This is Tori. Tori was a stunning Chesapeake Bay Retriever who allowed me to take her pictures for many years. Her Dad Neil, adored her and she was one well-loved pup. Unfortunately, Tori was diagnosed with cancer and our last time spent together was for a photo shoot at the Manassas Battlefield Park. Neil wanted to capture her sweet spirit in a place she loved one final time. A few months after our photo shoot, Tori crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
I was thrilled when I received the call from Neil a few years later and learned about his new addition, Maya. Maya is a bloodline descendant of Tori’s. And the resemblance is strong! Not only in looks, but I could see the behavioral similarities as well.
Maya’s parents wanted to introduce me to her and take some puppy pictures. Neil had many creative ideas to show their similarities but also their differences. He suggested the family peek out of the barn door smiling and looking at the camera. I thought that was a unique idea, one I hadn’t thought of. In that cute picture of Maya peeking out from the barn, what you don’t see is Neil holding her butt and Mom, Kim, squeaking the toy behind me trying to get her attention. We worked well together, as a team, to capture Maya’s personality.
I love when parents come to me with ideas of their own – after all, when you live with the pup, you know the best.
What made Maya’s photo shoot unique was that it was a very hot day and it started pouring moments after I captured some great shots. We wound up hiding in one of the barns until the rain passed. I know some photographers might find unexpected weather as a hindrance, due to scheduling. However, I plan for the unexpected and we were able to roll with the punches. It makes for a relaxing feel for the clients and for me. With all of the new sights and smells, and Maya’s keen awareness of the impending weather, I got to see how laid back and playful she is. I just knew the pictures would be special.
Maya is currently training for dock diving. And I’ve been asked to take her photos diving. I can’t wait since action shots are always cool, and so are underwater shots!
What I learned about Maya from that photo shoot is that she’s always on the go yet still laid back, playful and will always keep you laughing and she’s smart … too smart. She caught on quickly and learned that if she sat still long enough for a couple shots she could run to Neil and I to get praise and treats.
I’m so grateful that I get to use my passion for photography and animals and do it for a living. And it’s a great thing to be able to keep up with my clients’ families and watch them change and grow over the years.