StarDog Photo: Blog en-us (C) Shelle Singer | StarDog Photo (StarDog Photo) Wed, 01 Nov 2017 19:47:00 GMT Wed, 01 Nov 2017 19:47:00 GMT StarDog Photo: Blog 120 120 I'm BACK...and feeling GOOD despite the C word. You may have noticed a LONG delay from when I last posted anything. I wish I had been on a world-wide photographic adventure. Nope. October 2016 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Yes, the C word. OUCH. I had really no symptoms except I felt a small knot or something on one side of my pelvis and only when I was laying down. That was it. The doc wasn't too concerned either. Had an ultrasound and got a call with the crappy news. Next day (Saturday) at the direction of the general practitioner I went to urgent care and got a CT Scan. The following Monday I saw the surgeon and two days later I was on the surgical table. Lost my innards and underwent 18 weeks of chemotherapy. But that's not all folks... following genetic testing I had a double mastectomy to ensure my chances of breast cancer were cut to 1-2% instead of 50-85% in my lifetime. Quite a ride. So yes I'm back and feeling really good. Thanks for asking!!

One of the joys of this period was in February when we adopted our puppy Toby. Crazy right? A puppy! I dragged myself down to the studio and did a fast and tiring photoshoot while he was just 2 months old. I did another at 6 months. My, he doesn't look anything like he did as a wee lad. Look at those Yoda ears. We adore him!

Something good came out of all this: An absolute joy at being alive! those blue, cloudy, rainy, any sky days. 

Toby at 2 months. Toby at 6 months.



(StarDog Photo) alive cancer diagnosis genetic joy mastectomy ovarian pet pets photo photographer photography puppies puppy stardog testing Sat, 12 Aug 2017 21:09:15 GMT
Buddy in Our Hearts Buddy, our chocolate lab, poses on a gray background.Our Buddy in 2010.Buddy politely poses on a beautiful July morning in 2010. We had adopted him just 8 months before. He was a senior rescue at age 6 or 7. Buddy, our beautiful chocolate lab, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Saturday, December 17, 2016. A senior rescue at age 6 or 7 years, he was a huge and wonderful presence in our household. He was the most mellow guy with our 4 cats and guarded the house with relish and zeal. He barked and bounced like a madman and then brought one of his 30 toys to greet the visitor. 

Three years ago he was diagnosed and then cured of Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM disease). Read about our fight against this disease starting with my first post right here . He did not die of MMM, Buddy was 13 or 14 and had developed a cancer tumor on his right hind leg. His spirit was untouched but his body was breaking down. He hadn't picked up one of his precious toys for about a week and just getting around the house was slow for him. 

We made the difficult decision to let him go with dignity and while he was pain free (on pain meds for a few days). We were with him to the very end and he knew we were there for him with our touch, voice and sight. We will always mourn his passing but the numerous photographs and especially our videos have made us smile and laugh. 

"We love you Buddy. Oh yes we do! We don't love any dog as much as you! When you're not near us we're blue! Oh Buddy! We love you!" Words and Music by Shelle and Beth. We would sing this to our guy daily. Corny? Absolutely!

(StarDog Photo) Bridge Buddy MMM Masticatory Muscle Myositis Rainbow age cancer grief loss old Sat, 24 Dec 2016 14:54:23 GMT
New Twist on Classic Pet Portraits

Sometimes doing something a little different can refresh. Cornflower & Marguerite does that for me. A classic dog portrait twisted and turned and crafted to an art piece that makes me smile with delight. I hope you feel the same way. This is the newest addition to my Notecard Series.

