Westway Studio | Fine Art Pet Portrait Photography

June 23, 2013 Supermoon | Skye Valley Ranch Nighttime Photography

You may have heard me mention Skye Valley Ranch in past posts. It’s my hubby’s family ranch which is located way out in the middle of nowhere in East County, San Diego. We spent the weekend there and I had my camera ready to capture the big June 23rd “supermoon” event.

We went out the night before to test out a few things. Roxy was a good helper.

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The sunset that night was just beautiful!

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Please notice the lack of any other houses or signs of civilization for as far as the eye can see. It is heaven.

© 2013 Westway Studio

The next night, we were ready for the supermoon. Armed with the camera and tripod, we ventured around the valley to find the perfect spot. Thanks to a star-location app, we knew exactly where the moon was going to rise.

© 2013 Westway Studio

The moon was so bright, it was incredible!

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After I had taken my moonrise photos, Greg had a fun idea to take a self-portrait-type photo of our shadows from the moonlight. Don’t believe it’s nighttime? Look at the stars in the sky!

© 2013 Westway Studio

I have a thing for fences. I don’t know what it is, but I love photographing them. The clouds were wispy and gorgeous and the stars were just starting to shine.

© 2013 Westway Studio

After we were done in the valley, we decided to head down to the Lower Lake. We need to drive there, so we walked back to the ranch house and Greg went to get the truck while I walked down the lane to get a shot of the house in the moonlight.

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We arrived at the Lower Lake and scouted out the best spots. I couldn’t resist this rowboat perfectly placed near the water.

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I just love how much color is in these photos. It was about 10:00 at night, so there was no other light except the moon!

© 2013 Westway Studio

© 2013 Westway Studio

After we finished with the rowboat, we ventured out on the dam. I have an intense fear of falling, so walking out there is not something I really enjoy doing. Anything for a great shot, though, right? I had my camera around my neck, a flashlight in one hand, and a death-grip on the railing with the other. I’m happy to report: I survived. Please note that the dam is not all wide and flat like the section you see below.

© 2013 Westway Studio

Still on the dam, I turned the camera and shot out over the lake. The stars, reflection in the water, and clouds really make me love this photo. I can’t get over how still the water is; this is a 30-second exposure!

© 2013 Westway Studio

Please be sure to leave a comment for me below! Do you have a favorite shot? Did you get to see the supermoon?

San Diego Pet Photography Featured Session: Lulu | Lakeside, CA

I met Lulu at the San Diego Humane Society’s 2013 Walk for Animals. I was so excited when her mom signed her up for a session because Lulu is a gorgeous 7.5 month old Siberian Husky pup with one blue eye and one green eye. She was full of personality and I couldn’t wait to capture it on camera.

Lulu and her parents met me down at Lindo Lake Park in Lakeside, California.



Lulu was quite amused by all the ducks and geese who call this park home (you can see two of them in the next photo). Don’t you think she looks so regal?


Miss Lulu was queen of the mountain standing on top of the big picnic table!



After the park, we headed back to Lulu’s house, where she had a great time showing me around and playing in the back yard. She even showed me how she fist-bumps with her dad!


Lulu also showed me what a ferocious Husky she is with her tug toy. Look at those teeth! They make me laugh!


We also played with her ball. She loves to bounce and run!


Lulu’s mom and dad are both in the military. Lulu’s mom had a GREAT idea for a photo of them, standing in their camo pants, with her dad in blue on Lulu’s side with the blue eye and her mom in green on the side with the green eye. Lulu wanted to show her patriotic spirit with her American flag tennis ball, too!


Lulu also showed me her favorite American flag pillow!


After all the fun we’d had, Lulu decided to head upstairs to her mom and dad’s bed. The quilt is very special and she was excited to show it off.


Lulu literally couldn’t keep her eyes open by this point in our session, though. Her mom and I laughed as she blinked over and over, each time with her eyelids getting heavier and heavier. As hard as she tried to stay awake, she just couldn’t. It was nap time.


Thanks to Lulu for being such a great puppy model… and thank you to her parents for their service to our country and our freedom!

Location Scouting in La Jolla, CA

Roxy’s not a huge fan of having her photo taken but every once in a while, if I promise her a good adventure in a new place, she will allow me to break out the camera and photograph her. This past weekend, I promised her a good sniff-a-thon around the beautiful seaside town of La Jolla, California. There’s no shortage of gorgeous spots here and I was excited to see what gems we’d find.

