Sunday, May 31, 2009

Profile: Erin Johnson

Erin Johnson
Erin's blog

Erin's photograph "Tabitha" can be found on page 18 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Erin tells us about herself:

I was born in Alabama and have lived here my whole life (so far anyway). I grew up in Auburn, AL (War Eagle!) where I went to school from 3rd grade until my 2nd year of college and eventually would like to move back. Nothing beats being in Auburn during football season on game day. Now, I am a graphic designer at a small newspaper in Andalusia, AL, but I love to take pictures in my spare time, which one day I would like to turn into my full-time job. Photography has always been a big part of my life. My first camera was a hot pink 110 film camera that I got when I was about 9 or 10. I'm pretty sure I still have it too. Eventually I moved up to a 35mm point & shoot that my grandmother bought me for Christmas one year. I bought my first 35mm SLR right after I graduated high school in 2001. Last year, I finally made the leap to a DSLR. My main focus in my photography is landscapes, flowers, & animals, but I am slowly trying out the portrait photography waters. That is hard for a naturally shy person!

My first published photograph was in a local magazine called Wiregrass Living in the Sept/Oct. 2004 issue. I graduated from Troy University in Troy, Alabama in December 2005 with a degree in graphic design and photography and started working for the local newspaper in Troy that same month. I love to travel whenever I get the chance and have a lot of places that are on my must see list. I finally made my first trip out of the country when my husband and I were on our honeymoon.

My husband and I have been married since July 2008 and live in Enterprise, AL. For now, our only child is Tabitha, our 2 year old cat. This picture of Tabitha was really just an accident. I was trying out my new 50mm lens that I had gotten and usually she doesn't like to pose, but eventually she started getting into it. Now she loves the camera. She also loves milk, sleep and begging my husband and I for affection when she is certain she is not getting enough.

Friday, May 29, 2009

up close & bird brains

Did you know that moss has little blooms in the spring?I didn't know...until I took my camera and my macro lens for a walk down our 1/2 mile long driveway last week. I love working with my macro lens, because it gets me looking at everything a lot differently.However, I need to practice using it because I have a lot of difficulty getting a clear photo. I don't know if it's because my hands shake, or I'm just not used to the lens. But I'm happy to practice!

We had some excitement this week. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, I woke up at 6:00 to the sounds of scratching and rustling coming from our utility room. Tuesday I tried to figure it out myself. Wednesday morning I woke up John so he could hear it too. We decided something was in the tubing coming from our air exchanger, and after listening for a bit we decided it was a bird. John opened up the air exchanger, but we couldn't see where something would be able to get in or out. A phone call was put in to our plumber/heating guy who sent someone out. Of course, by the time the service guy came there were no sounds to be heard. I was feeling very thankful that I woke John up to listen to the sound, because the service guy was looking at me like I imagined the whole thing. "Are you sure it wasn't the equipment running that you heard?". Then Thursday morning rolled around....6:00 and sure enough the scratching and rustling sounds started up again. I went into the utility room, stood up on a ladder and felt all the tubing. It turns out that it was the dryer tubing that was moving. So, outside I go and what do I see? A bird flying out of the dryer vent. I lugged a ladder around, and stuck my gloved hand into the vent. Aha! A nest was being built inside the vent. So, I pulled out what I could and taped up a temporary cover over the vent. Good thing it's clothesline season...we won't need to run the dryer for a while, and those birds will just have to find a new place to build their home!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Profile: Denise Picanco

Denise Picanco
picanco.org

Denise's photograph "Majestic" can be found on page 25 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book. Denise tells us about herself:

I’ve been around animals all my life, from chickens, cats, dogs, birds, and fish – my goldfish died at the ripe old age of seven (years) – to rats, gerbils and mice. Having worked at a pet store many, many moons ago, the “runts” or “rejects" often found a cozy home at our house. Having the experience of seeing these living beings suffer so much led me to become more proactive. I avoid pet stores altogether and encourage people to adopt a pet from either the local shelter or rescue groups like Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline (ARPH), Hopeful Hearts Dog Rescue, and the Ferret Rescue Society of Ottawa & Area (FRSOA).

As a volunteer for Responsible Dog Owners of Canada (RDOC) I get to be a part of something that’s very important to me, and that’s education. I’ve seen the result of puppy mills and pet stores first hand, unfortunately, so if I can help educate just one person on the importance of prevention, animal safety and being a responsible pet owner, then I’ve done my job.