(StarDog Photo) Mon, 17 Oct 2016 03:34:43 GMT
Art Cards for Seattle Cancer Care Alliance 20131021_SonomaSW_0139_(1)_copy-Recovered20131021_SonomaSW_0139_(1)_copy-Recovered   Yellow_Daisey-13Yellow_Daisey-13 Yellow_Daisey-14 Yellow_Daisey-14 Yellow_Daisey-14 20120819_neighborsflowers_0316_(4)20120819_neighborsflowers_0316_(4) The DanceThe DanceHappy Dog Dancing with black background.     Yellow_Daisey-10Yellow_Daisey-10OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA RodiesRodies _hearts_hearts 20160730_TexturedGlass_000220160730_TexturedGlass_0002 Yellow_Daisey-4Yellow_Daisey-4 20130120_EdmondsMarsh_0005_(1)20130120_EdmondsMarsh_0005_(1) 20120506_LEDlight_0614_(1)20120506_LEDlight_0614_(1) 20130210_EdmondsMarsh_0586_(3)20130210_EdmondsMarsh_0586_(3) SonomaFieldSonomaField

New! Art Cards for Sale. 

All net profit goes to Cancer Research.

Art Cards for you. There is something for everyone.  Grab a set of note cards as a great gift.  

Think about all the digital media that is trashed. Years from now an archival quality notecard expressing words of encouragement or thoughtful musings can become a priceless heirloom or a way of remembering someone special in your life. These 5x7 folded cards are left blank for you to compose your thoughts. Printed with archival pigment dye on Red River Paper the color will stay vibrant for years.

When you buy a set of cards all net profits are donated to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Buy a set of 5 cards of the same image all neatly bundled in a cool reusable kraft box for $15 and I send $7.50 to SCCA. Buy a box with 5 different images that you get to pick for $20 and I send $12. 

It's a good deal, fun images and make someone feel like a million bucks when they get a handwritten card from you in the mail. That's special and be special. Let's raise money to cure cancer. I've sent SCCA almost $250 since early July 2016. I'd like to send $1,000 by Dec. 31st, 2106. I need your help. thanks.

Here is the link for all the information. 

(StarDog Photo) Alliance Cancer Care Photo SCCA Seattle StarDog art cancer donations fundraising notecards pet photography Fri, 12 Aug 2016 05:33:09 GMT
Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM) Three Years Later Dog laying on pavement waiting for cookie. Photographed with ambient and flash.Buddy photographed June 2016. He is mesmerized by the dog cookie. Check the photo below where the effect of MMM is more visible with a pointy head. He's still very cute!


Dog headshot withambient  and flashBuddy's loss of muscle mass and his pointy head is clearly visible in the photo. This was shot with a combination of ambient light and flash.

Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM) Three Years Later

July, 2016...Recently I've received emails asking for an update on our Buddy.  He had been afflicted by the strange and terrible dog disease called Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM). I'm happy to report that he is doing well and remains fully recovered. He plays with his chew toys, eats his treats and is a generally happy dog. The only reminder of his bout with MMM is he has little muscle mass on top of his head and so he has a very bony and pointy head. Of course we have learned to love that little point. His age is slowing him down and he no longer goes down stairs. When it's time to go to the office (basement office) he walks around the house and down the driveway. 

For those of you who want to learn more about this disease please see my 3 other posts with links below. In those first two posts I have very detailed information on symptoms we encountered and the medications our wonderful vet researched, prescribed and ultimately cured Buddy. Remain hopeful!

June 2013
September 2013
June 2015
Dec. 2016 Buddy crossed the Rainbow Bridge but not from MMM!!



(StarDog Photo) for masticatory mmm muscle myositis treatment Fri, 08 Jul 2016 23:20:14 GMT
Guinness is Best in Show (and a good beer) Guinness (the cat) wins Best in Show

Arlington, WA based Purrfect Pals held their 13th annual Average Joe Cat Show this last weekend. StarDog Photo was on hand to help with the big fundraiser. Of course I said YES. In addition to fundraising, 17 cats found new homes! I photographed some of the attendee's and my absolute favorite photo was of Guinness and his man Judson, who went on to win Best in Show.  

I also fell hard for Mavis dressed as a super hero, Percy the big orange cat, Boxer dressed in vintage attire, Troi with the longest whiskers and Paul the Cat who won for the softest fur (it was).

