Top 10 Aerodynamically Inclined: 2014-2024

Top 10 Aerodynamically Inclined: 2014-2024

Pet Photography to the The Power of Ten

We’re celebrating big time around here my friends. I can’t believe it but… 2024 is a HUGE milestone for this girl!

I’m celebrating the 10th anniversary of Indigo Pet Photography and my journey to become Niagara’s favourite pet photographer. Photographing dogs, and more recently horses, has been the most incredible experience of my life. It’s opened new doors to understanding who I am, and introduced me to amazing new friends. I adore every pet that has honoured me with their presence over the years and am grateful that their humans chose me to capture their spirit.

I am kicking the pawty off with a series of blogs featuring a Top 10 category, 10 years, top 10, get it? Choosing just 10 images is insanely difficult, as every session is so unique and fun, but here we go. Ten of my favourites action images from 2014 to 2024. Buckle up and prepare to be launched into the world of the Aerodynamically Inclined.

2014: Angus, The Great Dane

Such a gorgeous soul he was. So handsome and sweet. He and his mom and I went to Port Dalhousie and had a blast on the beach and the pier on a gorgeous fall evening.

Sadly Angus crossed the rainbow bridge not long after our second photo session, 7 years later, in 2021. I’m so thankful his mom and dad have their Storyboards and prints to keep their gentle giant’s spirit alive.

2015: Lucca , my Texas Mystery Mix

Okay I just had to include my Lucca in this list, I love this photo. He had just come to me as a foster from Texas through Jack Russell Terrier Rescue Ontario, and I caved in in a matter of days and adopted him.

He came with the name Astro, which was cute, but I wanted the happiest dog I ever met to be named after my happy place. (Lucca is a town in Tuscany that I spent 7 years travelling back and forth to. My passion for photography was ignited there.) Once I saw this bouncy scruffy puppy, I knew he wasn’t going anywhere.

I took this photo probably a week after he arrived, you can see that he was loving his new life. I left Indy in the background because it has meaning to me that he be there. He really was flying around that day and this one really captures his aerodynamic qualities best.

Collage of 2021 Winery Dogs of Ontario

2016: Versace the Viszla

Beautiful Versace has really pale colouring for a Viszla, which makes her extra special. This girl comes from Chicago to Canada with her family each year for their holidays. She had a Barrel Room session one year and we had another Signature Session with her 2 little humans in 2022.

This shot of her running across the little bridge over the pond up by the escarpment reminds me how full of personality she is. It might have been a hot summer day, but we had a lot of fun.

From the oodles of images we captured at Cave Spring Vineyard, Her family now have a beautiful Storybook to remember the day by. I love catching up with her antics (mostly snoozing now) on Instagram! 

Embark challenge submissions

2017: Millie the Basset Hound

We had a fabulous evening for this session with Millie. We were somewhere out near Paris, at the farm where she lived. The skies were dark and menacing to the north but the sun was setting beautifully in the west and the light was truly epic.

The corn had recently been cut down and Millie started to collect stalks and bring them back to us. She was amazing! I loved the images that we got really showing off her sassy personality and sweet demeanour.

various dog images in Toronto and NOTL

2018: Beatrice the Mini Sausage… er Dachshund!

Beatrice and her brother Otis were a last minute booking before Christmas in 2018. This shot of Beatrice hydroplaning through the air makes me smile every single time I look at it. The ears, the flower she wore and those little feets reaching out ahead. She nailed it.

My very first dog (I was 5 when I got her) was a dachshund, so they hold a special place in my heart. I’ll tell you this much though, my little Fritzy never pulled off a move like this one!

2019: Walter the Springer Spaniel

I loved working with Walter in the Blossoms. I got some fabulous photos of him and his humans as well as fun ones, like this where he’s rocketing. He’s got tongue out Tuesday down pat.

Sadly a lot of the peach trees have been cut down now, and it’s challenging to connect with a farmer who’ll agree to let you use their orchard. I’m partial to the pink peach blossom but they are really tough to find! If you know any peach farmers that will let me have sessions in their orchard, I’m all ears!

