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Orange and me: The meaning of color in my Inland Northwest dog photography

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    ‘Tis the season for orange. 

    The light of day is fading and leaves are changing their colors from green to yellow, red and orange. 

    Halloween is upon us. 

    Everywhere you look, Mother Nature and commercialism have puked up orange. 

    It’s funny the way color has a psychology to it, that simple hues and tones can make us feel a certain way. 

    That a tone or shade can affect our moods makes me curious about the human brain. About my brain.  

    Colors have meaning.

    me and my pet Maremma sheepdog Bella
    My Magic Moment

    Why did I pick orange to represent Big White Dog Photography? 

    I don’t remember. I knew in 2007 when I was designing my logo for Noses & Toes Pet Photography, my original brand name, I wanted a color that exudes happiness. 

    It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized the connection I had to orange. I didn’t even have to dig into the meaning of color but I did anyway.

    Every day as a child and a young woman, my favorite color was blue. In the last 10 years, though, I’ve realized there’s more meaning to my life with orange in it. 

    Meaning in your life because of a color, Angela? Bear with me. 

    The color orange is a blend of red and yellow and, according to, it “bursts with energy and warmth.” 

    a graphic depicting the various meanings of the color orange

    It’s associated with the outdoors … think sunsets and campfires. 

    And it’s a spiritual color that “inspires us to lean into our emotional understandings,” says 

    When feeling dispirited, find solace in the color orange. Clinging to this color will remind you that there’s light at the end of a depressingly dark tunnel

    It suggests spontaneity, promotes confidence and provokes us to find the courage to face our fears. 

    But it also makes us feel hungry and uncertain, and others associate orange with crassness, abrasiveness and arrogance. 

    Crass, abrasive, arrogant — that’s me

    I have been accused of being all these things. And that’s OK. I can deliver the F bomb in all parts of speech – nouns, verbs, adjectives and so on. And all verb conjugations.  

    I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Fuck it. That’s OK with me. 

    Spontaneous, confident, courageous. 

    I’ve also been accused of being all these things. 

    And that’s OK with me. 

    The color psychology of orange and my dog photography go deeper than that, though. Waaaaaaaay deeper. 

    In 2021, I sat down to write the content for the first book I self-published, Paws of the Panhandle. It was a book of dog photography in the Inland Northwest and how they’ve changed their humans’ lives.  

    I had to write my own story for Bella’s section in the book. (I don’t publish a book unless Bella is in it … because Bella.) 

    I looked up from my laptop and burst into tears. My eyes spied a certain item across the room and realized why orange is my color. 

    The day we said goodbye

    Maremma sheepdog stands in the water at Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park with the Rocky Mountains behind him
    Shep at Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park

    Shep died on Aug. 20, 2014. It was a Wednesday. The vet called with the results from a blood draw and said, “Your dog’s heart is about to explode. You need to put him down.” 

    We jumped in the truck and drove from Kelowna, British Columbia, to Spokane, Washington, where my fiancé lived – who of course is now my husband and why I now call the Inland Northwest home.  

    We got Shep to a clinic where we said our goodbyes. We picked up his remains on the Friday and caravanned back to Kelowna the next day. 

    I felt like I needed to do something to manage my grief. I scoured the web for Maremma sheepdog breeders so I could get on a waitlist for a spring litter. 

    One of the breeders emailed me back right away: There are three puppies in Arlington, Washington, that need homes now. 

    three Maremma sheepdog puppies

    I freaked out. It was too early. How could I do that to Shep? 

    And yet, nine days after I said goodbye to my copilot, I was bringing home a 60-pound, 5-month-old asshole of a puppy. 

    Her first name was Miss Orange. 

    The day we said hello

    We were supposed to take Miss Red home. Miss Red looked more friendly, more congenial in her pictures on the breeder’s Facebook page. 

    There was just something about her photo that drew me in. 

    We drove from Kelowna to Arlington thinking Miss Red was going to be Bella. 

    My fiancé chatted with the breeders, the Sharps of Shado Farms, while I sat on a rock watching the three puppies play in a field.  

    Every few minutes, a puppy would bounce over to engage with me. Each time, I checked the color to see who it was. 

    It was always Miss Orange. Miss Red and Miss Yellow wanted fuck-all to do with me.

    Miss Orange came home and became Bella. 

    Princess Bella Bossypants. 

    Maremma sheepdog puppy in Kelowna, British Columbia
    6-month-old Bella at Lake Okanagan

    The collar of orange

    Aye, you think, there’s the rub. That’s why she’s all about the orange. 


    But maybe there’s more to it than that. 

    As I sat and wrote Bella’s story for the book, much along the lines of what I just shared with you, I looked up from my laptop to give my eyes a break. 

    They fell upon the shrine to Shep I keep on a bookshelf in my living room.  

    His urn, photos of him, a charm a friend gave me to memorialize him after he died. 

    And his collar. 

    Seven years after he died, I finally made the connection and I knew he sent her to me. 

    I knew he knew he had to leave me to make room for her. 

    The collar that sits beside his urn? The last one Shep ever wore?  


    companion maremma sheepdog at a lake in British Columbia
    At Richter Lake in British Columbia

    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

    10 thoughts on “Orange and me: The meaning of color in my Inland Northwest dog photography”

    1. I love the story of Miss Orange becoming Bella! I don’t think I ever knew that. The meaning of color in your photography and its connection to your personal stories is simply beautiful. It’s a testament to the depth and meaning that each hue can carry throughout our lives.

    2. What a wonderful story about the meaning of the color orange for you. I too keep shrines everywhere for those that have left us. Some of my last-worn collars are also orange. It’s a wonderful color.

    3. Thank you for sharing your story of orange and why that color means so much to you and why you use it as your brand colors.

    4. What a beautiful post Angela! I loved the deep dive into the meaning of color and how it relates to your dog photography business. You’re lucky to live in the Inland Northwest where you have so. much. color!

    5. Oh my gosh, I love the story of Miss Orange becoming Bella. It’s incredible how much meaning color has in our lives, and how orange has become such an important part of your life and your dog photography.

    6. Your story of how the meaning of the color orange connects you with Shep and Bella is beautiful. If I wanted a fall pet photography session with Lili in the Inland Northwest of Washington, I would give you a call.

    7. Thanks for sharing the meaning of the color, orange, and how it relates to and your dog photography. I love the story of Miss Orange and how the little nugget became your Bella. That litter of all 3 were ADORABLE!!! That picture of Bella at 6 months is so darn cute – i hope you have that on your wall!

    8. Ughhhhhhhh, Angela. Right in the feels. It’s funny how colors can work their way into our lives and props to you for seeing those ties. Even more props for figuring out what it means to you and expressing that through your brand and photos. No props for making me feel feelings, though. Go back to the Inland Northwest, where you belong. 😉

    9. What a beautiful story of the meaning of orange to you and your dog photography business! And talk about fate naming that puppy Miss Orange, she was meant for you and staying in the Inland Northwest, close to home.

    10. I do remember hearing the story of Miss Bella or shall I say Miss orange before. It’s funny how color can be so meaningful.. While I loved hearing the psychological meaning of the color orange, it is so much more to hear why the color orange is meaningful to you.

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