In Loving Memory – Little Chief Timberwolf

Little Chief Timberwolf was his full name, a descendant of Balto, Chief was a therapy dog who helped a LOT of people!  He was a very special dog, companion, friend, teacher, mentor, family member,  who I shared a very special bond with!  He lived a great life for 11 1/2 years, he touched a lot of lives, and was loved by all that met him!   Both my son and myself fell in love with him the first time we met him.  This was so common, he was just one of those dogs that you instantly fall in love with, not because of the beauty he was graced with, and he was beautiful, but for that wonderful  energy he had about him!  

He recently started to lose weight very quickly, we battled but lost the fight on March 25, 2010.  The vets think it was cancer. 

Chief in his lifetime got to do and see so much, more than lots of dogs and even more than some people get to experience.  He was a Therapy Dog who helped a lot and I mean a LOT of people. 

One of my favorite stories about him was a woman who hadn’t spoke in a long time.  Chief was brought in to see her and within 5 minutes she was talking to Chief, the nurse was amazed!  The nurse said the woman hadn’t talked in like 2 years! 

Chief had such a wonderful calming and healing energy to him!  He got to work with cancer patients, elderly in nursing homes, adults and children alike!  He helped many to retrieve their lives by giving them hope and love!  He was just that way!  Always giving what he could give! 

I mentioned he was a mentor and teacher to me.  He taught me a great deal about life, love, caring, giving, patience, and his most recent gift to me during these past few weeks was a lesson on positive energy and it’s power!  Something I have been struggling with, and a precious gift I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life!  Because of him I can now feel energy like I never have before!

He LOVED going on walks, looked forward to them everyday!  Once out on the leash he had this little “strut” to him that I called the “Chiefy Strut”, it was just so cute to see!  He was such a happy dog!  LoL even strangers would be attracted to him and ask to pet him when they saw us out and about!  They would always walk away with a big smile on their faces. 

On Thursday morning, March 25, 2010, he was fine, spirited, spunky and eating.  He had actually gained 1 lb back in the last week, may not seem like much but it was progress!  About 1pm he came up to me while I was working on the computer, sat down beside me and I started petting that loving head, and scratching those great ears of his, while looking into those wonderful multi colored eyes, one blue, one brown! 

Well, soon I was on the floor and he was snuggled up to my leg wanting his belly rubbed.  Pretty soon the energy took over in an indescribable way, it was like our energies merged into one very warm, calming, healing, and loving energy orb!  This lasted for about 45 to 50 minutes and once again was just an incredible experience!  I will forever cherish those minutes.  He got up and walked to his room and rested for a while.  He got up suddenly around 2:45 like he was about to get sick which had happened a few times over the last few weeks, but this time he sounded like he was in pain.  He looked at me and told me it was time!  Both his original owners, Pat and Rick, as well as my son and myself were able to be there for him!  I think the vets were a little freaked out that so many came for him.  🙂

I loved him so much, I recently had him tattooed on my back!  He will truly be with me for the rest of my life, he touched my heart and graced my life in a very special way!  He touched a LOT of lives in a special way, he was a healer, mentor, teacher, companion!  I’ve had clients want to get pictures made with him and he was always willing to accept their request.  He truly touched the heart of all that met him!  He will be missed by the MANY that loved him!  He was so loved my many many people!  Such a special, sometimes goofy guy!  🙂  He will live on in my heart and in the images I have taken of him, and in the hearts of all that knew him! 

Little Chief Timberwolf, September 13, 1998 to March 25, 2010! 

In loving memory, you will be missed!  Thank you for gracing my life with your presence and for all the lives you touched and brought joy to!  RIP my friend!  I’ll see you again at Rainbow Bridge, until then enjoy playing with your former pack members, Shasta, Bear, Shadow, Tasha and Smokey!  

Thank you to my son Joseph and his wife Jenny for bringing Chief into my life, he was a true gift, and a great friend!

These are some of my favorite images of him!  🙂  Ahhhh the good times!  Balto himself would have been proud of you! 

Puppy Chief….Yes he had big ears, but he grew into them nicely!  🙂

His former pack.  Chief is on the right in the picture above.  Notice that everyone is on the same foot!  Now that is a pack! 

Chief is in the middle, LoL always next to the human!  🙂 

Another shot of his former pack.

