Hiking in Northern California

One of the reasons I started Coop & You was because I realized how hard it was to take photos when handling our dogs. Before we got Fidus, I could at least hand off Cooper to my husband if I wanted to take a photo of the surrounding landscape or a shot of them together. Once Fidus the entered the picture, I couldn’t hand Cooper off as easily because Nicholas’ hands were full with him.

They’re fantastic dogs, but they both have reactivity issues we’re working on. Taking them hiking requires our full attention to make sure they’re comfortable and learning correct behaviors. Since we’re still getting used to the Northern California area, we try to scout out hikes on our own before determining if it’s one they can handle.

During Super Bowl Sunday this year (with the hope not many people would be out), we took the dogs hiking on a not-as-popular trail in Auburn, California (Greenwood and Gerle Loop). It was so worth it to miss the game. Cooper did amazing. We even came across a whole group of pre-teen boys (her biggest fear) and we were able to walk behind them for a bit without her barking.

Since the hike wasn’t too populated, I was able to snap a few quick photos of the gorgeous trek.

Not long after this hike, we explored a trail in Martinez, California — this time without the dogs since it was our first time trying it out.

The trail wrapped into the hills above the bay, providing lovely views of the ocean and lots of grazing cattle in the valley’s below. We went on the hike at the height of spring which meant ridiculously green hills and blooming flowers.

We can’t wait to explore more spots! Since these hikes, we’ve explored Bodega Bay twice, Davis, and the Sacramento Zoo, as well as Shady Cove, Oregon. Photos to come!

Valentine’s Day & Cooper’s Birthday Photoshoot

Cooper turned three-years-old on February 2 — a perfect excuse for a Valentine’s Day themed photoshoot.

I ordered Valentine’s Day themed balloons from Target and gathered decor for the shoot from around the house, including a cream blanket, blush-colored pillows, fake flowers, a few real flower petals from our backyard, and some antique-looking teal bins.

Originally, I was going to use a photo backdrop, but decided that the teal wall in our guest room tied in perfectly with the decor colors.

Cooper and Fidus have become rather grumpy about food and treats in the last year. As a result, I generally take their photos separately when I know I’ll be asking them to sit still for treats so that they aren’t stressed about the other dog taking food from them.

Cooper was up first. A border collie through and through, Cooper is amazing at following orders. With a little nudging and persuading with treats, I got her in just the right spots in the photo space I’d set up.

After a ridiculous amount of herding the dogs around, it was Fidus’ turn. He is much more treat-driven than Cooper. While Cooper is happy to have a treat, she’s far more pleased to complete a task. Fidus, bless his soul, just wants the treat. Nothing else exists besides that treat. His nose slowly moves closer and closer to the camera (where I’ve balanced a treat atop the lens) during shoots.

Can you see his eagerness?

When doing photoshoots that involve props with pets, be sure to keep an eye on them. Cooper was a little too interested in the fake flowers and the real flower petals. After some redirections (and moving the decor further away from where she was seated) she stopped. Fidus, surprisingly and unsurprisingly, did not try to snack on anything besides the treat teased in front of him.

We didn’t do anything too special for Cooper’s birthday this year — but the next weekend we took her and Fidus on a hike during the Super Bowl when we knew the trails would be emptier than normal. We are thrilled that the hike went well! Cooper learned to politely sit off trail without barking or becoming fearful of the people passing by — a huge step forward for her. Photos coming soon.

Hiking in Auburn

Nicholas and I were lucky to get a hike in before this week’s storm. Prior to all the rain, we enjoyed a nice, easy hike in Auburn on the Greenwood and Gerle Loop trail. The trail was particularly stunning thanks to it following along a creek and the South Fork American River.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of pine trees. I enjoy the mountains and the towering pines that call them home, but I’ve always been partial to oak trees and rolling hills.

Well, this hike had both which made it all the more exciting to me to walk through both terrains on the 2.5 mile trail — and yet the diversity!

The trail was up against a Bureau of Land Management area, so along the trail we saw campers and day-trip kayakers along with fly fisherman. On the trail itself were hiking couples, families, and dog and owner duos.

Perhaps the most intriguing sight on the trail was at the trailhead itself. Upon turning into the trail parking lot, we spotted a sign warning not to bring RVs or trailers into the parking lot. We didn’t think anything of it, until we turned the corner and found this sight awaiting us:

A mood

We once again left Cooper and Fidus at home to try out the trail for ourselves first: great news! It’s wide enough to have quick escape routes if Fidus reacts to a dog or Cooper reacts to a stranger or loud noise (they are a mess). We are going to take them out in a few weeks. Fingers crossed it goes well and their cute, happy faces cover a blog post in the near future celebrating their success.

Northern California Adventures

Since my husband, Nicholas, and I moved up to Sacramento in the middle of a pandemic, we’ve done little to explore Northern California besides exploring the outdoors. Here are a few of my favorite photos from a short jaunt up to Redding and a hike New Year’s weekend to Calcutta Falls in Auburn.

While in Redding for a couple of days earlier this fall, we explored Sundial Bridge and Burney Falls, both pictured above. Nicholas had a foot energy, so we didn’t do as much hiking as we would have liked, but we were glad to be able to walk around these two spots. We’d never been to Redding before, and I’m so glad we went in November and caught the end of its autumn colors.

We explored closer to home New Year’s weekend with a hike in Auburn. We left the dogs at home to scout the area ourselves first. Fidus would have loved it! The trail was full of dogs. One particularly happy malamute would run ahead of its owners, say hello to us, and then run back to check in.

The hike led to a small waterfall with a shallow pond at its base. It was a canine favorite. In our short time there, we saw several dogs charge past their owners straight into the pond. It was a perfect scene to witness as we rung in the new year.

