• ... home of Ontario's premier pet photographer. This is where the photos of scruffy dog photography meet the heart and soul behind all of those fun and wacky photo shoots and the long hours in the digital darkroom ... a behind-the scenes peek into the zany life of a pet-exclusive photographer and her two ... now THREE trusty sidekicks. For more details on illona and the mcscruffies and the newest mcruffles cat, check out the "about" section.

    What you will find here is the past several years of blog entries -- selected client shoots, sneak peeks, facebook recaps, news and announcements, promos and specials, as well as info on canine health and general dog chat. (NOTE: previous years of blog entries have been archived.)

    So, grab a cup of jo, give your scruffnut a beef tendon to gnaw on, and enjoy the photos and ramblin's.

two blue dogs in the bad lands ~ Ontario pet photographer

Rogue and Mobi — two gorgeous dogs from Barrie — met me for their custom scruffy dog photo session in Caledon for their session almost three years ago (yes, I’m that far behind in blogging, and certainly not every scruffy client makes it to the blog, but I really wanted to share these two blue beauties with you).

Sadly, this is the last session I shot (and might ever shoot) at the Bad Lands since the area is now closed due to damage and accelerated erosion caused by the lack of respect and adherence to the posted signs detailing proper ‘usage’ of these delicate lands.  Even when we were there, it was frustrating to watch parents planting themselves on lawn chairs with beers at the top of the area (ironically right under the very signs indicating no sliding or scaling down the slopes, no littering, etc.) while their screaming children literally ran amok, sliding relentlessly up and down the delicate clay slopes, leaving a trail of spent candy wrappers and juice boxes.

So while I’m sad that this ecological wonder is now closed to those of us who did follow the rules, who deeply respected the area, and who wanted nothing more than to do its beauty justice in photos, I’m grateful that it is now closed to those who simply viewed it as a playground for their offspring to whom they felt no need to teach respect for the earth, others, or authority in general.

But back to the dogs … these gorgeous blue dogs for whom this landscape was a no-brainer.

Rogue … this girl is a Thai Ridgeback.  How stunning is she?

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… and little Mobi, whose lineage is a mystery, but who hails from the streets of Alabama.

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Before hitting the Bad Lands, I wanted to work with these two in the a park area first … so while the sun was still high, we sought cover under some tall trees.

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…taking time to do tricks on bridges.  Thanks, Mobi!

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And while the Bad Lands might look deserted, let me assure you, they were not.  It takes work, patience, and a lot of angling (as well as some photoshopping) to get these kinds of shots without a number of other photographers in the background, or the aforementioned unruly children running amok.

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I do hope that, one day, the Bad Lands can be reopened, perhaps by permit … something to restrict the usage to those of us who will respect it and allow it remain in the splendor that it is.   Thank you, Rogue and Mobi, for a lovely afternoon and for making the Bad Lands look so good.

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Andrea Jones - What a stunning looking place – love that last shot too!

Margaret Chekouras Duerr - I adore these images (all of your images!!). Thank you for sharing!!! I especially love the last rump roast picture.

Sandra Batley - Gorgeous captures

Sandra Jones - What beautiful and unusual dogs! Thank you for sharing, Illona. I never associated dogs with Asian countries, nor had I ever heard of the Bad Lands around Caledon – your commentary is very insightful.

sweet Minnie’s winter session ~ Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario pet photographer

Meet Minnie.  She had the winter segment of her scruffy Seasons session last weekend, and it was only by the skin of our teeth!  This winter has been the absolute worst in my 9 years of being a pet-exclusive photographer … no snow, then snow but temperatures too frigid for dogs, then rain … in fact, the snow we did manage to finally get for Minnie’s session came only a couple of days prior and was almost gone by the next day.  And now, less than a week later, I would wager to call it spring in these parts, with not even a small, nasty dirty pocket of snow left anywhere as a reminder of the winter that wasn’t.

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Normally, I am a good year or more behind in blogging but decided to share a few images from Minnie’s winter session just to show the kind of variety we can achieve in a short scruffy session.  In fact, the actual shooting time of Minnie’s session was under 40 minutes.  Sure, we spent more time in the woods … standing around talking, waiting for the sun to get a little softer, moving from one spot to the next, wading through the swamp to find this patch of dogwood…

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… but the actual time shooting — according to the metadata on the images from both cameras — was just under 40 minutes.  I love showing clients the kind of variety that can be achieved with the right location and some creative approaches … and of course, a stellar model!

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…and a little fun with dad David, of course,

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In this case I haven’t photoshopped out the long-line that I used for safety’s sake for Minnie’s running shots.  I have a lot of clients worry about their dogs’ safety when it comes to sessions, believing that their 4-legger isn’t a candidate for a scruffy session due to the fact that they can’t be allowed off leash, but in all cases in Minnie’s session (except one) she was on leash or on the long-line.

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In fact, in this image you can see the slight pull on the collar from the line which I have already removed…

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…and here is the image with the collar fixed.

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Thank you, Stacey and David, for introducing me to your gorgeous girl, and for being so incredibly patient with this season’s weather.  I can only hope that this spring and fall treat us better for Minnie’s next two sessions!  I can’t wait to see you three again.

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Chinook & George ~ {Kitchener-Waterloo pet photographer}

i had fun with these two scruffies during their fall photo session here in Scruffyville.  this is Chinook, a 10-year-old collie cross adopted as a puppy from the KW Humane Society …

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and this is little, 6-year-old George, also a KWHS alum.

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Chinook seemed to feel right at home on the scruffy dog settee.  in fact, i think she would have been quite happy to just lounge there while we continued the session without her.
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one of Jennifer’s goals for this session — besides a canvas, prints, and an album for each George and Chinook — was that i capture images of Chinook with her ears up.  In Jennifer’s words: “the one must have shot is a picture of Chinook with her ears up (as in not flattened/back). I have been trying to get a good picture of this for almost 9 years.”  perhaps it was the magic of the forest, but fortunately we had no problem perking Chinook’s ears up.

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with Chinook and George’s Big Picture session, we had lots of time for the settee, the forest, romping in the field, the meadow, and even down on the beach, giving us great variety for their individual albums!

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just how pretty is this sweet girl?

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thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your two beautiful scruffs with me, and allowing me to capture their spirits.

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