2020: Sophie and Samson the International Shelties

This one takes me back to Covid. Yikes, what a time that was. Fortunately I was able to have sessions in the great outdoors and use my long lens to keep the required distance that we were told we needed.

This shot is so memorable for me. Tammy and I became friends and would get together for wine and dinner down in Port Dalhousie every so often. But not long after her photo session Tammy up and moved, lock, stock and barrel to Lisbon, Portugal with her two shelties, Samson and Sophie. Talk about ballsie!

I had the opportunity to visit with them in 2022 when I visited Lisbon for a day. More on that later!  Alas, Samson passed away last year at 16 years old. He enjoyed the royal treatment being pushed in his stroller through Lisbon and The Algarve to the delight of all who saw them.

I loved capturing the joy Tammy and her pups felt that day in the vineyard and we created some gorgeous wall art memories for her.

2022: Rosie the Rescue Jack Russell Mix

Rosie was one of the pups featured in my Hardcover book called “Bedheads and other irresistible scruffy faces”. This might give you an idea why. She sports the wildest doo and has sassy down to a fine art.

Amazing to think this little rescue almost never made it. She required open heart surgery when she came in to the shelter and thankfully Jack Russell Network Canada sponsored her and covered her surgery. She’s all that and a bag o’ chips.

She and her brother Billy came all the way from Toronto for their photo session in Beamsville, and I’m so glad they did. 

2023: Evil (aka Paragon’s Queen of Darkness) the name says it all

I simply could not end this list without this image of Evil in the Tulips at TASC Tulip Farm last year. We were there at sunrise, hoping to capture amazing photos of her amongst the beautiful blooms.

Evil is an extremely well trained girl, but every so often you reach “that” point, when all bets are off, she loses all common sense, and epic zoomies prevail. She’d had one of those prior to this shot and managed to face plant and slide through the dust and dirt on her face and shoulder, she’s a nut haha. We cleaned her off best we could and carried on, as one does!

I won a bronze medal with this photo in the 2023 International Pet Photographer of the Year awards, in the Action Category! Thanks Rob and Evil for another wild and crazy session!

P.S. here’s a link to a page with details about the 2024 Flower Power Tulip Sessions

There you have it, a selection of 10 of my favourite action shots from the last decade.

Like I said before, it was really tough to narrow this down, especially to one per year! But it’s a fun assortment and I hope you enjoyed it. There’s lots more to come including a wacky look at outtakes! Stay tuned, and please sign up for my newsletter if you’d like all the good dirt, the minute it’s dug up cool

If you’re interested in a session of your own, please explore my website and book a no-obligation consultation call. Let’s create something memorable for you and your best friend – be they dog or horse!

Saddle Up for a Literary Ride: My 7 Must Reads for Niagara’s Dog and Horse Lovers

Saddle Up for a Literary Ride: My 7 Must Reads for Niagara’s Dog and Horse Lovers

Welcome to the end of 2023! Man that went fast, didn’t it?

Once the Christmas madness is over, you deserve to take some time for yourself and relax. Any of these books would be an excellent excuse to curl up with your best friend over the winter.

It’s an eclectic collection of books that have stuck in my brain from years gone by, are recommendations from friends and clients, and even a recent random find that will be my holiday read, as I put the camera down and take a little break! When the new year starts I want to be refreshed and ready to capture pet portraits for Niagara dogs, equines and their humans!

1. The Art of Racing in the Rain
Written by Garth Stein. An all time great storyline  that is both gut wrenching and uplifting. Told through the eyes of an aging dog named Enzo, telling the story of his life with an up and coming race car driver. I read it a number of years ago and have decided to get another copy and read it again… it was that good.
2. Waiting for Gertrude
Written by Stephen Leacock “Medal for Humour”  winning Canadian author Bill Richardson. Truly delightful, it’s set in Paris’s famed cemetery “Père-Lachaise Cemetery” the final resting place of many famous artists including Maria Callas, Jim Morrison and Proust. The twist in the story is that the feral cats in the cemetery have been inhabited by the spirits of the souls interred there. It’s  charming and fun.
3. Horse Brain, Human Brain: The Neuroscience Of Horsemanship
This book is a real eye-opener, written by brain scientist and horsewoman, Janet L. Jones. The book shines a light on how horses think, feel and perceive, and explains how to work WITH your horse’s brain instead of against it. So much to learn. I’ve got this on audio book but would love to get the hard copy  as well. This book comes highly recommended by a number of horsewomen in my world, and me!
Available at Chapters Indigo  and I spied a copy at Beamville Greenhawk too! 
4. All Creatures Great and Small
I absolutely adore the series on PBS and it got me remembering how much joy these books brought me when I was young. I voraciously read each and every one. They were surprising, funny, charming and heartwarming. The perfect gift for any person, young or old, enamoured with our four-legged friends. I highly recommend these beautiful stories, from a time gone by!
5. Sea Biscuit. An American Legend.

