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On With The Show!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mason with Jenny
Authored by the client, Julie Lane.

It was a perfect day for a photo session. The trees were at their height of autumn loveliness, clothed in red, yellow, and orange. The air was the perfect balance of crispness and warmness. It was Kechi park, nestled in the suburban community of Kechi, a beautiful park with a fishing lake, bridge, playground, and woods, butted up next to a housing development.

Enter clients Julie, Mason, and Jennifer. Mason, the pet, was a three year old 125 pound lab/great dane mix, with a love of water and an enthusiasm for woods. Mason believes that every dog should live up to his breed—in his case, as a retriever, he had an obligation to chase rabbits on land, and ducks on the water. Every time. Without fail.

Mason was bathed and coifed, with a brand new red collar and lead. Twelve year old Jennifer was bathed and coifed, with an outfit to match the dog. Julie was uncoifed, and about to become more so.  There were fisherpeople and kids present on the scene, to make distracting noises. And of course, there were ducks. And as we will find out later, at least one rabbit.

Julie and Jenny held on to Mason's brand new collar and attempted to corral his enthusiasm for the ducks. Mason was supposed to be exercised for the photography session, and Julie and Jennifer attempted to oblige. Mason dragged the two girls around the lake, just once, until their arms about dropped off. Then the girls entered a more secluded wooded area to get a rest.

Enter Heidi, talented and organized pet photographer, and her wagonload of photo gear. Heidi's assistant was traveling, so she was by herself on a day that should have been easy. Three or four shots were taken near the wooded area. Then, the whole entourage attempted to move to a spot where the light and backdrop were different. Jenny loosely held the lead. Heidi held her camera. And Julie trailed behind.

Enter the rabbit.  Mason broke free and raced into the woods. Heidi attempted to grab him as he raced past her, and got a minor hand injury for her efforts. Heidi stayed behind with the equipment and Julie's personal belongings, and Julie and Jenny tore into the woods after Mason.

Jenny and Julie traced the contours of the river bed, leaping over brush and fallen tree trunks, dodging brush, poison oak, and possible snakes, slipping and sliding down the muddy creek bed. At one point, both of Julie's shoes stuck in the bed, and started to sink, while her body, barefoot, propelled forward. She got one shoe back on, and had to dig the other out of the muck, after briefly considering abandoning the shoe to its murky grave. A slimy, algae-laden substance filled the shoe. She tipped it upside down to empty it, then put it back on and scrambled up the bank and into the adjacent meadow.

Reenter the rabbit, followed by Mason. There was a failed attempt to tackle Mason. The rabbit, Mason, and Julie went back into the woods. Losing the rabbit and Mason, Julie attempted to locate Jennifer, who had followed the trail past the woods end into a farm pasture. After touching base, Julie turned back and traveled towards the park via the meadow.

Heidi was worried about the safety of the dog, Jenny, and Julie. Would the photo session be a bust?

Enter Mason.  Julie caught him. Breathing sighs of relief and swelling with pride, Julie soon received yet another lesson in humility.

Exit Mason.  He was out of his collar, and the race was back on, into the adjoining housing development. Many of the houses didn't have fences. Julie followed Mason into the development and searched seventeen back yards and more than a few open garages. Eluding suspicion for breaking and entering, she followed the sounds of barking dogs, entering further and further into the subdivision.

Enter Jennifer in Julie's vicinity.  Julie handed off the collar and they split up.

Enter Jennifer with Mason on his lead.  He was panting and exhausted, passively letting Jenny walk him back to the park. Jennifer was the heroine.

Jenny kisses her dog, Mason

Heidi had packed up the equipment and gone looking for everyone else in her vehicle. Julie called her and she came back to the park after being reassured that Mason and Jennifer were safely back. Everybody regrouped after the 45 minute dog chase. Julie briefly entertained the idea of running the dog, and herself, through the adjacent car wash.

The photo session was back on track. A few more shots were attempted on the bridge. Mason steadfastly refused to cooperate. Heidi reminded Julie and Jennifer not to let go of the lead, and to keep it wrapped around their wrists. We decided to move to a different spot.

Reenter the ducks.  Julie was holding the lead, but was no match for Mason's ancient duck-hunting sensibility. Mason soon dove into the lake after them.

