Faces of Sit With Me from 2018

Sit With Me dogs of 2018
 

This collage represents the many faces of unforgettable dogs I have met in 2018. I co-ordinate with foster homes to meet up with them to photograph their dogs. This is to provide beautiful portraits to help get them adopted. There are several faces in this collage of dogs that are no longer with us. They will always be remembered as loving members of their family and are sorely missed.

Thank you to the foster homes and Sit With Me rescue for giving these dogs a new chance at life.

Utila | Honduras

 

Ryan and I decided to take a holiday to the Bay Island of Utila in Honduras. We had some time available between Christmas and New Years and about three months ago started doing mini planning. I have wanted to learn how to scuba dive for a long time, I just kept putting it off. Each spring would come around, the ice would thaw and I would tell myself ‘This is the year you will get Padi certified!’ .. and it didn't happen for many, not very good, reasons. I have travelled to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Florida Keys, Australia - all places where I could have dived but wasn’t trained.

Utila came on our radar because it is a island, almost completely catered to scuba diving, in Central America and different than the normally ‘down south’ holiday locations we have taken in the past. As well as it’s big sister island, Roatan, the Bay Islands are part of the Mesoamerican Reef system, only 2nd largest to the Great Barrier. From Cozumel down to Honduras .. there are miles and miles of beautiful reefs, fish, mammals and life. The training was done over 3 full days at Alton’s Dive Center, whom I was very, very happy with. I’m not a quick learner but my instructor did not rush, was patient and wanted to make sure I understood and was confident and clear.

I barely took out my camera. I packed my gear lightly, only brought one body and my 70-200. I left the 300 at home but brought my extender. After several flights and a ferry, we arrived on Sunday night. Monday was our only real free day as we went with a charter on Tuesday, Christmas Day to Water Cay, which is a cay off of Utial in the southwest part of the island. We stayed the whole day with a group of people and snorkelled, picnic, swam, slept and a few drinks. I did my training all day Wednesday through Friday and then did two fun dives on the Saturday .. then we left Sunday morning. We do have a GoPro but didn’t bring it in the end as I wanted to focus on my diving and not be worried about the camera, so I have no underwater photos but I can tell you there were plentiful and beautiful and I even go to snorkel with a pod of bottlenose dolphins for a couple of minutes. It was so moving I cried in my mask. True story. My favourite fish to watch was the male and female Stoplight Parrotfish, which I was able to identify later in a book. As I know nearly nothing about fish, I will need to get some kind of identifying slate next time I dive.

Sometimes I regret not capturing EVERYTHING but not this time. The diving makes you quite tired and in my down time I just wanted to relax on our oceanfront rental and sway in the wind on the hammock.

There are many dogs that roam freely, almost all have collars so perhaps some are pets that roam? There is a shelter being built on the island for the organization Jasper’s Animal Shelter. I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to visit while there but very thankful there is a community of people caring for the dogs and cats. There is no vet on the island but there is a vet tech who I believe is going to be trained in veterinary medicine and return to the island.

We saw countless iguanas and anoles and there is also a conservation group, Iguana Station, for an endemic species of Iguana on the island called the Utila spiny tailed swamper Iguana.

We will definitely be heading back to Utila .. it’s just our speed and a nice mix of backpackers and vacationers with no chains, cruise ships or resorts. We stayed off Old Airport Road, which is a 10 minute walk to the main shops but away from the more noisy, younger crowd.

I hope you enjoy some of the few photos I took on Monday afternoon of dogs, iguanas, birds and some cats. :)

 

Amazing Autumn Photo Sessions

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My favourite time of year. Truly. Is it yours?

This is a beautiful time to have photos taken of your pet! Even though I now live in Pakenham, I have various locations to use around and in the Ottawa area.

Although most clients are dog owners .. I welcome ANY pet for a session. Provided you can safely have them on a harness, I would gladly shoot any animal.

My promotion this year includes an annual donation to Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue, a beautifully framed 16 x 16 canvas for your wall and 5 digital files. The digital files are large enough for printing up to 8 x 12. This offer includes up to three dogs. There is no set time for the session, we go for as long as I feel is needed for you to be excited and satisfied with your collection.

Dates and times will be determined based on our schedules, I’m flexible during the week but keep in mind that best light is getting earlier and earlier, so weekends might work best. Leaves will start to change more rapidly in the next two weeks, I’m always watching and ready!

Contact me today to reserve your spot!

New home in the country, new friends

My boyfriend and I have been planning to move to a rural area for the past 3 years. We were finishing renovating our home in the city, which we truly loved, and planning our next step. We often laughed that if we could pick up our home and place it on a lot, we would. Now, obviously you can do that but .. that wasn't going to happen and I certainly wouldn't 'move house' with one that was completely redone and updated. 

