Sunday, January 19, 2014

New year, new friends, new direction

I can't imagine what my life would be like without an animal friend or two to share it with. My first dog, a beagle named Spotty, was my Christmas gift when I was 10 years old. My mother kept my Christmas wish list from that year. On it, I wrote German shepherd, keeshond, collie, and several other breeds – all carefully crossed out with "any kind of dog" becoming the only item on my list. 

Since then, I've shared my life with three cats and six dogs. I'm allergic to cats, which is why there are fewer cats than dogs on my experience list. I've been taking allergy shots for almost 18 months now, so decided to adopt a kitten. Bisbee Blue, a 1-pound gray tabby, became part of my life a week before my long-time friend Padme the wonderdog crossed the rainbow bridge. A little more than a month later (three months ago today), I adopted Ariel, a Great Pyrenees mix (we think with golden retriever), 85+ pounds of fluffy gentle giant. It took exactly four days for Bisbee Blue to stop hissing and spitting and realize that she was missing a whole lot of fluffy comfort. 

All of my furry friends have contributed to my artistic expression, often dragging me away from a scene like Padme the wonderdog did in 2005 when I caught this image of an uncharacteristically sunny day on the Oregon coast. 

The day after I brought Ariel home from her foster home in Portland, a friend and I decided to escape lowland fog and head for Chinook Pass in the Cascade Mountains. Once we were above the fog layer, the sun was shining, the sky was a brilliant blue, and there was no wind. Washington route 410 winds through part of Mount Rainier National Park. Instead of heading for the pass, we decided to travel through the park. I had an ulterior motive: it was nearing sunset, there was no wind, and we would likely get perfect shots at Reflection Lake. Mount Rainier is one of my very favorite places and photographic subjects. Other views and times can be seen in my Places galleries

Reflection Lake offers up what we would call a cliche image in art school. Everybody wants to get this shot, which means there are lots of photographers getting great shots of this same scene. So most of us will look for another approach. I wanted to get that shot because I have a client who wanted a mountain reflected in water to illustrate her business card and advertising. I had the opportunity to get both – a unique view and a classic view. First is the classic view.

My friend was on the shore photographing and I asked him to hold the dog's leash so I could get a couple of shots. The first was so successful that I've had people ask if it's a photo illustration. We don't usually see just the reflection of a scene as dramatic as Mount Rainier. I like the image of my dog drinking but I think it would be a stronger image if the mountain was clearer. The image above and the first one below are available as fine art prints in my Sky and Water Gallery

I'm looking forward to many more adventures with Ariel the angel dog and Bisbee Blue. I'm going to start sleeping with my camera under the bed. There have been many touching moments early in the morning. Ariel is a loving being who is always patient, always gentle. Our kitty has a very special friend. And I'm blessed to have two very special friends. 

About Bisbee Blue: when I first met my kitty when she was 5 weeks old, she and her siblings all had eyes the color of turquoise. Her eyes have gradually changed. At 6 months old, she has eyes that are green surrounded by yellow. Bisbee Blue turquoise is distinctive deep blue stone that was mined in Bisbee, Arizona, until about 1980.