CategoryPet and family photography Wasilla and Palmer Alaska
A tribute to MacKenzie: These posts are always the most difficult and I write this with tears in my eyes and an overwhelming heaviness in my heart. The world has lost another beautiful soul…MacKenzie, a stunning 12 year old Shepard. I received a call on Tuesday afternoon. The voice on the other end of the phone carried a sense of sadness. Jennifer, who is a veterinarian, told me she had recently diagnosed her beloved dog, MacKenzie with cancer and wanted to schedule… a photo session as MacKenzie didn’t have much time left. I made a few calls, re-arranged my schedule a bit and we met that same evening for the photo session. I met Jennifer, MacKenzie and Jennifer’s wonderful parents at the location. MacKenzie made my heart smile instantly. She was happy, her eyes sparkled and she had the gentlest of souls. She stayed close to her momma and you could tell that was her number one love! She wasn’t much for the squeaky toy, but she did like my husband’s antics. She and her human mom made for beautiful models and she was having a good day. She filled my heart with hope…hope that she would beat this disease. We took our time and let MacKenzie rest, we smiled, and we fought back tears. At the end of the session, Jennifer shared with me that MacKenzie was wearing the bandage because her blood would not clot after the IV and that she hadn’t responded to treatment. Still…my heart had hope. I heard of how Jennifer got MacKenzie as a 4 month old pup. She grew up in North Carolina and she and Jennifer had recently moved to Alaska. How she had been Jennifer’s best friend and loved to go for rides with Grandpa. The love and bond that she had with Jennifer and her human grandparents was beautiful. You could see that MacKenzie lived a life of much love! We said our goodbyes, but MacKenzie and Jennifer were heavy in my thoughts all evening. The next day, I received a text from Jennifer. MacKenzie had taken a turn for the worse that morning and had crossed rainbow bridge. My heart sank when I read the message and I cried like a baby while I edited her photos. My heart was breaking for Jennifer. Here are just a few of the photos from her “Golden Heart, Gray Muzzle” session.
I dedicate today to MacKenzie and her loving spirit. RIP sweet angel. Though our time together was short, you left paw prints on my heart that I will always cherish.
To Jennifer: Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss of beautiful MacKenzie. I hope you are able to find comfort in your heart through the memories you shared with her.
Please keep Jennifer and her parents in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Give your dogs an extra hug tonight…hold them tight!
I had the pleasure of spending another day with some amazing dogs and handlers. It is so exciting and heartwarming to see these dogs doing what they love. Their spirit, determination and passion is truly incredible! I look forward in being part of their incredible journey throughout the season. I love being a dog photographer in Alaska! The hunting dog spirit is truly alive in Alaska!
A huge shout out to Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association and Baron, at Team Wetland Retrievers for the wonderful work you do for the dogs, handlers and the gun dog sport. Despite the clouds and sprinkles, a great time was had by all! These are just a few of the photos.
Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association is a non-profit organization and a member of the The North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA). They are dedicated to hunters and their hunting retrievers. If you are interested in the gun dog sport and spending quality time with you working dog breed, I highly recommend Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association (MSGDA). Belonging to MSGDA is a great way to meet people who love hunting dogs and love to hunt; to share training techniques and tips with other members while enjoying the great Alaska outdoors; and to spend time with your favorite hunting companion. Whether you are new to retriever training or an old hand at it, MSGDA has something to offer to everyone. If you are a dog lover and support the hunting dog sport, I hope you will consider making an in-kind donation to such a worthwhile organization or become a member.
“HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY, COOPER! Vibrant and beautiful is your heart, your soul….as is our love, friendship, bond, and our journey. Thank you for the smiles, the unconditional love and for being my guardian angel. I look forward to many more sunsets with you. Now let’s go get you a big birthday doggy bone!”
