I woke up this morning to a Facebook post from a fellow pet photographer and friend who shared news that we had been included among the top 50 pet photographers in the United States. I am honored to be featured in this blog post among some of the best in the business - including some photogs whose work I have admired for years. To read the entire blog post, click HERE.
To all moms everywhere - Happy Mother’s Day! Whether you’re a mom to a 2 legged child, a furry kid or a child in heaven, this is your day to celebrate all that you do to make our lives better! This is the first photo I’ve had taken of me with all 3 of my girls. However you spend your day, try to make it a point to get at least one photo of you with your kids. It’s so important to capture these family moments with all of you!
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of photographing the Sarasota K9 Search and Rescue training seminar in Sarasota County. I’ve always admired the dog teams who are involved in finding missing, lost and even human remains to help bring families back together or to provide answers and closure. I met a few of the team members back in January at the Bark for Life event in Venice. Later, they contacted me and asked if I would be willing to photograph their HRD (human remain detection) training this spring. They are a nonprofit organization available for deployment 365 days a year. While this seminar was a 4 day event, training is non-stop. The dogs and their handlers put in hours of their time and spend thousands of dollars so they may selflessly help first responders. I was honored to be asked to document the hard work that takes place behind the scenes.
In typical Florida fashion, it was a picture perfect day - partly cloudy with temps in the mid to high 80s. Several area businesses and parks allowed the teams to use their facility and land to train on. It’s important that the dogs work in situations exactly like they will find when involved in a search and rescue operation. So they worked in open fields, near houses, in rubble, and among objects resembling what you'd find in collapsed buildings.
The teams ranged from novice to experienced and had traveled from all over the country to attend.
I saw a wide range of dog breeds, the most common one being a Labrador retriever. They ranged in age from young adults to 8 or 9 years old. The ability of dogs to be able to find a scent among so many smells is absolutely amazing. I have developed even more respect for what these dogs and their handler do after this weekend.
If you’d like to learn more about the Sarasota K9 Search and Rescue, click HERE to visit their website. I took over 1000 photos the day I was there, it’ll take some time to sort, cull and edit them down. But in the meantime, here’s a quick peak of some of the teams in action.
Thanks for reading!
I’m standing on the beach, it’s the end of the day and Mother Nature has graced us with yet another beautiful sunset. It’s a bit chilly and windy, but I don’t mind. After all, this is probably one of my most favorite places in the whole wide world. Not only that, but I’m here with one of my 3 furry best friends. It doesn’t get any better than this. Or does it?
I just wrapped up photographing Kita, my rescue terrier mix. I’ve had this vision for a long time now of a dog on a beach at sunset. For one reason or another, in the short time I’ve been in Florida, this hasn't happened yet. It’s either been too hot, the red tide so bad you can’t breathe or simply just an unspectacular sunset. But finally one night, it all came together for me.
I knew I nailed the shot before I even looked at the back of my camera. It’s simply the greatest feeling when that happens. But it was much more than just that. I was overcome with emotions as I realized everything I had been through in the last year led me to this moment. I picked Kita up and started swinging her around in circles laughing with delight. She was ecstatic too, though I’m not sure she understood yet why. I hugged her over and over again, thanking her for being with me on this journey. As the sun dipped below the horizon, I watched the last of the daylight filled with joy and gratitude. There was no doubt in my mind, I was right where I was supposed to be. Doing exactly what I was meant to do.
How did it take me so long to figure this out? Three things I have always loved - dogs, beaches and sunsets - at the same time in front of my camera. It can’t possibly be any better than that! Now, it’s clear to me why I felt lost for so long. Why I struggled creatively for months wondering if I would ever want to pick up my camera and photograph again. I needed to feel sadness, confusion and emptiness in order to really hear what was in my heart. It was hard at times. Maddening even. I’ve shed a lot of tears, thrown plenty of temper tantrums and oh, so many times, swore I was going to simply. just. give. Up.
But dreams have a way of nagging you, don’t they? And here, on the gulf coast of Mexico, I realized I was making mine come true. Everything simply, well, just clicked for me.
Thanks for reading!