Over 6 years we grew to love our neighbourhood and the neighbours. We were close to many shopping options, Ottawa's hospital hub, public transportation, multiple arteries to access the city and many parks. At the end of the day though .. we wanted more space for us and our dogs and desperately needed a garage for our motorcycles and for Ryan to be able to do construction projects, vehicle and bike tuning and welding/carpentry. Due to the location of the driveway and space between the property lines, it just wasn't possible without going really tall (which is wasted space for our needs) and that would of sacrificed most of the backyard. It just wasn't an option. 

Now, full disclosure. I'm a realtor.ca junkie. Yup, I am. From the moment we bought our last home .. throughout the ownership and even now .. I'm constantly looking at property. I have the fortunate opportunity to work from home. I have chosen to come into Ottawa twice a week. I need to! I need to have human connections - even if some days I feel humanity sucks. Two days is a good option and they are not fixed in stone. If weather is bad, I do another day .. it's very flexible. With this option we though long and hard about WHERE we wanted to take this next adventure. Although there is never certainty, we made decisions with the idea that this is the last home. We are in our late thirties and early forties and we want to make decisions that will adapt to our lifestyle for the next 20-30 years. 

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We have some requirements. We needed a garage, preferably a detached workshop .. clearly! We wanted a bungalow, we wanted it to be small but useful space. A 2400 square foot space for a couple with dogs makes no sense and we had no interest in paying to maintain/clean it. We wanted privacy. In the city, although a quiet crescent, we still had neighbours on either and two others back to back with our yard. Privacy depends on the lot. I remember seeing a bunch of options throughout the Ottawa Valley that fit most of our needs and the lot size was very good BUT .. it was 50 ft from the road (some busier than others) and the lot was narrow but deep. So even though it was 2, 3, 4, 9 acres .... you still had neighbours 50 feet on either side of the home, or no mature trees, no visual barrier by a hedge etc .... We just knew it wasn't right. If we were going to commit to moving to the country .. we didn't want to compromise on that. We had a large area to consider. We wanted a 1hr commute each way (good weather) as a loose location limit. We looked south to Kemptville, moving clockwise to Smiths Fall, Carleton Place, Almonte, Arnprior and everything within. 

Once our house sold, it was bittersweet but exciting and the search began. We made a shortlist of 20 properties and that weekend we spent 4-5 hours plotting a route and viewing each one, from the outside. We really knew what we wanted to space and location so we were confident we could cross off homes based on the drive by, and not actually viewing inside. We were also not interested in homes in extensive farming areas, like lots that have been cleared from previous farm fields that are flat with no mature trees. We wanted character, we wanted trees and wanted wildlife. At the end of that tour we had two properties to compare against each other and through talking it out .. we narrowed it down to the one. Called our agent and made appointment as soon as we could to view. Had the proper home inspections, septic and water tests. The size was perfect .. the lot was pretty perfect, the house is solid, the interior finishings are .. uhmm .. not what we were use to but .. FINE. We could move in right away and pick at renos by room .. bit by bit .. whenever, not a big deal. 

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The house is on a dead end road, off Cedar Hill Road in Pakenham. We are at the top of the hill before it slopes down to a couple of farms at the end. It's 5 acres and beautifully treed. There are only two things it didn't have - a garage .. I KNOW I KNOW. However everything else made it worth moving forward with. We already have a spot for the workshop and Ryan is building it next spring/summer. The other thing is because it's beautifully treed, there is no spot for potential solar panels. This is something we were able to construct the base and connect ourselves and tie into the house/shop. We had talked about it and thought about it as an option. However, unless we bought the field at the bottom of the hill from a farmer on Cedar Hill .. there is just nowhere to put them. We have tall trees surrounding the house so even on the rough - the efficiency would not be worth it. 

We rushed to get the septic completed before the cold weather, we JUST made it. We also got a dog fence erected in time. Half the basement is finished but very truncated and we are going to take out all the walls and redo. In the interim, it is storing all our rubbermaid bins, motorcycle gear and boxes from the move. The other half is the furnace area and workshop and Ryan has organized all his tools and moved our bicycles and motorcycles in. Yes, motorcycles. You see, we don't have a garage .. remember? The basement has a very convenient walk out to the driveway on the side so we literally pushed our bikes into the basement for the winter. 

We have already gutted the ensuite washroom in the master. It has a shower that was just so awkward and Ryan could barely fit. We gutted it the first week and shut the door. We decided to demo immediately but it's a project we will finish over the winter, after the holidays. As for the rest ... the flooring upstairs will be redone but .. we'll do that when we redo the kitchen next year. Simple repainting of the rooms, main bathroom upstairs will be redone next summer at some point. There's a mud room off the kitchen with laundry, which is great. It's got crazy red walls, which I love .. actually, but the vinyl flooring is awful. That's not a big project, fix the paint, redo the flooring, put in different cabinets and Ryan is doing to do a simple tile/mini foot/dog shower base for the pups. That way they can come in from backyard, open the mudroom door (making sure door to kitchen is shut!) and hose down their feet if needed. The plumbing is all there .. you just need to think about it, not a big job. 