As Mason swam back to shore for a towel dry, Julie considered taking up drinking. And not beer. Something with far more alcohol content. Heidi adapted to the unfolding drama with a cool head and a calm presence. A pet photographer that can handle this could likely handle anything! And Jennifer was lit up with happiness to be reunited with her dog. Her attitude made the rest of the day possible.

By now, the sun had started to set, and the light softened. Mason was still somewhat uncooperative, but tired from his pursuit of rabbits and ducks, so he could be managed. Then Heidi made magic happen, in the fading light. The resulting shots surpass all the hopes and dreams we shared.

A look back after the curtain closed.  Despite the exhaustion, it could all be fixed with a hot bath and a prevailing sense of the humor of life.  All was well that ended well.

Julie exhibits the muddy mess from chasing Mason through the woods.
Julie exhibiting the after effects from chasing Mason through the wooded, muddy area

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(c) 2013 All Rights Reserved. All photos are property of Heidi Marcinik.

Bottoms Up! A Fine Art Photo Fundraiser for The Foundation of the Cairn Terrier Club of America

Monday, October 21, 2013

Until December 1, 2013, this original, signed photograph, Foggy Bottom, featuring a Cairn that firmly chases the ever-pesky squirrel up a tree, is available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will go to The Foundation of the Cairn Terrier Club of America.

(USA Orders) Order Foggy Bottom online at Square Market.

Thank you! $265 has been raised for the CTCA Foundation!

See below for the details.

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity and privilege to attend the 2013 Montgomery County Kennel Club Dog Show for Terriers in Pennsylvania. For those unfamiliar with this huge event weekend (I consider it the Super Bowl of Terrier Shows) it includes four days of dog shows, and exhibitors and enthusiasts come from all parts of the USA (and other countries) to participate.

The point is—it's a big deal. (See the link below to view my photos from the weekend).

This was my first time attending specifically to photograph the Cairn Terrier Club of America events (the CTCA Sweepstakes Winners and the National Specialty). I limited my participation to the Cairn ring and spending the long weekend meeting and photographing some wonderful Cairns and their owners and handlers was invigorating, not to mention seeing all the varieties of terriers in one place! 

The warm welcomed I received from many of the CTCA members and officers (though still quite naive to the dog show world) was astounding.

Inspired by these CTCA weekend events, meeting many people committed to the health and well-being of the Cairn terrier, and grateful for all the good this organization does, I decided to do more in support of their mission.  

I've earmarked this signed, original, fine art Cairn terrier photo, Foggy Bottom ©2011, to help raise funds for The Foundation of the Cairn Terrier Club of America that, in part, funds health research on the Cairn breed. 


For a limited time, until Sunday, December 1, 2013, a portion of the proceeds (10%–25% depending on the size of print ordered) from the sale of this photo will be donated to The Foundation.

Photo sizes available (in inches):
  • 11x16 for $89
  • 12x18 for $105
  • 16x24 for $130
  • 20x30 for $220

All prints are signed, mounted and professionally printed on Kodak Endura Lustre Professional Paper. Shipping cost is extra.

Order online at Square Market or Contact Heidi Marcinik at sundog@gmail.com or 316-207-9401 (Wichita, KS USA) to order your original photo.

Please join me in helping to support The Foundation of the Cairn Terrier Club of America.

Congratulations to Kinloch's Camellia Hills, 'Cammie', and owners Vicki Havlik and Betsy Peets for winning the 2013 Cairn Terrier Club of America Best in Sweepstakes at Montgomery weekend!

View my Facebook Montgomery County photo album here

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(c) 2013 All Rights Reserved. All photos are property of Heidi Marcinik.

The Boxer With A Special, Hairy Heart

Friday, May 31, 2013

Dogs can be such special gifts in our lives and Mercy, an eight year old Boxer, was no exception according to her owner (and for privacy reasons I won't go into more detail).

However, the detail I can share with you is that this gal had a big, loving heart as all dogs typically do. And, she was no stranger to happiness despite having MS that eventually took away her ability to easily walk and later take away her life.

Mercy had a physical marking that would leave an impression on anyone who met her—and maybe on anyone who reads this.