Lauren Hillebrand documents the story of a onetime bicycle repairman who becomes an overnight millionaire, hires as his trainer – a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains – and purchases Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price. The trainer hires as a jockey, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson. I mean, what could go wrong? Or what could go right! It’s an incredible story of ups and downs to legendary.

Seabiscuit an American Legend, book cover
6. The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation

Elizabeth Letts tells the legendary story involving what could be categorized as misfits!  Against all odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, a horse rescued from a truck heading to the slaughterhouse, and a Dutch immigrant ascended to the apex of the sport of show jumping. This one was emphatically recommended to me by one of my equine portrait clients.

Available at Chapters Indigo , at Greenhawk Beamsville, as well as Amazon
The Eighty Dollar Champion book cover
7. Lily and the Octopus

My winter read is Lily and the Octopus by Stephen Rowley. I was sold by this review by the Washing Post: A national bestseller combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, “Lily and the Octopus is the dog book you must read this summer”. I’m looking forward to curling up with the boys by the Christmas tree and diving in over the holidays!

The Eighty Dollar Champion book cover

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the books, and please let me know some of your favourites too, I’m always looking for another good read!

Cheers and wags,

2023 Pawliday Gift Guide

2023 Pawliday Gift Guide

2023 Pawliday Gift Guide – Top 10

Are you stuck for a gift idea for a dog or horse-loving friend or family member? Or are you at the point in shopping when you need a “one for me” purchase?

Read on for some fun ideas, some local, some global, but all sure to tickle a pet lover’s fancy.

Hold on to your toques…here we go!

1. Treats for all on your “nice” list!
I went looking for a good local source of treats for horses and a friend recommended Kookies by Krystal. She makes cookies for both dogs and horses, for all occassions! Frankly, they look good enough that I’d be tempted to try them too!

photo from her instagram

2. Peachy Paws & Claws

Now let’s bring it right back home to Niagara with this small local business. Stunning handmade, made-to-order decorative collars with flare! Check out their holiday collection, there is still time get your dog or cat one of these gems!

I heard of them through one of my clients at Deck the Dogs, here is an example of a collar on beautiful pointer pup Lolly!

Available online: ranging from $25-45

photo from Lolly’s Deck the Dogs Session

3. Toastie Toes

After a morning of horsing around at the barn it would be great to come home  and slip into these super cute slippers from Dover Saddlery in Massachusetts. Grab a good book, pour yourself a glass of Barco Noir from Vineland (see below) and cuddle up with your best friend for a decadent low key afternoon!

Available online: $35.95 US

photo from the internet

4. Form meets function!

Stylish branded collars and leashes from Ravine Vineyard, and – plot twist – they both double as a bottle opener! (Just in case you find yourself parched during your wine country adventure LOL.) They’ve been road tested by the Ravine Ridgies, so you know that they can take a beating! Sizes range from small to extra large.

Available at the winery – Leashes are $35 plus tax and the collars are $25 plus tax.

photo supplied by Ravine

5. Feel good gifts that include a donation!

There are lots of fun wine related, doggie themed items in the retail store at Vineland! And their branded merchandise includes a $2 donation to our local SPCA!

Not only can you stock up on Barco Noir for yourself, but you can get your dog their own bottle, in the form of a Vineland stuffy, or their own Barkuterie board! 