Behind the Scenes with Zip

Back in October, I had the delight of photographing Zip, an energetic border collie, as a Christmas present for one of his owners. I’ve held back posting some of his photos, wanting to wait until after the holidays to avoid spoiling Zip’s photo surprise.

I met Zip and his other owner in Davis, California at Northstar Park which provided a varied backdrop for our photos. The park features two ponds, large open green spaces, trails, sports fields, and more.

I had a wonderful time running around capturing Zip from different angles as he used his border collie stare to lock in on any one who daned to pass by — something I’m very familiar with thanks to my own border collie, Cooper. Can you tell which photos below he’s using the stare in?

We walked along the park’s main trail and stopped at different spots to take advantage of the park’s different looks. Take a look at some of our favorite photos from the shoot below!

A New Direction in 2021

Coop & You launched in 2020, right as my husband and I and our two dogs moved back to Southern California after time out of state.

We had just started to get off the ground with photo sessions and planning out our adventure packages when COVID-19 hit and I began to postpone and cancel mini-sessions out of precaution, not realizing just how long this situation would last.

Shortly after, we found out we were moving once again, this time to Sacramento, CA. Coop & You was basically paused as we packed up our lives for the second time in less than a year and loaded up a U-Haul.

We are thrilled with our new home in Sacramento. Our dogs have more space, and we’re surrounded by California’s beauty from the mountains to our east and beaches to our west. Of course, with COVID-19, we’ve not truly explored any of these amenities yet.

Because we are new to the area and unfamiliar with hiking, camping, and paddleboarding spots, our original plans for Coop & You have adapted. Before we can offer pet adventure packages, we need to familiarize ourselves with the area.

As such, Coop & You: Pet Photography & Adventure Packages is now Coop & You: Lifestyle & Pet Photography. During the photo sessions we were able to do this year, it became abundantly clear that Coop & You should expand to include family photography. We still emphasize authentic, candid moments but want to open up our photo sessions to families, couples, businesses, and more. And now I can also share landscape shots without feeling off-brand — a selfish decision on my part.

We’re excited for where 2021 takes us and hope Coop & You offers affordable photography options for those in the Sacramento area. As always, our photo sessions include all pricing upfront and include digital photo files. No extra fees for each photo you want copies of after the session. That’s the Coop & You difference!

Here’s to a brighter, healthier (hopefully), and photo-packed 2021.

Behind the Scenes with Elsa

Earlier this month, I met adorable Elsa for a photo session. Elsa is a 3-year-old chihuahua/terrier/splash of dachshund mix up for adoption with Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary here in the Sacramento area.

Shy but super sweet, Elsa had a great time exploring the park we were in while I snapped photos. Despite all the folks running around, she was content sniffing in the grass and wandering from tree to tree.

You can read more about Elsa on the Happy Tails website! We hope she finds her forever home soon!

Behind the Scenes with Riki

A week or so ago, I had the privilege of photographing Riki for Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary here in the Sacramento area. He was so curious as we wandered around his foster’s apartment complex and snapped some photos for his adoption page. He didn’t even care about the geese and ducks by the pond!

He’s not quite ready for adoption yet, but keep your eye on on the Happy Tails website!

Fun Facts About Riki

  • He is very outgoing
  • He loves to run
  • His favorite treats are turkey jerky and people food
  • His foster parent’s favorite things about him are how sweet and loveable he is.

We hope he enjoys his time with his foster and is adopted soon once he’s ready!

Hello, Northern California!

A short few months after launching Coop & You: Dog Photography & Adventure Packages in Orange County, we’ve hit the road and moved up north to Sacramento, California.

Change & New Beginnings

Once the pandemic hit, my husband and I had to make some touch decisions for the health of our own pups, Cooper and Fidus. Our dogs were still acclimating to their new found apartment lives when the world became a whole lot smaller amidst lockdowns and social distancing measures.

When we had a chance to move somewhere where the dogs could have a backyard again, we had to take it.

We’re very excited to begin new photography adventures here in Gold Country. In the short time we’ve been here, we’ve already been able to get out on our paddleboards more times than in the seven months we had in Southern California.

We cannot wait to make a list of hiking trails and lakes to explore in our adventure packages, but for now, our photo packages are officially available in Sacramento and the surrounding areas!

Have a suggestion for dog-friendly photo spots in Northern California? Let us know!

Behind the Scenes with Chance

dog running

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing foster dog, Chance, in Yorba Linda. Chance may be one of the most photogenic dogs I’ve had the privilege of working with so far. While his high-contrast black and white fur made for a challenge (gotta make sure both colors pop in photos!), he was all smiles no matter how many different backgrounds and poses we tried.

Fun Facts About Chance

  • Chance enjoys car rides, walks, and jumping onto his pillow bed.
  • He loves to go to the park and the vet (what a winner!) to see all of his human friends.
  • He spends most of his day snuggling with his foster parents and taking naps. Or he spends time exploring his big backyard.
  • Great with people and dog savvy kids.
  • Knows commands like sit, down, come, place, and crate!
  • Chance is between 5-6 years old.
Chance and his foster mom, Chelsea

Chance is still learning how to walk peacefully on a leash and how to get along with other pets. His foster mom believes with patience and consistency he will do well with furry friends down the road, but he should be the only dog in the house for now.

“At the end of the day, this boy is a beautiful soul and is so deserving of a loving and kind family after the hard life he has had,” says foster mom Chelsey Haardt. “Chance wants to be the best dog ever and deserves a family that will continue to bring out the best in him!” 

Learn more about Chance on 4Life Rescue’s website!