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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 http://whidbeyvacation.webs.com/, where you can also get a list of dog-friendly activities on Whidbey island.

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Whidbey Island Cowbelly party sneak peek

Yesterday was the big 5-year Cowbelly anniversary party on Whidbey Island. Dogs and humans alike had so much fun and my guess is that everyone is exhausted today. I know Fergie and I are! I am working from home today- flat out on the couch with my laptop on my lap. Fergie is right next to me, snoring away. I may need a little nap too after posting this. 🙂

A huge thank you to everyone that came! Also a huge thanks to JS for baking all of the awesome homemade doggy treats that were such a special gift for attendees. Fergie snacked on hers in the car on the ferry. I plan to post all of the images on my proofs site once I have time to go through them- so far I have them narrowed to 522, ha! I will send the link to everyone when they are ready to view. Here are a few sneak-peeks that I feel best exemplify both the happy, relaxed mood of the day and the gorgeous surroundings of Whidbey Island. I swear there isn’t a prettier place in the Pacific Northwest for dog photography. Enjoy! 

Fergie was very sleepy that morning until we got on the ferry. Then I think she remembered the smells from last year and started getting excited. 

The lovely Puget Sound. Whidbey is one of the San Juan Islands, which are accessible by ferry from the mainland. There were lots of low-lying clouds that morning but they burned off by midday making for a gorgeous, sunny afternoon with beautiful blue skies.

At the first OLA- Marguerite Brons. Which, apparently, is the island’s best-kept secret. Seymour (l) and Bella (r).

Fergie and Sasha.

Kate and Spice.

The off-leash trails at the park. A dense, green, woodsy, mossy, ferny paradise for dogs. Fully fenced (no joke!). That’s Fergie and Dozer there on the left (with D’ogi next to them). F & D went NUTS running through the woods. Nearly took us all out several times. 

Kyah exploring her new surroundings. D’ogi sitting nicely for a treat.

Seymour (l) Fatsa (r). Posing on the same picnic table I shot Fergie one one year ago.

Useless Bay Coffee Company where we had lunch. LOVE THEM. There isn’t a single thing they serve- from their paninis to their cookies to their espresso drinks- that isn’t downright delicious. I think we have some new converts on our hands. 🙂

Fatsa fell in love with Charlie, hee hee. That’s Double Bluff Beach. The #1 paradise for dogs on Whidbey Island. I could have stayed there for weeks.

A personal fave below.

Michelle was popular with both the big dogs and little dogs. 

Bella with her mom.

Kate on the left enjoying a game of ball in the (very warm!!) surf. Poor Kyah was still exhausted from our big photo shoot just the day before. 

The water was very shallow quite a ways out, which enabled it to be warmed by the sun. It was like bathwater- incredible. Even non-swimming dogs couldn’t stay out of it. I wanted to lay down in it but alas was fully clothed.

The dogs were exhausted before we even left the beach. Here Bella tries to keep her eyes open while she gets toweled off.

Fatsa taking a little nap in the sun.

After a 20-minute rest Fergie found her second wind. At that point I honestly couldn’t believe she was still moving. ‘Indefatigable’ as my dad says.

In the car in line for the ferry home. I have never seen her so tired ever. Although after running and swimming for hours non-stop it was no surprise! Notice the eyes rolling back into the head, hee hee?

For those Seattleites who are interested in a getaway to Whidbey Island, here is a link to the island’s off-leash dog parks, courtesy of JS, courtesy of a very nice lady on the beach. Not only do they love dogs there but all of the people are SO friendly! I love Whidbey!


I agree with James in that we should do it more often! Anyone up for a trip before the summer ends?

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Cowbelly 5-year anniversary party- Sunday August 3rd

I am so excited about this post!!!!

I had been wracking my brain trying to come up with something fun to do for the 5-year anniversary party next month, and really wanted to do something not only fun, but be able to give back to my clients, friends and fans who have supported me over the past 5 years. Normally I have my anniversary parties at off-leash parks, so that people can come and bring their dogs and they can play and have a good time. The dogs all get goody bags filled with fun stuff, and I often have food and drinks for the parents. Last year I even had a client bake and make gourmet food for the party!

While that is all fine and dandy, it just didn’t seem *enough* for a 5-year anniversary party. Plus, it’s great for the dogs, but I wanted to do something really special for the parents too. 

So you want to know what it’s going to be this year?

A day of fun in the sun on Whidbey Island!! Not just any ol day, but a very special day. A day filled with sun and sand and forests and trails and food and playing and fetching and drinks and FREE photography (more on that later)! Sunday, August 3rd, all day. Start early-ish (but not too early!) and come home late. Please RSVP to info@cowbelly.com if you plan to go!

We will take the ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton. Just like Fergie did on her first ferry ride last year on her birthday.

We will then drive the short distance to Marguerite Brons park, a 13-acre gorgeous off-leash dog park with a wide-open field perfect for ball catching and romping with friends, and deep green shady grasses to relax in. 

As if that isn’t enough, Marguerite Brons has a wooded trail that is part of the park. The full trail through the woods is one mile, and, get this, FULLY FENCED!! Forest and field in one fully fenced dog park? Doggie heaven!! When Fergie and I were there she ran and raced through the trails with her new buddies. I had never seen her so happy. 