Available at the winery:

  • Barco Noir: $19.95 ($2 goes to our local SPCA) Yes, it is a Baco Noir in the bottle, but Barco on the label is a brilliant nuance for your dog lovin’ friends!
  • Bottle Stuffy: $19.95 ($2 goes to the SPCA with every purchase)
  • Recycled branded leash (Adele swears by it): $39 ($2 goes to SPCA with every purchase)
  • Barkuterie Board: $36

Bocce Treats
Bocce Treats

photos supplied by Vineland

6. Smiles that last all month long

It wouldn’t be a gift guide without a shameless plug for the Winery Dogs of Ontario Calendar.  Both Vineland and Ravine happen to carry the 2024 Winery Dogs of Ontario Calendar! Which you can also purchase online if you can’t get to a winery.

Winery Dogs calendar features dogs that are bosom buddies with Ontario’s winemakers, vintners, and winery top dogs – each month is guaranteed to bring a smile.

The 2024 calendar is also available at: Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery, Rockway Vineyards, Featherstone Estate Winery, The Good Earth Food and Wine Co., 13th Street Winery, 2027 Cellars, 180 Estate Winery, Palatine Hills Estate Winery, Ferox by Fabian Reis, and Malivoire Wine Company.

Until December 10th Get FREE Shipping in Ontario when you purchase 2 or more calendars online!

(a portion of the proceeds of Winery Dog Calendar sales are donated to Pet Alive Niagara)

Calendars are $24.95 each – Get yours online

Winery Dogs of Ontario 2024 calendar cover

Cover dogs Penny & Raye from Palatine Hills

7. A Cork Dog or Cat Collar for a Wine Lover

I couldn’t resist this one, I went all the way to Germany (virtually) to find the best cork collar and I think Wigglywoos has to be it. Plus, the name… hahaha. High quality and sustainable, made with hemp webbing and cork. A nice alternative to leather. Cork is a natural mosquito repellent, is hypo-allergenic and is as durable as leather. Hemp is biodegradable and gets softer with time.

Available online: starting from $50 Cdn

photo from the website

8. All the Stylish Equines are wearing them!

I can’t help it, I love these! Maybe your horse suffers from brain freeze, or a general lack of attention (from others) in winter. This  toque is handmade in Canada by the KrzyKraftyKreator. It could be just the thing to put the “cat walk” back into your horse’s winter step, he’ll be rockin’ the pom pom! You can even get a toque to match your horse’s!

Available on Etsy: $25 and $50 for a set

photo from the creator’s Etsy page

9. Winter in Niagara? You need these!

You don’t have to be a rancher to love the SSG Ranchers Winter Gloves. Perfect for those bone chilling days in the barn. My riding instructor Tori swears by them, “They’re the best and they never die.” No finger seams, fleece lined, they’re awesome. You won’t regret gifting a pair of these to the rider in your life. After all, there’s no truth to the old saying “cold hands, warm heart”, it’s just cold hands, grumpy human, in reality. I bet they’ll even be great for dog-walking!

p.s. there’s up to 20% off almost everything at Greenhawk in Beamsville this weekend!

Available at Greenhawk: $67.99

photo from the internet

10. Possibly my favourite bandana pattern ever

I love a cute Bandana, especially at Christmas! I especially like trying to match the bandana pattern to each of my dogs’ personality. Can you guess who will be sporting this one? Little Chief in St. Catharines has the most unique products. The Paws bandanas are made in Bali, but they raise funds for dogs in need through each item they sell. Part of the proceeds from your purchase will be directly donated to rescue, rehabilitate and support dogs in need, and you can’t beat that!

Available at Little Chief & Co.  in store and online (along with many other fun things). Starting from $11.99

photo from the internet

Happy shopping! I hope you discovered some fresh gift giving ideas for all your four-legged friends (and their two legged companions too) this year.

The Canadian Tulip Connection

The Canadian Tulip Connection

Tulips, history and photography come together

This May I was thrilled to be able to photograph dogs and also horses in the tulip fields at TASC tulip farm in Fenwick. As Canadians we have a a fascinating history with the Netherlands. If you don’t know the story of why tulips are a such big deal in Canada (and also how my dad fits in to the picture) please read on!

Following the Nazi Invasion of the Netherlands in the second world war, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands took refuge in Ottawa with her two young daughters, Princess Beatrix and Princess Irene.

