Outtakes: The humorous side of pet photography.

It’s no secret I enjoy pet photography.  I’ve been volunteering my time at the local shelter (see here: How to save shelter Cats) photographing the pets in an effort to make them more marketable. It’s working by the way.  Almost immediately two cats were adopted, and every time I post a featured photo people are coming to see the cats and want to know more.  If it weren’t snowing so much I have no problem believing that more of these furry friends (dogs and cats) would be finding homes.  So, back to the story, photographing these pets is hard work!  I don’t use any kind of studio accessories, I photograph them on their terms, in their light.  I like to capture their personalities.  In doing so I sometimes get more than I bargain for.  Most of the trouble comes with tongues.  I have more photos of animal tongues than I can shake a stick at. Some of the funnier moments don’t get photographed because I’m laughing too hard.  Things like cats falling off counters because they aren’t paying attention, scared


cats reacting to some other cat, and dogs unable to stop quite like they planned.  Some of the uncalled for moments are adorable.  I recently photographed Tucker, who rolled all over the place, in a sunbeam, like he was a supermodel of the cat world.

Some of the other outtakes include dogs with their jowels flapping in hilarious ways, tongues sticking out covering noses, tongues covering my camera lens, cats batting the camera and more.  One of my favorites was during an effort to photograph two cats in one cage.  Peepers and Nessie are their names.  While I was photographing Nessie, Peepers was in the back giving me the stare down.  It looked like those photos where you have a mad photobomber.  A few of these are found in the collage below.  Take a look, enjoy, share.  :)



Why you don’t need to breed your pet, and how it isn’t just your life.

I don't need babies.

I don’t need babies.

Spaying and neutering shouldn’t be a point of contention. I’m tired of arguing about it. Without exception, the act of breeding your pet does not affect only you. It is not just “your life” we are talking about. I’m not trying to live “your life” and dictate your choices. I am trying to educate you to make a better choice. I will not apologize or candy coat it. In the end if you choose to do this, it’s on you. It’s on you to make sure you did it right, that you know your pets are healthy, that you aren’t selling a dog to someone that is going to take it to a shelter in three weeks, or worse that hasn’t been vaccinated for parvovirus and will die three days after it’s new owner brings it home. It’s on you.
Here’s why breeding your dog, or cat, is something you need to consider as more than just a here and now thing. Here’s why your arguments that you want to breed your pet so you should are invalid.

1. It’s not just about you.  –  It involves your pet, the other person and their pet, the puppies and kittens, all the people who purchase the puppies and kittens, your veterinarian and their staff(hopefully), and the rescue people who will probably care for at least one of the offspring, and most likely, some of the offspring’s offsprings.  It is not just about you.  If you produce 8 puppies or kittens, the fate of those 8 are a result of your decisions. What happens after they leave your home is a result of your decision.  If they end up euthanized, it’s a result of your decision.  Done.

2. Your pet doesn’t need to have babies – There is no need for a pet to reproduce.  It doesn’t make them better, happier, or healthier.  It doesn’t make you better, healthier, or happier either, and if you do it right, it won’t make you richer.  If you’re not doing it right, you shouldn’t be doing it all.  Your pet, male or female, will be a better pet if you get them fixed.  They don’t have the biological imperative to search out a mate, they don’t pee everywhere, and they don’t have heat cycles. You don’t need to deal with the mood changes brought on by hormone surges. Spaying and neutering at a young age reduces the chances of uterine, mammary, and testicular cancers immensely.  Without a second thought in my head, the most important point of why your pet doesn’t need to have babies, is because there are babies, and older pets, mutts, mixes, purebreds, and show dogs, all dying in shelters all over the country on a daily basis.  We don’t need more puppies or kittens, we need more homes for the ones that are already here. 

3. If we don’t breed pets, they will go extinct. – OH Please.  There will always be pets. The decision to not breed your pet doesn’t preclude others from not breeding theirs. The breeding of pets should be left to people who do their best to ensure they are breeding healthy, sound, and happy animals.  I don’t even include pedigreed here, because while it is a way of ensuring a breed standard and keeping records, it’s not a guarantee of health.  We will never run out of pets, even if you don’t breed yours. 

4. You aren’t going to clone your pet with a puppy/kitten – Animals are individuals, shaped by the environment and their genetics.  You can breed your female to a male just like her and you probably will get something that looks like her or him, maybe even down to little markings, but you aren’t going to get a mini-me.  Don’t breed your pet because you think that you can recreate him or her in a puppy or kitten.  It won’t happen.  Not even in a test tube.

These are the reasons I have for you. Think about them carefully.  Think also about how much it will cost to go about breeding your pet with care rather than abandon.