Cooper is a very special dog and is a huge part of my heart and soul for so many reasons. And it was through him that The Journey Photography and logo concept was born. I wanted to convey much about, my bond with Cooper and my personal life, which I don’t often share. I’m quite certain that many of you can connect with the concept of the new logo. The concept is “the journey of paw prints on my heart”. I have had a life long journey surrounded by the blessings of many dogs…often a pack at a time. When I found myself facing health issues, it was 4 paws who came to my rescue…an amazing chocolate lab who is now my medical alert service dog. He has taught me that anything in life is possible…and it was through him that I decided to chase my dream and become a photographer, with a focus on my love for dogs. And that is how the Journey Photography was born. Dogs are truly amazing creatures…they can teach you how to love better, to become a better person, and to never.give.up.hope! And in my case, my guardian angel happens to have 4 paws.
Being a dog photographer in Alaska, has so much to offer. Beautiful landscapes, amazing sunsets…and of course, our amazing fur kids. Here are a few photos taken of Cooper to celebrate his 4th Birthday. And we even got a couple of his little brother, Archer. We are truly blessed!!
WOW, these dogs are so AMAZING!! Just another reason I love being a dog photographer in Alaska!! To watch these dogs, see their spirit, their drive and how they absolutely love what they do…it just fills my heart happiness! The hunting dog spirit is truly alive in Alaska! They are all absolutely incredible and the bond with their handlers is heartwarming! I look forward to seeing them throughout the season.
A huge shout out to Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association for all the training and opportunities they offer the bird dogs and handlers, as well as allowing me to be part of it all again this year. I’m honored to support such a great organization! Here are a few photos from a recent training session.
Midnight Sun Gun Dog Association is a member of the The North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA). They are dedicated to hunters and their hunting retrievers. Simply stated, they want to help hunters develop better hunting dogs through training and testing.
3 x beauty…3 x energy…3 x fun = Amazing! Meet the stunning Boxer trio:
Zoe’, Miss Buttons, and Jasmine. These 3 ladies each have very unique personalities, but one thing is for sure…they are all 3 high energy, fun loving and will steal your heart!! And their FurMom is an awesome lady! This family is the definition of amazing!
Thank you, Diana for spending the afternoon with me and sharing your 3 beautiful boxers! It was a perfect day!! And thank you for taking part in the S.C.A.R.F. Project! A donation will be made to Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue on your behalf.
Below are the stories about each of these amazing girls, as told by their mom, Diana:
Zoe (green scarf)
Zoe is almost 4 years old. I found Zoe on Alaska’s List in June 2012. There had been an ad for a litter of boxer puppies in Wasilla in May but wasn’t sure I wanted to have two dogs again. Jasmine was starting to get very clingy so I figured she needed a sister to play with so I found the Alaska’s List ad again and called. Leanne said that they had one female left and only because the lady who originally wanted her had never owned a boxer before and decided to back out. All of the other puppies in the litter were going to boxer experienced homes. I think someone told this lady what a handful boxers can be and I say that Zoe would have proven them right! A friend and I drove to Wasilla with Jasmine to meet Leanne and puppy. Two puppies came out of the garage and I fell in love. Jasmine got out of the car and it was love at first sight for Jasmine and Zoe. They have been bonded since day one and Jasmine is the typical big sister and Zoe can be the bratty little sister. Zoe can be leash reactive with other dogs but does well in doggie day care and she has her friends she loves to play with. Zoe is crazy and sweet and stubborn. She also thinks that she has to patrol our condo building and let everyone know that other dogs are not allowed on ‘her’ property. Typical boxer behavior is one dog sitting on the other. In our house, and at camp, Zoe uses Jasmine as her couch. Jas allows it but Zoe has tried it with other dogs and that doesn’t work too well. As you know, Zoe recently had her ACL in her right knee repaired so she hasn’t been able to go to camp, running, or swimming. She hasn’t let it effect her spunk and sweetness and cuddles as close as she can with me at night (all three dogs sleep with me). Getting Zoe was another great decision I made even though she can be a handful! I don’t think Zoe is afraid of anything and is full of love and kindness for me, Jasmine, Buttons, and the grandkids. And her tongue is too long to fit into her mouth and it’s the cutest thing to see but not so cute when she surprises you by sticking her tongue in your mouth.
