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The Power of the Pack

Most professionals of any kind have that “dream” workday…a set of circumstances show up that leave you feeling downright euphoric. If every day felt this way, it would never be called work (although truthfully, I feel that way most of the time). Photographers often have some really strange criteria for this type of day, and sometimes we don’t even know what the criteria is until it falls straight into our laps. Meet my criteria: a pack of six amazing beasts living in a once-in-a-lifetime architectural dreamland.

These docile creatures belong to a cheerful and exuberant Chicago-area veterinarian and Rottweiler breeder named Kate Player. I met Kate in 2014 at a workshop with my mentor Barbara Breitsameter. Kate was volunteering the modeling services of these powerful and magnificent canines, and I fell instantly in love with all six dogs (luckily I  hit it off with Kate as well!). The entire weekend was pretty magical, but no group of dogs moved me the way this one did. All braun, all brains, and all butt wiggles. You can read more about Kate and her dogs at her website: http://www.playerrottweilers.com.

Six months after our first meeting, I went back to Chicago for a private mentoring session with Barb, and she surprised me with a full day of shooting with my favorite pack. Once again, Kate wowed me with her gorgeous and precisely trained animals. These gentle giants are superb listeners, masters of off-leash desirable pack behaviors, and very loving and sentient beings. They follow commands with gusto, welcome you into their fold, and they put on one hell of a show.

As you can see in some of the images from that day: one of these things is not like the others. That “Notweiller,” as Kate calls him, is Riley. I’ve had this blog post in the queue for a while, and very sadly, Riley left us for greener pastures before I was able to get the post up. So here it is today, paying homage to this beloved family companion and his pack of behemoths.

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