Adventure dog photography helps me find gratitude in a brutal year

Adventure dog photography helps me find gratitude in a brutal year

I stand on the crest of a rock and survey all that lies below me.

As I embark further down a path of adventure dog photography it reminds me of all the hikes I’ve taken and it makes me grateful for this opportunity.

I’ve been on more hikes around Spokane and North Idaho this year with Bella than I may ever have gone in the Rockies and its Foothills with Shep.

We’ve seen some pretty incredible scenes, climbed some hills and taken a few pictures.

Part of that is due to a sharp slowdown in business thanks to COVID-19 lockdowns and that can really get a girl down in the dumps. Washington state just entered a new shutdown as cases are spiking and hospitals are reaching their breaking points.

But there are bright spots and we have to look for them. When I think about it, I have more of them than dark ones.

The joy of adventure dog photography

Last week I wrote about why you should do an adventure dog photography session. This week, as we’re all preparing for Thanksgiving, I want to share why I’m so grateful for it and for the person who helps make it happen.

1. My connection with Bella has never been deeper

There’s just something about being out in the woods with my dog. Bella is my most trusted partner for scouting adventure dog photography locations. I want to make sure you have epic places to go and see when you hike Spokane and North Idaho.

Dan Hanks, whom I’ve interviewed for this month’s hiking with dogs story in The Spokesman-Review, gave me one a lightbulb moment.

He said outdoor adventures with your dog take you deeper into their world.

“When you’re hiking, skiing or biking together, you’re the closest you’re going to be to the dog’s world,” Hanks said. “When they’re on the couch with you, you don’t get the experience of being in the pack with them. In the outdoors, they bring you into their bonding world. That shared experience is really awesome.”

I get to watch Bella in alert mode sometimes, too. She stops on the trail and lifts her nose into the air, catching the scent of whatever might be lurking in the trees.

Bella poses on the trail for adventure dog photography at Kit Carson trail
Stopping for some adventure dog photography on our first official winter hike of the season

(Yes, I go on high alert when she does this and I have my bear spray at the ready.)

It’s incredibly fascinating to watch and instills a new sense of respect for her instincts and abilities. And I know that should whatever is out there emerge onto the path, she will leap into action. It isn’t anything I want to ever witness, though.

2. I get to combine three of my passions into one purpose

Dogs + camera + amazing landscapes = happiness.

I’ve lived in five different provinces of Canada and one U.S. state. I’ve visited nine of the 10 provinces (not one of the territories yet and that needs to change) and visited 23 states.

I’ve watched the sunrise on the East Coast and I’ve watched the sunset on the West Coast.

I’ve never left continental North America and yet I know I’ve seen many of those most beautiful places on earth.

For many of those visits, I’ve had a camera in my hand.

The happiest of those times came when my dog was next to me … or in my lens.

Maremma sheepdog on alert while winter hiking in Spokane
What’s that sound?

3. I get to create amazing memories for other people

Adventure dog photography isn’t as much of a service as it is a purpose.

I finally – after six years of him being gone – designed a keepsake box for Shep and filled it with 4×6 prints of our adventures together.

I’m lucky enough to be attached to a breed with a long lifespan. Maremma sheepdogs commonly live to 11 to 14 years old. I know of a 19-year-old in Italy.

We know more about dog health and dog care than we ever have before and we’re able to cater to their needs.

But no matter how long they’re with us, it’s never long enough.

Those pictures I have of Shep keep him alive for me. I shuffle through them and remember not only the incredible places we saw together but also the deep love we shared.

I want to ensure you dog lovers like me have awesome photos of the times you’ve spent adventuring and exploring with your very best friend.

It matters to me that you’re able to hold onto those moments.

The people behind this journey

This can’t be done without the assistance of a few people and to them I owe a great deal of gratitude.

1. My partner

My husband, our shy American who cringes at the thought of his mention anywhere on the internet. (He knew who I was when he married me; he should have known long ago that he was at risk of being shared.)

He gives me the space, the comfort and the support to pursue this purpose. He checks me when I might be going down a wrong path and he checks on me when I’m out in the woods.

He edits my stories when I think I need it, and he reminds when it’s time to take a break.

family portrait with dog on Oregon beach
My two loves

2. My clients

I have met some of the most amazing people in the Spokane and North Idaho dog community. I frequently see nightmare stories about clients in Facebook photography groups and I wonder where these clients are. I – knock on wood – haven’t found any.

My clients, from the first to the most recent, have been so friendly and so gracious and so very grateful for the images we create together.

And I love each and every one of the dogs they’ve brought to me.

3. The blog circle

The pet photographers blog circle is comprised of women around the world whom I’ve never met. And yet they’re a big deal to me.

They give me a reason to post on this blog every week and they read every word I write, even though this is supposed to be a photography blog circle, not a writer’s blog circle.

They tolerate me, and they’ve encouraged me in ways they may not even realize. This journey into adventure dog photography may not have happened without the a-ha moments that came while sourcing locations and stories for these posts.

All around the circle

That seems like a good spot to launch you onto the next blog post.

Start with Kylee Doyle Photography, serving pet parents in the greater Sacramento area.

At the end of Kylee’s post, click the next link and continue on through the circle. When you get back here to our adventure, you know you’re home.

Right where you belong.

And if you’re ready to book that adventure dog photography session, click this little button:

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