Dogs of the 2019 Iditarod

It is a common belief amongst those who do not know the Iditarod well enough, that the mushing dogs are abused. I wish to prove you wrong through my writing and photography. 🙂

If you’ve heard that the dog’s paws get cut, bruises, torn apart (etc), you can lay your worries to rest! The mushers make sure that each of their dogs are wearing botties, that keep the pads warm and protected. Also, these dogs aren’t running over sharp terrain; mostly snow or else the musher’s sled wouldn’t be able to stand the ride either. 🙂 The dog’s paws are continually checked and massaged and sometimes even bathed to assure they are comfortable and well taken care of.


“The dogs are forced to run!” If you have watched, or been to, the Iditarod, you’ll know that these dogs are BARKING like crazy!! You can barely keep them FROM running! In fact, it is the people who hold the dogs who are forced to run!

Some media has said, “The dogs are starving for attention.” Well, this is just not true! The mushers get so attached to their dogs, that if one very gets hurt or dies, they are heart broken and say that “…it’s just not the same if you don’t cross the line with all the dogs.” The mushers know all their dog’s names, even if their is over fifty; and before the race, they take time to whisper to and let each dog. At the check-points, the dogs are massaged until they are sleepy! All of the mushers and dogs are extrealmy attached— that includes mouth-to-mouth licking! And we all know, an animal will do whatever they can to make you pet them more, right?

The mushers never push their dogs, letting them run at their own pace and resting if that is what is needed. A few years ago, on guy was coming in first; but his dogs were just not able to keep up the past, so he didn’t push them…settling in for third. Their dogs are MUCH more important than the race. A lot of the mushers just do the race for the beauty of Alaska and the thrill of the solitude and bonding with the dogs.

Most people are used to seeing 20 pounds over weight house dogs. Mushing dogs are just very fit, just as Olympic athletes are; and the dogs are purposely bred small so they can run faster. A lot of them are also bred with greyhound, which are actually very thin dogs.

Now that we have those out of the way, shall we just enjoy a few pictures of these gloriously happy dogs? 😀

This mushing team chose green bibs for their team ‘decor’ this year.

Adorable colors are breed!

Love it when I tip the camera on an angle; the picture has more action in it.

Panting from excitement and frustration at being held still; the very thought!

Dog breath in the cold

LET US RUN! LET US RUN! LET US RUN!

Adorable eyes for his musher. The lead dog (s) are often bond most closely with the musher, and he/she with them.

Little muscle girl
The look on his face… Yessss paparazzi!

I would highly recommend this documentary on the history of the Iditarod. I watched it this week, and the stories behind are very interesting! Be ready to have tissues and a table to slam your fist on;

North Star

Star so bright; star so white // Will you lead me home tonight?

I’ve been locked to these bitter walls/ These chains have bound, my ancestors for far too long

Oh star so bright; star so white // They say you’ll guide me home tonight

My back is red; flowing in passion // Husband of my heart; swing’in on the hang’in tree

Star so bright; oh star so white // Massa says you’re a curse at night

When the coco whistles, my babie’s, they’ll be free / No longer bound; under the sun

Star so birthright; star so white // The moon is shining in your light

My meal is running with worms // Oh from the day’s toil my shoulders do burn

The owl screeches, my babies are warm

Oh star, I am counting on you tonight

This poem is, obviously, about a slave mama during the 1800’s, waiting for the call of those in the woods who will guide her and her children to freedom, and the north. The slaves said, that if you look to the handle of the big dipper in the sky, you’ll find the North Star; and if you keep following it, it’ll guid you to freedom, the North.

Just like how the North Star guided slaves across states and captains through perilous seas, Jesus is waiting there to guid us through our lives. One day, the North Star may burn out, but Jesus is everlasting; with palms wide open for us to grasp and hold close as we walk; they’ll hold you so you can’t trip or fall.

I wanted to portray the Mother in my poem with my photography; however, I did not have the right makeup or editing tools to make Glorianna appear black; so I have tried a new approach, using an oil pant look after I have used all the makeup I could play with. The links will be below.

Her fingers were dark and stained after this, and the chains probably weighed five/ ten pounds; emagine thise dangling from single fingers!
I asked her to think of all the emotions and things that the Mother was going though in my poem, and put them onto her face. I really think Glory portrait it well.

Glory was very strong to not only bear with me as I took 50 pictures of her, but also to hold these truck tire chains up in the air!

As you can tell, I did not have the correct makeup to properly cover her arms and hands, and I had to use programmed makeup and contacts for the face. However, the emotion is still plain.

A birds nest, no longer used, was perched on a ladder.

The rope here, is supposed to portray the Massa’s whip.

Glory was holding the chains down by her waits here, but when zoomed in, it appears her wrists are tied.


Re-done in oil-paint
Here, I was able to use an app that almost could do the colors correctly, but i is very glitchy. Will link below. 🙂
Thank you so so much to The Art of Life for spending an hour editing this picture for me! It’s utterly amazing!
Thank you again Art Of Life for taking my idea and creating it!