Miss Buttons (pink scarf)
Buttons, or as I call her, Miss Buttons, (age 7) was surrendered to Alaskan Animal Rescue Friends (AARF) with two other boxers (ages 6 & 4) by their owner. My co-worker would get Facebook news feeds from this rescue group and would show me all the dogs up for adoption. At one time there was a male boxer (Charlie?) in need of foster care but with working full-time and already having two young boxers, I didn’t think adding another dog would be a good idea. Sometime in April, my co-worker showed me the three boxers up for adoption at AARF. I was getting ready to retire at the end of April so I said I’d think about checking out the dogs. I did visit the three boxers at the AARF kennel and talked to Bev a little bit about the dogs. I knew that I couldn’t take all three but I also didn’t want to split them up. Bev said that the two younger ones (male and female) were bonded and Buttons was the ‘third wheel’. I brought Jasmine and Zoe to the next adoption clinic so that they could meet Buttons and see how they got along. During that meet in the fenced area I asked the volunteer if Charlie had been adopted. Unfortunately Charlie and another dog got into a fight, Charlie had surgery but didn’t survive. He thinks Charlie was so stressed out that he couldn’t pull through. That made up my mind right then and there that I was going to adopt Buttons. I brought Buttons home mid-May 2015 and have had only one second of “uh oh maybe this wasn’t a good idea”. That was on day one when I tried to coax her into a kennel for the night. After a vet check, grooming at Pet Smart, and $1100. worth of dental work (cleaning and extractions), she was feeling much better and I had no more second thoughts. I was worried that Zoe wouldn’t want Buttons to actually live with us (playing is one thing, but living here is another thing). It’s actually been Zoe who has not given up on Buttons and being a little sister, Zoe bugged Buttons into playing. Jasmine was growled at a few times by Buttons and Jas would tune her out and ignore her for days. Zoe was also growled at by Buttons but that didn’t faze Zoe at all. Zoe was going to get Buttons to play no matter how long it took. Buttons was signed up for doggie day camp but because she’s older (7) and not as crazy as the other two, Buttons is in another playroom with all sizes of dogs that are a little calmer than the large, rowdy dogs. She loves going to camp and gets so excited when we pull up on Wednesdays. She also loves, loves kids! I have four grandchildren and she shakes with excitement when she sees them. Her favorite is my 11 year old grandson Austin. Buttons has progressed so much since May. I think the stress of being given up, spending time in a loud, smelly kennel with concrete floors, and not knowing what was going on was a lot for her. But she is loved by me, Jas, and Zoe and knows she’s home for good. She loves camp, the dog park, dog food shopping, and going to the swimming pool so she can walk around with her life vest on but she won’t go in the water. She is one of the sweetest, loving, sociable dogs I’ve ever met. There are still so many things about her that I don’t know and I am always learning something about her. She fits right in and gets spoiled just like the other two. Buttons is like the dog momma the way she cleans the other two. When Zoe came home from her knee surgery, both Buttons and Jasmine stuck very close to Zoe. She’s been a wonderful addition and I’m very happy that my co-worker showed me Button’s picture.