By now you’ve probably realized that I am as passionate about animals as I am about photography. Our two Aussies keep us entertained and out of trouble, and they are often my main models. Our majestic boy, Logan, found his way into the Paws for Charity Art Book this year. He’s very proud and excited to be a part of something so important!

The idea of combining the things I’m most passionate about together and bringing them to life is simply incredible to me. To physically see the love in a mother’s eyes when she looks down at her little girl, playing with the polka dots on her dress; the gentle touch of a little boy’s hand petting the spot between his puppy’s eyes while that little puppy sleeps; the tender touch of a grandfather’s embrace as he sings his granddaughter to sleep in his arms; the serenity of a newlywed couple, snuggling in the grass with their arms around their puppy, around each other as they watch the colors on the trees change, it’s those memories, those emotions, those moments that I love to be a small part of. It’s the feeling of catching those memories as if out of thin air and placing them in a bottle for all of time. Sounds cliché I know, but that’s the feeling I get. That’s why I love doing what I do.

My name in itself, “Denise”, means: “Follower of Dionysus, the Greek God of wine, joy, and theatre, and lover of peace.” My parents named me well. I love making fine art & environmental portraits; I am a vegetarian, animal loving, tree-hugging free spirit. This Portuguese-Canadian girl has passion in abundance, and I firmly believe in the saying “Pay it forward”.

I hope that when people open the book and see the beautiful, wondrous creatures that adorn the pages they not only see the story, feel the experience that each artist is portraying in their piece, but they see the animal, that unbeknownst to them, is helping another species in it’s will for survival, the human. Funny how the tables turn.

Here’s to: “Making Photographs, Making Art, Making Memories, Making a Difference… One click at a time.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Photo Club Wrap Up

The wrap up for the Photo Club was last night....a very nice dinner followed by the awards. Look what I got!The New Member Trophy! Presented by club president Grant Dixon.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy Birthday To Us

Happy Birthday to a Very Cool Dude! This is Cody wearing his grandpa's hat and some old glasses...taken during his visit at Christmas.

It's Cody's 22nd birthday today. 22!!! How could so many years go by so quickly?

Cody...you were the very BEST birthday present I've ever received.

Yes, folks, Cody was born on my birthday....May 26th....on my 26th birthday. Happy Birthday to us!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It must be love

I mentioned to John yesterday that it might be fun to have a cut path down to the rock pile (aka "the island") that's in the middle of our field. This morning I headed out to the Yart Sale in Chester (a yard sale with original art...a very big disappointment because there was not much art to be found!) and John spent hours cutting the grass. And....looky, looky what he did for me:We now have a cut path leading down to the rocks.... as the hayfield grows, the path will be a lot more prominent.It must be love.

Tonight we're off to Petite Riviere to see The Hupman Brothers...a good night of blues and dancing. Tomorrow....planting the veggie garden and finishing the flower garden expansion.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Profile: Denise Newberry

Denise Newberry
cabinpressstudio.com
cabinpressblog

Denise's art piece entitled "Companion" can be found on page 5 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Denise tells us a little bit about herself...

I love to make things! As a proprietor and Creative Director at CabinPress Studio my ideas and creations all begin at 9500', it's where I am truly part of the out-of-doors, and time really does stand still amongst the mountains! Creativity at its finest. I grew up in Oakland, New Jersey and my memories of this classic, suburban neighborhood were that it had lots of kids, big trees, ice cream, roller-skating, riding bikes and the Ramapo River right nearby. Along with my life obsession to make things for people, the trail from New Jersey, via Yellowstone National Park, lead me to Colorado many years ago.

When I'm not creating for CabinPress Studio clients you can find me constantly tossing tennis balls for our special Golden Retriever - Moose, making up stories about our cat, knitting, gardening, hiking, listening to music, making stuff, sewing, writing letters, getting mail, daydreaming of owls, being a vegetarian, bird watching, felting, walking, looking at old photographs and pantone color books, visiting fun art shows, picnicking in the park, thinking of the ocean/the sea, reading really good stories, sitting by campfires, thinking of browns and greens and lots of other colors too, sea kayaking the lakes of Colorado, training for a marathon, biking, avoiding traffic jams and driving my car, reading maps, researching everything, and seeing how many pizzelle cookies I can make!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Saltbox Gallery