To see more photos of the event by me and other photographers please visit the Average Joe 2016 Flickr Group.

Comment below. I'd like to hear from my readers.
Large cat on the shoulder of a man.Guinness was Best in Show Mavis in her Super Hero Costume.

Mavis & MorganMavis Percy & KrystlePercy Boxer & KarenBoxer Tori & ElizabethTroi Paul the CatPaul the Cat


(StarDog Photo) Photo Seattle StarDog cat pet photographer seattle Mon, 09 May 2016 23:20:51 GMT
Senior Dog Honored An elder statesman in dog years, Smokey's textured nose and unblinking eye (his one good eye) dominates his Black & White portrait. Photographed in Seattle just two weeks before he gracefully crossed the rainbow bridge assisted by his loving owner. SmokeyAn elder statesman in dog years, Smokey's textured nose and unblinking eye (his one good eye) dominates his Black & White portrait. Photographed in Seattle just two weeks before he gracefully crossed the rainbow bridge assisted by his loving owner.

An elder statesman in dog years, Smokey's textured nose and unblinking eye (his one good eye) dominates this black & white portrait. 

(StarDog Photo) Seattle dog pet photographer photography portrait Mon, 14 Mar 2016 03:07:39 GMT
Original Stardog Star and Shelle's self-portrait.The Original Stardog.

20 Years Later and Photography Encapsulates Love

A self-portrait with my Stardog years before "selfie" entered our language. I found a black & white print yesterday and I am so grateful. That's my boy maybe 3 years old and all black...except for that one white toe. That is why I named him Star...a star shining in the dark night. Two decades later, this photo brought back such a clear memory of that day. We explored Lord Hill Park and walked the hills and stream.

Always a photographer, I set up the camera and posed us. My right hand is holding the wired trigger. Star is looking up into the open sky and it lights up his face and eyes.

One portrait explains everything about my Stardog and me. One portrait that encapsulates the feeling of love I still have for this boy. He is why Stardog Photo exists.

(StarDog Photo) B&W Seattle Star StarDog dog pet photographer self-portrait shelle singer Wed, 16 Dec 2015 23:33:28 GMT
When is a Photo Shoot Like Speed Dating?  

Friends of Old Dog Haven Raise Money

Last week was a "Fluff & Photo" Day for Old Dog Haven. Three business came together: Aussie Pet Mobile, StarDog Photo and All the Best Pets-Edmonds and for a small donation to this wonderful charity, these pups got a mini spa treatment and photoshoot by yours truly.

I likened it to speed dating. A quick introduction (sniff and scratch), likes & dislikes (treats and sounds), trying not to be boring (barking sounds and squeaky toys), making a good impression (getting a great expression) and then it was off to a new date (next please). 

Each participant received a 5x7 portrait  printed in my studio and sent via USPS.  It is old fashioned but I want my clients to have a real, not virtual, paper print.

All (100%) proceeds went to Old Dog Haven. 

(StarDog Photo) Old Dog Haven Seattle Pet Photographer StarDog fundraiser pet photographer Sun, 15 Nov 2015 00:20:31 GMT
Slow Shutter Speeds Up the Action Dog shakes off water. With slow shutter speed, blur makes for an interesting photo.Shaking Dog

A slow shutter speed can really change the look and feel of the subject. In these three photographs I was using a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second. Really quite slow for pet photography unless you want to really accentuate movement. I watched this dog do all kinds of gyrations to shake water from his coat. The slower shutter speed the more pronounced the motion.


I really like the bottom photo as his nose remained perfectly still while the rest of his body did a complete turn first one way then another. That is amazing.

(StarDog Photo) Edmonds Pet Photo Photography Seattle StarDog dog pet photographer Sat, 17 Oct 2015 06:42:16 GMT
Tragedy Propels a Paradigm Shift Sandee is holding a kitten taken in at the San Fransisco SPCA.Sandee SingerMy sister volunteered at the local animal shelter for more then 20 years while working at United Airlines as an HR Professional.

