess I had better get to posting the Santa Paws photo.


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The making of our family portrait

Family portrait with pets

The family portrait.

Education comes from everywhere. My most valuable of all the classes I have taken happened on the other side of the lens.

I have an eternal supply of patience when I am photographing pets. I am the queen of saying “just one more”. It’s what I love to photograph more than anything. I understand that it takes a little while for them to settle in and I don’t worry about getting  the perfect image, it almost always happens.

A dear friend of ours wanted to do a family portrait. Karen and I put it off for over a year, maybe even two years. But thankfully, Michael was gently tenacious. He never gave up and continued to persistently nudge me. For his gentle persistence, I will be eternally grateful.

There aren’t many photos of me out there. My comfort zone resides from the back of the camera to front of the lens. End of story. Planning our family photo took some thought. I wanted it to be meaningful and I wanted elements from all the things I hold dear to my heart from day-to-day.

The barn is where we have our coffee morning and night in the winter. Karen and I spend hours planning for the next year’s garden, sharing our day and enjoying the companionship of our dogs.

The white chairs we move about the yard in the heat of the summer in search of a cool breeze and some shade.

The greyhounds are how we met. I had a pair of dogs that needed a forever home, Karen had an acre.

The borzoi came into our world very much an unplanned joy.

And the chickens. Who would’ve thought that chickens could be so much fun and bring so much entertainment into our lives. They were just supposed to be pets with benefits.

And so, with a tripod and my camera, Michael became our beloved shutter buddy. I knew in my head what I wanted. Executing it to near perfection… that was a big giant question mark.

Two-by-two we brought out each of the critters. Michael’s patience was amazing. To put together one family photo, it took us an hour and a half. And this, this is where I received my most valuable education. It’s hard work being on the other side of the lens. It’s frustrating, it’s easy to want to say “we’re done”, all of the patience that I pride myself on having was gone. My expectations outweighed my patience by a lot. And yet, behind the lens Michael smiled and waited as we put everyone in their place just one more time.

I have taken thousands of photos of our dogs. But this one, with the help of Michael will go down is history as one of my very favorite photos.

It’s destined to be a large canvas over our fireplace.

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