For most of my life, I was never quite a dog person. That changed the day I met Chopper — my now in-laws' pit bull/American Staffordshire Terrier/American Bully mix. He's a huge dog, and (I admit) a bit intimidating when you first meet him. But he also has a huge heart, and I ended up warming up to him fairly easily. I began photographing him about a year and a half ago; he was my original canine muse.
Since that first photo, both he and I have grown in our photographer-model relationship. Even though he was a little wary at first, he eventually learned to expect what was going to happen when I went into the backyard with my camera. Now, he's comfortable with me snapping photos for minutes at a time. He does it all: feats of athleticism, posed portraits, and he's even made cameos in Lego Portrait series.
Since then, I've added a few more canine companions in my life. Chopper has gained a new friend, Charlie. And my wife and I have welcomed our own furry four-legged family member into our lives: Henri. Even though he was named after the great french photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, he hasn't quite warmed up to the camera — yet (he'll get there eventually, I'm sure).
Now, I've done a complete 180 from a few years ago. While I used to be nervous even around a small poodle or Maltese, I've converted into a dog person. Nothing makes me happier than coming home from a long day at the office or a full day of shooting a wedding to my wife and my excited Chihuahua-Pomeranian puppy.
So, as a little visual intermission and to lift your spirits this week, here are a few photos from last weekend, when my wife and I spent a sunny Saturday afternoon in Vallejo. It was a puppy party, to say the least.