ruthless photos – sydney dog photographer » sydney's premier pet photographer

Masthead header

Category Archives: Us and our dogs

Bruno and I both got new things when I returned from my trip – I got a lovely new/old floor in my workspace (good riddance revolting carpet, thanks Daveless!) and my boy got a toy that makes him sad because no one wants to steal it from him.

sable american staffordshire terrier pit bull type dog lying on wooden floor with toy

sable american staffordshire terrier pit bull type dog lying on wooden floor with head on toy

I decided to lose the toy to see if he’d perk up. Nup.

sable american staffordshire terrier pit bull type dog lying on wooden floor

What about sitting?

sable american staffordshire terrier pit bull type dog sitting on wooden floor

Sitting got boring real fast.

sable american staffordshire terrier pit bull type dog sitting on wooden floor looking miserable

I also got air-con in my workspace. After 12 summers here I no longer have to go for a drive or to the cinema in order to get some relief from the heat. There is a God! You can now see approximately 18 square inches of that lovely floor, since I’ve moved all my furniture back in, but it was nice to pretend I have a minimal, airy, space for photos, even if it was short-lived.

Happy New Year everyone! I actually started this blog post on Christmas Eve but there came a time when I had to silence my inner workaholic and step away from my computer. It seems like a lifetime ago since these puppies were here. I’ve since been to the US and back and I’ve also done more manual labour than anyone should ever have to do during a heatwave! I officially go back to work tomorrow but I’ve already photographed ten puppies, answered a million emails and written three blog posts, so I guess you could say the silence has been well and truly broken.

The first post I’m going to share is some snaps I took of our last lot of foster puppies. Some time in December when I was in the thick of packing Tails of Sydney book orders I was sent a photo of a puppy with the same markings as Bruno, by one of my contacts at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, and asked if I’d like to foster her and some siblings. Because I’m a sucker with a capital S I said yes and our dog pack grew to seven the next day when I brought Mars, Sprinkles and Lollipop home. Through fostering and my volunteer work I’ve been around a lot of puppies in my time and I have to say that these were the most full-on ones I’ve ever encountered.

Bruno has always been great at teaching puppies boundaries but he really had to turn it up a notch with this lot. They weren’t here for long but they still got to learn some important life lessons in that time. I fell completely in love with Mars (the blue fawn boy) and wish with all my heart that we could have kept him. The bromance that was forming between him and Bruno was all kinds of adorable. There is a limit to my crazy dog lady tendencies though, and I know four dogs is enough, so I dropped him and his two sisters back to the shelter on Christmas Eve, where they all got adopted that day. (I thought Lollipop, mini-Bruno, was staying a bit longer so I didn’t take as many portraits of her.)

If you received this blog post by email, please click on the heading to open in a web browser so you can view the gallery properly. Click on the first image to open and then scroll using the next and back buttons or the arrow keys on your keyboard.

To ease the blow slightly I was given another puppy, their sister Starburst. She never got to meet the big camera in the short time that she was here but I posted some stuff on my BTS Instagram account and here’s a video of her playing with Bruno on her last morning. Cute, much?!!

Much as Daveless and I both love having puppies here we’re taking a break from fostering. Angel, Chopper and Trixie are getting old and it’s time to let them enjoy their senior years in peace. (Don’t worry about Bruno, I know enough puppy carers to be able to arrange playdates for him, he won’t be deprived!)

I already mentioned my book but I’m going to give it another plug, because I can! Sydney Dogs and Cats Home are one of the beneficiaries of the Tails of Sydney project. Please buy a book to help support the great work that they do.

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

Once upon a time there was a little brindle brat who loved the camera and held the title of most photographed dog in Sydney. Like all supermodels, once he got old he was ruthlessly replaced by a fresh faced youngster (do you see what I did there?!). I foolishly thought that working the camera was like riding a bicycle and not something you ever forget, but I could not have been more wrong on that sunny Saturday afternoon when I cast Chopper in the leading role of my photography adventure. Old greyface will be ten in November and his eagerness to please me is long long gone. He granted me about ten minutes of “broken” stays before his desire for the ball (the precious) was more than either of us could handle for a second longer.



Lots of dogs will only react to each of my different noisemakers once. If you’re lucky you’ll get a cute head tilt. If you’re really unlucky you’ll get this expression, like a nun who just had her bottom pinched.


Doing his best Gollum impersonation while waiting for “the precious”.



Once the sun had gone out of view we packed up and just let Chopper be a dog until it got dark. Watching him run and fetch and swim with so much joie-de-vivre made us remember why we foster-failed the little whingebag all those years ago – he’s a really fun dog to hang out with. As a pet photographer I’m guilty of turning every excursion with my own dogs into a photo shoot. This came as an important reminder to put the camera down occasionally and just enjoy the moment. (Ok, so I shot some video on my iPhone, but that doesn’t count!)