While in exile, Princess Juliana gave birth to her third daughter, Princess Margriet. In order that the new princess could hold Dutch nationality exclusively, a section of the Ottawa Civic Hospital was declared Dutch soil. Ottawa also helped to celebrate the princess’ birth by flying the Dutch flag at the top of the iconic Peace Tower. Ottawa ultimately played home and safe haven to the Dutch royal family until the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945.

When she returned to the Netherlands, Princess Juliana wanted to express her gratitute to Ottawa and the Canadian people. Among several gifts – the royals sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa. Since that time, the Dutch royal family has sent tulip bulbs to our capital every year – the gift is known as the “Tulip Legacy”.

The black and white photo below was taken on May 6, 1945, in the town of Amersfoort, a day before the war ended. Skip forward to the 50th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe), in 1995. The photo appeared on the front page of an Amsterdam newspaper. Dad had never seen the photo before, but a war buddy of his mailed a copy of it to him.

That’s my dad (she says, bursting with pride), Captain John Black of the Ontario Regiment, leaning over the “Scout Car” to offer the little Dutch girls candy. With him were his driver, and an “Oranjes”, a Dutch freedom fighter (bottom right).

So in a way, this is my delayed celebration of VE Day. I wanted to share this story with you along with a photo of lovely Dutch equestrienne Roos Dystra and her stunning throroughbred gelding, Quartz, among the tulips!

Hope you enjoyed discovering this “colourful” piece of Canadian history!



senior dog looking up at camera

Five top tips for snapping pawfect pet photos!

Five top tips for snapping pawfect pet photos!

Hey there, fellow dog lovers! Do you ever marvel at how easily our four leggers can brighten the day with a wag of the tails and those puppy dogs eyes? Plus their crazy antics are fodder for those of us who are snap-happy with our smartphones. 

If you wonder why your photos are a little meh, read on to find out how you can up your game.

Here are my top five tips to help you capture snaps that that will actually impress your dog’s fan club!

1. Laying Low

Get down to their level. With dogs that means either you get low… like, ground level low – which with some dogs is realllly low. Or you get them up higher, on a bench, a rock or a log. It’s easier on the old hips and knees by a long shot, and gives a totally different perspective to your photos!

2. Treat Me Right

You can’t seriously expect your sweet pup to work for free! Instead, have a pocket of your dog’s favorite treats on hand to keep them engaged. Unless you have a Lab. In which case definitely keep the treats out of sight until afterwards LOL, unless you like slobbery photos!

3. Light is Magic

The right light can make or break your photos. Don’t snap away in harsh midday sun as it casts ugly, hard shadows – if mid day is the time you want to take photos, then look for open shade, you’ll have far better results. Soft early morning or late afternoon light are the ideal times for capturing keepers that showcase your best friend’s star power.

4. The Sunflower Principle

Think about your subject as a sunflower – girasole in Italian, turns with the sun. You want to have your pet’s face facing the direction the light is coming from! Now that you know the best light to shoot in (see tip #3), don’t stick your pup with his back to the sun and expect to see that sweet little face shine in the photo. Turn him around to face the direction the light is coming from. Even on a cloudy day, you can make this work. (Make sure you aren’t making him squint into the light though, ouch!)

5. Safety in Numbers

Ever think you got the greatest shot and then later look at it and see that your dog’s eyes are closed, doh! In the days of digital, one is never enough and it costs you nuh-thing to overshoot! Take several photos so you don’t miss the über adorable moment that always comes 2.5 seconds after you put your phone down. Trust me it’ll increase your chances of capturing that insta-worthy moment!

Bonus tip
6. Focus on what’s most important

To use a way overused expression, the eyes are the windows to the soul. This definitely applies to our fur kids too! As long as the eyes are in focus, you’re golden, you’ve got a winner. You’ll get so much more satisfaction from seeing their little personality shine through those eyes. Most smartphones allow you to tap on the screen to focus on a specific area, so make those puppy-dog eyes sing!

senior dog looking up at camera

I hope that these tips will help you to create beautiful, insta-worthy photographs while you’re out and about in dog-friendly Niagara!

Cheers and wags,