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Coaster Pedicab: Ultimate Fun on Three Wheels

The folks at Coaster Pedicab know how to have fun. When I first heard about their three-wheeled, pedal-powered vehicles, I just had to get a tour of their factory. The place was filled with smiling people! The owners used to pedal pedicabs in big cities and got to know firsthand what things they’d like to improve upon…durability, style, functionality – and most of all – customer service. So they set up shop in Bonner, Montana and got to work designing and building the best pedicabs, cargo trikes and beer trikes in the country. I was honored to be invited to collaborate with their marketing team to shoot some photos of their products in action. My goal with lifestyle photography assignments like this one is to show the personality of products and let the people in the images show the story about how the product performs in real life. Here are some of my favorite shots from the session.

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Lupujus is on the Loose!

Imagine Nation Brewing has done it again. Meet Lupujus, the first addition of their new signature series of craft beers. It is made with four pounds of hops per barrel, added at the perfect times to minimize bitterness and maximize hop flavor. You owe it to yourself to grab a teku glass of this yummy new brew at the taproom, 1151 W. Broadway in Missoula, MT. Trust me…I got to drink this one right after the photo shoot. It goes great with sunshine and a Montana frame of mind.

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Best Friend Dog Photo Session: Millie On & Off the Porch

I met Millie while visiting friends in Auburn, WA. I just love her expressiveness.
She had lots to say…as you can see!

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Also posted in Dog Photography, Dogs

Dalai Lama Environmental Summit Photo Gallery

Maitripa College, the first and only Tibetan Buddhist college in the Pacific Northwest, was the honored host for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, who spoke at a 3-day public event in Portland for The Dalai Lama Environmental Summit. The Environmental Summit included enlightening teachings and conversations with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and distinguished leaders of the Pacific Northwest environmental, scientific, policy and faith communities.

“The Book of Tree” film crew consisting of director, Rob Whitehair, and producer, Pam Voth, was allowed access to film and photograph the event.

On the final day of the summit we filmed an interview with Dr. David Suzuki who spoke passionately about the need to place a high value on saving the environment.  Please enjoy these select images from the summit.

 

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Also posted in Dalai Lama, Films, The Book of Tree, Tree & Sky Media Arts

Magic Words: Tips for taking great photos of your dog

When I arrive at a dog’s home for a photo session, I’m greeted with lots of energy.  Many dogs are so excited about me being there, they wag and wiggle, show me their favorite toys, peak inside my camera lens, check their food bowl, ask nicely for a belly rub or suggest a good scratch right above the tail. I’m happy to oblige, of course. All of this rigorous greeting and getting to know each other leads to a lot of panting. And pictures of panting dogs are fine, but a few of these go a long way. What I really want to get are shots that show more facets of a dog’s personality.

So, how to get a dog to close her mouth? Say some magic words. Usually anything that starts with “do you want…” and ends with a noun or verb will get her to slurp in her tongue if only for a quick second. And this is just enough time to snap the shot.

I’ll ask a dog’s person what her magic words are before the shoot begins so I have my secret arsenal ready if I should need it. Invariably, Missoula dogs will snap to attention when asked if they want to go to their favorite off-leash area, like Bark Park? Water Works Hill? Jumbo? Saddle? Blue Mountain? River?

Missoula dogs are also ready to say yes! to any of their favorite activities like Hike? Swim? Fishing? They also love any suggestion they’ll get to ride in a Truck? or Boat?

Kamukin visited me from out of town so she didn’t know Missoula dogs’ magic words. She came with one of her own….Frisbee?

Around our house, just the word “do” would get an immediate yes! But, that’s the price a dog pays for living with a dog-loving photographer.

What’s your dog’s magic word? Next time you are snapping a photo of them, try this simple trick and let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below.

Also posted in Dog Photography, Dog Town, Dogs, Missoula, Photography Tips Tagged , , , , , , |

Pugs in Duds: It’s Not Just Fashion WEEK at Missoula’s Mountain Pugs Club

Sundays are fun days if you’re a pug living in Missoula. That’s the day when your people converge in the Bark Park on Jacob’s Island and turn you loose to mill around with your own kind.