Let me break down some expense points for a typical purebred dog breeding: 

  • The cost of your dog
  • The cost of feeding your dog until breeding age (roughly 1.5 -2 years old), during gestation, and afterwards
  • The cost of buying sanitary napkins for a female dog (three times, if you wait until 1.5 years)
  • The cost of removing urine stains for an intact male dog who has marked your house, or the cost to retrieve him from the pound after he escapes in search of female)
  • Initial and yearly veterinary visits and vaccinations
  • the cost of registration for registered pets (Lets talk AKC here… UKC, CKC, not valid in most breeders eyes)
  • The cost for pre-breeding exams (Eyes, HIPS, Elbows, vWD, cardiac testing)
  • The costs to show and title your pet in any arena proving their conformation and abilities. Working Dog trials for gun dog breeds, herding dogs, working dogs.
  • The breeding fees (stud and dam fees)
  • The cost of  veterinary care during gestation.  Usually includes an XRAY or Sonagraphy.
  • The cost of Veterinary Care if something goes wrong, think C-Section.  Think hundreds of dollars.
  • The cost of having the puppies vetted after birth (Everything times the number of puppies)
  • The cost of extended amounts of time and puppy formula when the dam doesn’t like her babies.
  • Finally, the cost of taking any puppy back that “didn’t work out” or “got sick” or “has bad hips”.  How do you find homes for those?

If you are going to breed your dog, even if it isn’t purebred, there are things to think about.  If you are going to breed your cat, it’s not much different, except, when all those people who said they wanted a kitten decide they don’t, you’ll find yourself the proud cat parent of 6 kittens and a Momma, for months, and months, and many veterinary bills.

I can’t argue with people who have decided to do something, but I can make my point to those of you on the fence.  I would like for you to consider all these things before you decide to breed your pet.  I would like you to walk through any shelter in the country, to look on Petfinder.com, at allll the once cute puppies and kittens, and then I would like for you to decide no, I don’t need to breed him/her.  But if I haven’t convinced you, if you still must do it, or if you’ve accidentally done it, there is hope.  Please care for your pet and it’s babies in a responsible fashion.  Don’t give them to people who can’t care for them, don’t dump them in the street/river/road, and ensure that whatever you do, it’s done to the best of your abilities, so that, in the end, that puppy or kitten doesn’t dies in the euthanasia room of a shelter somewhere like so many already have and so many more will.

The end.





How to Save Shelter Cats

I took a leap today and ventured out to the local animal shelter.  I’ve been feeling a little like I’m wasting my skills trying to figure out what I am going to do with my life, and I haven’t been taking photos much.  The answer to this, I thought, was to volunteer to help at the shelter.  I just went to check it out and wound up hanging out taking photos.  I learned they have over 8o cats right now, and not enough time to advertise them all.

I know from experience how important it is to advertise, even for pets, especially for shelter pets.  There has been some evidence that good, pretty, pictures get critters adopted much faster.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m donating my time and skills to helping get some of these cats adopted.  Here’s some of the finished photos.

Remember, these are all adoptable, lovable, cats.  They aren’t feral, they all had homes at one time.  Now… anyone who knows me will tell you I am not a “cat person.”  I love dogs, and horses, and rabbits, and then maybe cats.  Maybe after cows.  However, I feel for them. People dispose of them much quicker than dogs, they are mistrusted, and when they misbehave it’s usually because someone doesn’t understand cat behavior.  I do like them, on occasion. There have even been a few that I would have brought home, but not all of them.  You’ll never find me as a crazy cat lady.  So I’m on a mission, without renting a trailer and filling it with cats, to find these furries a home.  :) I promise I won’t be blogging about them all the time, I just wanted to show off what I did, and see what you think about my “advertising”.

Fiona Loco Onyx OrmondLookingforlove Slappy Spencer Tiffany Violet  So What do you think about these?  Are they worth the time?


This dog loves snow.

Luna Loves Snow.  That’s all there is to it.  She loves it.  I thought, when we moved here, that winter would be a challenge for her.  She’s short haired and she’s from Florida. I thought she’d refuse to go outside when the snow fell.  I was SOOO wrong.  After a few snowfalls I found her outside digging.  Plowing it with her nose looking for mice and shrews I guess.  I thought about it, then, I did something I don’t usually do and let her outside the fenced area.  It’s not a problem here, we live out in farm country, but it makes me nervous to let her go like that.  I was shocked when she ran around our farm, in the fresh and falling snow, for almost an hour.  She loves it, but only when she’s loose.  If she’s in the backyard she won’t stay out for more than enough time to do her business.  I think it’s great.  I do worry about her paws though, and I’ve noticed that when she comes in her feet are bothering her.  Any suggestions?  She won’t wear boots, or a coat.  I’m pushing it with a collar.  Whatta dog!

I took these photos with a Nikon d7000 and a fixed 50mm 1.8 lens.  They are cropped.  I used 1/640 f22 iso1000 shutter priority in RAW.  I usually overexpose, but didn’t this time since there was really nice light.

Luna in Snow Lunarunning Lunasniffing


Thanks for reading! Stay warm.  – Jamie

Photographing Snowy Somethings

Up in here in PA, there is a lot of talk about Snowy Owls.  I haven’t found one, so I just keep photographing snowy “things” in preparation for the moment when one lands in my front yard.  Photographing snow isn’t terribly hard, just tricky, and cold.  Wear super warm everything, make sure you gloves are flexible so that you can adjust settings and push buttons, and make sure you are watching where you walk.  Especially by stream beds.

 As far as settings, there are a ton of good tutorials online, none of which I could add anything to, so take a look at those. I used the search words “tips for photographing in snow.”  Check your white balance and exposure.  Make sure you keep your camera warm too.  Enough of that.  Here’s the photos.  Of snowy something things.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.