Priest Lake: Ringing in the new year with dogs, big plans
On New Year’s Eve, I sat in front of a fireplace in Priest Lake, Idaho, with a pen and a notebook.
On that notebook, I was planning 2020 for me, Bella and Noses & Toes Pet Photography. Well, yes, the spousal unit, too.
My main focus, however, was building on the incredible year you all helped me have.
We like to think we start with a blank slate every New Year’s Day but, for me, it’s important to take lessons from mistakes, celebrate the successes and plot a path for tomorrow.
A heck of a 2019
I exceeded the number of clients I thought I would have in only Year 2 of operating this business. I read somewhere that most photography businesses take five years before they can be considered profitable.
Folks, we are well on our way.
First, though, lessons learned:
- Be more selective about events I attend
- Stay on top of accounting and mileage tracking
- Consider products beyond what I offer, including digital files
- Spend less, which makes the aforementioned spousal unit happy
- I have enough gear
Now the celebrations:
- Joined the pet photographers’ blog circle, which gives me fun writing prompts for this space
- Amazing response to the launch of the rescue dogs project
- Helped Paws on Patrol with their first fundraising calendar
- Teamed up with my friend Tamara for Santa portraits at Laundramutt in Couer d’Alene
- Got my favorite image yet of Bella during a wonderful trip home to Banff National Park in Alberta
And last but not least, the news I made finalist status in three categories of the Dog Writers Association of America awards.
We spend every New Year’s celebration at Hill’s Resort in Priest Lake.
Our cabin has two big windows that face the lake. I have spent many a morning staring out those windows, wishing the clouds would lift and I could start the day with an epic sunrise to train my camera on.
It never happens.
We spend our days playing cards — the games of choice are eucher and rummy — and we eat, drink and be merry.
When I need time away, I bundle up Bella, grab the gear bag and hit the trails and beaches that are all around us.
Or I zone out with a book to read or …
I already have the year off to a good start.
Noses & Toes is sponsoring a cool event in next month. It’s the 50th annual Priest Lake Sled Dog Race and IFSS World Cup. Teams as large as eight dogs and as small as one dog will be competing in fun and competitive events on February 1 and 2.
I can’t wait to see working dogs in action!
The weekend after that, I’m off to New York City.
I know, right? I accepted an invitation from the Dog Writers Association to not only attend the awards banquet but also to be the event photographer. It tears me away from my little family for five days but how could I say no?
After that, I’m coming home to relaunch the rescue dogs project in the hope we can get enough stories to publish a book.
And a few more projects are coming down the pipeline, but I’m going to stay hush on those because you never know who could be reading.
Otherwise, I have lots of marketing to do, lots of pictures to take and, hopefully, lots of clients to help unabashedly celebrate the love they have for their dog.
In addition to all the bookkeeping and tracking I still have to do for 2019.
But first …
More from Priest Lake
Nine years and no sunrise.
Nine years and usually, we head back to Spokane on New Year’s Day.
Nine years and … wait … anyone want to stay another day?
We said yes.
We wanted a quiet day from the party chaos to just sit around and play some cards.
My husband, out of the blue, said, “Wow, look at that.”
I turned toward those big windows overlooking the lake and saw the most amazing sunset colors over the mountains to the east.
The one thing I always remind myself when I’m out doing landscape photography is to look all around me. When it comes to nightfall, you can get amazing images of the sun setting in the west.
But if you don’t turn around, you miss some pretty amazing colors behind you.
I dropped my cards and said, “Guys, I gotta …”
They all said “GO.”
I grabbed my gear and tripod and raced for the dock.
There it was.
I was feeling pretty pleased with myself and then remembered, “YOU’RE A DOG PHOTOGRAPHER.”
I raced back to the cabin, grabbed my strobe and barked out, “Bring me the dogs!”
Bella, by this point, had had enough and needed a day off from being a professional dog model.
Our friends’ English Labrador retriever was totally game.
If this is how 2020 is starting off, it’s only up from here.
All around the circle
Whew … it seems like my slate is already full!
We were tasked with writing about our blank slate for 2020 for the blog circle, where pet photographers around the world write and show off their images.
Let’s go see how everyone else is kicking off 2020. Start with Kylee Doyle Photography, serving the greater Sacramento area. Read her post and then click the link at the bottom to get to the next one.
Travel through the circle and when you land back here, you’re home.
Right where you belong.
And if you and your dog want an epic sunset shot like Mollie’s, get started by clicking this button that takes you to my contact page.