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Monthly Archives: December 2015

My last round up of adoptables for the year is here and it’s like a New Year’s Eve white party! While I have no issue photographing white or black or black and white dogs I’ve been told by Fetching Dogs that I will have some other coloured dogs to look forward to photographing in January. Obviously no such promise was made by Arctic Breed Rescue.

Apart from the little brindle pied puppy, Trophy, all of these gorgeous creatures are still looking for homes.*

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You know the rules, you only get to enjoy the cute puppies if you share them with friends!

* Trophy does have a brother that looks very similar, who I haven’t photographed, who is still available.

At least once a year we try to take a holiday with the dogs. Mostly because I hate going away without them but another very real reason is because I want to take photos of them somewhere new. Typically we go several hours south but this year we decided to cut out the long return drive and just go to the Central Coast. We were lucky to score a last minute cancellation for a house in Copacabana. I knew nothing about the area but the house looked nice and having waited until November to book meant we were in no position to be choosey. We headed off on the Saturday before Christmas and stayed until Boxing Day. Both of us had been working very long hours for some time so it was really good to go offline and completely relax. It wasn’t until Christmas Day that I felt like picking up my camera again. We’d enjoyed time with friends the day before so we had no plans to eat turducken, wear silly hats and read each other Dad jokes to celebrate the day, instead we drove to Long Jetty to take photos of Bruno. Not very traditional, I know, but I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather have done. I really wanted to photograph all four dogs together with the light but we decided that we’d need at least two extra sets of hands to make that happen. Apparently I wasn’t the only photographer who decided to take a photo excursion to that location for Christmas. There were several, already set up with tripods, at each of the jettys. I made do with some long grass and an old bench.

smiling pit bull type with big sky and off camera flash

Tri colour pit bull type on bench with big sky and flash

American Staffordshire Terrier type dog on bench with flash

American Staffordshire Terrier type dog on bench with flash looking judgemental

Checkout was at 11am the next morning but with sunrise at 5.45am I figured that left me oodles of time to cram in two more photography sessions! (Cramming, the story of my life!) I set my alarm for 5am but when I got up the forecast was for fog until 9am. I waited until sunrise and it wasn’t looking good so Angel’s shoot with the light at Avoca Beach was postponed until next time. I went back to bed for a couple of hours and then did some photos in the garden. Bruno was up first, because he has a Facebook page that needs content, not because he was the most willing subject at that hour of the day! I got some new lenses recently that I haven’t had time to test so all of these ones of Bruno are with the Canon 85mm f1.8 (I really want the f1.2 but I’m not going to invest until Canon bring out an updated version) and the Canon 35mm f1.4 II.

Sable smut Amstaff

Sable smut pit bull type dog with drool

Bruno the Dog

Sable smut American Staffordshire Terrier type dog

pit bull type dog with buddha

pit bull type dog with backlighting

“I hate being the favourite”

Sad pit bull type dog in chair

Sable smut Amstaff type dog with frinkles

When I was done with the posed stuff I let Chopper and Angel outside. They may be seniors, at 10 and 11, but there’s no sign of them slowing down. Angel had surgery to remove a couple of lumps only a week beforehand but keeping her out of trouble isn’t an option.

Staffy and Amstaff playing rough

pit bull type dogs playing

flying Staffy

Nothing makes this dog happier than being chased.

flying Amstaff

I threw Bruno’s birthday Kong Wubba into the mix. It’s taken a real beating since October but it’s still functioning. Just.

two pit bull type dogs running with toy

three pit bull type dogs tugging on a toy

Two dogs running with toy

It’s important to stop and bust out a pose for the camera every once in a while.

Amstaff type dog with flipped ears

dog leaping through the air to get toy

two dogs running with kong wubba

pit bull type dog running with toy

Dog with toy being chased

two dogs playing with kong wubba

two pit bull types playing tug

two pit bull type dogs running with toy

two dogs running with toy

Angel is notoriously hard to get to look at the camera. She’ll sit and stay and drop but getting eye contact with any kind of camera, even a phone, is SUCH a struggle. She’s immune to food and all of my noises. I tried an “are you hungry” to get this one shot!

black staffy with bad ears

We adopted these two only three months apart and they’ve been partners in crime for over nine years now. Much as Chopper and Bruno have become best buddies he’ll still snuggle up with Angel on a regular basis and it makes my heart just about explode.

two senior dogs enjoying a tender moment

The terrier instinct in strong in this one.

alert staffy

More Bruno, just because the camera loves him.

tricolour blue fawn pit bull type dog

Once the toy was put away the fun police was allowed to join the pack. Trixie is younger than Chopper and Angel (if she was in fact 2 when we rescued her) but she’s had more than her fair share of health issues so she looks every bit of her nine and a half years.

Senior blue brindle Amstaff type dog

Old pit bull type dog

Senior blue brindle Amstaff type dog with tongue poke

This morning I came across a video of these two playing together four years ago. I’m glad I took it because Trixie doesn’t play and it hasn’t happened again since.

Two rescue blue pit bull type dogs

Trixie was doing such a good job of hamming it up I took her out the front of the house to the fancy chairs.