Jasmine (purple scarf)
I found Jasmine in February 2012 on Anchorage Craig’s List. I had just lost my male boxer, Rocky, in November 2011 a day after he turned 14. And just a year before that I lost my old Boston Terrier. I was visiting my parents for week in February 2012 in Arizona and looking online for a boxer puppy to bring back to Anchorage. My house was just too quiet without a dog so I was checking rescue sites, Craig’s List, and shelters. Three days before I was due to head back to Anchorage I checked Anchorage CL is the “Sale” section (not in the ‘Pets’ section) and there was a 5-month old brindle boxer. I figured I would call when I got back home and did that on my first day home. Josh had purchased this puppy from a breeder in Michigan and had her shipped up for a Christmas present for his two young daughters. Unfortunately Josh’s ex-wife was moving out of state and did not want to take the dog. Josh worked on the North Slope and couldn’t keep her. He did say that he had quite few calls but they just weren’t the right home. I told him that “I was the right home”. We met up on Saturday at my house so he could meet the turtles and iguana and his daughters could meet me. Jasmine has been with me for four years (this month) and she has been the greatest dog! She is even tempered, good natured, playful but can get fierce if someone or something she perceives as a threat to me or Zoe and Buttons. She loves my grandchildren, going to doggie day care, running at Connors Bog, and is learning to swim at K-9 Aquatics. She’s afraid of ladders, vacuums, or any type of furniture that gets moved. She will tear up my mail and newspapers if she gets a chance. She seems to think the mail is out to get her. We call her Jasmine, Jazzy Jas, Chunky Jas, Chunky Butt, and Sister Jas. She’s the best sister to Zoe and Buttons. She brought back laughter and fun into my house after taking care of Rocky (he had degenerative myelopathy and was unable to use his back legs). I also knew that Rocky would have loved Jasmine (and of course Zoe and Buttons).
Welcome to the Journey Photography. My name is Cris and I am a dog photographer based in Alaska. My goal as a photographer is to capture the very essence of the dog’s spirit and personality, as well as the special bond between them and their family. I have had a lifelong journey surrounded by dogs and my love for them runs deep. If you’ve found your way here then I already know we share a love for dogs. So get comfy, kick up your feet, snuggle with your furry friend and take a look around. Check out my photo galleries featuring some of the amazing dogs I have photographed and see my photography style. Scroll down to see recent blogs and read a few stories of some super awesome dogs. You are sure to smile along the way.
If you are interested in professional portraits or wall art of your beloved fur family, let’s talk about the amazing images we can create together of the four paw love in your life. Photographs that you will treasure for a life time. I also offer family portraits, seniors, maternity and children photo sessions on a limited basis. Contact me for details.
Paw prints upon your heart…embrace the journey! Thank you for stopping by! ~ Cris
Serving Alaska areas of Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River and Anchorage.
WOW, this guy!!! Help me welcome Sir Lancelot, also known as Lance, to the S.C.A.R.F Project club. What a great personality…and.so.many.faces…a few of these need captions! He loves to ride in the truck and gets much attention. He LOVES to run and chase his toys…and of course, a plop in the stream after playtime. This 168lb gentle giant and his mom were a blast to photograph and spend the day with.
Cortney and Lance, thank you both for supporting the S.C.A.R.F Project and making it a wonderful day! A donation will be made to Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue on your behalf. Thank you both, again!
Below is Lance’s story as told by his mom, Cortney, and she has included a photo of him when she brought him home as a pup:
“I’d been debating for a couple of months adopting a dog in the summer of 2012. A co-worker started emailing me pictures from the pound and then came a picture from an Alaska Classified’s posting of 5 little St. Bermastiff puppies lined up on an outdoor swing set. It was too hard to pass up, and after a concert at the Alaska State Fair I met the breeder in Wasilla and picked up this 18-lb adorable puppy I had chosen a few weeks earlier. I really didn’t take the vet seriously when they told me he would grow at 5 lbs/week, but he did. I think he’s finally reached his adult weight at 169 lbs. Sir Lancelot “Lance” has been by my side the last 3 ½ years. We have hiked the Winner Creek Trail, strolled up to Byron Glacier numerous times, hiked to Thunderbird Falls, played at numerous dog parks in Anchorage, swam at AK K9 Aquatics, played in Seward and have many more adventures when he’s not chasing tennis balls or one of his 30 or so toys. I don’t know how I got so lucky that day in August. He’s such a sweet and loveable dog and keeps the toes warm at night.”
