Pet Photography | Scout's 52 week project

For the last several years I have done a 52 week photo project with one of our dogs. This year was Scout’s turn. Part of me was really looking forward to it and part of me was not. I knew going into the year that my day job work schedule was going to be rough and not allow a lot of time for photos so that was one factor in not looking forward to it. The other was me worrying that I might take a bunch of boring pictures of Scout. She is a great dog and loves to lay around so it would be easy for me to just snap a photo of her sleeping and call it a day. But I think you will see that we both did a pretty good job this year and I am happy it was her turn for the project. Since I know this is about where people quit reading and get to the photos I want to recommend that you start your own 52 week project. Maybe with your own dog or kids maybe your significant other. Everyone has a decent camera on them at all times now and to do a project like this doesn’t require any fancy equipment or editing software. When the end of the project comes it is fun to look over the photos and remember what went on that day. Here is a highlight reel for you

Week 1

Week 1

Week 1

Well as promised here is Scout getting her relax on. This is how we started the year off. This photo made it to Explore on Flickr. It’s always fun when Flickr chooses your photo to highlight for the day although all of the alerts on the phone get a little distracting.

Week 7

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Week 7 we found ourself in Explore again with over 9000 views of this photo. We took a little car ride out to Saulk trail so we could get out of the house. Doesn’t she look great in her little red coat?

Week 14

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Week 14 Pete made an appearance to make sure the Flickr group didn’t forget about him. If you read my earlier blog you know that 2018 is the last year Pete would make an appearance in Scouts photos. The edge o the deck is always a pretty good place for me to get an easy photo of any of our dogs.

Week 15

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Week 15 Scout was hanging in the yard while I was doing some spring cleaning. This was in April so I was burning the leaves I didn’t get cleaned up in the fall. This was taken with my iPhone. I would have liked to have had my regular camera with me but as they say the best camera is the one you have with you. The photo didn’t make it to Explore but was pretty popular. A lot of people thought the smoke in the background was fog.

Week 24

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Week 24 Scout got caught in a very heavy nap. This would have been in June and I think it was starting to get hot and we had come in from play time. I almost forgot about this one. I really like it because it does show her true personality. She loves to relax.

Week 29

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Week 29 we were on vacation in Colorado. So to keep up on the project and keep current in the group I shot this photo of a photo of Scout using the river behind our room as a back drop. I really look forward to going back and maybe we will take a dog with next time.

Week 33

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Week 33 she helped me out by posing next to the donkey in the backyard. This cute photo did make it into explore for that week. How couldn’t it? Isn’t she so cute?

Week 34

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This was just a quick shot so that I stayed current with the project. It is also the last photograph Pete would ever be in. He passed away the following day. I’m sure Scout is telling me something with her eyes. Her and Pete were very close and it took her sometime to get over the loss of him. Heck I’m still not over it.

Week 38

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On a beautiful September day while we were playing in the backyard I captured this. This is my favorite of the year. This photo also went to Explore with over 66,000 views! I only wish I could have gotten her to look at me. She will do her best to not look at the camera a lot of times.

Week 39

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This was just a fun little stop on a solo walk we took on a nice day. As you can see in her face she loves one on one time with dad. No pesky brother or sister to steal my attention.

Week 43

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As a pet photographer I sometimes forget to take my own dogs out and try to get great photos of them. It’s easy to just try and make the photos around the house or in the backyard. On this week we headed off to Bishop Hill to try and add a little fall color to Scouts weekly photo. This photo also made it to explore. Scout was a very popular girl this year.

Week 47

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Week 47 was around Thanksgiving so that gave us a little extra time to head out again for her photo. It was pretty nice that day so we went for a walk around Saulk Trail State Park outside Kewanee IL. The tent camping area is one of my favorite places to photograph. I like all the trees nicely lined up and you can get some pretty good light there at multiple times of day. Several of my most favorite photos were taken there. Plus in the off season it is empty. This went to explore also and is one of a very few that she is looking straight into the camera.

Week 48

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Family picture time! I decided this week I wanted to work on my skills of getting multiple dogs in one image looking at me. From left to right we have Scout (of course) Hanna, Alfie and Miles. As you can tell it was all Miles could do to wake up and look at the camera. I will be doing more of this type of stuff this year.

I think even with some of my doubts on how this year would go I have to say I’m pretty happy with the results. Now to turn my attention to Hanna and her 52 week project.

Delta Small Dog Rescue December 2018 (Kewanee Illinois)

I was lucky enough to have some time off over the Christmas holiday and decided I wanted to do some photos of dogs looking for homes. I wasn’t sure which shelter to work with this time and then I remembered there was a small rescue in Kewanee called Delta Small Dog Rescue. They’re name says it all they rescue small dogs. I’ve worked with several shelters over the years and wanted to spread some of the love this time and work with a different group to help them get a little more exposure for their adoptable dogs. Delta Small Dog Rescue is located in Kewanee Illinois at Pages Pampered Pets and is run by Page Kendall. If you look through my website you will see one of Page’s dogs in the portfolio section. Her dog Paisley was in the Henry County Humane Society calendar a few years ago plus I had done some photos for her and her husband (and of course the dogs) a few years ago too. So going in there were already some familiar faces and it was nice to catch up. Ok enough jabber let’s get to the dogs….




