It can’t be said often enough: 2021 was a much bigger year for Big White Dog Photography than I ever could have imagined.
2022 is going to be even bigger, especially if I get all five of my Christmas wishes.
Stay tuned for some rather large news coming in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, let’s take one last look back at 2021 and my top 9 on Instagram.
My top 9 on Instagram
These are the images that got the most love from followers on my Instagram account over the last 12 months.
1. My first love, Shep
With the image above, I wrote a long tribute to my boy on the seventh anniversary of the day I lost him, Aug. 20, 2014.
It comes in at No. 1 on my top 9 on Instagram.
I also left my followers with the suggestion to indulge in their own dog photography:
2. Bella and me
Nine days later, we celebrated Bella’s seventh Gotcha Day. I noted how she has helped me heal from losing Shep and why orange is such a big color in my world. It was the color of Shep’s last collar and the color of the collar she was wearing when she chose me.
The story resonated and we got some pretty amazing comments on the second of our top 9 on Instagram.
“That orange collar was a sign. So glad she came into your life when she did!”
“That’s the amazing universe at work. Kismet.”
The image isn’t even my own! It was taken by master portrait photographer Colin Mulvaney, who is one of the staff shooters at The Spokesman-Review, where I work part time as a copy editor.
I met this little doll through my volunteer work with Heath’s Haven Rescue & Sanctuary. Jolene rang me up last February to make sure she had some super photos of her adoptables.
I said, “Meet me at Hauser Lake”
And we had a perfect winter day to backdrop this sweet mini Australian shepherd with the Selkirk Mountains of Idaho.
Sadly, Ausha is no longer with us. Although local vets said her hydrocephalus was manageable and she could live a long, happy life, she went into a seizure and was not coming out of it. The emergency vet told Jolene there was only one thing to do.
Little Ausha was gone, just as her adoptive mum was leaving Viriginia to come pick her up.
It’s no surprise Notorious landed in my top 9 in Instagram. Her mum Cheyeanne has a huge following, posting about her adventures with the little wheelie Corgi and her best bud, Shady.
Cheyeanne signed up for the Paws of the Panhandle and we met at Hauser Lake (I love that place) for a sunrise session.
I got Notorious looking out at the sunrise and saw a reminder to enjoy such moments we are given by Mother Nature.
5. Baby Boy Blake
Triple B, or Bees, as he was known at the time, was a foster dog with my good friend Stephanie Nilles at Pawsitive Connection Dog Training.
We met at Mirabeau Point Park in Spokane Valley for a “walk and talk” and portrait session so I could write a blog post about Stephanie’s dog training philosophies.
Stay tuned for more on Stephanie, since she was the grand prize winner of the Journey session contest. She won three full portrait sessions and a book about her and her Bam, written by me.
6. Graffiti Bella
By no means a technically perfect image! But for whatever reason, folks loved this image of Bella at the graffiti wall at the SpokAnimal off-leash park at High Bridge.
It’s probably because she looks like she’s enjoying herself.
7. Sadie et al.
I put up a carousel of some of my images from Paws of the Panhandle sessions to announce the launch of the cover photo contest.
The image with the most votes on my Facebook page won the cover photo of the Paws of the Panhandle, a first-of-its-kind project in North Idaho, celebrating dogs and the humans who love them. In conjunction with EzyDog gear, the book raised $5,000 for the Better Together Animal Alliance in Sandpoint.
Here are some of the images from the carousel that day.
8. More Bella
This post likely got so many votes because of the story, not because of the image.
We’d been struggling with liver test results gone awry.
Bella and I were out scouting locations for Paws of the Panhandle and landed at Higgens Point in Coeur d’Alene.
Just moments before I pushed the shutter release on this image, I took a call from our vet who revealed biopsy results showed Bella was free of cancer and hepatitis. At the time, our vet thought hepatic microvascular dysplasia, a very treatable condition, so I was over the moon.
We have since learned it’s food intolerances and we’ve pared it down to chicken and wheat.
I’m so happy this made my top 9 on Instagram. The post was a project management update on Paws of the Panhandle and the image is one of my absolute favorites from the year. Daisy signed up for a Paws of the Panhandle session and I took her and her mum to a secret spot in Post Falls.
We popped Daisers up on this fallen log and with a little coaxing from a duck call, she gave me a perfect head tilt.
Her curious look, the greenery, the color of the sky … they all combine to become an epic, epic shot for me.
All around the circle
It was so fun to look back on my top 9 on Instagram! It was such an incredible year, lots of highs, lots of lows and lots of in-betweens.
I’m looking forward to spreading the word of d.o.g. in 2022, hearing more stories about Inland Northwest dogs and the humans who love them, and pulling together some big things for Big White Dog Photography!
Are you coming along for the ride?
Before we leap into the new year, though, let’s take a trip around the world with my friends in the pet photographers blog circle and explore how they saw 2021.
Start with Charlotte, N.C.-based BARKography by Kim Hollis and the much anticipated 2021 Year in Review blog.
When you get to the bottom of Kim’s ’21 review, click the next link in the circle and then keep going until you find yourself back here to my top 9 on Instagram. That’s when you know you’re home.
Right where you belong.
And if you think your dog has what it takes to make my top 9 in 2022, let’s get you on the calendar.
I love seeing your top 9 and I’m excited to hear about what you’re planning for 2022. Happy New Year!!
So many cool things coming up!
Love your top nine, especially the puppies!
Ugh… Ausha, bawling here.
That image of Daisy is just freaking spectacular!
Ausha’s death was shocking to us all. Totally out of left field.
The orange got me. 😭 I love your adventures with Bella, and how they help shape the way you guide others in sharing theirs through your work. I can’t wait for all you do in 2022!
She is my everything. Some days, I just have to let her guide me and that’s where I find my true self.
What a great way to review the top nine. I could not see the carousel, but I am technologically challenged most days. I can see why these images were liked so well! Happy New Year! Thanks for keeping us all organized!
I switched it out for a gallery!
Love seeing your top nine… AND beautiful Bella!!! I admit, I’m a bit partial to “Lizzie” – such a stunning dog!
Cheers to an amazing 2022!
Great work! Love seeing what people like of your work – an amazing way to look at this past year.
What a great trip down memory lane, I continue to be so jealous of your scenery – it, along with your images, are simply stunning. Well done and can’t wait to see where you take us in 2022!