The next couple shots are people Chief helped as a Therapy Dog!  🙂

The above picture was just taken 1st of Feb. 2010.  Just 8 weeks ago. 

I was out front shoveling snow when I noticed Chief through the fence.  He almost looks mean in this, but he was super gentle and the best trained dog I have ever owned.  🙂

He truly loved the snow!  No surprise being a Siberian!  🙂

A shot taken last fall of Chief and his buddy Smokey!  Both gone but never forgotten.  They became really good buds and in Smokey’s last days  Chief was right beside him the whole time! 

Chief, Me, Smokey and Mia.  Chiefs latest pack!  This photo was taken by Greg Frieden.

Chief and myself!  🙂  Thank you Chief for all the gifts you gave me!  Photo by Greg Frieden




The time comes. 
A Siberian Husky lifts up its head. 
There is an untested adventure beyond. 
Time to go. 

Across the Rainbow Bridge is a place for all dogs. 
A river runs wide and shallow with tennis balls that fly with their own wings; 
That is the place for a Labrador or a Golden to await its master’s arrival. 
The Siberian is not content here. Northward is its trail. 

There are soft pastures for Aussies and Border Collies, with sheep and geese to pen. 
Agility equipment grows like trees amid Frisbees and fly ball. 
But the North continues its sure wild call, 
And the Siberian’s journey continues. 

Now the air is colder. Now the moon is always full. 
Now the light is silver and it breaks and shimmers on fields of bright snow. 
Now there are no roads, no walls, no pens, just endless space to run. 
; This is where Siberians gather, North of the Rainbow Bridge. 

They wait in this beautiful place, happy, but not complete. 
Suddenly, a howl begins, as one dog senses someone coming, someone very special. 
All the Siberians raise their heads and join in the ancient chorus. 
They dance like moonbeams and sing like winter winds. 

There are red ones like dawn streaks, black ones splattered with many colours 
And silver ones like the first strange hour before light. 
They line up as if in harness and run together, 
In a scintillating, many-coloured streak. 

The leader of the team guides the others past the fields and river, 
With racing feet and racing heart. 
They rush to greet the new arrival at the Rainbow Bridge 
Where the leader is rejoined with its beloved person, never to be parted again. 

The glory of the reunion is celebrated by all the Siberians dwelling beyond the Bridge, 
A glimmering, multi-coloured team leaping and whirling with joy.; The light from that scene is
what we see on magical evenings in the northern most parts of this Earth: 
The Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights beyond the Rainbow Bridge. 



As always, hope you are having a great day!  And stay positive!  🙂
Visions Photography – Go Beyond the Snapshot, YOU deserve something special!
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Just a good story! Maybe 2! :)

I first want to thank Miriam for forwarding me this story and her support on Sunday.  As soon as I read this, I had to post it here!  🙂  Also a special thanks to Stubby who helped me through a dark time also on Sunday.   And a BIG thank you to Pat and Rick, Chief’s former owners who came by to see him, once again on Sunday!  One more special thank you to my neighbor Stephanie who brought Gator out to see Chief on Saturday.  Chief has been eating ever since these events, please keep that energy coming for both of us!  🙂  More on Chief after the story. 

Those that know me are aware of the special bond I have with my dogs Chief and Mia, and a recent passed “Fuzzy Buddy” named Smokey Dawg who gave me 13 wonderful years…….others may just think I’m nuts, but they don’t realize how much love you can find with a dog or any pet.  It’s just so pure and unconditional!   But it’s not just the love, if your eyes and mind are open enough you can learn a LOT about life from them.  They live in the moment, they don’t worry about what will happen next, or what happened yesterday or even 10 minutes ago. 

Here’s the story……


This really is a great story!  Lucky Dog…. Anyone who has pets will really like this. You’ll like it even if you don’t and you may even decide you need one!

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named Lucky. Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing. Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease….in fact; she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky.  A thought struck her…what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary’s dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won’t understand that I didn’t want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable. Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn’t even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn’t come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn’t understand what was wrong. She couldn’t move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love. Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It’s been 12 years now, and Mary is still cancer-free.

Lucky, he still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.

Remember……live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget….the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us.

Live simply.. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God. A small request All you are asked to do is keep this circulating, even if it is only to one more person, in memory of anyone you know that has been struck down by cancer or is still fighting their battle.


Well that’s the story, now for mine. 