The caption texts below the images are for you to know the stories behind the photography so that you can see how simple it is to use your own imagination!

My sister, The Art Of Life on WordPress: https://life15.art.blog/

For the face and contacts, I used the app, YouCam Makeup: https://www.perfectcorp.com/app/ymk

For the little bit of darkness added to the arms, neck and fingers, I used the Airbrush app: http://appairbrush.com/en/

For the oil paint and water looks, I used the app, Skin Tones, which can be found in the App Store.

For the darker skin, I used an app called Selfie Editor: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/selfie-editor-face-cam-filter/id1056521360?mt=8

For the night sky and star, the app used is: http://www.photofoxapp.com/

Iditarod 2019

Saturday, March 2 was the 111th Iditarod held in Anchorage Alaska. Well, the opening ceremony that is; all the racers assemble in downtown Anchorage for the opening ceremony and then one-by-one mush to the airport where the dogs get put away until Sunday where the race officially starts in Willow AK.

This year was an “odd year” where the mushers will take the southern route, skipping Fairbanks.


On “normal years”, the mushers would use the northern route.

I had a lot of fun being there, and expeshually because I had a camera! I really enjoyed searching the crowds for emotions and styles (etc) and interactions between the mushers and their dogs; as well as how the dogs were feeling. I could explain everything to you in words, but I feel pictures may be able to tell you this story a bit better this time. 🙂

While taking a corner, quite a few of the mushers fell because they didn’t know how to ‘take the turn’. This team here, however, knows you have to slow the dogs down by using the brake and slide the left foot out to balance yourself and the sled.
The black sled and the rider in the front sled (sitting) are only for show here. During the real race, it will only be the mushers and his dogs.
Musher touching noses with one of his dogs and checking in them before being called for introduction and the ceremonial mush.
For each of the sixteen/ twelve dogs, (sets of six or eight) somone of the mushing family or friends would stand and (try) to keep the dogs calm and from trying to run before it is their time. The easiest way is to attach an external harness, show here, to get a good, big grip and plant your feet in solid.
Each team had their dog team “decorated” in a different way that expressed them. Bins here, could it be any cutier??
You’ve probably heard the way mushing dogs BARK while waiting to run! These two were yawning for stress and barking from anticipation. 😄
My favorite team; due to the utter softness and cuteness!!
Musher putting booties on one of his dogs to keep the paws protected from sharp objects (I.e gravel and ice) and to keep the pads somewhat warm, though these dogs are bred for frigid temperatures. (The mushers are not)
Each tram received much cheering and and clapping all the way to their airport. Thankfully there was enough snow this year that not much had to be added to the streets.
The CANADIAN military was stationed here to, well, mostly shovel. Lol
A perfect combination of dog, musher, mountain, light and snow.

I will be writing several more blog posts on different elements of my Iditarod experience. You can be sure there will be many, many more pictures for me and adorable dogs!

If you would like to know more information and get more in-depth about the routes (etc), I found this website most helpful-https://iditarod.com/about/the-iditarod-trail/

Hope you can join us in Alaska next year for the 112th Iditarod race! 🙂

Falling in Love With Your Self-image

“What do they think of me?”

“Is my laugh too awkward?”

“If I wear these shoes that I like so much, will it get me out of the cool-group and in with the losers?”

“Why is he staring at me like that? Is there something wrong with how I look?”

“Did I say all the right things? What if I sounded like a weirdo or a dork?”

“Why are my legs so fat and all the others in the world are wonderfully slim?”

“Oh my gosh, why won’t this acne go away and be smooth like my friend’s faces?!”

“Am I worth anything?”

“Am I enough…?”

Self Image. It’s something we all have, or are, struggling with. We spend hours, and loads of money and time to make sure we look ‘good’; have all the trending styles, name brand clothing, long lashes, thin bodies…and all for what? So we can feel and look like everyone else?

How many times have we walked to the mirror and sighed? How many times have we caught a glimps of ourselves against someone else and been depressed and angry with our appearance for the rest of the week? We look at others for our comfort or image. When there is someone who is ‘larger’ or ‘uglier’ than us, we look at ourselves and think, “oh, well, I don’t actually look so bad!” We strut off to the beach to display our ‘newly found beauty’ and ‘image’…only to find everyone else is gorgeously tanned and thinner than life! We wrap a towel around ourselves and slink back into the shadows…rejected and ugly once again. Sound familiar?

Many people fall into depression, commit suicide, ruin thier faces by loads of “cover-ups”, spend thousands of dollars on surgeries that they later regret…not being satisfied with how we look leads to the deepest, darkest, pits of life; all because we let others tell us how our bodies, faces, and hair, should look.

