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I first met Bindi last March when I photographed her and “little brother” Cosmo for my Tails of Sydney book. She was already starting to show signs of her age but I was still shocked when I got a message in January asking if I could schedule an urgent session before she was given her wings. As I said in my last post, Bindi was living with pretty bad arthritis. Her owner was doing everything to keep her comfortable but in January she learned the devastating news that her darling girl had a very aggressive type of bone cancer which was inoperable. I was on the other side of the country when I got the news but I scheduled a shoot at their home as soon as I got back.

I had mentally prepared myself for a very sick dog, not the same happy girl I’d photographed 10 months prior. Despite everything she still lit up the room with her smile.

smiley senior dog on couch very grey

senior red dog on couch smiling very grey

I brought her a toy, like I do for all my clients, but I wasn’t even sure if she’d be interested in it. Turns out she was. She definitely was!

old dog on bed chewing favourite ball

elderbull on bed with favourite ball

Cosmo had lived with Bindi since he was five months old. They had a very special bond and gorgeous matching smiles to show it.

two old dogs lying on bed together smiling

happy white staffy on owners bed

smiling white staffy on owners bed

After I was finished rearranging the bedroom furniture we moved outside to the courtyard.

staffy smile

happy fat dog on sun lounger

smiling old dog lying on sun lounger

senior dog with white hair smiling at sunset

old dog lying with head on paws

When we said our goodbyes I got a massive lump in my throat. I’ve photographed a lot of dogs that have passed away before I ever got to see them again but knowing that I’d definitely never see Bindi again really upset me. It’s taken me a long time to write this post for that reason.

Our session was on a Thursday evening. Bindi made it through the weekend but early the following week she let her owner know it was time. Their vet came over and she passed away peacefully at home. She was a special girl who’ll be missed by many.

We’d discussed Cosmo at the shoot and how he’d cope on his own. The plan was to adopt another dog once they’d had time to grieve. Several weeks later I saw my client commenting on posts on the Fetching Dogs Facebook page so I sent her a message offering to put in a good word for her when she’s ready. She replied with a photo of her new Staffy that she’d just adopted from the pound. She thought she’d wait longer but with the storms at the time there were so many dogs at the pound and she felt it was the right thing to do. I wholeheartedly agreed and insisted on dropping her product order over so I could meet the new addition. Our eldest Staffy, Angel, is twelve and a half now. Sometimes I get pangs of sadness that when she leaves us we’ll never own another dog as funny as her. Well, Pippi is just like her – right down to the ninja bed-wetting when things don’t go her way! It was so lovely to meet her. I have a feeling she’s going to bring a lot of joy (and naughtiness) to that household and help Cosmo and his person to heal. I’ve been told that I’ll get to photograph her once she’s learned some manners. I can’t wait.

In my eagerness to meet Pippi I never did photograph the acrylic collection and album from this session but there’s a flip-through of the album on my Instagram now. It combines photos from both of Bindi and Cosmo’s sessions with me.

If you’ve been thinking about booking a shoot with me now is my favourite time of year – it’s not too hot, parks and beaches aren’t busy (especially during the week) and I can wear my ugly vest with many pockets without people asking how I’m not boiling! Check out my website for more details.

Sydney Dog Lovers, it’s competition time! 

This hamper contains over $300 worth of goodies and they could all be yours!!

Entry is a simple two step process:
1. Post a photo of your dog in the comments on this Facebook post; and 
2. Subscribe to the Ruthless Photos newsletter here (if you’re already subscribed you’ll receive an email today, simply reply to it asking to be included in the draw).

Do you want more chances to win?
• Follow Ruthless Photos on Instagram for a bonus entry into the draw.
• Use Easter props in the photo of your dog for two bonus entries into the draw. (Tragically for Miss Trixie I couldn’t find my extensive selection of bunny ears this morning!) 

Don’t forget to like the Ruthless Photos page and like and share the post too!

Entries close at noon on Wednesday 19th April 2017. The winner will be chosen at random that evening and notified by email.

This competition is open to Sydney residents only. The items in the hamper were chosen with a Staffy sized dog in mind. Hamper collection will be from Rupert&Dora in Paddington and everything can be exchanged (except the Tails of Sydney book, the two calendars or the vouchers) for sizes that are appropriate for your dog.

Here’s a full list of the hamper contents:
1 x JW Bouncin’ Bowlin’ Pin
1 x JW Treat Puzzler
1 x JW Hol-ee Roller
1 x Rogz Flying Object
1 x Fuzzyard Magic the Monkey plush toy
1 x Fuzzyard Teal puffa vest (size 5)
1 x Andrea Vecera spiked dog bowl
1 x 100g bag of Fish Sticks by Australian Natural Treats
1 x 50g bag of Natural Grass-Fed Lamb Treats by K9 Natural
1 x Tails of Sydney book
1 x Rescued Blockheads 2017 calendar
1 x Rescued 2017 calendar
PLUS Ruthless Photos and Ruthless Leather vouchers worth over $200

Good Luck!

With my Tails of Sydney book finished and at the printer I was ready to hang up my camera for a while and catch my breath. That’s when Cooma’s owner got in touch and asked if I could schedule a session as soon as possible because her rescue puppy wasn’t going to be a puppy for much longer. How could I say no to this face?!

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask standing on rocks with head tilt and funny ears

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask lying on rocks with head tilt

“What’s that?” you ask. “Only one of those beings is a dog” you say! If you want to include two-legged family members in a couple of the photos during the session I’m happy to oblige.