My sister Sandee poses for a staff photograph in December 2014 at the San Francisco SPCA where she volunteered for more than 20 years.

Photo by Robert J. Schroeder Photography


paradigm shift |ˈpɛrəˌdaɪm ʃɪft

nouna fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

I've been silent for a while and I want to share why.

My big sister died of breast cancer after 10 years being cancer free. It came back fast and hard. She died on April 8, 2015 and thankfully I was able to fly out on that day and be with her when she passed. That event has propelled a paradigm shift for me and StarDog Photo. You see, when I was last visited her in 2013 she walked me into the ground as we toured San Francisco. I had my camera and photographed the city and views. I only took one photo of my sister and that was on the day I left. I set up a tripod and begged her to sit down and do a photo together. It is not pretty but it is the last photograph I have of her. I regret not photographing her as we walked Pier 51, stopped at Ghirardelli Square, enjoyed our Thai lunch or Japanese dinner.

Portraits of our family and pets is vitally important. So now I am offering both.

StarDog Photo is expanding to include family portraiture. 

Yep. That's right. Have pet or not. I'm photographing families. My sister has spoken.





(StarDog Photo) Seattle expanded service family photographer pet photographer photographer Fri, 10 Jul 2015 18:48:43 GMT
Knitter Critters _SSP2821_SSP2821 _SSP2863_SSP2863 _SSP2842_SSP2842 _SSP2825_SSP2825 _SSP2868_SSP2868 _SSP2862_SSP2862

Quiz time!

Stop and look at the photographs and guess how these are made and what they conceal.

Yes, they are all handmade knitted creatures.

But there is something about them...HMMMM.

(keep scrolling for the answer) 





They all are covers for this!!!!!!  20140202_tape_LR_000320140202_tape_LR_0003

These are fully functioning measuring tapes. A tug on a tail or paw and the tape is available. My wife is a expert knitter and trades yarns and other goodies for these critters.  All handmade by her friends around the world. 

To see all the critter images in the gallery click here.

The lighting set up included a main light on camera right, a white reflector to fill in some shadow on the other side and a small flash set up behind and to the left of the subjects to throw a bit of light along the left edge.  Not too much but enough to spice it up a little bit. 

(StarDog Photo) creative creatures hand-knitted hand-made knitting measuring tape Mon, 30 Mar 2015 03:10:35 GMT
Pet of the Month Series!


When I was growing up the local animal shelter always had a feature in the newspaper called the Pet of the Week. It included a small black and white picture with a paragraph about the animal such as disposition, good with kids (or not). That is how our family ended up with Freckles. She was a Basset Hound/Beagle mix. When her picture appeared in the newspaper our whole family went to the shelter and waited for it to open. I remember a crowd of people outside and I was sure they were all there for the same dog. As the doors opened us kids ran in and I remember my oldest sister running to the counter and yelling "We want the pet of the week." 

We were ushered into a room for an interview and I remember the women reciting the requirements for adoption while enthusiastically smoking a cigarette. She suddenly crossed her arms and proceeded to burn my arm as I stood next to her. We were rewarded by our enthusiasm and tolerance for pain and proudly brought home Freckles, the "Pet of the Week".  Freckles LOVED my mother and bit every one of us kids often. I thought that was what dogs did. I loved her anyway and Freckles lived a long life with us. She mellowed when we go a bigger dog.


Pet of the Month club. Every month I'll post a mini-slideshow of my featured pet on my HOME page.

Sticker is Dog of the Month for March. 

Last summer we met up nice and early (6AM) and headed to the waterfront for some beach time and early morning sun.  I really like the "super-dog" photo as Sticker surveys his territory while poised on the beach logs.

(StarDog Photo) Month Pet Photographer Seattle of pet pets photographer portraits. the Mon, 02 Mar 2015 04:11:14 GMT
Impressionist Pet Portraits Pet photo done in an Impressionist StyleNemo

Unknown Dog The majority of my pet photography is very traditional but sometimes I want to break out of the type of work and create something of a timeless piece of art. I really like the idea of the dog as part of the background and did something in that genre a while ago. (click here to see that work) The top piece takes it one step further in that the detail of the puppy is only a suggestion. This is much like an impressionist painting and exactly what I envisioned.