The outside of the house is VERY BLAND. We love the house regardless but she needs a facelift. Two/Three years away .. we will redo the siding. A mix of darker siding with stone and wood. A lot of this we can do ourselves with some family help. A new deck and adding a covered porch. The back deck is not well build and very shaky. We will be doing that project next summer, after the workshop is done. It's quite high with steep, uneven steps. We are going to make the level off the mudroom, smaller, with 6-8 steps down to another platform for chairs and relaxing. Then another set of steps doing down in two directions, one going straight into the dog area and the other into the yard. Fill needs to be backed up against the house, so packed in, right now the waterproof membrane is exposed. 

There are fallen trees and wood that's been put aside over the years. The property can use some cleaning up. We will chip the branches and use the mulch to help make some walking paths into the bush. The bush is not as dense as I thought, you can actually walk around quite well. A bit of trimming here and there but not bad. Our dogs are city dogs, very independent and can't be offleash, we also foster dogs which is why we opted for a good yard for them. Even though we are on a gravel dead end road, I want to be able to walk them off the road without getting tangled. 

We got a trail camera as a house warming gift from my mother-in-law. So far .. just deer but I love deer so that's ok!

Thank you!

Matted prints for clients

Thank you to everyone who booked a fall session this year. I was able to send a $500 donation to Sit With Me Rescue to help with their continuous need of funds.

This session included an 11x14 print (16 x 20 mat) that I'm very happy to deliver to my customers. They arrived today and look beautiful! Beautiful photographic memories should not be born, live and die on a computer.

 

Wall Art

I had another order come in today from my printer of the same lion. He's pretty popular. This will be two clients whom have fallen in love and wanted something substantial on their wall.

In my shop, I currently have a selection of prints/sizes available in either photographic lustre paper or fine art paper. This is a sampling. If you have seen a photo of a cobbled street in Prague, a curious giraffe or a beautiful dog on my site and have always wondered about getting a print, message me. I can do almost any size in many different options. There are traditional canvas wraps, there are metal prints, wood block prints, photographic prints, standouts and other types of dry mounting. 

I don't have a price list, as there are just too many options. However if you are able to send me the type of product, the photo and size — I will get back to you with a quote. 

Have you adopted from Sit With Me Rescue?

Over the years I have photographed many dogs for Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue. If you have adopted with Sit With Me and would like some photos of your dog, I have them available for purchase. 

The digital files are good for printing up to 8X12 inches and there is no watermark. They cost $22 per file and I will donate $2 from each sale back to Sit With Me. 

I have put up 5 featured dogs, along with a list below, categorized by year. I only have the names from when they were in rescue. If you recognize your dogs name and would like their photos, you can fill out the form and I will be in touch and put them online for you. If you are pretty certain I did take some photos but you don't see their name list .. get in touch and I will investigate. 

My work with Sit With Me is on a volunteer basis. By purchasing files, you not only help Sit With Me but you help me continue to this relationship of which I'm very proud.   

 

Sit With Me adoption faces of 2016

Here is a collage of some the wonderful dogs I met this year through Sit With Me. Some have been adopted, some are still looking for a home. If you are considering adding a dog to your family, please look at adoption. There are so many different types available with many rescues. Do your research, ask questions and adopt responsibly. 

My goal is to photograph dogs to help get them noticed, expedite the process to their new life and raise awareness about adoption. 

2017 Calendars for sale - images from Kenya!

Great Christmas gift! Limited quantities

Hi everyone! I decided to put together a calendar to commemorate the beautiful wildlife I saw in the Masai Mara. If you have seen my photos on my blog or on Facebook and loved them .. here some are that you can look at for the following year. 

Buy here

While staying at Entim Camp, David Lloyd arranged to have someone come visit us to speak about her passion for cheetahs. Dr. Elena V. Chelysheva, PhD is the head of the Mara-Meru Cheetah Project. The Mara-Meru Cheetah Project aims to secure habitats for the long-term survival of cheetahs and their ecosystems through multi-disciplined and integrated scientific research, community outreach and educational programs. She gave us a presentation slideshow with tons of facts about the cheetah and her work. I left my visit with her with a feeling of hopefulness because of their teams commitment to helping cheetahs and working with the local Maasai. I have created a page for Mara-Meru Cheetah Project in the calendar and $2 from every sale of the calendar will be donated to them to help with their cause. For more information please see their website

The calendars are $20 each plus shipping ($3.50 for Canada, $6.50 for US and $10 for international. The week starts on a Sunday and I have listed no holidays, there are just too many and wasn't sure which to include and which to omit and for which areas. I am only doing 1 print run so don't delay in ordering. 

Details

  • 11 X 8.5 inches, 12 months

  • Start of the week is on Sunday, they are in English only.

  • Please allow 2 weeks for delivery by Canada Post.