Portland & Salem Oregon

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2020 in hindsight

Reflecting on this last year

2020 began simply enough

2020 was not supposed to be a remarkable year. We’d continue to have staycations, working diligently in the gardens. No new pets were planned for the year. Our goals were simple, but meant something to us.

Critters of the gardens

Resident squirrel just after we filled the bird feeders

Our anticipation of catching local critters at the dining establishments we have provided is always high. I won’t admit to how many hours we have spent just watching. Nothing more, nothing less.

Some guests surprised us

Barred rock owl on a moonlit night

We have been fortunate to see an occasional owl at night, but this one was sitting on a branch outside of the barn where we have our coffee. At 7:10 am on February 9 we headed out to the barn to see this owl hanging out on a branch. She waited for me to run back in and get the camera and she didn’t even mind when we directed the flashlight her way.

Shortly after the owl

Every where you look, you see masks

In January the news released snippets of a novel virus which sometime thereafter became a pandemic. On March 21 we were sent home to work remotely. I started with day one on my Facebook page. As of this posting, December 27, it is Day 282.

Since that point in time, all of my days have mushed together.

I took this photo looking out our front window of the EMTs making a routine visit on April 4, 2020.

At some point, we stopped eating in restaurants. We call them tail gate dates now. We do very little retail shopping. Dog food, goat supplies and the occasional stop at the nursery.

We spend a whole lot more time reflecting

Ingrid, the Icelandic hen

Our conversations seem deeper and more meaningful now. We reflect more about how lucky we really are.

Places we sit and just watch the world go by

Relaxing feels so much more different now that hiding in our gardens is the thing to do.



This little one really surprised me. We have created a bond I never saw coming. All of a sudden we’re attached at the hips. I will be the one with separation anxiety when I have to go back to the office.

Photography never let me down

Bucket ‘O Gravy

Working from home or working remote has really been a wonderful thing. Some of my favorite photos happened mostly because I never felt any rush to do anything. So I would wait for the perfect moments.

Two bengal kittens in a basket

I photographed some of the funnest kittens on the planet.

Pair of mallard ducks

This pair of beauties hung out in the gardens for a couple of weeks.

The garden owl

We added more garden art when we found pieces we couldn’t live without.

The flamingo burm

We found great delight in adding solar lights everywhere. When the sun is bright, our gardens light up like Christmas lights. And I’ll add here that I spend hours chasing an elusive photo to do it justice.

Just as we go comfortable

Karen and Zip in the smoke-filled evening

This was taken on September 8 at 4:30 in the afternoon. Wildfires raced through the canyon to the east of us leaving devastation in its path. The eerie darkness that covered the skies was not like anything we had seen before.

Silhouette of the cherry tree in the smoke filled skies

And yet there was some hope for peace and renewal. Riots were occurring all around us in support of Black Lives Matter.

Santa Paws looked different

Expect the unexpected

Santa Paws and I went back and forth on whether or not we would be able to host Santa Paws. We did have it, it just looked different.

Election season

The Red Barn at twilight, complete with vapor trails

Of course, what pandemic would be complete without a batshit crazy presidential election. As of Christmas Day, it’s a done deal… but it’s not.

Some days I feel like the year has been so surreal that it really hasn’t happened. Other days it has dashed by and on others it is merely crawling.

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    Shout out to Santa Paws

    The day I met Santa Paws

    I still remember the day that Santa Paws wandered into Nature’s Pet backroom and we met for the first time. I immediately fell in love with jolly ‘ol elf and the twinkle in his eye.

    Santa Paws • December 7, 2014

    I had no idea that after our first encounter this would be the beginning of a friendship that I appreciate so much and look forward to from year-to-year.

    Why Santa Paws?

    In the beginning, these sessions were my idea of a fundraiser to help local non-profit groups. I always had a dollar goal in mind to donate and with many thanks to this amazing guy, we’re still hitting my donation goal.

    Santa Paws • November 21, 2015

    Changing things up

    So every year, as soon as we’d finish one season, I start to plan for next year. I’ve done my best to have a different theme every year because Santa Paws is truly a special guy.

    Santa Paws • December 4, 2016

    Year after year Santa Paws and I would meet in the back rooms of pet stores and delight puppies and kittens, dogs and cats. We laughed and created magic every where we went.

    Santa Paws • September 30, 2017

    Moving Santa Paws to our gardens

    In 2017, Santa Paws moved from a rainy damp Oregon winter to the southwest desert in true snowbird fashion. He promised to come back one more time, but he wanted a nicer weather than a December winter in Oregon has. So, we moved our dates up to September and opened up our gardens to host Santa Paws.

    Best decision ever. Santa Paws loves the fresh air and now we call it the Santa Paws Magical Experience.

    Santa Paws • August 25, 2018

    Our gardens are nestled on an acre surrounded by totally safe six-foot fencing. Santa Paws picks the dates that when he wants to come to Oregon and we do our best to make it look like Christmas.