Amazingly, Mercy's hair grew in such a way that it left a heart imprint on her chest! How special and memorable.

 My time with her was short, but she was a wonderful, friendly, lovable dog to photograph, and I remember feeling amazed to see her run seemingly uninhibited despite the illness.

She didn't live long after the photo session, but her big, happy, hairy heart left me with a big smile and cherished memory.

Enhanced detailed view of the heart shape.
Happy go-lucky
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(c) 2013 All Rights Reserved. All photos are property of Heidi Marcinik.  

When It All Began

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Portrait of Jesse
Portrait of Jesse
There’s an exciting, encouraging moment when you first start a business—attracting your first public customer and making your first dollar. That moment for me came shortly after I lost my beloved cairn terrier, Josie.

Josie was my soul dog, and when I lost her to kidney disease, I was overcome with grief. An impromptu decision to build a dog memorial garden ended up being the best measure taken to move through the loss of my best friend.

And—wouldn’t you know—just as I finished planting the last flowering plant in the garden, my phone rang. Colleen began to explain that her dog, Jesse, was just diagnosed with lung cancer, and she needed a photo session—soon!

Jesse loved playing frisbee
   Wow, I thought. I didn’t hesitate to share that I just lost my dog and had just been finishing up the memorial garden when she called. We cried together on the phone sharing our stories and the grief of losing our dogs.

I was a bit incredulous over the timing of the phone call with planting that last flower in the garden. It felt as though Josie, now running free and happy on the other side of the rainbow bridge, had something to do with that first phone call, and it comforted as well as encouraged me.

Jesse died less than three months after the photo session and these are some of the photos from his photo session with his family—the Crawfords.

Jesse and Cassie
Mike and Jesse out for a walk
Mike and Jesse out for their ritualistic walk
The Crawford family

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(c) 2013 All Rights Reserved. All photos are property of Heidi Marcinik.  

Why the name Sundog?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Westie pup naps in the winter sun. Copyright ©2005 Heidi Marcinik

Two positive images that conjure up fun, happiness, and comfort—the sun and a dog

Who doesn’t like the kiss of warmth from the sun, or the tongue lick greeting from a pet? Those of us with pets know that our lives our enriched because of these special animals who know how to celebrate with us as well as comfort us in our grief.

Put them together—sundog—and you have a great name for a pet photography business that captures those cherished celebratory moments with our pets.

Choosing Sundog as a business name didn’t initially start out with this idea, however. I think destiny was at play when I chose that name many, many years before pet photography would present itself as a career option. It was all in serious fun at the time, picking a name for a website I'd use as a freelance artist...someday. My then coworker and I bounced ideas off one another, having a hilarious time at name creation and pondering their meanings.

Sundog just seemed right, and I decided to use it as part of my web address and envisioned “business-to-be” name.

Why the name Sundog?

Aside from the branding practicality of a fun, easy to spell, easy to remember word, my reasons were founded on two solid principles that serendipitously left room for growth as my life as an artist evolved.

If you don’t know what a sundog is, let me explain, as it’s an important metaphor behind the name.

A sundog, as explained by Wikipedia, is "an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_dog). These sundogs or mock suns appear when the sun's light refracts through ice crystals in the atmosphere. (National Geographic has a stunning photo of a sundog)

Now you may be thinking just how does that tie in with a pet photography business?

As I mentioned earlier there are two main principles that laid the foundation for choosing this name.

The first one is that a sundog is a metaphor for my philosophy as an artist. I see myself, the artist, as the sundog, and the work of art (the photographic subject) as the sun. It’s a constant reminder to me that the photographic subject remains the central focus to my work and that in capturing and creating photographic art, I become its natural reflection.

The idea is that together, the artist and the subject, mutually relate to one another in such a way that something wonderful is created.

The second main principle is that I simply enjoy a life that includes animals—mostly dogs and cats, but am optimistic that may extend to horses and barn cats one day (I thoroughly enjoy barn cats and think they make such interesting photographic subjects).

And so I come back around to the image of the sun and a dog—light and animals—photography and pets. Sundog—a perfect name for a pet photography business.

Visit me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sundogpetphotography
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(c) 2013 All Rights Reserved. All photos are property of Heidi Marcinik.  

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