These last few months haven’t been easy on my girl Bella.
Trying to get 45 sessions completed in 10 weeks to meet a deadline and beat wildfire smoke in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, I missed out on a lot of her life.
Sunday morning, with Paws of the Panhandle sessions complete and a free day to ourselves, I stole her away to Mirabeau Park for a morning walk.
All around Mirabeau Park
Mirabeau Park, a sweet little spot in Spokane Valley, is an ideal location for Memories Sessions.
In truth, it’s an ideal location for a lot of photographers. In the autumn, when the leaves start to change their colors, the place is littered with folks doing portrait sessions.
Bella and I like to look off trail, though, for the nooks and crannies that will make photos of Spokane dogs unique.
That’s made easier by Bella’s penchant to drag me down different trails wherever we go. By force, I get to see some spots I might not otherwise have known existed.
While I’m barreling down hills and scrambling up rocky bluffs to keep up with her, I manage to stop her every once in a while for a quick pose.
Here’s what I look for when I’m sizing up spots at Mirabeau Park — or any location, for that matter.
1. Open space
Big open space allows me to get beautiful portraits with that soft, blurry background that everybody loves. In the world of photography, we call that a “shallow depth of field.”
Mirabeau Park, which used to be the home of a zoo, has a large greenspace with picnic shelters, a walking path, park benches and public restrooms. There’s a woodsy area behind it which serves as a lovely background.
It’s a quiet, green paradise just minutes away from the noise of urban life.
2. Things to get up on
I couldn’t come up with anything more descriptive than that. My brain could be just a little fried after shooting and editing 45 sessions in 10 weeks.
Mirabeau Park has the aforementioned park benches which can be used for lovely portrait images of your dog.
This kind of dog portrait is often made easier with little ones. It can be a bit of a struggle to get bigger dogs to balance on the seat of the bench.
Bella is a trooper.
Need I say more?
I love putting dogs up on rocks, getting a little bit lower than them and letting them strike that Power Pose.
I love the wild, rugged look of dogs giving me their Power Pose on a big rock. (Rocks are also great for The Down.)
Unique rock areas are a highlight to not just Mirabeau Park but to the entire Inland Northwest. Basalt rock is everywhere and in large formations, lending to cool opportunities for photos with North Idaho and Spokane dogs.
4. Woodsy spots
Trails around Mirabeau Park take you through some pretty forested area, lush with ponderosa pine, Western larch and black cottonwood. Low-lying shrubbery turns a gorgeous gold in the autumn.
5. Access to water
Look, unless you choose a location with no water access, like Dishman Hills, we are going to end up in the water.
At least your dog is.
And so am I.
I’ve been hip deep in water — OK, in some cases a little bit deeper than that and that’s why I had to buy a new 70-200mm lens — to get the perfect shot of your dog have The Greatest Day of His Life.
It’s all part of the experience.
The Mirabeau Park trailhead for Centennial Trailhead gives us miles of opportunity to find space for water play.
6. One epic view
When we’re picking a location for your session, be it Memories or Adventure Day, there is one nonnegotiable.
An epic view.
Your location must have an epic view.
That’s my jam. Your dog plus amazing location equals BAM!
That’s the kind of stuff big glossy metal prints are made of, right there.
Maybe not with that pose. Bella was kind of done with me by this point. I had to promise her a noncamera hike this weekend just to get her to sit.
All around the circle
Scouting locations is fun.
It gives me a chance to spend time with my girl and exploring new places. Plus I get to plan a memorable adventure for you and your dog.
If you have a location idea burning in your brain, head to my Contact page to drop me a note so Bella and I can go check it out. You might just see it here on the blog soon.
In the meantime, let’s head out on the worldwide pet photographers blog circle and see how my friends and colleagues pick locations for their sessions. I bet we’re going to see some truly cool spots in different places.
Click the link to the next blog at the bottom of her post and keep doing that until you’re all the way through the blog circle. When you find yourself back at Bella the Adventure Dog’s photography at Mirabeau Park, you know you’re home.
Right where you belong.