TagPet and Family Photographer Alaska

Tribute to MacKenzie – by Alaska Pet Photographer

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!


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Alaska Hunting Dogs

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.

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Hello and welcome to “The Journey ~ Photography by Cris”

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!


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All images ©2015 - 2019 Cris Skinner, The Journey Photography by Cris

907.315.1791 contact@thejourneyphotos.com