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask sitting on rocks blonde toddler girl

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask at beach looking into the distance

Cooma loved running around in the sand … and running off to make new friends!

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask running at beach in Sydney

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask running at beach in Sydney with female owner

When the sun started to set we headed over to our second location for the off-camera lighting portion of her shoot.

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask standing on rocks with sunset behind wide angle with OCF dog photography

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask standing on rocks with sunset behind wide angle with OCF dog photography tongue out licking nose

couple with baby and puppy sitting on rocks with sunset behind

It really was a very pretty sunset that night. I can’t thank that flock of birds enough for flying in front of my lens at just the right time!

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask standing on rocks with sunset behind and birds in the sky wide angle with OCF dog photography

Cooma’s people chose this acrylic wall collection along with an album and digital files … all while Cooma slept underneath the sofa in my viewing room, safe from grabby toddler hands!

Did a new puppy enter your life recently? They grow up fast, get in touch if you’d like me to freeze this moment of ultra-cuteness.

Who remembers the last Koolie I photographed, Paxy? This is her little “brother” Rufus. He’s pretty cute, right?

tri-colour Koolie puppy holding red ball in mouth on beach in Sydney

tri-colour Koolie doing zoomies on beach in Sydney

tri-colour Koolie puppy running with red ball on beach in Sydney

I have a dog loving friend (who I won’t name and shame) who doesn’t like puppies. I don’t understand, they make me happier than just about anything else on the planet!!

tri-colour Koolie puppy running on beach in Sydney

big eared tri colour puppy standing on rock

Rufus (and Paxy) belong to a dog trainer so even though he was still really young at his session he already had some basic obedience. That really helps me do my job well.

brown koolie puppy posing on log at beach

The day of our shoot was one of the windiest I’ve ever worked on. Rufus did well to avoid getting blown into the water!

tri colour brown koolie puppy posing on rock at Sydney beach with dramatic sky

tri colour brown koolie puppy making silly face with dramatic sky using off camera flash for dogs

After we’d had enough of being blown around we moved up to the park to shelter among the trees. It was quite a long session for a puppy and I was starting to lose his attention (and cooperation) until he found this stick. Apparently sticks are more exciting than hotdog! (Don’t worry, we didn’t throw the stick or let him eat it.)

tri colour brown koolie puppy with stick in mouth at Sydney park with dappled light

silly brown koolie puppy with stick in mouth at Sydney park with bokeh

tri colour brown koolie puppy headshot

cute puppy tugging on toy

After all of the things we had to offer had lost their appeal we packed up and let the tired puppy go home to sleep.

Rufus’s wall art and album are currently being produced but I’ll share a photo on my Facebook page once they’re ready.

I’ll be launching an exciting project for puppy owners soon. If you sign up to my mailing list you’ll be first to receive all the details.

Back in 2013 I photographed a very beautiful and extremely well trained Border Collie named Kyna. Hers was my first ever shoot in Sydney city, she introduced me to areas I’d never seen before. She very sadly passed away the following year but one of my photos has been tattooed onto her owner’s leg so she’ll always be remembered.

Fast forward to 2016, I launched my Tails of Sydney book applications and received one from Kyna’s owner, a foster carer for one of the groups the project has supported, for her two Border Collies, Keely and Gryffin. I replied straight away with a resounding yes … please!

Much like with Kyna’s shoot we struggled with scheduling due to bad weather. The end of the project was drawing near and time was of the essence so we ended up having to shoot verrry early on a cold Spring morning. We met at Victoria Park, just as the rats were finished foraging for the night (GROSS) while the grass was still wet from the recent rainfall. The dogs didn’t care though, they were just happy to be out and about with their ball.

two border collies posing for camera

You can see the steam on Keely’s breath. I could have done with a big fur coat like hers that day.

tri-colour border collie lying on dew covered grass with cold breath

Gryffin knew the best way to keep warm.

merle border collie running with pink tennis ball

Are these not two of the most photogenic dogs you’ve ever seen? Behind them you can see the lake which is the centrepiece of the park. We did well to keep the water-loving dogs out of it that morning!

two smiling border collie smiling wide angle

tri-colour border collie backlit smiling headshot with cold breath

I wonder if Kyna taught Gryf how to head tilt like a pro?

merle border collie standing in bicycle rack in front of sandstone building

I love this image of them sitting on the bridge together. The steps behind them leads up to the quadrangle where the gorgeous jacaranda tree still stood. It fell down the night before my shoot at Sydney University, what were the odds?!

two smiling border collies standing on wet bridge with heads tilted at sydney uni

The morning commuters on City Road were very interested in who these “famous” dogs were. Apparently only famous dogs would be having their photos taken by a professional. Au contraire, all my subjects are made to feel like celebrities dahling!

cartoon-like caricature shot of two border collies

wide angle photo of two border collies at Victoria Park Sydney

When your big brother loses your favourite ball you’re well within your rights to make him your toy!

Two border collies playing at Victoria Park Sydney grabbing and biting fur

Keely and Gryffin’s people ordered a package that includes wall art, digital files and an album. The wall art will join the canvas of Kyna from the session I had with her in 2013. There’s a flip through of the album on my Instagram feed if you’d like to check it out.

If you’d like to read more about Victoria Park (and 84 other locations) you can pick yourself up a copy of Tails of Sydney from my online store or from Rupert&Dora in Paddington.