Monthly Archives: June 2009

Ruby & Buster- Santa Monica pet photography sneak-peek

I was beyond happy, positively bowled over, when Ruby and Buster’s parents said they wanted to come up to Santa Monica from their home in Orange County for a photo session at the Santa Monica Pier. Some of you may remember them from our Napa Valley shoot last fall. I was so happy to see them again (the whole family), I nearly cried. Buster has lost a whopping 12 pounds and is looking sleek and svelte.

Here are some of my favorite images from our shoot:

santa monica pet photography

santa monica pet photography

I processed these in Lightroom with a very bright, saturated hand. I wanted to give a colorful Southern Cal feel to them. 🙂

santa monica pet photography

Rarely does a shot I take make me laugh out loud, but I had just gotten done telling the workshop group that greyhounds and whippets can look funny if you shoot them straight on, so I guess I just needed to inadvertently prove my own point (I forgot about this when I took this picture, but now I’m glad I did, lol)

santa monica pet photography

santa monica pet photography

Had to get the famous Santa Monica pier in the background. It was a Sunday, and extremely crazy busy that day, but the dogs were fantastic. They did *such* a good job. I’m so proud of them.

santa monica pet photography

santa monica pet photography

santa monica pet photography

santa monica pet photography

I *love* the pink with Ruby and am so happy that these turned out! Tristan you can wear a pink shirt to our shoots anytime!! lol

santa monica pet photography

Are you in the Los Angeles or Santa Monica area and in need of some colorful, expressive photos of your dogs, printed on unique, high-end archival products? Give me a shout and let’s book your Santa Monica pet photography session!

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Dog models needed in Santa Monica June 2009


I am needing a few dog models for my Santa Monica pet photography sessions at my workshops this next weekend.

Here is what I am looking for:

Several dogs, of any age, breed, looks or size.

Available to come and pose as models for photography demonstrations. Will be using mostly natural light, a little bit of flash, and in a natural setting (i.e. non-studio). We’ll be shooting at the Santa Monica pier and surrounding areas.

The dogs MUST be obedient and able to reply to commands, even in a distracting environment (this is important as we may be shooting at the hotel).

MUST have a proven track record of being both people and dog-friendly. MUST be well-socialized.

santa monica pet photography

Santa Monica Basset Hound by Cowbelly Pet Photography.

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Fergie and Jamie go to Whidbey

Bet ya didn’t know that I took off for a few days this week with my pooch, didja? Well, ok, if you follow me on twitter, you knew of my little escape, but I never mentioned it on the blog. I had plans to go the previous week but they fell through (very sad story) and I didn’t want to jinx this trip by talking about it. But it happened this time, yay!

So the Fergermeister and I took off and stayed at the most lovely cabin on a bay near Freeland, and I brought my camera, and we did as close to nothing as possible. I took lots and lots of pictures, so I am posting lots and lots of pictures, because I found it impossible to narrow them down. Hopefully this will enable all of you to enjoy our trip with us vicariously!

This is what was awaiting us when we arrived on Thursday evening. Ahhh heaven.


I love these shots because even though they are both imperfect, they give me the feeling as if I was back there in that moment.


There was a dedicated doggy area at the cabin (the owner is a multiple dog owner), and Fergie couldn’t believe her luck when she spotted the balls and toys. I have never ever seen her so happy. It nearly made me cry.


The adorable neighbor pooch Cooper. He was a doll.


I wish I had taken more shots of the inside of the cabin, but honestly we were outside almost the whole time. But the cabin was positively darling, very clean and comfortable and furnished exactly as I would furnish a summer cabin.


The cabin had a fully stocked kitchen, washer and dryer, very comfy queen sized bed (and also a loft and pullout bed in the tv room, not pictured here), and sleeps up to 4 people. I can’t wait to go back and bring my mom and sister, who I know will love the place. I’ll leave details at the end of this post on how to rent the cabin for yourself. It is dog friendly, and even has a separately fenced side yard that you can contain your pooch in, and, get this, a new doggie bathing area outside with both cold AND hot water (awesome). The property is huge, and the most fun place I can imagine a dog being able to explore and sniff around while being completely contained by the fence around the property.


Late that first night I could not get Fergie to come inside. She was having so much fun throwing her new toys around the yard that she didn’t want to go to sleep. So I brought my camera outside and decided to try and take some nighttime shots. That’s moon flare you see below.


And that my friends, is the moon! Woohoo!! It took a long time for me to get this shot, but I finally got it, and it was worth it.


Our view the next day.




There are gorgeous flowers in bloom all around the property, and I was even greeted by sweet-smelling fresh cut flowers inside the cabin. It was awesome.




The Cabin owner’s beloved passed german shepherd pooch is buried on the property, and Fergie and I spent some time laying on a blanket near her grave keeping her company. I only wish I have a spot as beautiful for Fergie once she is gone. Dogs live such short lives.



The hardest part of the trip was trying to decide where to lie down outside. This was one of my spots under a giant cherry tree in the side yard, and this was my view.


Warning: there are A LOT of Fergie images coming up. My lenses were focused on her nearly the entire time, so I ended up with like 450 shots of just her. Hopefully you will think she is just as cute as I do. Man I love this dog. 🙂


I’m thinking this one needs to go big on a canvas.




I LOVE this shot. Totally imperfect, and I love it for it’s imperfection.


This is the look she gives me whenever I ask a question. “Fuurrgee? do you wanna….?”, then this. She is sooo cute!



If you need just one reason why I love this dog so much, it’s looking at you below. I would do anything for her.




Sarah left a comment on one of Fergie’s Facebook images saying she had a little black olive nose. So the whole trip I referred to her as ‘little black olive’. Here is a shot of that little nose.



Stick induced happy coma below.



The sky changed colors throughout the sunset, and then I couldn’t believe my eyes when it turned purple. I tried everything to get the color right in the shots in-camera, and even went so far as to change the custom white balance (K) in 10 degree increments over about 100 degrees both up and down, and never got the color right in camera. That is one of the most frustrating things about digital photography- so often what you see with your eyes is nearly impossible to duplicate with your camera. I suppose seasoned landscape photographers would have told me I needed a special filter to get the shot. Oh well, in this case Lightroom did the job.


I don’t have words to express how much I love this shot below. Fergie is such a good model, and held still while I craned my neck to try and get her in focus and the sunset perfectly exposed.


Then we were off to Double Bluff beach, where it was hot and very dry.





Look at her face in that shot on the left below. LOL.


A commenter had asked how I made the ‘flash’ file on Bella’s post. It’s actually really easy. It’s an animated GIF file, made in Photoshop. You just drag all of your images as layers onto one image, so you end up with a multilayered file, then go to ‘window’, ‘animation’, create new frames, and select the layer for each frame, set the duration of each frame in seconds, and then save for web as a gif. Here is a more in depth tut: animated gif tutorial.


And that my friends, was my trip to Whidbey Island with my doggie daughter! Hope you enjoyed the images and my cute little girl. 🙂

If you are interested at staying at the same lovely cabin we did, check out the listing on VRBO, and when you contact the owner Julia, be sure to tell her Jamie at Cowbelly sent you! Can’t wait for my next stay there.

For more Whidbey vacation options, check out, where you can also get a list of dog-friendly activities on Whidbey island.

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