First up was this little alley with cute shops, beautiful planters, and a few little café tables.

la jolla pet photography

We kept walking and I really liked the checkerboard sidewalk around this building. I love the second shot here — Roxy is looking at my hubby saying, “OMG, can’t I go sniff that tree yet?!”

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Up a set of stairs was this beautiful, freshly painted fence paired with Spanish tiles and pretty flowers.

la jolla pet photograper

Next up was a great brick walkway through a green park-like yard. I was clearly not letting Roxy sniff enough good spots, though; she was getting bored with me.

la jolla dog photographer

So, we walked a little further, Roxy sniffed all sorts of good smells, and by the time we came upon these great flowers, she was smiling again. Look at my happy girl. I love her.

san diego pet photography

Oh, look! Here’s another one of my models! My hubby! He’s very patient with me. :)

san diego pet photographer

And last up from our La Jolla adventure is my favorite shot of the day… a goofy shot of Roxy with some funky artwork. This makes me laugh every time I look at it! Plus, I love Roxy’s “Yoda Ears.”

creative pet photography san diego la jolla

Please be sure to leave a comment & let me know what your favorite La Jolla spot is!

My Little Ranch Girl at Sunset | San Diego Pet Photographer

In case you didn’t know, Roxy is a ranch girl. She loves the country, horses, and chasing squirrels, bunnies, lizards, cows, and pretty much anything else that will run from her. My hubby’s family has a ranch in East County San Diego that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is now shared between three families. I struggle to find words to describe it because it’s like no place else I’ve ever been. There’s not another house for as far as the eye can see; the nearest neighbor is miles away. To get there, you need to drive 30 minutes up a one-lane switch-back dirt road that hugs the steep hillside. The ranch is incredibly special and it’s the one place I feel totally free. No people. No noise. Tons of wildlife. Mountains. Lakes. I mean, really, it’s Heaven. It’s a ton of work to maintain, but it’s still Heaven.

When we go to the ranch, Roxy gets to be totally free, too. Her leash and collar come off and she has an entire valley to play in. She knows where we’re headed as soon as we get off the freeway. She stands up, starts panting excitedly, and gives me kisses when I turn around and say, “are we goin’ to the ranch?” It’s our happy place, hers and mine.

Last weekend when we were there, the hay was so perfect, I just had to get some photos in it as the sun was going down. Roxy usually hates having her photo taken — just like most children of photographers — so I asked my hubby for help. I parked myself in a flat spot of hay (I didn’t do it! I found it like that!) and he got Roxy excited by throwing dirt clods. Dirt clods are exciting, right? They played and I shot. And just as the sun started to turn the hay field into a shimmering golden sea of oats, Roxy turned around and showed me just how perfectly happy and content she was. I am so fortunate to have caught it on camera. This photo and the memories it holds will stay with me forever: pure happiness.

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San Diego Pet Photography Featured Session: Kona

I’d like to take a minute to introduce you to Kona, an American Staffordshire/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. She is quite possibly the happiest, luckiest, and most loved dog on earth.

We stayed in Kona’s house and backyard for her session. Her moms worked really hard to get some green grass to grow before our session and boy, am I happy they did… green grass perfection!

Kona © 2013 Westway Studio

Just outside the bedroom is a beautiful deck. The sun was shining so bright and Kona was quite content to sit there basking in the warmth. Then again, maybe she sat there so nicely because we were bribing her with Kraft single cheese slices.

Kona © 2013 Westway Studio

Kona’s moms requested a silhouette of their girl and I wanted to do my best to deliver a few traditional and non-traditional options. I can’t pick a favorite. I love the way her ears fold in the traditional ones and the dreamy lens flares in the others!

Kona © 2013 Westway Studio

I just about died when Kona hopped up on the bed and sat so perfectly with her little paws together. I mean, really, could she get any cuter?

Kona © 2013 Westway Studio

Have you ever seen a look of contentment like this before? Seriously… this girl knows she is adored.

Kona © 2013 Westway Studio

Just as things were winding down with our session, we stirred the pot and broke out the whipped cream! Yup — you heard me! WHIPPED CREAM! I have never seen a dog eat whipped cream before but my-oh-my how Kona loves it. Look at that tongue…

Kona © 2013 Westway Studio

…and the little dots of whipped cream on her upper lip fur and on her chin!

Kona © 2013 Westway Studio

There were just so many cute whipped cream shots, I had to do a little storyboard. I triple-dog-dare you not to laugh.

Kona © 2013 Westway Studio

And that, my friends, is Kona. I hope you have enjoyed meeting her as much as I did. Leave me a little message in the comments below and tell me which photos are your favorites!