Oreo is an 11 year old rat terrier..ish maybe a little Jack Russel too. So I am just going to take a moment and gush over her a little bit. I really liked her! “But John she’s a little black and white dog that looks a lot like your dogs so of course you love her”. Ok that’s fair but I really like her attitude and behavior. She is really friendly and loves to play. But what I really notices was how she was very focused on us humans. She didn’t seem to interested in roaming around or trying to run off, she really just wanted to play!

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Oreo maybe a little older but she has a lot of love to give. She does love to play with her toys but she likes to chill out on you lap too. Honestly if we were not full on dogs I would adopt her in a minute. If you are interested in adopting her contact Delta Small Dog Rescue at 309-525-4011.


UPDATE Shiloh has been ADOPTED! Shiloh is a 1 year old Rat Terrier mix. He is a friendly little guy and was really trying to work with me on getting some good adoption photos so he can find a good home.


Shiloh was fun to work with and gave me some great poses pretty quickly. He is listed as good with kids, cats and other dogs. He is also listed as hyper and loves to play. He seemed like he liked playing but I didn’t think he seemed that hyper…but my baseline for hyper is my own dog Hanna and she is what I would call hyper. From the little bit of time I spent with Shiloh I thought he was pretty tame for a Rat Terrier but mine are crazy so maybe I’m not the best judge. As a Rat Terrier owner I think he will make a great dog for a family and will provide everyone plenty of entertainment.


Kimber & Nelly

Kimber and Nelly are both female Chihuahuas and are bonded so they need to be adopted together. It is believed that they are mother and daughter. When we went out for their photos they didn’t want a whole lot to do with me. They seemed pretty happy to be out for a walk and sniffing up all the smells. When I started scratching Kimber’s neck she did seem to really enjoy that and i think I earned a couple of points with her. Nelly (mom) is 11 and Kimber 10 is the daughter. To read more about them go to Delta Small Dog Rescue.





2017 52 Weeks of Pete! Part 1| Pet photography

Well it’s a new year so a new 52-week project is started.  This year it’s my dog Pete!  I was torn on whether to use Pete or his sister, Scout since she has participated in a project yet.  After a lot of consideration, I went with Pete.  Pete is 13 years old and we have had him since he was 8 weeks.  Pete is my first dog I’ve had as an adult and we have been through a lot together.  From hiding him in my apartment where I wasn’t suppose to have dogs to him being diagnosed with Addison’s Disease, there’s no doubt that Pete belongs with us. 

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Talking Pictures Podcast; Talking Calendars and the New Year.



Recently, on the Talking Pictures podcast, I was interviewed about the 2017 Kewanee Animal Shelter calendar.  In 2015, the Dispatch-Argus photo staff at started a podcast about the photojournalism industry, their daily assignments and just a little bit of everything to do with photography.  I was really excited about a local podcast about photography so I started listening from the first episode. I really love listening to podcasts because I like listening to people talk. I was a big talk radio fan but that is almost exclusively political and typically puts me in a bad mood.  Now, with podcasting, anyone can do a podcast and the range of topics is unlimited.


The “ring leader” of the podcast is Todd Mizener, photo editor at the Dispatch-Argus, and the co-host is Todd Welvaert, a photojournalist who recently retired from the Dispatch-Argusto pursue his own freelance career with a focus on wedding photography. You can find his website here .  If not out on assignment, Meg McLaughlin, a photojournalist with the Dispatch-Argus, is also on the show.  They all have busy schedules so the frequency of the podcast seems to be whenever they have a chance to do one and I would say it’s about once a month. 


As a fan of the podcast, I have interacted with them on Twitter, typically just  ReTweeting their episodes or letting them know I enjoyed an episode.  Through those interactions I’ve shared some of my work. They learned about the calendar project and asked me to come on and talk about it.  With a couple of photography industry veterans asking me questions, I was a little nervous.  I was very nervous during the pre-interview and know I said ummm a lot. I think I pulled it together once the main show was recording. I was really thrown by wearing the headphones and listening to my own voice through those. I don’t know why, but that messed with me for a little bit.  For me, listening to their podcast I forget they are journalist and not just photographers. I was reminded that they know what they’re doing in an interview situation. They asked great questions and kept the conversation flowing. My biggest concern was they would ask me something I couldn’t . They were great and their professionalism made me look better, I think.  It also helps that they love dogs! 


One thing I realized is that I need to interact with other photographers in person, I feel it makes us better. I also realized that we all have so much in common.  We got into a little discussion about LightRoom  and I was a little relieved at realizing I’m not the only person who doesn’t use it to its full ability.  Photographers need each other. We need to learn from each other and help make each other better.  We need to get out of the mindset that every photographer is our competition. Yes, in some ways they are. If you’re doing good work that will show and you will get clients who share the same vision for their photos as you do. With the New Year approaching, I realize the need to get out and do more networking with other photographers instead of just being stuck in my own isolated world.  In 2017 I’m going to try and make a point to get out and talk with other photographers, maybe collaborate on a project or just have a drink and debate such things as sensor sizes.