Ever since reading about the Mountain Pugs in the Missoulian, I’ve been meaning to get out the door at 1pm on a Sunday and check out Pug Club for myself. But the stars didn’t align until a couple of weeks ago when I needed a break from the dreadful ordeal of working on taxes. I couldn’t think of a better antidote than wading shin deep through a passel of pugs. Just the thought of their wrinkled brows, googly eyes, curly tails and snorty noses lightened my mood. I started dancing the cabbage patch through the house and jamming to my own “pugs in ‘da powder” ditty as I pulled on my snow boots and gathered my camera gear.

“I bet they’ll all be wearing sweaters,” I said to my husband as I skipped out of the house.

“Pugs on ice” would have been a more accurate lyric for the scene I found under the trees at Bark Park. Eight-times-four sets of hard little toenails skittered across the ice to greet me. I crouched down. It seemed more polite to meet them mug-to-mug. A young black pug named Zoula welcomed me to the club with a big kiss that she managed to plant on my cheek only by standing on her very tippy tiptoes. Then off she went to continue mingling and milling with the others.

“Mingling and milling are pugs’ specialties,” one pug’s person told me. “They really don’t exercise. Show them a ball and they have no idea what to do with it.” Running and scampering require a tad too much energy… and might sully their duds.

Indeed, as I had suspected, each pug was adorned in a warm, smartly styled sweater. Jennie, the brainchild behind Mountain Pugs, introduced me to each club member according to their fashion choice.  Her sweet Chloe looked sporty in bold, nautical orange. There was Polly in a Southwest blanket fleece number. Trixie’s pink cable knit sweater was accented with a contrasting mocha zigzag motif. Frankie was also in pink, but her frock featured faux sheepskin trim and the glamorous pronouncement ‘Diva’ in glittery letters. Buddha was dashing (but not literally) in royal blue. Winston’s lime green hoodie gave him the air of a regular at Missoula’s MoBash Skatepark. Zoula layered an olive vest over her black coat. Ms. Kizzie, the senior-most pug in the park, was a knockout in fire engine red.

I asked Jennie how late into the season pugs would be wearing their clothes. I guessed perhaps they liked bundling up in the winter, but would happily shed the thermal layers when Spring arrived. I was wrong. Jennie said that for some, it’s more of a year-round fashion statement. Some pugs really do prefer getting dressed up to go out. And a Sunday afternoon in Missoula is a perfect excuse to spend an hour reconnecting with friends while looking fabulous.

Also posted in Dog Photography, Dog Town, Dogs, Missoula, Pugs Tagged , , , , , , |

Missoula, Montana: I think I’m gonna like this town.

The first time I met Missoula was exactly 3 weeks before I moved here permanently. My plan was just an out-and-back. Just attend the International Wildlife Film Festival and head right back to San Francisco to continue on with life. But Missoula won me over. Quickly.

 

It was Springtime in the year 2000. All the old maples on Brooks stretched their leafy branches across the street creating that magical tunnel-like canopy that brought out the kid in me as I drove through.  That just doesn’t happen in big cities. I liked it.

 

People I passed on the sidewalk made eye contact and gave me a friendly nod. I found myself looking behind me to see if maybe they were howdying someone else, someone they actually knew! Every time, it seemed that I was the intended recipient of strangers’ good tidings. That just doesn’t happen in big cities. I liked it.

 

My first dinner in Missoula was on an early Sunday evening at the Iron Horse. The place was pretty empty. As I settled in to enjoy my Athena salad, I looked around and noticed a sleepy golden retriever sacked out under the stools at the end of the bar. No leash. No person. Once in a while, he would lift his head to sniff the waft of something delicious as a server walked by. But he didn’t budge. I was struck by how comfortable he was just occupying his own place in the bar. Just hanging out. No one was fussing over him, tying him up, or worried that he would run out the open door. That just doesn’t happen in big cities. I liked it.

 

I could get used to this. And, since I had just quit my corporate marketing job in San Francisco, I could choose this.

 

So, on a sunny May afternoon when the lilacs were in their full blooming glory, my dog, Suki, and I pulled into Missoula in the biggest U-Haul I could rent. It took three days to drive here from the Coast with my Jeep in tow. When we pulled up to the pet-friendly apartment I had subleased for us, there were two (two!)  open parking spaces right in front waiting to welcome us home. That just doesn’t happen in big cities. I like it.

Also posted in Dog Town, Dogs, Missoula