Earlier this week, as part of my duties with Seattle Pup Magazine, I had a photo session with a 9-month-old Samoyed pup named Ghost.
This marshmallow on legs was chosen as April's SPOTlight feature.
Along with my editor Wendi, my family and I met Ghost and his parents at Discovery Park. A vast park, with many beautiful settings in which to shoot, Discovery Park is one of my favorite places for a photo session in Seattle. In the summer, there is a patch of sweet peas where I love to create images of dogs among the purple and pink flowers. Just a short hike away, is an amazing bluff from which we can watch the sunset. It's an amazing location.
We met Ghost and his people in the parking lot and then headed to a wide, open field to begin the session. I was hoping that the clouds would move in so I wouldn't have to shoot in full sun, but the sun was stubborn and stayed shining the entire time. I will say that it felt really good to feel the warm sun on my face. I just had to get creative with the way that I shoot. (Full sun is not ideal. I prefer a cloudy day, with maybe just a bit of drizzle).
We walked the path through a large, mowed field where dogs were playing off leash with other dogs as their humans chatted and threw tennis balls. It felt like something out of a feel good movie. Everyone was getting along and the dogs were all playing together. Ghost gave them a glance, but I think he knew he had important work to do, so we walked on.
I stopped in the shade of a large evergreen tree and immediately saw potential. I explained to Ghost's human what I was looking for and how I'd like Ghost to be positioned and she went to work. Ghost's mom is a professional dog trainer, and she knew how to ask Ghost to get into position. He happily obliged. I created a series of images, and then re-positioned Ghost on the other side of the path, next to a spooky tree. I mean, it would have been spooky if it was twilight and there was a full moon. I created another series of images, and we moved on. I repeated this process in several locations as we made our way to the bluff.
As we traversed the path, I made sure to give Ghost lots of breaks and plenty of water. The smile never left his face. (Samoyed are known for their smile). He was patient and focused as we walked the path and stopped to shoot. I was really impressed with is patience and his mom's commitment to his training. I could tell that she works with him often.
As soon as we got to the bluff, I noticed a slight shift in Ghost's behavior. Ever so slight. He was reaching his threshold and I knew it. He gave me one opportunity to create an image. One. Then, he could no longer resist and he started to blissfully dig in the sand! I knew we were done and I told our little group of humans that the session was over and that we were done. For me, the dogs ALWAYS call the shots in their photo session. Always. I will never push a dog beyond their limits or ask them to do something they clearly don't want to do.
With that, we began the walk back to the cars. I realized I was starving and ready for dinner. I imagine all the humans felt that way. I bid farewell to Ghost in the parking lot and watched him bounce away.
As we drove to dinner, my family and I began to reminisce about the Sammies that have been in our lives. They are a special breed and will always have a special place in my heart.
You can follow Ghost's Adventures on Instagram. good_boy_ghost
Hugs to your dog!