I’ve personally lost a father, the other grandparents to my grandchildren, Bob and Mary Read, and my beloved Smokey Dawg, all to cancer.   If you would like to help fight cancer, please see my current special, just click on the Specials page to the right!  🙂 

Chief hasn’t been feeling good lately, he stopped eating and has lost a lot of weight in a short time.  He’s 11, yes but he is very strong in spirit, he is a Siberian Husky and just beautiful in both appearance and spirit.  He is a retired therapy dog, and has helped a lot, and I mean a LOT of people overcome their illnesses!  He has helped me see things in a different light and during these last couple weeks has tought me a tremendous amount about positive energy and love! 

I was getting frustrated at my computer the other day and Chief sensed this and came up to me, nudged me as if to say take a break.  He did this despite his weak state, and I was like wow!  Ok buddy let’s go for a short walk!  Everything was better! 

Just this past weekend, I was feeling really sad about my buddy Chief and his weakness from not wanting to eat.  My energy seemed to be totally drained.  Mia came up to me and just layed down in front of me as if to say everything will be ok.  When I went inside, she went over to Chief and nudged him as if to tell him everything was going to be ok!  He then ate a little bit. 

The next day Stephanie next door brought Gator out to the fence and let Chief sniff, see and “talk” to her.  LoL Chief and Gator have a bond with each other also.  🙂  Really cute to see!  Chief came inside and ate!  🙂

Chief’s original owners Pat and Rick came by for a visit Sunday night, Chief knew they were there before they could get up the steps, he was already standing at the door and waiting for them….loving energy in its purest form!  After they left he ate, then two hours later ate again, and he has been eating ever since!  I’m really hoping this is a trend toward recovery! 

The vets think he may have the C word, and this may be true, but I don’t “feel” that is the case.  I just don’t get that energy from him.  What I do get is confusion, and uneasiness and a sense of missing Smokey, who he was really close with. 

The final chapter hasn’t been written yet, but hopefully with a lot of  love and positive energy, Chief will be back up and taking long walks soon!  I can “see” him becoming a Therapy Dog once again!  I think Mia can become a Therapy Dog also, she is such a loving and caring spirit herself!  For now, I’m just thrilled Chief seems to be eating again! 

No matter what happens, Chief has given me some precious lessons about life, and a whole lot of love!   For now I’m taking in each precious moment of our time together and my time with Mia!   Also going to work harder at being in the moment with my Son, his Wife, and those two precious grandchildren of mine.  And all the wonderful friends and clients that have touched my life!   I’ve learned a lot of lessons from a lot of unexpected sources these last few weeks including one from my son, Joseph!  Thank you! 




As always, hope you are having a great day!
Visions Photography – Go Beyond the Snapshot, YOU deserve something special!
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You can also see more of my work at the following sites.  Blog

Art Comes from the HeART Part 2


This is the 2nd part of my series “Art Comes from the HeART.  If you missed part one, you can find it here:

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“Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.”  Picasso   I love this quote! 

As we go day to day through life, dust accumulates on our soul, when you see a great piece of art, photograph, oil canvas, water color, sculpture, tatoo or a song with special meaning…..for a moment you can get lost in that art, the dust is washed away, your heart and mind are refreshed!  A friend named Carey, who is the lead cellist for Orchestra Iowa said it well recently.  “For me it is reading chamber music. Just sitting down and reading. The result appears to be the same,  Art  :)”   The “canvases” may be different, but the result is the same…It is art! 

What happens to you when you look at a portrait of your special newborn, or significant other, maybe a special photo of your family, you get lost in it for a few moments!   The same is true for any image of those special moments in your life! 

This brings to mine when I have recently had the privilege to photograph some events for Orchestra Iowa.  The music starts.  The music is art coming from the hearts of the musicians, there is a special, indescribable energy in the air, that music inspires me.  I “zone out” so to speak and feed on that inspiration, this causes me to just “see” in a special way, and deliver images  that you can feel not just see. 

I do the same at a wedding, the love of the couple inspires me!  With a family sitting, the family’s love and relationships inspire me.  With a High School student, it is their individuality and their personality that provides the inspiration, and newborns are once again a different source of inspiration, who will they be when they grow up, what will they do! 

