Megan

Megan making paw prints in the sand at Huntington Beach Dog Beach, for her Orange County Dog Photography VIP (Very Important Pet) experience.

Megan making paw prints in the sand at Huntington Beach Dog Beach, for her Orange County Dog Photography VIP (Very Important Pet) experience.

If you grew up with Charlie Brown like I did, then you probably wanted a beagle growing up. That's why I was so excited to finally photograph a beagle.

But instead of the black-and-white look of Snoopy, Megan is a tri-colored beagle: black, white, and red. And instead of the attitude, Megan is "sweet, gentle, funny, friendly, and gluttonous," as her dad describes her.

Megan is only 15-years young, still active and healthy. But recently, Megan's been going through a journey of cancer treatments, and no matter what happens, Megan's dad is living life to the fullest with her, with a love that overcomes these obstacles.

“We just moved to California (from Florida). I have had professional photos taken of her before, but would love some additional pictures showcasing us at our new home. Also, she is 15 years old, and want to capture some photos of her while we she is still active and healthy.”

Megan's dad is a photographer himself, with his own DSLR camera, and like any proud father, he was in no way hesitant to show me all the photos of his fur-baby.

"She's a well-documented dog," he said.

Which is so awesome! And here's why: As Dog-Parents, we get to have these four-legged fur balls who inspire us to love unconditionally, to live in the present moment, and to be a better people -- and we get to document their beautiful lives everyday.

He showed me photos from her birthday of Megan with her uncle, Megan running toward the camera, and shared about how he just loves the way her ears flop around when she's running in the yard. 

And then, there's the trash can. If you've been having serious issues with four-legged residents raiding your trash can, Megan's dad can help you. He's researched and tried many iterations of "anti-dog" trash cans that keep her from sticking her nose in there.

Before our photo experience, I asked Megan's dad to tell me more about Megan, and the ideal portrait of Megan he'd like to see:

  • Her ears! He loves when her ears flop around when she's running
  • A photo that encompasses all of her: with all four of her legs and tail in the portrait
  • A California backdrop. He already has professional portraits of her in the lush, tropical environment of Florida. This time, he wanted to make portraits of Megan's retirement in California.

After listening to all of that, I knew I wanted to photograph Megan at the beach because nothing feels more "California" to me than being barefoot in the sand, with the gorgeous California sunset that you can only see on the West Coast.

But there was still one more thing. After thinking about it more, he emailed days after with one more thought,

“I would be very interested in a shot of the two of us playing in a non-posed / candid shot. That’s the type of shot I am unable to produce myself and would love something like that.”

I was so glad he shared this with me and it was my joy to be able to provide these shots for him. Take a look! 

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I'm a sucker for close-ups portraits of dogs. They instantly make me feel like I'm looking straight into their eyes, and I can hear the little *sniff-sniff-sniff-sniff* sound that dogs make when they curiously come up to you like this. Besides, beagles are known for their powerful noses.

I'm a sucker for close-ups portraits of dogs. They instantly make me feel like I'm looking straight into their eyes, and I can hear the little *sniff-sniff-sniff-sniff* sound that dogs make when they curiously come up to you like this. Besides, beagles are known for their powerful noses.

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The famous Tower 22, at Huntington Dog Beach. I love this moment because the backdrop of the palm trees, the birds, Huntington Beach Pier, the ocean -- they all speak "California" to me.

The famous Tower 22, at Huntington Dog Beach. I love this moment because the backdrop of the palm trees, the birds, Huntington Beach Pier, the ocean -- they all speak "California" to me.

When making this portrait, I felt like there were four subjects I wanted to incorporate: Megan, Megan’s dad, Megan’s reflection, and the California backdrop.

When making this portrait, I felt like there were four subjects I wanted to incorporate: Megan, Megan’s dad, Megan’s reflection, and the California backdrop.

Behind-the-Scenes: My wife, Leanna, came to assist. She took some amazing Behind-the-Scenes shots with her iPhone.

Behind-the-Scenes: My wife, Leanna, came to assist. She took some amazing Behind-the-Scenes shots with her iPhone.

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And there’s moments like this. Pure contentment. Sand on her nose. Her peaceful expression, and Megan’s dad is in pure joy.

And there’s moments like this. Pure contentment. Sand on her nose. Her peaceful expression, and Megan’s dad is in pure joy.

Megan and her reflection.

Megan and her reflection.

Another Behind-the-Scenes moment.

Another Behind-the-Scenes moment.

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Here in Southern California, there’s this strange phenomenon going around lately, that the local news reports are calling “rain.”

I love the rain! Though we had to re-schedule Megan's portrait experience because of it, what I do love are the clouds that remain after a generous downpour. 

Which leads me to my favorite portraits from our experience. I love the following images because you see the gorgeous West Coast sunset, the different hues of color floating among the clouds, and a small glimpse of Catalina Island in the back. And of course, little Megan modeling for us with her little paws making paw prints in the sand.

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Always looking for the treat I dropped.

Always looking for the treat I dropped.

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 When I photographed this final piece of artwork, I kept his request in the back of my mind:

“I would be very interested in a shot of the two of us playing in a non-posed / candid shot. That’s the type of shot I am unable to produce myself and would love something like that.”

As Dog-Parents with our own iPhones and DSLR cameras, we have the privilege to capture every little fun and adorable moment of our fur-babies, and ultimately, build a collection of memories, and a legacy, that will last beyond their years.

But, Megan's dad's request really stood out to me because, even as a photographer myself, there are shots that I cannot produce: the ones that I want to be in with my own dog.

This makes me so grateful that Megan's dad asked me to help preserve the legacy of Megan, capture her "sweet, gentle, funny, friendly, gluttonous self," and make works of art that document their relationship together.

Megan, Leanna and I are so happy to have met you! Especially Leanna, she thinks you're absolutely adorable.