Senior pit bull type dog on wooden seat

Senior blue brindle amstaff on wooden seat

Copacabana is a really lovely spot and the beach there has a section that’s dog friendly. It was a bit too busy for us to take any of our lot to but if you have dogs that come when they’re called and don’t carry on like idiots around unknown dogs then you’d probably love it there. We stayed at Kirinbell Cottage and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere pet friendly in the area.

I had hoped to do a Christmas photo of all four dogs together to round up 2015, as per tradition, but I’ve been flat out for the past few months. Which is not a bad complaint! But one (extremely good looking) dog is better than none, right?

pit bull type dog wrapped in fairly lights for Christmas

I’m officially on holidays and I’ll be taking a break from all things Ruthless for the rest of the year. (As I’m writing that I know it probably won’t be more than a week and as if I’m not going to take any photos for that week even, #workaholic) But, my auto-reply will be on and I’m going to take a break from social media. I’ll be back with a bang in 2016 with my best of 2015 and the launch of my Tails of Sydney charity book project.

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog posts and takes the time to reply to them sometimes and generally makes me feel like I’m not talking to myself on here. There are a few standouts but I won’t name for fear of forgetting others. Please know that your appreciation is appreciated. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year <3

This session was another birthday present from a husband to his wife. I send out a questionnaire prior to every session and from their answers I saw that all three dogs were under two, had only done puppy school level obedience training and one was camera shy. I had my work cut out for me! I lined up an assistant for the shoot and allowed extra time for the dogs to learn the ropes. I started with Abbie, the supposedly camera shy one.

smiling cavoodle

Well that was a pleasant surprise! She was a little timid but she did really well at overcoming it.

cute cavoodle in flowers

Next up was Floyd. The middle child. Head tilt level: expert.

white oodle dog on bench doing head tilt

Smiling oodle on bench

He wasn’t terribly comfortable in front of the camera but I took my time and used every trick in my arsenal. We got there in the end.

smiling white oodle dog on bench

Archie is the baby of the family. Feeling left out that her daughter and husband both had dogs, Michelle decided that she wanted one too.

smiling shih tzu mix

He turned out to be the most challenging, but I probably shouldn’t tell you that because I worked all kinds of voodoo and looking at the photos you’d never guess he was anything but perfect!

cute black and white dog on bench

small oodle on bench doing head tilt

None of the dogs could be off-lead so I had this marvellous idea to get two people behind the door holding the leashes and one behind me to keep their attention in my direction and do a family shot. Even with my assistant helping as well it just couldn’t be done. Some dogs just don’t share my vision. So I kept Allie and fired the other two. I’m not called Ruthless for nothin’!

cute cavoodle in doorway

That wasn’t the only unsuccessful group shot. There were quite a few suggestions that none of the dogs were feeling so, knowing that I had plenty of individual photos, I called it a day. And then this happened …

family with three poodle mix dogs

… it’s fair to say that everyone was in need of a hug by the time we were done – me included!

Mark pre-paid for my Premium Collection so Michelle wouldn’t have to make any big decisions about what to order. I like his way of thinking. Here’s a quick snap of their products before I wrapped everything ready for collection tomorrow. As with all my product photos, these all look much better in real life!


Lizzie’s owner first came across me through the volunteer work I do for Arctic Breed Rescue. Lizzie used to have a Samoyed “sibling” but he died suddenly and it was this that prompted her to get Lizzie photographed. Although she’s in good health, she’s 13 now, and while no one likes to think about their dog passing she knew Lizzie wouldn’t be around forever so she wanted to have nice photos to remember her by. We started their session at home so I could do some running shots without having to worry about Lizzie taking off. She’s at the age where she should know better by now but having her off lead in a park wasn’t an option. She’d barely done two strides when she started limping, eeeek. I hoped it was just a bindi but despite her smile it seemed to be more than that. We decided not to do any more action shots, packed everyone up and went on-location. I’d found this spot nearby earlier in the day and fell in love with it despite the ridiculous amount of flies (the term “plague proportions” was used)!

happy white dog in long grass

smiling white dog in long grass

There was probably 75% cloud cover but I managed to still create some beautiful images thanks to all that lovely long grass.

white dog in field

There was the teeniest bit of blue sky so I used my light and got down low to include it in some shots.

happy white dog wide angle

white dog with big ears in long grass

For some variety we moved to another spot for the next lot of photos. By the time we got there it was quite windy and rain was definitely on the way but we soldiered on! Shooting a white dog on an overcast day is like having a giant softbox, things could definitely be worse.

smiling dog with female owner

white dog against big sky

Considering her age and her incident at the start of the shoot it was great that she was still smiling right up until the end.

happy white dog with funny eyebrow

This is the wall collection that Leigh ordered. I’m really honoured that she chose me to capture these special memories for her and I hope that Lizzie gets to enjoy them with her for another few years. I have a deal with mine that if they live to at least 18 they’ll be rewarded handsomely!


I don’t do travel sessions very often but if you’re in Canberra and would like to be notified of my next trip down there please send me an email.