Oh, Henry…what an amazing guy you are! Henry has such a sparkle in his eyes, just beaming with love and devotion. And you could see the puppy return when he played in the water. I was drawn to Henry from the time I heard his story and knew he was a special dog. I had such a great time meeting and photographing Henry and his owner. These two have such a heartwarming bond. A donation will be made to Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue in honor of Henry. And a huge thank you to Tamara for the additional donation to ADPR. Thank you for participating in the S.C.A.R.F Project fundraiser.
Here is Henry’s story as told by his owner, Tamara.
”I found Henry at the Matsu animal shelter back in June of 2003, they had almost given up hope in finding him a home because he had a grapefruit size hernia in his belly. They had found him and his brother in a ditch abandoned. His brother had died. They think they had gotten hit by a car .
Well I fell in love immediately.
I booked his surgery for two weeks out and was able to adopt him in July. I was told to try to have him rest and not to let him run, however when he came home he was so playful and just bounced everywhere he went. Well 13 days went by and his hernia disappeared. His surgery was set for first thing in the morning but when they called to confirm I told them it went away. They said there was No way it would just ” go away” on its own. I took him in first thing as planned and the vet and all the techs were amazed by him. It had indeed just “went away”.
Henry has not left my side since. He’s been such a great dog, he’s never done a bad thing twice. He is the kind of dog that knows what you’re going to do almost before you do, you grab the broom and he goes to bed, you go for the vacuum and he moves off the carpet. You open the lid to the trash can and he lowers his head as to not look in. He has to be in the bathroom with me when I shower but the instant I open the shower curtain he refuses to look at me while naked. ( not sure if I should be offended by that one)
Now even though he’s only 12 he is an old dog, his hernia showed back up and it’s inoperable due to his age. His back legs are weak and he’s losing weight, these are the last photos of Henry. He has been the love of my life, my best friend, my protector. I only hope everyone gets to have a great dog like him.” ~Tamara Mill
The Journey Photography is excited to announce The S.C.A.R.F. (Safe & Cozy Animal Rescue Friends) Project, which is near and dear to my heart. The S.C.A.R.F. Project is a fun and creative way to receive memorable photographs of your fur baby, while at the same time helping dogs in need. The S.C.A.R.F. Project is a fundraiser conceived from my love and compassion for animals. The scarf within this project symbolizes comfort, coziness and love. The goal is to lend a hand to a paw and raise money to help foster rescue dogs. Rescue dogs are not broken. They are just victims of unfortunate circumstances. Like every dog, they have hearts full of unconditional love and souls full of deep devotion. They just need a second chance. Money raised through this project will do just that, by providing them food, medical care, and a safe, cozy environment until a loving forever home can be found. Dogs rely on us…to protect…to be their voice…to be their hope. Join me in this journey to help rescue dogs get a second chance and to be their hope through the S.C.A.R.F. Project.
Here’s how it works: When you book a photo session of your dog with The Journey Photography’s S.C.A.R.F. Project, you will receive a special pricing package for $125. The Journey Photography will donate $50 of that cost to Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue (ADPR). The package pricing includes the sitting fee, 12 digital images to share on social media. Simply bring a scarf to your photo session. Any scarf will do; perhaps, it is the one you like to wear the most, one that has a special meaning or one you purchase just because it will look fabulous on your fur baby. We will take several photos with your dog wearing the scarf, as well as several without, all while capturing the unique personality of your fur baby. Your dog will be featured on The Journey Photography blog and FB page with a short story about your dog and our shoot, as well as recognition for him/her becoming a Safe & Cozy Animal Rescue Friend (S.C.A.R.F) and the donation to ADPR. You also have the option of ordering prints, canvases, and boutique items directly from The Journey Photography’s professional print lab. To book a session or you are interested in adding the human family to a few photos, please contact me for special pricing at 907.315.1791 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** Your photo session will take place at one of several locations in and around the Wasilla and Palmer, Alaska area. The S.C.A.R.F. Project ends on December 15, 2015, so don’t delay on booking your session.
