Falls Park: A place for beauty and contrast in dog photos

November 1, 2019
bella at iconic bridge in post falls

I needed a place where I could find some texture, some contrast and always—always—a cool landscape. Falls Park in Post Falls, Idaho, is always perfect.

A client recently jumped at the chance to get her family portraits done there, and a few clients ventured there with me in the dead of winter last February.

Remember Cracker and his awesome family? How could you forget?

family looks lovingly at spokane rescue dog

Falls Park has everything:

  • Access to the Spokane River
  • A gorgeous arch bridge
  • A duck pond and a little bridge over it
  • The dam and its falls
  • Rocks, rocks and more rocks

It isn’t a new spot to me. I first visited Falls Park in 2011 when I was but a guest to the area, driving down from Calgary with Shep to annoydelight my boyfriend-turned-husband.

chip and shep at Falls Park in North Idaho
An old cell shot of a sweet getting-to-know-you moment … don’t judge. Also, you know the rules. Don’t tell my husband.

Falls Park is a 22-acre gem in North Idaho with paved pathways, historical interpretive signs, picnic shelters, a playground and more. That’s not the stuff in which I’m interested for portrait sessions with your dog, though.

It’s the rocks.

I love rocks. I use the hashtag #dogsonrocks on my Instagram feed whenever I can.

And the bridges.

And everything else I mentioned above.

History geek alert

OK, I admit. I do love the interpretive signs. I give myself a refresher course on the history of the park every once in a while.

I used to blog about my adventures and historical aspects of them whenever I’d go bouncing around the backroads. Our Great Escape has become a fallow project since this dog photography thing started, though.

The history drew me to the park for that first time with Shep so long ago.

About 150 years ago, Frederick Post bought from Andrew Seltice 200 acres along Spokane River to build a water-powered lumber mill. Early in the 20th century, the Washington Water Power Company bought the site to develop a hydroelectric facility to power mines almost 100 miles away. It was, at the time, the longest high-voltage transmission line in the world.

Avista Utilities owns the dam and hydro plant now and, in conjunction with the City of Post Falls, created Falls Park, complete with observation decks with a view of the dam and its waterfalls.

As you walk around the paved pathways, you see a several remnants of structures. They’re all bits of the irrigation system W.L. Benham developed with Washington Water Power to deliver water to farms in Spokane Valley. Financed by a guy named Daniel C. Corbin, the Corbin Ditch provided several thousands of acres of apple orchards the water they needed to operate.

OK, enough dorking out …

A study in contrast AT Falls Park

Damn you, Susannah!

Susannah is the head mistress of our pet photographers’ blog circle, the maven who determines each week’s topic and delivers the link order.

This week’s topic is monochrome, which I figure is a great topic to show you some images in black and white.

Except it’s October.

In the Inland Northwest.

Where, despite the recent spates of snow, we are still awash in the gorgeous oranges and yellows of autumn.

I embraced the challenge nonetheless, turning a blast of gold like this:

bella in autumn colors of north idaho
Bella in the beautiful red golds of North Idaho autumn

Into a study of contrast and texture like this:

black and white image of Bella the Maremma sheepdog
Bella in black and white

Why I rarely process to black and white

I’m an old-school newspaper gal.

I spent years of high school and university in the darkroom, inhaling fixer and clumsily taping circles of cardboard to unfolded paper clips to dodge light onto my prints. Will and J.D. and I whiled away hours with our film negatives in the basement of the student union building at St. FX University.

Not much changed as I started my career in sports journalism in Gander, Newfoundland.

For four years, I was a one-woman show: watching games; interviewing athletes, coaches and parents; writing; editing my colleagues’ stories; laying out pages; shooting with my trusty Pentax K-1000 and kit lenses; and developing my film and PMTs.

Ah … PMT … photomechanical transfer. Also known as a print ready for production.

Everything I did for a very long time was in black and white.

(Holler at me if you’ve pushed ISO 400 film to 6400!)

So thrilled was I when color technology entered our world of print production. I was in Kamloops, B.C., covering the WHL Blazers beat (and other fun stuff) and that’s when I first dipped into the world of Photoshop.

(Holler at me if you’ve ever waited for a negative to scan and then open an image in 2.0!)

Film left my world in 2003 when I moved to Calgary and the Sun had a whole staff of photographers willing to shoot curling and figure skating for me.

When I picked up my first digital gear in 2007, I loathed the idea of converting brilliant megapixeled colors to dull newspaper-y black and white.

Bella in monochrome

But there’s obviously a beauty in black and white.

Millions of people don’t buy Ansel Adams prints because they’re crap, right?

Thus, I went forth into the challenge of converting my images at Falls Park to monochrome.

I locked on my ultrawide 10-24 for a great one of Bella in front of the bridge.

bella at iconic bridge in post falls
That gorgeous bridge

This one, though, is my favorite as she casts her eyes into an afternoon sun that not only brings up the detail in her fur but also in the rocks. I used my 35mm prime for it.

maremma sheepdog on falls park rocks
#dogsonrocks

The rocks.

I just love #dogsonrocks.

All around the circle

There you have it. Another entry into the blog circle.

Now you get to travel around the world and see how other pet photographers saw the world in monochrome.

Start with Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography, fetching pet portraits in Coppell and surrounding communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Tracy, by the way, just took second place in the Assistance Dogs Charity division of The Kennel Club’s Dog Photographer of the Year contest.

Well done, Tracy!

Remember, when you get to the bottom of Tracy’s blog post, click the link to the next blogger and so on and so on.

When you find yourself back here, you’re back home.

Right where you belong.

And when you’re ready to book a session at Falls Park in Post Falls, Idaho, hit this handy button to get in touch.

    2 Comments

  • Elaine
    November 8, 2019
    Reply

    I love reading your blog posts! Bella did a great job being a model again, and I also love the image of her in front of the bridge.

  • Lynda Mowat
    November 2, 2019
    Reply

    That one of Bella in front of the bridge would be my favourite. The texture in her fur and the rocks is great!

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