Kaiya Discovery Park

Kaiya’s mom sent me her story in her 2nd email to me and it melted my heart. I was so looking forward to photographing her and the day couldn’t have been more beautiful weather-wise. We shot at Discovery Park, one of my favorite locations in Seattle for outdoor dog photography. As you can see the day was just about perfect. 

We were on the steps of the abandoned church at Discovery Park, and Kaiya was so cute in thinking we were going to go inside.

Boy, when Kaiya has something to say, you better listen! 😉

She is so deeply loved, and so very happy. I love this shot. 

Do you notice anything unusual about this girl?

She has three legs. 🙂

Here is Kaiya’s story, as told to me by her mom:

We are celebrating the fact that Kaiya is fully recovered and can enjoy life on three-legs. We’re hoping to get photo thank you cards made and sent to the dozens of veterinarians and specialists (both in CO and WA) involved in saving her life and helping with her recovery.  She was so sick for many months…in late 2007, (in Boulder, CO) she survived an attack of an immune disease (called IMHA), that has a very high fatality rate.  It took several blood transfusions and a complex drug regimen to fight the disease, and as a result of that harsh treatment, she acquired an opportunistic fungal infection in her foot.  Then over several weeks, she was weaned off the IMHA medication, but in order to stop the aggressive infection, the vet team at WSU amputated her left rear leg in February. Then she endured several months of anti-fungal treatment post amputation and has had a long rehab.  We want to have some new memories of the recovered Kaiya for ourselves and to share with everyone who loves her.

I feel so honored that they chose me as their pet photographer. What an amazing story and what a fighting spirit. 

As you can see, Kaiya doesn’t let the loss of one leg slow her down. She runs faster than most dogs with 4 legs. 

Some Before + After + processing stuff below. 

I have been eating crow since I first downloaded Adobe Lightroom. In the past I came to really dislike Photoshop, and even after I downloaded CS3 didn’t want to use it unless I had to. 

I used to think that processing was a total waste of time, and that if an image needed a lot of work it was because it was a bad image, and that actions were for photographers who were trying to fake a good image with software. 

I STILL don’t use Photoshop except to prep blog posts and design art, and still STRONGLY advocate getting a great shot in-camera, and am still very much ‘meh’ when it comes to actions, BUT, I have found a renewed love of processing through Lightroom. I now spend loads less time and have much more fun processing a session than when I used PS. Oh and then Lightroom 2 came along recently and blew my mind wide open. I think all of the gals in my first workshop know how much I love this program after nearly kissing my laptop screen while using it. Actually, love isn’t the word- ADORE is. 

I feel sorry for those photographers who have snubbed their noses at LR, saying “oh it’s just a glorified version of ACR Bridge- just fancier looking”. Ok, if you say so, hee hee hee. 😉

(this is like saying that a subaru and a porsche are the same car because they share the same engine style)

Wanna know more about Lightroom 2? Download the trial. It will change your life.

Before & after below.

Image capture information:

Shot in RAW with Canon 5D with 24-70mm L-series lens. 100 ISO, 35mm, 2.8, 1/1000 sec, autofocus (all points), aperture priority with -1/3 EV, evaluative metering

LR2 sliders: 

exposure +92, fill light 14, blacks 15, brightness 53, contrast 48, clarity 45, vibrance 40, saturation -15 (I always reduce saturation), highlights +25, darks -27, vignetting: amount -50, midpoint 0

Note- these settings will produce much more extreme results on a jpeg file. Just lower all of the intensities at least halfway and see how it looks. Go especially light on the blacks and highlight settings. You may also need to selectively decrease the saturation on certain colors. Here I had to way desaturate the aquas. And they are still bugging me.

And also, this look should be used on special photos- it’s a bit too fantasy-like for your average shot. Or maybe use it as a standard processing setting but do away with increasing the overall vibrance, and just tone it down a bit.

Have a well-exposed RAW file? Try this recipe on it and see if your image doesn’t ‘pop’ too. 

Left- after photo. Right- SFTC (straight from the camera, yes I know I am not using SOOC, but I’m a rebel like that)

same settings and processing as image above except shot at 1/1600 sec with no exposure compensation and exposure increased in LR +1.17. Treat meet mouth, mouth meet treat. 

Left- edited image. Right SFTC.

This shot is why I could never be a successful people photographer. It didn’t occur to me that looking toward me meant looking directly into the blazingly bright late afternoon sun. Can you see the pain on their faces? Sorry guys!! (although, Kaiya doesn’t seem to mind, lol)

I have been getting a lot of requests for people + their pets photography lately, or at least, requests for a few shots of the owners with their dog. It’s interesting, I have never done much at all with people in the past. I am happy to experiment but I always make it very clear to my clients that if it’s a portrait shoot they are after then they would be better off with someone else. I do not profess to have good people photography skills! (As is evidenced by the previous shot). But still, it’s good to stretch one’s limits to see what one is capable of. And even if I don’t love, love love the people shots, it’s my client’s desires and wishes that I hold closest to heart. 🙂

2 seconds after this shot she gave her daddy a big schlurp on the ear. Can’t you see it coming on?

“where are the squirrels Kaiya? where are they??”

Here she sits and looks for them in the tree. 

Hope you guys love Kaiya as much as I do! She is an awesome girl. 

Facebook comments:

9 thoughts on “Kaiya Discovery Park

  1. Oh Gawd these are beautiful. You’ve really captured the happy spirit of Kaiya and you can clearly see having 3 legs isn’t a disadvantage for her! My favorite is the one shot from behind with her tail up in the air. Just lovely.

  2. Jamie, Love all of these shots…incredible story, absolutely tangible love in these photos!
    I think the last one is my favorite.
    P.S. YOu have been a bigger inspiration than you can ever know….and so it continues..

Comments are closed.