The Journey Photography’s S.C.A.R.F Project is honored to be teamed up with Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue (ADPR) for this fundraiser. ADPR is a fantastic, all-volunteer organization here in the Mat-Su Valley and has played a vital role in rescuing and caring for dogs in need for several years now. 100% of the funds raised will be used to provide funding for food, vet bills, rehabilitation, training and a warm home volunteered through a kind foster parent while the dogs are waiting to be adopted. If you are interested in adopting a dog or becoming a foster, I encourage you to contact Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue.
I would like to thank everyone for reading and considering taking part in this worthy project. I would also like to say “thank you” to Emily, Terrill, Julia and the entire staff of volunteers at ADPR, as well as the foster parents, for their dedication and hard work to ensure dogs in need are cared for, warm and safe.
In closing, I’d like to thank several folks for the support and encouragement they have given me in making this heartfelt project come to life:
*To Sugar for becoming our first model in S.C.A.R.F. project (pictured in this blog), and to her fur parents, Kim and Corey Jellison. A $50 dollar donation to ADPR will be made on your behalf!
*To my talented daughter, Chelsea, for her artwork on the S.C.A.R.F. logo, as well as my friend, Julie Northrop, for donating her time and talent toward the logo design/creation.
*To my friends Mikey Rager, Kerry Tobey, and Ashlee Schwark for their support and encouragement.
*And last but not least, my loving and devoted husband, Steve, and my beautiful daughter, Chelsea, for always believing in me and supporting my dreams.
I’m truly blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful, amazing people.
Thank you again to everyone! I look forward to meeting you and your fur baby at your upcoming photo session as you join me on this journey for a worthy cause and make this project successful in helping dogs in need.
The Journey Photography by Cris
**Disclamer: The Journey Photography by Cris and Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue are in no way affiliated. We are just two entities working together for a good cause and share in common the love and compassion for dogs.
Well here it is, my first blog, introducing my photography website. If you had asked me 15 years ago, “do you think you will every write a blog”, I probably would have said, “what’s a blog”? As for photography, it has been a creative desire of mine since I can remember. However, I found my path in life led me in a different direction…I proudly served my country as a United States Marine, I got married, became a mom and joined the “working world”. My creative outlet was always writing poetry…along with being a mom, which of course takes a lot of creativity.
Then, a life altering experience stopped me in my tracks. I remember the day I decided to purchase a camera and begin my journey with photography. I woke one morning, bones creaking more than usual, the house was quiet, kids grown and gone and it hit me…WHOA, I’m getting old! And for a moment, the world stopped and memories flooded my mind. So many wonderful memories, but I was longing to see the emotion that went with them. I wished for a photograph to hold in my hand, to stare at as it took me back to another place in time and to just breathe in the emotion it portrayed. This was the turning point and I began photography as a hobby, to be in touch with my creative side while capturing the beauty around me. The passion to learn more, to capture more, became overwhelming and seemed to breathe new life into me. It was then I knew photography is my passion!
My goal as a photographer is not to just take “pretty pictures”, it’s to create amazing images that capture emotion and tell beautiful stories. I don’t want to show what you look like…I want to show who you are, who your loved ones are…whether they are in the human form or the furry four paws form. I strive to make a connection with each of my subjects, to capture natural expressions, whether it be a hearty laugh or a soulful glance. My goal in each session to create timeless portraits showing a glimpse of each subject’s personality, individuality and heartfelt emotions. You will take away keepsake photographs to hold in your hand and breathe in the emotion it portrays. I truly do see beauty in those I photograph…everyone has a story. Everyone has someone who would cherish the keepsake of a photo.
This journey called “life” changes so quickly…children grow up so incredibly fast…loved ones leave our world too soon and moments fade into memories. It is my hope to help you capture heartfelt, soulful pieces of your journey and I invite you to follow me in this new chapter of my journey.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my amazing husband, my beautiful daughter and the wonderful friends and family who have offered support and encouragement as I start this new chapter in my life.
Embrace the journey!