The Casey family wanted to come to beautiful Sedona, Arizona for their annual family photos and who could blame them? The red rocks, beautiful vistas, and the gorgeous sunsets are unrivaled in the Southwest. I love shooting in Sedona because at every turn there’s something that will take your breath away. There are many reasons why so many people make the pilgrimage to Sedona…from acclaimed vortexes to the healing waters and sounds of Oak Creek to the peace you get when you find a trail all to yourself. If you’ve never been, make the trip!
Jessica and Gerry are expecting their second baby in December and big brother, Elvis the Bernese mountain dog, and big sister, Delaney are very excited! I loved the custom signs for Delaney and Elvis! But mostly, I adored how much this family loved one another. There’s nothing quite like being able to observe a close family and how they make each other laugh and smile. The Casey family were adventurous and wanted to go to the summit of the Sugarloaf trail and Jessica hiked it like a pro! The views were definitely worth the effort!
It was great meeting each of you! Thank you for coming to Sedona! xoxo ~ Melissa
We’ve all had animal friends in our life that fill up our heart and bring us so much joy that we feel like we want to burst. This sweet girl, Stella, is one of those dogs. Now that Stella’s face is turning grey, her family wanted to capture this amazing soul, so when the time comes, they’ll always have these precious images to remember her and her smile. We loved spending the afternoon with her, her mom and dad, and siblings, Grayfus and Vespa. Modeling is hard work Stella! We hope you got extra belly rubs and bacon snacks after!
Spending the afternoon on the West Fork Trail in Sedona with this beautiful family was a blast! The snow, red rocks and adorable puppies made for a perfect afternoon photo session. Jennifer and Daniel recently rescued their two puppies from a Phoenix shelter so naturally they need a new family portrait!
Darren didn’t know what to get his wife for the holidays and he desperately wanted to make her smile. He simply adored her and wanted to get her the best present, something that would make her heart sing and tears of joy roll down her cheek. It then occurred to him all she would ever want is what most women want…beautiful portraits of their (furry) kids.
We met Sylvie, Ellie and little Macy (only four months old!) on a beautiful trail they frequent often for their session. These Golden Retrievers were very sweet, energetic and loving. We got a LOT of doggie kisses, but we count that as one of the perks of being a Pet Photographer. They were VERY excited to be out in the forest and it was a lot of fun watching them chase balls and run up and down the hills. These three kept us on our toes and we all left exhausted, but happy.
Darren ordered a canvas and album for his wife to open on Christmas morning. We wished we could have seen the look on his wife’s face when she opened them!
Here’s to a new year with lots of love, happy families and slobbery kisses!
Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the cruelty of the world. I can’t even turn on social media anymore without being bombarded of heinous crimes, international tragedy and unmentionable thing humans are capable of doing to one another and other innocent beings. I’ve been known to break out in tears at my desk due to a video where I should have never pressed “play”. But then, something wonderful usually happens if I look just a little closer, and try and find the goodness that I all know we’re capable of. Sometimes if I’m lucky, I get to meet a person, face to face, whose soul is shining so bright with so much love for the creatures of the earth that it makes me cry once again, but instead of sorrow, it’s tears of hope and joy. Maryann is one of those people. As soon as we pulled up to her gorgeous and serene property, we were overwhelmed by all the love radiating from her and her sweet animal friends. From the chickens, cats, dogs and amazing horses, you could almost feel the heartbeats of all them in unison, thumping out the care, joy and magnitude of love for each other.
Maryann hired us to photograph her aging horse, Joe, now 28, who spent his younger days as a show horse. There’s no more competition for Joe now, he’s enjoying his retirement on a beautiful property south of Sedona filled with lots of friends and sweet green pastures. Joe’s the kind of horse you can fall in love with right away. Those soulful eyes were filled with so much love, appreciation and happiness for life that I could have stared at them forever. We also got to photograph his companion, Matsi, who was charming and beautiful and had us laughing out loud at her love for the camera! And then there was Huck the German Shepherd, a sweetheart whom loves sticks as much as he loves his mom Maryann.
We so enjoyed creating these memories for you Maryann. Thank you for adding so much love and goodness to this world.
Meet Big Joe Louis Boxer, but you can just call him Big Joe. Unless of course, he decides to be an 80+ pound lap dog, and then you call him anything you like as long as you’re giving him some love. Pretty cute don’t you think? Big Joe joined the McMillan family a couple of years ago when his original owners fell on hard times. But if you ask Big Joe, he thinks it was fate. Because at the same time his owners had to tearfully make the decision to give him up, the McMillan family was also looking for another boxer to complete their pack. When Tracy, Greg, Angus and Amber met Big Joe, well, you can say they all knew there was no chance they’d ever leave without him.
Big Joe settled into the McMillan’s life quickly and became a family member instantaneously. In his new home, along with his human family, he also had a new boxer sister, Amber and chickens. The McMillans quickly found out that Big Joe barks like a Chewbacca from Star Wars and makes them laugh on a daily basis with his Chewy sounds and wiggly boxer moves. According to his parents, Big Joe is a big love bug and loves nothing better but to crush mom, Tracy, at night when he ‘shares’ the bed. However, knowing Tracy, and how much she loves this big boy, I know she doesn’t really mind.
So knowing the McMillan’s love for Big Joe, it was a very sad day when we talked about his Ginger Session.
In January Big Joe had to have emergency surgery to remove a large mass on his spleen (and the spleen itself). To his families horror, the mass was malignant and was diagnosed as hemangiosarcoma. The prognosis was bad. And short. So, after much research, soul searching and wanting the best for his quality of life, his family decided against chemotherapy and have decided instead to overdose him with daily love for the rest of the days of his life.
I knew as soon as I met him that Big Joe is an amazing dog. He has a gentle, deep soul that is apparent in his handsome brown eyes. When I was photographing him, I felt like I could just melt into those big brown eyes. I think he was trying to tell me to let his family know that he’s going to be OK after his body wears out on this Earth. I also think he wanted me to tell his family that he’ll always be nearby as their own personal guardian angel. You see, Big Joe know the truth, love never dies. It’s always deep in our heart and if close our eyes, we’ll feel it all around us.
I’m so happy that we got to get some great photos of Big Joe. I know that his family will love them in the years to come when they tell funny, heartfelt, happy stories about the big, gentle, Chewy sounding, wiggly butt giant named Big Joe Louis Boxer.
I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner