After nearly two solid months without a drop of rain, my mind had slipped into acceptance was that we had entered an endless summer. Sun was now forever. It was as if the Pacific Northwest had crossed into some inverse-Game-of-Thrones reality. Summer had come. It was a lasting season. However, instead of White Walkers threatening doom over the horizon, it was wildfires.
There seemed to be no reason to check the forecast in terms of planning a photo session, thus my confidence was shocked when a request to change the day because of predicted rain showed up in my inbox.
Oh yeah, rain is a thing.
Reminded that I was indeed a professional working in the Pacific Northwest, I checked the weather the morning of the shoot. Our meeting was set for 6pm. The hourly depicted a gradual and total engulfing of the sun by 5. Thrilled, I stomped around the house lamenting that my magic evening light would be stripped away. My wife smiled at the drama unfolding in our living room and assured me it would all be fine.
As was standard, the session meant a lot to me. This one in particular was poignant. I had met Diamond and her family at an event with a local pet supply store and while getting a “boop” of her beautiful face her humans had told me it was her birthday week. I had guessed she was 4, maybe 6, and stared blankly after learning it was her 13th year. Her grays were camouflaged in her mostly white coat, but it was her demeanor that had really thrown me off. She brimmed with life. Her eyes shone enthusiasm. Her steps seemed easy, despite having two replaced knees.
The two women, Tina and Tara, who were her family, had exchanged a quick glance, a shift in their expressions. The next announcement had been that Diamond had cancer.
Having had a dog, at one time, in my family who had cancer it was easy to empathize. I remembered the strange juxtaposition of not knowing the balance of time she had left, yet watching her continue to surge with life. It was a confusing knot of feelings, and on the day of the session as 6pm marched closer I pondered them for myself and for the family. The forecast was frustrating. It was cloudy, maybe later to be partly sunny, but wasn’t meant to last. Cloudy wasn’t going to cut it.
I took credit when, around 3pm, the drab sky broke. I had stared a hole in them from behind the living room window. Loading up and heading for the location was a relief. The sun was still out and my eagerness manifested itself as a heavy gas pedal. Arriving, I was greeted by Diamond herself wedging her way out the front door. She was wide-eyed and all smiles. Her BFF and roomie, Diva, flanked her. Stepping through the house and into the intimate backyard was the beginning of a beautiful hour.
Against all odds, as it felt in my anxious mind, the light was there. The long rays of a falling sun mixed with the faintest particulates of lingering wildfire haze to form a warm, ethereal mist through the air. Pressing the camera shutter was pressing pause on a beautiful moment; a slice of light, time, and emotion.
Tina, Tara, Diamond and Diva allowed me the immense luxury of being there. They are awesome, and it was rad to be hired for such an occasion. The significance certainly wasn’t lost on me.
I’m Jonathan Sims. I am a photographer operating out of the Portland, OR area. My wife, Kayla, our pup Aster and I have a fairly large range in terms of how far we will go for adventure (and to meet you and your pups).
Ready Aim Fur is a project I started as a combination of three passions: photography, going on adventures, and hanging out with dogs. I’ve been told that I’m quite talented with the latter. The aim of this is to engage you and your beloved furry ones in a rewarding experience, whether it be a breath-taking hike or a day at the local park, and for me to document the adventure. You walk away with immortalized memories and perhaps a deepened bond with your dogs. Are you ready? Contact me via the contact page or you can always interact with me on the Ready Aim Fur Instagram.