I took DIL on a little tour on Saturday. After picking up some plants for a steal at a driveway sale close to home, we took a ride over to Petite Riviere, where you can find The Maritime Painted Saltbox Gallery .Run by two very talented artists, Tom Alway and Peter Blais, the barn is stocked full of fine art, folk art and heritage reproduction furniture. I took these photos last summer while touring around with John, so these photos will show you what a treat their gardens will be in the coming months.As you can see, their property is absolutely gorgeous. But you'll have to take a visit to the gallery to see the treasures inside. (and it's worth a trip, I promise you)Both Tom and Peter were there on Saturday. They are both very friendly, and gave us recommendations on what other sites in the area we should explore. Oh, how I would love to have a barn like this at home! Love, love, love the windows at the side...right now full of plants waiting to be transplanted into their gardens.After this stop, DIL and I headed onto a little gift shop in Green Bay, and then the LaHave Bakery (which I posted about a couple of days ago)....a great day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Profile: Miriam Mas

Miriam Mas
canineswithacause.org

Miriam's painting "Lab Puppy By Master's Shoes" can be found on page 24 of our 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Miriam Mas is an Ottawa artist and also the founder of Canines With a Cause. She became involved in the Paws for Charity art book project when she heard about it as she knows how important it is for the community to be actively involved in supporting one another.

Miriam became inspired by the strength of cancer survivors and the vulnerability of those who must fight it and may feel that 'hope' is sliding away. By participating in this project she hopes that others will also get inspired in making a difference by putting their talents to work for the benefit of those who may need help.

Through Canines With A Cause, Miriam is deeply involved in training assistance dogs for people with disabilities. The painting submitted by Miriam, titled 'Lab Puppy by Master's Shoes' was painted with oil on canvas and the original was donated to another non-profit group for a fundraiser to help adolescents at risk in 1993. She is happy that even now, this little painting continues to help others in some way.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

LaHave Bakery

LaHave Bakery is one of my favourite places on the South Shore. John and I often take the dogs for a run on Risser's Beach, or a long walk along Crescent Beach, and then stop in at the LaHave Bakery.The menu is short, but the food is fresh and delicious. Fresh baked bread and cookies and squares. All kinds of jams and spreads available. In the colder months, we eat inside the bakery. When it's warm, we eat on some seats at the end of the dock, or take a picnic to the beach. Not only do I like the food, but the character of the building and decor are just what I like...lots to look at and lots of history there.Notice that the man in the photo below is working in front of the same backdrop as the photo above.Another of my favourite features at the bakery...a shelf of books to take for free.I have some books at home I must remember to take and drop off at the bakery next time we go by.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Profile: Natalie Heath

Natalie Heath
heathphoto.ca
heathphoto.ca/blog/

Natalie's image "Tuesday" can be found on page 21 of our 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Here are a few words from Natalie about herself and Tuesday's photo session:

Currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario, I am passionate about capturing the personalities of my subjects and am committed to supporting various dog rescue organizations and other charities through my photography. My love of animals shines through in my work and I'm dedicated to helping people create lasting memories of the people and pets that share their lives with one another. I have 3 dogs of my own and participate in dog sports with 2 of them.

Tuesday's photo came out of a photo session booked with a friend of mine who is also on my fly ball team. I had told her to bring some props and along with the pink feather boa she also brought some beads and a party collar. I decided to submit the image of Tuesday wearing the pink feather boa because I felt that it was a fitting choice for a breast cancer fundraiser. I'm just so happy that something that I enjoy and love doing so much is going to help other people. Having had a friend die of the disease last year, this art book project is one that is close to my heart.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Guinea Hens, etc

This morning there was not a cloud in the sky. I let the dogs out, then the guinea hens, then sat on the picnic table enjoying the sunshine and the sounds of the morning. Doves cooing on the hydro lines, a woodpecker busily working in the distance, one or more hummingbirds buzzing around the newly put out feeders, and the guineas hard at work.They have been doing a great job at eating the ticks. We've had to remove a few ticks from the dogs, and a couple from us as well, but this is an outstanding result compared to last year. I have been gardening non stop for the past several days, and never a tick was seen. Yay! The dogs seem to pick up a tick now and then when we go to get the paper. But brushing them when we return seems to do the trick, and of course our handy little tweezers from Lee Valley Tools work magic on any ticks that grab hold. (although Cassie does not like seeing the tweezers come out after our session last year trying to remove porcupine quills from her nose).The hens tend to stick together, and work most of the time in a line cruising the property for bugs. They circle the house several times, and then head off to the hill with the apple trees, then down to the lower field and pond area.