    Santa Paws reading a story to weimaraners • September 29, 2019

    The Santa Paws Magical Experience changes from year-to-year as we move around the acre. We always try to have at least three different photo settings for Santa Paws and pets.

    Santa Paws and his little dog Abby • October 11, 2020

    2020 looked a little different

    New to Santa Paws in 2020 is our hand-crafted sleigh built by a local wood craftsman for pet photos with Santa Paws.

    Santa Paws and I went back and forth on whether or not we’d be able to even host Santa Paws, thanks to the pandemic. We changed the dates a few times, and then we set a date and held our breath. Turns out, it was a perfect time. We put all of the Covid safe measures into place and moved about the acre for our Santa Paws Magical Pet Photo Experience.

    Santa Paws is the best sport, I moved him here and sat him down there and with grace and jolly, Santa Paws continues to make the Santa Paws pet photos ever.

    And, a drum roll please… even with Covid safe measures in place and limited appointments, we were able to donate $1,000 to Oregon Weimaraner Rescue. I send my heartfelt gratitude to everyone that came out in the rain with their masks and their pets to have their photos taken with Santa Paws.

    Merry Christmas to all and my forever gratitude to the best Santa Paws on the planet for going along with all of my crazy ideas.

    Thank you

    One thing that has remained consistent over the years and are by far the most important to the success of this event are my supporting staff. Karen, Holly, Santa Paws, Nancy and everyone that has stepped in to hold a leash or a treat or jump up and down behind me. Somedays it takes a village to make one perfect photo and I appreciate all of you so much.

    I am especially grateful to everyone that honors me to photograph their pets.

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      Photos with Santa Paws 2020

      Santa Paws is coming for a visit

      The jolly ol’ elf is on his way.

      Here’ your quick link to booking your appointment: Book your appointment

      Dearest little fans of Santa Paws,

      Our favorite Jolly Ol’ Elf is making his way back to Oregon from the desert southwest again this year.

      We’ve had many conversations back and forth this year about hosting Santa Paws and we can do it. Covid-19 has been extra busy changing everyone’s plans, but with extra precautions, we can offer a limited number of sessions with Santa Paws October 10 & 11.

      Santa and his boxer buddies

      How Covid-19 is changing it up This year I will be hosting fewer sessions so that we only have one family on the property at a time. Masks are required. We are doing a “Concierge Service” for all our clients. Upon arrival at the studio, please remain in your vehicle or outside in the driveway. One of my assistants will greet you, wipe down the leash and escort your pet(s) back to greet Santa Paws. At the end of the session we will wipe down their leashes and promptly return your pet.

      Although most pets will do very well, we completely understand if you feel your pet may be too anxious to sit with Santa Paws without you. I apologize in advance for inconvenience and I hope that you will understand the importance of keeping everyone as safe as possible.

      Frenchie kiss

      Photos with Santa Paws

      We will give you and your pet a fun experience that will last about 30 minutes. This year Santa Paws and your pet will be whisked away in a magical sleigh custom built for Santa Paws and delight in the comforts of an alpine cottage.

      • $100 deposit reserves your appointment time
      • 50% of the proceeds after lab processing fees will be donated to Oregon Weimaraner Rescue
      • You will receive a beautiful custom ornament and lo-res image for sharing on social media

      Enjoy the comforts of a more relaxed mini session We will be doing both days at our fully-fenced acre. Everyone is safe and the sessions will last about 30 minutes. My goal is to capture three to five perfect images that you will love. 

      The fine paw prints This year we are asking for a $100 non-refundable fee to hold your appointment with Santa Paws. This will hold your time and in return, you will have a gallery of three to five images to choose from, one double-sided ornament and one low resolution (same image) perfect for email or social media.

      Nose-to-nose with Santa Paws

      The extra treats. Holiday cards, prints and maybe a few surprises will be available for additional purchase. 50% of the proceeds will go to Oregon Weimaraner Rescue.

      Book your appointment today.

      We have two dates set aside in October for Santa Paws.

      • Saturday, October 10 • 9 am to 3 pm
      • Sunday, October 11 • 9 am to 3 pm

      Photos with Santa Paws are special memories. I won’t say this is our last opportunity to have photos with Santa Paws because he likes to surprise me, but this is a perfect opportunity to have photos with best Santa Paws ever.

      Here is a link to his gallery if you want to see more pictures.

      Santa Paws gallery

      Call Terri at 503.999.3047 or email her at terri.jacobson@mac.com with any questions. 

      Looking forward to seeing you there!

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        Celebrating Buttercup

        Golden retriever

        I met Buttercup about 3.5 years ago. She came for her first photo with me when I did a photo fundraiser for Pete, our greyhound. She was such a sweet little girl. I will never forget her kind and gentle nature, so eager to please.

        She had just been diagnosed with kidney disease and she was young, only about a year old. She went on to be a certified therapy dog touching peoples lives where ever she went. Her mom shared two memories with me:

        Two of the most memorable was when we visited a gentlemen who had been non-responsive in a hospice unit for 2 weeks. Buttercup immediately jumped on his bed and he started petting her and talking to me. The staff were in tears. Another visit was at the hospital and an older lady was alone in her room and scared. Buttercup soothed her tears away.

