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merrick hands over the reins ~ {Ontario pet photographer}

well, we’re at the end of our fifty-second week in the 2010 52 Weeks for Dogs project on flickr, and it’s time for merrick to hand over the reins to big sister matea … or rather, the leash.

in fact, the final challenge for the group’s 2010 project was a ‘handing-over-the-reins’ or ‘passing-the-torch’ challenge for those die-hard 52-Weekers who are continuing with another year-long project through 2011 and perhaps switching dogs for their project.   since the passing of the project from matea to morley from 2009 to 2010 was a leash-theme …

… i followed my same theme this year with merrick to matea …

of course, knowing i had this challenge coming up, i’ve been working hard with merrick on his ‘fetch’ command, but it’s still not strong enough for him to actually ‘bring’ me matea.  when she refused to budge, he let go.  but you gotta give the little guy props for trying!

i’ve mentioned the 52 Weeks for Dogs project on the blog before, but for those who don’t know about it, 52 Weeks for Dogs is a “project-oriented” flickr group that was launched at the start of 2009, the premise being to envision, set-up, shoot and share a specific photo each week.  what had originally started as something i intended to do as a one-year project for my girl matea, ended up being a bit of a phenomenon.  within weeks of its inception and completely unpredicted, the 52 Weeks for Dogs group became an extremely active, vibrant, tight-knit community where its generous members share everything from dog-information to photography tips, and everything else in between.

of course, 2010 was supposed to be morley’s year.  it started off strong …

… but sadly, morley’s brain tumor took him from us in april.

because merrick had been rescued as a companion for morley during what were to be his final months, it seemed only fitting that merrick should continue morley’s 2010 project, and the deeply sympathetic members of the 52 Weeks group agreed.  so, without missing a week in the project, merrick made his appearance …

… with a bath photo as well, of course.

we had a blast throughout the year.  merrick overcame his incredible fear of the camera (as you can tell!) — of course, it doesn’t hurt that i’ve got just a little experience in that department — and like many members of the group who commit to photographing their dogs weekly, the year-long project produced some of my favorite photos of the little goober, photos i would never have had if not for the commitment to the group.

but now it’s matea’s turn.  this girl means the world to me, and as she enters her 9th year, i’m looking forward to redirecting my cameras onto her again.  it’s time for merrick to hand over the leash …

… even though he makes it amply — and loudly — clear that he doesn’t like playing second fiddle.  i think in 2011 merrick is going to prove a greater challenge in matea’s photo sessions than matea will!

thank you to everyone in the the 52 Weeks for Dogs group.  YOU are what makes this group so sensational and you’re a pleasure to share photos and more with.  and to those of you not continuing with a 2011 project,  you know we’re going to miss you somethin’ fierce!  happy new year to you all, and all the best to you, your 4-leggers, and your photographic endeavors.

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  • SonjaThis is an amazing project! what a fun idea … wodner if I should give it a go – even if on my own – with my little guy!ReplyCancel

  • MuttsandaklutzI’d like to add my thanks to you for starting the group and keeping it rolling along so smoothly. I enjoyed this look back at your 2010 year and am ready to see what you and Matea will do in 2011. All the best!

    Lisa, Walter, and LucyReplyCancel

  • jonathan flemingYou did it! You know, your 52 weeks group was THE reason for me to be on Flickr in 2010. I guess my only problem was that I got so into it that I (and the rest of the “team”)totally ran out of steam for another year of trekking the city and coming up with something new every week for 2011. We’re talking about adding another dog to the family though, so I just might have to return one year! Despite your own hectic schedule, I appreciate that you take time to encourage other photographers by maintaining the 52 Weeks Group. I had a blast in 2010!ReplyCancel

  • Holly Garner-JacksonThe 52 weeks group is so amazing thanks to you and all your hard work!
    These photos of Merrick make me laugh and the ones of Morley give me goose bumps. I miss the little bugger, too!
    Hope Merrick, the little camera hog, doesn’t give you too much grief while you are shooting Matea!
    Can’t wait to start this year’s project with you and the rest of the 52 weekers!ReplyCancel

  • MadaboutgreysThanks to you for starting the 52 weeks group I have a full set for Jasmine 2009 and Arrow 2010. This is the friendliest group I know and I’ve learned so much here. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing Matea again in 2011.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy & RykerWhat a little clown he is! He went from shy and scared to the class cut up! I think you got your hands full with him onboard!ReplyCancel

  • Susan HumphreysSorry, forgot to say, many congratulations on winning best pet
    photographer, you really deserve it!!ReplyCancel

  • Susan HumphreysHappy new year Illona. These are just beautiful. Great to see Mr. Morley again, although the expression on his lovely little face in the second
    photograph always breaks my heart. Inspirational to see what you have achieved with Merrick. You truly are the dog whisperer.

    Susan HumphreysReplyCancel

  • LainerI did a 365 project of my dog Ozzy, so a 52 weeks project would be a dream for me. 🙂 I’ve actually haven’t stopped the project, and am now on 43o plus days. It’s a sickness. LOL! I may switch to a 52 week project. It’s more manageable.ReplyCancel

  • Pet Supplies OnlineNice shots buddy! Merrick and Matea are looking stunning in these pictures. I like liked the bath photograph too. She gave awesome expressions.ReplyCancel

  • kim kailawonderful photos and blog on this Illona! lvoe them all , but especially the “ghost” shot of Merrick turning on the couch with Matea laying on it!! very cool!
    I;ll be stalking for sure during the next 52 weeks and will enjoy every minute of it! Best wishes to you in 2011ReplyCancel

  • LynstarFCThank-you for doing the 52 Weeks group! I’m not a member, but I stalk – a lot, LOL! – and I’ve done my projects on my own. I’ve had so much fun, learned a lot about my camera, and had fun with my dogs! Looking forward to seeing Matea in 2011!ReplyCancel

  • JenniferA difficult decision for me to leave, for certain, but I won’t be seeing any less of Merrick and Matea (and um…Aslan?)!ReplyCancel

  • SydneyThank you Ilona, without you and 52 weeks I would never have created my favorite pictures of my boy Cody and possibly not have as many images of him. I love the group and am as dedicated as ever this coming year!! Merrick is such a fantastic little model, what you done with him is so amazing. I can not wait to see another year of Matea!ReplyCancel

  • SlavicaYou are just brilliant Illona ! I can never pick a favourite, I look at them over & over and never decide on just one. When ever I am having a rough day, I go to your site and look at your work, it always brings a smile to my face and changes my perception of things. THANK YOU !ReplyCancel

  • Kelly (Neptune)Even though I wasn’t in the 52 Weeks group this past year I followed little Merrick. What you’ve done with this boy is nothing short of miraculous. He is so lucky to have you.

    I can’t wait to follow Matea this year! And I want to thank you for including us in the 52 weeks family.ReplyCancel

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