They are a nuisance to my flower gardens, though, and many times I'm sure the neighbours many miles away can hear me yelling "get out of there!". Funny...the hens seem to know what I'm yelling about and they squawk and talk back, but move on. Many of the flower gardens have chicken wire laying over them to discourage the guineas from taking their dirt baths in the gardens.

Today is one of those days that everything seems wonderful. Even the thought of driving into town and grocery shopping appeals to me!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Profile: Nicole Derr

Nicole Derr
nmdphotography.com
nmdphotoblog.com

Nicole's photograph "Woman's Best Friend" can be found on page 27 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book. Here is what Nicole would like to share with all of you...

I am Nicole Derr-- wife, daughter, friend, runner, dog lover, artist. I love people. I'm obsessed with stories. And of course, I love photography. In 2008, I took the leap of faith that I'd been waiting for my whole life, and started my own lifestyle photography business, called NMD Photography, and I haven't looked back since. I have the best job in the world: documenting family life and creating art that documents a family's history. My favorite photos occur when my subjects let go, forget about the camera, and show their true colors. I work on location throughout New England, shooting contemporary portraiture (pets included!) and modern, creative wedding photographs. I shoot in a photojournalistic style, primarily using natural light. Starting this business has been an amazing journey, and I am constantly learning learning learning. I'm loving every minute of it!


I took this photo while hiking in western Massachusetts with my dear friend Angela and her dog Bailey. We were taking a snack break, with me resting in the shade, and Ang taking in the sun. I looked up and there they were: woman and dog, taking in the view. Voila! I'm so excited to be a part of the Paws For Charity project, and am inspired by all of the artists involved.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Flowering shrubs

I've been admiring these flowering trees as we drive around...lovely large trees with tiny white flowers. Then I actually looked around our own property and discovered we have many of these trees! I'm not sure what they are...does anyone know? The above photo is a close up of the flowers.

On Sunday there was an article in the newspaper about Magnolias (seemed to continue our Magnolia theme from Saturday). The article mentioned the Bayport Plant Farm, just outside Lunenburg and said they had a terrific range of magnolias. I decided to take a jaunt down there. John had to stay at home to wait for our garden tractor to be picked up for servicing, so I was on my own. A beautiful drive down the LaHave River, to the tunes of Petula Clarke (yes, I am weird). There was one woman working at the Bayport Plant Farm, and she was a fountain of gardening knowledge. After a very lengthy conversation, and walking throughout the property looking at full grown magnolias, I came home with this:
Not a magnolia, but a PJM Rhododendron. I decided that I'd much rather admire everyone else's magnolias than struggle and fiddle trying to make one grow myself. And isn't my PJM Rhodo lovely? Off to plant it now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Profile: Allison Featherstone

Allison Featherstone
allisonfphoto.com

Allison's photo "Unnamed" can be found on page 8 of the Paws For Charity Art Book.

Here's how Allison describes herself and the photo included in our project:

I'm a portrait photographer residing in Kitchener, ON where I reside with my husband and two children, Faith 3 and Aidan 6. We have a new addition to our family Remy, 3 month old yellow lab pup. We love hiking and the outdoors. We spend a lot of timing travelling to BC to visit our extended family there. I'm also a volunteer photographer with an organization called Littlest Heroes Project.

This particular photo I sent in for the Paws for Charity (2009) is one of my first official sessions after the launch of my new photography business. It was particularly poignant to me as it was a woman who wanted to memorialize her beloved pet Lab. It felt like yesterday I lost my old dog and it was touching to me to share this event with them. Also a fun part of the photoshoot is we recreated a photograph that was in her family of her Grandpa with his beloved dog. It worked out just great, and many photos from this session remain some of my favorites.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Magnolia Festival