I’ve been blessed, I get to follow my passion in life and do it for a living.  I get to capture moments that will be cherished by generations to come.  I’m invited into the lives of my clients, to their homes, invited to their weddings, the major events of their lives.  My work hangs on the walls of their homes and sits on the desks of their offices.  I take this responsibility seriously!  I’m there to capture my clients special moments in artistic images that will last a lifetime. 

For example…. during a family portrait session there will be moments that you will remember for the rest of your life.  10 years from now you will look back on that portrait and go “I remember this, or remember when Uncle Joe said such and such and cracked us all up.  Or….Jonathon was so cute when that was taken, he was only 10 days old.  

The future value of portraits……….

In a recent personal experience, I lost a very dear, beloved furry friend of 13 years named Smokey on December 19, 2009. Last summer I took the time with a very good friend and fellow photographer named Greg Frieden. He came over and photographed me with Smokey a couple times.  After Smokey died he presented me with a collage of the photographs he took during those sessions, he caught the moments perfectly and this gift meant the world to me! 

It gave me great comfort to know these precious memories of mine were there to cherish for the rest of my life and remind me of the 13 wonderful years Smokey gave to me!  Yes he was a dog, but he was also so much more, a true friend who graced my life with his presence and lots of love and laughs!  The point of this is, we took the time to photograph someone special to me, knowing that life was short and deer Smokey was getting up there in years!  This time taken was Sooooooo worth the investment, Greg did a great job and provided me with memories I will cherish and my son will cherish these for the rest of our lives!  He caught some of those special moments that Smokey and I shared on a day-to-day basis!  BTW Greg is one of the few photographers I recommend if I happen to be booked. 

Behind every portrait I take, there are hours of practice, hours of learning, hours of experience.  One of the reasons I compete in competitions is for the learning experience to improve my art.  The ribbons are nice but the knowledge learned is priceless!  I also do fine art photography, some ask why?  I do this as a way to practice, fine tune my craft.  To study light and constantly improve my work.  Photography is a journey without end, a lifelong journey, always something new to learn no matter what level you are at.  I’ve always believed that if a photographer gets to a point where they think they know everything there is to know, then it is time to put up the camera and go on to something else.  To become great at anything you need to constantly learn and improve!  I combine the things I learn during the creation of my fine art work into my portrait work, combining the two.  I like to call it “Fine Art” Portraits!  🙂 

I want these “fine art” portraits, these precious moments to not only be a photograph, but a piece of art, something that you will be proud to display on the walls of your home!  An heirloom that will be handed down for generations to come.  After capturing that moment the best I can in camera, I then do what Ansel Adams used to do with his images in the chemical darkroom, only I use a digital darkroom.  A little burning here, a little dodging there, this is where I add my artistic impression to the image, every image I produce includes a little of my heart.  I might make it a little edgy, or I may make it a little soft, I can’t tell you ahead of time what I will do, but it just comes from the heart once I see the image full size on my computer monitor.  Hopefully when I’m done it will move you, it will speak to you. 

We take the time to get to know you, what you like, what you don’t like.  Who are you, your relationship to your spouse or fiance’, your relationship to your siblings, the high school senior about to go out and challenge the world.  The innocence of your new born and that first year where they change so much.   That emotional dance with your father at your wedding, you will always be his little girl.  Who is the real you?  That’s what you want during a portrait session!  Do you really want to be rushed in, take maybe 4 or 5 poses and be rushed out, rushed in your decision making?   Avoid the chain studios, and the amateur weekender, come talk to us, commission us for your family, child, baby, senior portrait or even a portrait of that furry family member that loves you no matter what.   Consultations are always free and we love to meet people!    Don’t trust these special memories to just anyone!  We go beyond the snapshot!  Once again, you will also have fun in the process!

This slide show is a compilation of some of my fine art work, hope you enjoy it!

As always, hope you are having a great day!
Visions Photography – Go Beyond the Snapshot, YOU deserve something special!
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You can also see more of my work at the following sites.  Blog

Sawyer – 1 yr

I’ve known this little guy since he was born.  Over this first year he’s changed a lot and developed quite a cute personality.  It’s the little things like this that make me love my job!  

Capture your little one being themselves!  Call 319-286-8483 or email to schedule your session!   Go beyond the snapshot, YOU deserve something special!    Between now and April 30th, 2010, we will donate $100.00 for every session booked to Johnson County Relay for Life!  It’s time to wipe out Cancer!