The second piece is much more detailed and with a lot of color. The original piece was just the dog (with those magnificent eyes) but the sky was a light gray with no clouds. I decided to combine one of my images of the Napa Valley as the background. I really like the color contrast too. I hope you enjoy these two. There are more to come as I explore and experiment.

(StarDog Photo) Photo StarDog art impressionist pet photo photographer seattle style Sun, 22 Feb 2015 08:04:38 GMT
Printed Portraits Versus Digital Files 20141204_Oslo_delivery_LR_0004John and Oslo with the Space Needle.John chose a 20x30 canvas wrap for his den.

Why My Clients Purchase Printed Products (instead of digital files).

Many of my clients inquire about purchasing digital files. I always ask what they (the client) would like to do with them. Often the response is "I don't know." 
Most folks shoot with digital cameras these days and are used to having their pictures at their fingertips. Convenient yes.
Safe, secure and admired every day? Nope.
Let's start with safe and secure. I've got my photos on a computer hard drive, backed up to an external hard drive, backed up to a cloud service. I'm thinking of adding one more backup to this system. All are organized in a sensible manner to enable me to find a particular photo out of about 30,000 images. 
I LOVE photography. My clients love their dogs and families. They take the time to care of those they love. It's my job is to take care of their photographs of those they love.
Now on to the "admired every day" part of this essay. I want my clients to see their portraits every day in wall art. A canvas, metal, framed print displayed in the living room or den will become a treasure, especially as a pet ages.
It's a special day when I do a photo shoot for a client. There is pre-planning, the shoot, darkroom work, presentation, sales, final retouching, ordering, inspecting the finished products, delivering and finely hanging the pieces. It's a big deal for me and a really big deal for them. I want my clients to have the very best portraits, retouched to my standards and then reproduced by the best professional labs in the country.
I'm hearing a chorus of "But I want to share the way cute photos with my family on Facebook!"  I SAY YES.
I can do that. How about an App with your favorites downloaded to your smart device or computer ready to share.
"But I want digital files to print cards for Christmas!" I SAY YES. I can print gorgeous cards for any occasion. 
The whole idea is to NOT throw a thumb drive (or CD, remember those?) into a drawer, forget about it and lose some very important moments in your life. 
Let me take care of the details and you just enjoy the wall art for the rest of your life.
(StarDog Photo) Seattle digital files pet photographer photographer printed products Sun, 01 Feb 2015 05:02:22 GMT
Soaring Over the Palouse on Steptoe Butte State Park Soaring into late afternoon clouds near Steptoe Butte State Park, WA


Casey The Palouse in Eastern Washington is a haven for photographers, even pet photographers from Seattle. In mid-October I took a quick drive out there to photograph the landscape. I was on the road at 3:00 AM hoping to catch a sunrise in the rolling hills for some beautiful light.

I was about 100 miles west of the city of Colfax (my destination) when the sun rose right into a cloud bank. I shot one decent photo of a lonely old windmill with a dash of rising sun. The the sun disappeared into cloud cover. That would have to do. I stopped at the Palouse State Park, a couple of interesting towns and arrived in Colfax at about noon. I took a nap and then I was out again to head up to Steptoe Butte State Park. I love that name. It is the highest point in the area and I loved it so much I returned for sunrise the following morning.

It was getting late and the clouds were moving in but a hang-glider suddenly leapt from the edge and a group of guys working on the microwave towers and I were mesmerized as this gentleman soared over the rolling hills. I introduced myself to Lori as she was photographing her hanggliding husband, Lenny. Their dog Casey was enjoying the brisk breeze and activity around him. Of course Casey got my attention and then I turned my attention to Lenny as he soared through dark clouds.

Visit the gallery for more Palouse Photos. 

