• C.Nic Photographs

Keiko + Asti's Huntington Beach Session

This session will go down as one of my all-time favorites. It is forever an honor and privilege to capture photographs of incredible rescue animals. From fatal diseases to fate meetings - Keiko + Asti's rescue story is sure to be one that will stick with you.

Keiko & Asti's mom, Donna, was an absolute gem. She and I bonded over our love for rescuing animals, standing up against puppy mills and the dog meat trade, and our love for foxes! Immediately when I read over her pre-session questionnaire, I knew this was going to be a fantastic session. (Not to mention it was my first dog beach session! Woohoo!)

Before we dive into the photographs themselves, I feel it's imperative to discuss just how this family came to be. It not only gives you a deeper appreciation of the photographs themselves, but in my opinion enables you to ponder on just how lucky we are to find loved ones - be they dog or human!

Let's start with Asti, the Shiba, Chow, and Husky mix. She was 15 years old during this session and was a little model! She handled the beach with grace, and you could tell although she had mobility problems, she seemed to enjoy the smells, sights, and getting a treat! (Although by the end she was definitely ready for bed!) Asti was rescued from the Clinton County Humane Society. She was found flying solo as a stray dog in a big world before the shelter rescued her. She was then adopted out twice by other families who ended up returning her. (Their loss - our gain!) Asti sat down underneath Donna's chair when they first met, choosing Donna, and so their friendship began. Upon adopting Asti, Donna set up a veterinarian appointment for her and went in to meet Dr. Brian . . . (drum-roll please) - who is now her now long-term partner of 7 years! As Donna put it, "although [Brian] didn't sit under my chair". Ha! :) I can't imagine a more perfect way to meet than that!

Donna met Keiko when he was a puppy; she was volunteering for an Ohio animal rescue group by transporting Shiba Inu puppies that were rescued from a 'backyard breeder' in Missouri because they had heart defects, and couldn't be sold. (Did you know Missouri is the #1 state for puppy mills? Ohio is #3! Yikes!) Keiko undoubtedly chose Donna + Asti himself, as he followed Asti around as if he was her little shadow. Later, Keiko was diagnosed with a rare and fatal disease - Tetralogy of Fallot (causing oxygen-poor blood to flow from the heart). He was only a few months old at the time, Donna and Brian didn't think he'd get to one year old. As of September 2020, he's nearly 8! (His birthday is October 3.) As if his current longevity isn't enough of a reason to celebrate, Keiko's biological brother got adopted by Donna's parents! How cute!!

As for the photographs themselves, choosing to have our session during golden hour allowed us to get various shots in terms of lighting and gave us warm, rich tones - as you'll see, there looks to be hours and hours that passed from the first photograph up to the last. With the open sky, we could easily choose our background and quickly change the look of the photos without moving too far. Of course, it was really helpful this session to have a killer fast shutter speed and a beauty dish for lighting - so as to not blow out the sky while still keeping the dogs nice and bright. The Sony a7iii does an absolutely remarkable job at pulling down highlights while increasing detail, though, as well as pulling up shadows.

Thank you to Keiko, Asti, Donna, and Brian for a FANTASTIC session! :) I cannot wait to see what we create next.

I absolutely love photographing animals! If you have pets that you want photographed, send me a message and let's talk about what you're envisioning - and make it happen! :)

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