As always, hope you are having a great day!
Visions Photography – Go Beyond the Snapshot, YOU deserve something special!
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You can also see more of my work at the following sites.  Blog

Recent Randomness – “Artistic Adventures”

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I love to sometimes go out with just my camera and maybe a close friend or two or five to photograph whatever we happen to see.   Whether it’s something in nature, street photography, whatever it might be. 

It helps me to refresh my creativity and I usually stumble across a great new location for my portrait work.  Not to mention just spending time with great friends.   I like to call them “Artistic Adventures.”   

The images I’ve posted here are some of my personal favorites that I’ve taken since September of 09. 

Oh and btw, ALL fine art prints are available for purchase.  Each print is limited in edition to 20 prints, signed and numbered, mounted and framed!   Prices start at $200 for an 8×12.  Larger prints available.  But no matter what size you order, only 20 prints will be made from each image. 

Call 319-286-8483 or email for details! 

As always, hope you are having a great day!
Visions Photography – Go Beyond the Snapshot, YOU deserve something special!
319-270-7371  cell
You can also see more of my work at the following sites.  Blog

Avoid Hiring a Cheap Wedding Photographer

Vanessa Dewson is a wedding photographer in Ottawa and Kawartha Lakes, Canada.  While the words are not mine, the sentiment is the same.

Lately I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about wedding photography, and while I’m not trying in any way to tell you what you should do, I just don’t want to see anyone regretting their decision once your special day is over. 

Check out this video posted on You Tube!

As always, hope you are having a great day!
Visions Photography – Go Beyond the Snapshot, YOU deserve something special!
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You can also see more of my work at the following sites.  Blog


Vanessa’s Wise Words

And now here I am on the other side, listening to brides and grooms who seem to want awesome photography for a rock bottom price AND own all the digital negatives at the end of the day. Trust me, I know how expensive a wedding can be and how desperately you want to cut a few corners to bring the overall cost down but I just don’t think photography is the place to do that. It will be your only lasting visual reminder of your day and frankly, if you are spending a good chunk of change on your wedding, you want professional artwork to remember it by and not just settle for snapshots.

I don’t think many people know what it takes to shoot and edit a wedding and create a beautiful album. I have spent up to 12 hours on the day of a wedding then more than 40 hours editing and laying out an album, making revisions, etc… As a professional, I value my time as an expert and an artist. I want to work with clients who value my work as well and don’t just see me as another line in their budget. Yes there are ‘weekend warriors’ out there who offer their time and all the files for ridiculous prices, but I can almost guarantee they aren’t making any money and the quality is not nearly as good since they are still working other jobs that are allowing them to pursue this as a hobby. Professionals are constantly working to improve their craft through workshops, forums, conferences and competitions, as well as investing in top of the line equipment and software and using professional labs and suppliers that really produce a far superior product than any online or in store photo lab.

I also know so many people who just got the files and didn’t do anything with their images for well over a year! The advantage of having someone else create an album for you is that a) it actually gets done and b) a good photographer is building a story when choosing which moments and details to capture. How is someone else expected to sift through hundreds of images and figure out the best way to tell it? It would be like asking a bakery to give you all the ingredients and you would then have to make your own wedding cake. I can guarantee it won’t be nearly as nice or taste as good as it would be if you let a professional do their job. And if you really, truly cannot afford a professional, find someone who is striving to be one, whether a student or someone looking to build their portfolio. Help them out by showing them the style of photography you love and I’m sure they will do their very best. And you never know, you just might be hiring the next rising star!

I hope this helps educate engaged couples about the value of hiring a professional and doesn’t come across as a rant. I just want brides and grooms to be left with nothing but the best memories from their wedding day. Don’t just take it from me, here is a blog post I came across where a bride DID choose a cheap photographer and regrets it:

Ok, so now that you know WHY it’s better to hire pro, HOW do you choose? Well, a portfolio is a good indication of their skill but the best way would be to meet face to face and see if not just their style but their personality and philosophy fits with yours. The last thing you want is someone you don’t click with because you just won’t get the same results as you would with someone who totally puts you at ease.

Happy Wedding Planning!

Your Ottawa and Kawartha Lakes Wedding Photographer,


Avoid Hiring a Cheap Wedding Photographer – Original Post

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Some recent Wedding images by Visions Photography!