Visit my Facebook Page! Lots of pups there.

Comments are always Welcome. 




(StarDog Photo) B&W Butte Palouse Park State Steptoe hanglider Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:40:08 GMT
Lens Flare for Flair _0001_0001

Aries is a stallion. Large, spirited and definitely a mare man. Just as the sun was rising we had him in a gorgeous area of the stable. One of the photos I wanted to create used lens flare. I pre visualized the finished portrait as I drove to the stable. Luckily, no clouds on this September morning in the Pacific Northwest...the weather gods were with me.

I stood facing the sun. It was low on the horizon and shown directly into my camera. Lens flare is caused by light striking the lens of a camera. It causes lower contrast and "light bubbles" (look under Aries visible eye and see a yellow bubble). Usually avoided because of these physical effects, used judicially, you can create a very special look. For Aries, I wanted lens flare.  I walked around him looking for nice light on his back, head and mane.

It created a beautiful, ethereal feel to his portrait with a buttery color, his mane glowing and steam rising from his back and his breath.

An emotional portrait.

Try lens flare in your own photography. It is all physics. If you want to dive deeply into this subject I've got a link to a Wiki post HERE.

I welcome any comments. 

(StarDog Photo) Photo Seattle StarDog flare horse lens pet photo photographer photography technique Fri, 05 Dec 2014 17:50:04 GMT
Oslo & John 20141011Oslo_707-320141011Oslo_707-3


20141011Oslo_64820141011Oslo_648 20141011Oslo_39920141011Oslo_399













I've been busy this last few weeks working with Oslo and John. Oslo is John's constant companion and best four-legged friend. They share walks and ice cream on a daily basis. Oslo is 10.5 years old and was the namesake of an upscale Men's Clothing Store that John owned for 5 years. Their motto was: 

"A good looking dog needs a well dressed master".

Cindy, John's very best human friend, asked me to come spend some time photographing this incredible duo. We went to the park and posed with the Space Needle. A bit of 'retrieve the ball' and 'where are the treats' rounded out our stay. Oslo carried his own leash as we walked home. Green tennis balls surrounded Oslo on a stairway and then it was inside for some ice cream. Almost time to go but Oslo took his place under John's work desk and we had to take "just one more". 

For more of John and Oslo please take a look at this video. Grab some tissues because you'll need 'em.  Click to See Video Here

Oslo has bone cancer. 



(StarDog Photo) Seattle conceptual dog pet photographer shelle singer stardogphoto Mon, 03 Nov 2014 01:04:04 GMT
Edmonds Dog Park in September 00200020


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After the morning downpour, the warmth of the afternoon sun felt even better. Down to the off-leash park to photograph DOGS!

 I was also testing out my brand new, super fast action shooting camera. 

I met Willy the German Shepard who quivered with excitement to chase the orange ball. There was the little guy who walked very stiffly as he was getting knee replacement surgery the first week of October. 

The dog with a stick was a Pit-Bull mix who was absolutely the cutest and very gentle, and two fine looking Giant Schnauzers. One was in the water non-stop and the other was 14 years old and was a bit less playful. He needed a helping hand into the vehicle.

Go to my gallery of the day HERE for these and more photographs.




(StarDog Photo) Edmonds Pet Photo Photography Seattle StarDog dog pet photographer Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:23:32 GMT
How to Survive the Hot Summer Evening 20140802_Edmonds_Walkabout_LR_0051Sleeping dog on the sidewalk on a hot summer evening. Gunner Nash (yes, that's his name) snoozes through the wine and dinner on a hot summer night. His owner explained that the Nash part comes from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Their last dog was a Crosby. A former service dog, Gunner Nash is 12 years old and despite his hearing loss, he is healthy and really enjoyed the warm sidewalk.

So, is this a photo illustration of the phrase, "Dog Days of Summer"?

(StarDog Photo) Edmonds,WA Gunner Nash dog pet resting sidewalk sleeping summer Sun, 03 Aug 2014 16:03:06 GMT