Then, when we are done at Marguerite Brons, we will leave and drive over to the very pretty little town of Langley, and eat a yummy lunch of panini sandwiches, cookies and gourmet soda at the Useless Bay Coffee Company. I am not in any way a roast beef fan, but when my sister and I and Fergie were there it was all they had left, and I swear it was one of the best paninis I have ever had. I still think about it whenever I want a sandwich. The Useless Bay Coffee company has a beautiful large garden/patio area outside with lots of great seating and even a grassy lawn. And of course, a water bowl for our canine friends. Wouldn’t you like to eat lunch with this view below?

Then, once we have had our fill, we will make the drive across the island to Double Bluff beach, which looks like this:

“What, no leash?” you say? Nope! Double Bluff beach is off-leash!! Once we walk past the on-leash part of the beach (about 8 agonizing minutes for the dogs), we will have fully 2 miles of beach to run and play on. Paradise for dogs of all sizes and types. (Saturated for premium impact).


This is what the bluff behind us looks like:

This is where the doggies will get to romp and play in the surf:

We will have plenty of opportunity to dig in the sand:

and chew on our tennis balls:

and beachcomb:

and chew on sticks:

and run down the hill with them (be careful when you do this!!):

and hunt for crabs:

and make your servants humans throw the ball for you:

and make new friends:

and just generally go nuts:

And the best part about the day? (I mean, aside from the fact that it will be the most awesomely spectacularly fun day EVER). I will be bringing my camera and doing FREE DOG PHOTOGRAPHY for all of the attendees!!


That means, that if you are a client or friend or even just a longtime fan, if you’d like to accompany us on our Whidbey Island day trip/anniversary party, and bring your pooches, they too can have some beautiful shots like the ones above!

Although it will be very informal in terms of the actual photography (when I see a shot I’ll take it, as opposed to trying to schedule people), it will be my goal to get a handful of great shots of each pooch. I will even take shots of people with their dogs if they like. Hey, whatever goes! I just love doing photography and the parks are a photographer’s paradise, so I will be so excited to be shooting all day. 

Sometime after the trip, I will post the photos to an online gallery for everyone to see. Prints and other products can be ordered at that time but there is certainly no obligation to buy anything because that’s not what this is about. If you’d just like to bring your dog and don’t need any photos, then that’s totally cool too! Just come and have fun!

There are a few requirements:

1. Any canine you bring MUST play nicely with others. Although we may be able to control our group fairly easily we will come into contact with lots of other dogs and we don’t want to see anything bad happen. Scuffles do happen, but we’d like to avoid any real fights so no human or animal aggression please.

2. Every human must be responsible for their own water and sunscreen, towels and essentials. Same goes for ferry tickets and lunch. I’d offer to also provide lunch for everyone along with the photography but if a ferry full of people show up that would make me one broke photographer, lol!

3. All dogs must be current on their shots. Kennel cough bad, healthy dogs good.

There is no limit to the numbers of people who can come, and I can provide my cell phone number for everyone in case some folks want to head over for just a part of the day, or if the ferry they wanted to catch is full they will still be able to meet up with the group. We will most likely meet someplace central before heading to the ferry (a park and ride? mall parking lot?) so we can all get to the ferry line at relatively the same time. I expect the ferry to be very busy so we’ll want to allow plenty of time. But the day will be all about relaxing and having a great time with our dogs- no stress. 

If you come, here is a list of things you should plan to bring:

1. Bottled water. The kind you can carry for awhile and not have your arms fall off. Check out these awesome water bottles called MySIGG I stumbled upon online.  

2. Water for your dogs for the beach. I will provide gallon water jugs and no-tip bowls but there will be a limit to how much I can carry. Especially since my camera bag is about a million pounds fully loaded. 

3. Sunscreen. Lip balm. Hand lotion. Bug spray if you have it, although I don’t remember that being a problem last July.

4. A Change of clothes, socks and shoes. A warm coat. If you bring fleece remember the wind will blow right through it. Do not forget the socks, I promise you will need them, even if you plan to wear sandals all day. Definitely bring a change of pants/shorts too. A knit hat would also be great. 

5. Towels. For the dog and for you. Your feet will probably be wet when you get back to the car from the beach.

6. A blanket to sit on on the beach. Blankets for the pooch for the drive home. They will be cold and wet and tired so a nice cushy warm blanket will be appreciated. 

7. Food for your dog. They will most likely need dinner before you get home, so bring enough for a meal and a half (the other half they can have in the afternoon if they have been playing hard). Bring a tupperware container to put the food in that can also double as a bowl. Bring treats you can give your dog during lunch. 

8. First aid kit for your pup. I will try my best to remember to buy one beforehand (have been meaning to forever) and bring it with me. 

9. Your (charged) cell phone. Plus a car charger if you have one. 

That’s all I can think of for now. I may add to this list as I remember things.

Now, if you are interested in coming, please email me!

I will compile a list of the folks who plan to go, and we can coordinate everything through email. I will also need a head count because there will be special goodies for the dogs who attend and I want to make sure I don’t miss anyone! I also want to make sure I have plenty of charged batteries for my camera and enough memory cards. Last year for Fergie alone I think I took close to 900 shots!

I am so exited about this and I can’t wait to have a super fun day on Whidbey! If you have any questions let me know!

Dogs and parks and beaches and sun, YAY!!

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