        Buttercup and CJ

        Buttercup and brother CJ were a pair not to be reckoned with. They immediately gave chase around the acre once we released from their leashes.

        Long before CJ even knew what was happening, Buttercup laid claim to the title Princess and she ruled the roost. CJ had no problems letting her be the boss.

        Golden retriever rolling the grass
        Rolling in the grass

        After a quick run around the acre, there is probably nothing better than a nice roll in the cool green grass. Since this was Buttercup’s celebration session, I wanted to capture as much of her personality as I possible could. I think Buttercup had a pretty good time.

        Apparently Buttercup took to catching snakes this spring. She never hurt them, she just brought her treasures to the back door for a little game of “catch and release.” It’s the new fetch.

        Great Dane and golden retriever with their family
        Buttercup and her family

        The family photo is always one of the most important photos we capture.

        Golden retriever with her owner
        Know for her snuggles

        Buttercup was a much loved therapy dog. She wore her princess crown like a champ. She taught CJ the ropes, even though he’s the big brother. And, Buttercup was best know for her snuggles and she loved her mom like no other.

        Golden retriever holding a toy.

        Thank you Buttercup for being a small part of my life. Your beautiful spirit will live forever.

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        • Gretchen WasserMay 12, 2020 - 9:19 pm

          Beautiful memories and photos of a beautiful & special dog! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

        • KathiMay 13, 2020 - 9:06 am

          This is beautiful! Buttercup was loved very much and brought smiles to so many!   She was so lucky to have Lyndee, David and CJ to walk her through this life. ReplyCancel

        • Wendie L HerkampMay 27, 2020 - 8:17 am

          This is so beautiful <3ReplyCancel

        • Kim BaileyMay 27, 2020 - 9:10 am

          Beautiful pictures and story.  What a special dog!!ReplyCancel

        • Kathy ParrishMay 27, 2020 - 12:25 pm

          Such beautiful memories for a beautiful family. ??ReplyCancel

        Fluffy is as fluffy does

        Portrait of a sheepadoodle
        Mandu, a sheepadoodle

        I miss my sessions

        March 15. 42 days. That was last pet session and I really miss them. I am doing fine working from home and I realize how lucky we are.

        I can honestly say, I have used my time wisely. I am photographing one of our pets nearly every day and tinkering with a different editing style. I have ideas and plans for when we can do pet sessions again.

        This little beauty is Mandu. I met her Albany and was so excited for her to come to the studio in Salem.

        What do sessions look like?

        Portrait of a sheepadoodle
        Look over your shoulder

        In the studio

        I like to start my sessions in the studio. Somedays I love the glamour portrait. I love the simplicity, the elegance and the peaceful setting of a studio. The creative options are endless and the lighting is nearly 100% predictable. My little rustic studio is in the garage and it’s perfect.

        • Accident? No problem, let me take a minute to clean up.
        • Timid and scared? No worries, we have the time (I will rarely do more than one session a day) and little one, there’s lot’s of room, just have your human sit with your for a few minutes.
        • Can’t be off leash? This is even better, once that garage door goes down and we leave the garage, we go out to 6 foot fenced acre.

        The glorious outdoor studio

        Sheepadoodle running
        An acre to run on

        This is really where the fun begins. I also really love the look of animals in an outdoor setting. It’s natural, it’s always beautiful, and nearly every dog that has been to visit the studio loves it the best. We have pet-friendly gardens everywhere.

        The first order of business for every dog that comes to the studio is sniff and race patrol. It’s a smorgasbord for the sniffer and even the shyest of dogs can’t contain their delight as they check out every inch of the fence line. I like to think of this as a model break. They worked hard in the studio to master the right poses and even though we try to pay them well, the romp on the acre is a well-deserved break.

        The family portrait

        Family portrait with sheepadoodle
        The family, perhaps one of the most important photos of the session

        I always encourage the family to have a portrait with their pet. When it’s time to pick out your package, you don’t have to purchase any particular photo, but if we don’t take a family portrait, we don’t have one. And, I think it’s a loss. We did a big family portrait a few years ago with all of our pets and it is one of my favorite images. I will never regret taking the time and trust me when I tell you it took a long time for me to agree to do it. Now, I’m planning the next one.

        The session bonus

        Sheepadoodle sitting in a lawn chair
        Modeling can be exhausting

        When a session is done, nearly every dog needs a long nap. My favorite report is when I hear that the dogs slept all the way home.

        That almost always means they had as much fun with their session as I did.

        1 comment
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        • Pat SolomonApril 25, 2020 - 10:06 pm

          What a wonderful snapshot of a session. You are so talented, positive, and you capture the personalities so well. We cherish our session with sassy gal, Tessa LaRue Solomon, the Pug Princess. ReplyCancel