We headed over to Annapolis Royal yesterday for the Magnolia Festival. I had visions of hundreds of magnolias in my head on our drive. We were both quite disappointed in the lack of blossoming magnolias, as well as the fact that absolutely nothing seemed to be going on...not even the public washrooms were open! (opening date: May 15) However, Annapolis Royal is quite a picturesque town and I love to walk around and take photos. We had a wonderful lunch at Leo's. I had West African peanut soup, and a half curried chicken sandwich on home made bread with pecans and apricots....mmmm...yum!
On our way out of town, we stopped at a garden tour. It was the most spectacular private garden I've ever seen. The owners started their garden 15 years ago, and now it covers one acre. It's full of winding paths, beautiful flowers and shrubs, and a babbling brook. The owners were thrilled that I wanted to take photos. I might post some tomorrow. However the photos really don't do their garden any justice. Their garden was quite inspiring.
We decided to take a "short cut" back home and headed on a road through West Dalhousie to Highway 10. We knew the road was gravel, but were again surprised by Nova Scotia roads. More like an atv trail, our short cut may have been shorter as the bird flies, but I'm sure took us an hour longer than the long way would have. The road took us through hundreds of acres of clear cuts and was quite depressing. We were wondering if the land is part of the land that Irving is trying to sell. Dismal.We found a quaint little church on the road and stopped to take a few photos and let the dogs out. There was no sign on the church, so I'm not sure if it's still used. I love old churches, and used to dream about converting one into a home. Not sure why the idea seemed so appealing, but for a time I was quite obsessed about this!
Another thing that fascinates me...old graveyards.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Profile: Jackie Morris

Jackie Morris
jackiemorris.co.uk
wethreecats.blogspot.com

"Signpost" can be found on page 9 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book. I was intrigued by this photo from the moment I saw it. How in the world did the ginger cat get up that post? You can find the answer by reading this entry on the We Three Cats blog.

For Jackie's bio, I have taken bits and pieces from the biography page of her website. The words are written by Jackie:

...from at least the age of six I wanted to be an artist. I watched my dad drawing a picture of a lapwing, making a bird appear on a piece of paper using only a pencil, and I thought it was some magic that made this happen. So there and then I decided to learn how to conjure birds from paper and colour.

I went to school in Evesham to Prince Henry's High School and I remember walking to school past shop fronts above which elegant buildings grew. I used to get told off at school for drawing and dreaming. Now I get paid to do both.

I remember walking in the park by the river, bank voles and weeping willows and bright flashes of kingfishers. I loved the ferry at Hampton where the ferryman pulled you across the river to a land of fields and blackberries, where my dad would walk with me and show me how to find birds' nests and tales of when he was a boy.

After school I went to college, first in Hereford, then to Exeter where they told me that I would never make it as an illustrator and from there I escaped to Bath Academy, set in a beautiful stately home in Corsham. Here I developed a love for peacocks. These bright birds with their ridiculous tails would fly into our gardens.

After college I moved briefly to London, just off Balham High Road. I thought you had to live in London because that is where most of the publishing houses are. (It didn't take me long to realize that I was not born to live in a city) It was here that my real education began as I took my portfolio around magazine publishers and book publishers. I worked in magazines and books for seven years, for The New Statesman, New Socialist, Independent, Guardian and Radio Times. I designed cards and calendars for Greenpeace and Amnesty International and fell into children's books by accident.

I moved to Wales just before starting my first children's book, Jo's Storm, by Caroline Pitcher and have lived in the same place ever since, a small cottage held together by spider's webs. Cats come and go. At the moment I share the house with Tom and Hannah, my son and daughter, Floss and Bella, two odd dogs, and Maurice, Pixie, Elmo, Martha and Max, cats of various colour but mostly ginger.

Things I like: Blue, cats, the smell of honeysuckle, rose petals, birds, words, fires, good books, crayons and paint, the smell of a new book, polar bears, moonlight and moonshadows, stars, sunrise, sunset, dew on the grass, poetry, red, random acts of kindness, long gold grass of late summer, the sound of the wind in the trees, the brush of a butterfly's wings, the fragility of bone, wasp's nests, washing on a line blowing in the wind on a sunny winter's day, the patterns the sea draws on a beach each day and night.


Wishes and Desires: I would like a grandfather clock that chimes the hour and has a big key to wind it up. It would sit in my studio and when I have painted for six hours I would get up to make tea and wind back time, because what I need more than anything is more hours in the day. I would like infinite patience and a quiet mind. I would like a tidy house, clean and smelling of roses or frankincense, instead of a house that looks as if it inhabited by trolls and smelling of wet dogs. I would like my garden to be consumed by the hillside, to grow heather and foxgloves and all things wild, where snakes and spiders live with butterflies and birds.

Things I like to do: Walk, fly kites, watch birds fly, lie back on a high rock and watch clouds form and disperse, lie back in a wood and watch leaves fall, read, watch a good film under a blanket of cats, making things appear on paper using only coloured water, walking by shallow rivers where water tumbles over clear stone beds.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Interview Photo

One week ago, I was interviewed about the Paws For Charity Art Book by Lisa Brown of the Bridgewater Bulletin. She took this photo after the interview. That's Mulligan on the left, me, and Cassie on the right.

The trick to get them looking like they're interested in the book? Dog treats held in my left hand.

The interview should be run in next Tuesday's paper. Hopefully there will be some info about the 2 Halifax artists included.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Profile: Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes

Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes
mkcphotography.com
mkcphotography.etsy.com
Michelle's blog

I'm sure you all recognize "Sandy Paws" by now. Sandy Paws is our cover photo, and can also be found on page 10 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Michelle is a writer and photographer now living in Philadelphia. She spent her youth in Virginia, received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature at the University of Mary Washington, and completed her Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies at the University of Oxford. She has traveled the world with pen and camera in hand, and her short stories appear in a number of literary anthologies. Last year, Michelle exhibited her photographs in several venues in Philadelphia, including City Hall and the Tiberino Memorial Museum. She is honored to have multiple shows already planned in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey for 2009.

Michelle lives with her husband, two little boys, two dogs, and a vast amount of unsorted laundry, but she believes the chores can wait. She prefers to spend her time laughing, dreaming, playing, writing, and capturing mood and moment with her camera.And here's what our cover model looks like!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Around the yard

I'm a little behind in my blogging. These are images from last weekend (the last weekend in April...not the first weekend in May). John and I did some work outside. Here are the vegetable gardens...all ready and waiting to be planted.There is a local lumber yard that gives away wood shavings every Saturday morning. The free shavings come in handy for mulch and for the guinea hen coop. We also put solar lights along our driveway:I'd like to have some of these through the woods as well, but there's not enough sunlight during the day to light them up at night.John rehung some windows for me. We had a wicked wind storm a couple of days before Christmas...gale force winds...which blew two of my stained glass windows down. One was beyond repair, but the orange one landed just right so there was no damage. We took them in for the rest of the winter.This window was previously just sitting around in my studio. I added some grout and John hung it for me to replace the broken one.
I like the way the grout looks...the pieces of glass are more defined. I have 3 window frames almost ready (sanded, repainted, etc). I usually don't repaint the frames, but these frames were very damaged and needed some TLC. So....soon I'll be able to create some new windows.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Profile: Hilary Burt

"Sussex Dog Walk" by Hilary Burt is featured on page 29 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Hilary Burt
Born in Southampton, Hilary has had a life long love of dogs starting with her little white poodle, Chloe, who used to sit with her in her pram. Georgie, a Golden Retriever, and Jessie, a black Labrador-Cross are the current canine companions of Hilary and her husband Mark.
Her website, out-and-about-with-your-dog.com, started in March 2008 as a celebration of her love for dogs. The site promotes a dog-friendly and active lifestyle and runs a monthly photo contest.

Her interest in photography goes back to her teenage years when she bought her first SLR camera and was runner up in a BBC photography competition. She travelled to Bangladesh in 1988 and on her return was lucky enough to exhibit her photos. However working as a full-time primary school teacher in London by day, and taking part in a variety of musical projects by night, Hilary ended up putting her photographic aspirations on hold.

Since moving to Brighton in 2003, going freelance as a teacher and creating a more balanced life for herself, she has been able to return to her interest in photography albeit with her trusty point and shoot instant camera which was used incidentally for the picture of the three collies. Hilary says: “I never leave home without my little camera. You just never know who or what’s going to be round the corner. My featured photo was taken on a glorious Autumn day in October. I was walking my dogs in Brighton, turned around and over the hill saw the three collies running down towards us. I whipped out my camera and managed to capture the image!"
In March 2009 she bought her very first digital SLR camera and hopes to return to photography in a more serious way. “I want to thank Sara Harley for choosing one of my photos for this amazing book. It has inspired me to buy a ‘posh’ camera and get my lens back out. And all for such a great cause. I hope the book makes a real difference.”