What if we were to stop sighing in the mirror; walk into a store with confidence; sit amongst a group of people and not worry about our laughter and thighs? Just be OURSELVES and LOVE how our image appears—because it is YOU!

Now, it is okay to lose some weight if we are TRULY overweight, change a bad trait in our personality, wanting to get more muscle, grow our hair out and straighten or curl it; wearing makeup is even fine. But so long as all this doesn’t become our MAIN focuse; something to hide under and change ourselves into something we truly are not. You were created with a purpose, and your creator (what He thinks of us matters The Most!) says that he will, “… hold you in his hand for all to see— a splendid crown in the hand of God.” If we can find our true self image, who we are; our confidence in God, then it will never be lost! We can always know who we are are in His hand, and trust him that ALL His works are wonderful. And we can praise Him for that!

These are unedited, unairbrushed, no filters or thinned pictures of myself. YOU don’t have to edit your pictures every time, just be confident in WHO YOU ARE and YOUR SELF-IMAGE!

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” -Psalm 139:14-15


“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
– Genesis 1:26 WE ARE MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE!

“…for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.”
-1 Corinthians 6:20

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
-Ephesians 2:10

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” -Jeremiah 1:5

“Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” -Ephesians 1:4

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” -1 Peter 3:3-4


“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” -Luke 12:7


This Is Me

Grace VanderWaal—Clearly

Driveway Clown Photo Shoot

“At the end of the day, if I can say I had fun, it was a good day. Simone Biles”

You know those days when your makeup just doesn’t look right, or you can’t master the technique like you have sense..forever?

I had one of those days, my sister and I, when we were gearing up for a photo shoot, and our makeup was being awful; smearing included! I didn’t really have a theme for the photos, but a wise photographer once said, “Take a photo everyday and you will become a better photographer.”

Insparation can come in a thousand forms, (if we just have our eyes open enough!) and when I looked at my sister’s makeup from a different angle, insparation was born! I just messed with her speared face a little bit more, and the inspired idea was formed—a clown photo shoot! For some of the backdrop, sense I don’t have a good program for backgrounds yet, I decided to use the only semi-truck trailer our landlords have on the property. You have to improvise and make do with what you have, right?

We spent a full hour/half hour in the wind and cold, and these are the results! Some of the photos were taken or posed one way, but you can turn them differently, so I’ll show you those. I’ll also show you the behind the scenes of the photos and how you can do them yourself without any elaborate or expensive materials…

I haven’t airbrushed this photo because, one, her face is perfect!! and two, I like how the ‘rough’ face adds more texture to the photo. I also used blends of powders to stick to the face in different texture or color. The nose is also improvised, it’s red lipstick. I did go for the more “messy” face look; but that was the feel I wanted. (This is actually a close-up of the cover photo.)
I’m not into all that “creepy clown” stuff, but I suppose that is how some of these photos may have tuned out. 🙊
If you want to get an angle in the photo, you can pose on the side of something, and turn your camera on a side angle. It gives the photo another feel and dimension.

Now, I know that not every photographer will be comfortable with zooming in on your modeler’s face, so you could use a longer lense, but then it is just too much switching lenses (for me), because you are not going to be able to get a farther-away capture with you longer lense unless you switch. But the disitions yours! Just remeber, capturing the same photo from different angles can make several different photos without much work!

These could look like two different photos when not placed side-by-side, but they’re actually the same photo, just, again, from different angles and zoom. It is actually quite fun seeing how many shots you can get with one pose; and it improves your technique and experience!

This may look like a nice breezy photo from the ‘outside’, but actually…she’s standing on a chair. See what goes on “behind the lense”?

Have the person you are shooting (🙊) move around more. This makes more shots, and helps find that perfect one you are wishing for.

Being angled in the wind provides its own blower.
Oh mr. sun!
Don’t worry about the background sometimes, as you can always edit it with a program, such as PaintShop Pro. (For a how-to-use, here’s a very helpful link: learn.corel.com

If you are not having fun, or are bored with your photos, try and look at things (and life!) from another angle. Insparation comes, and is there, at all times. We just have to learn to look for it. 😉

White-Sun Photo-shoot

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
-John 8:12

There is an hour called, “Photographer’s Hour”

It is when the sun is setting, all golden and bright and the sky is an array of fiery colors. If you read my other blog “Momentary Joy”, you no doubt viewed my pictures form that hour.

Normally, whenever you see sunlight in a photo, it is either added manually, or was taken during the golden hour. However, I wanted to test out the sun when it was shining white, and high in the sky.

I have to say the color is not the best and the sun is harder to capture and look good, though I did thoroughly enjoy it, and the pictures (that don’t have a filter) have a nice soft glow to them from the light at the afternoon hour. Remember, I took all these on my property, so it it not hard to do—just grab ahold of your camera, a modeler, and shoot that sun! You yourself will discover which is your best hour to photograph the light.

The wind has been blowing furiously the past couple days, so there was no need for a blower to add dramatic effect to the hair! When it is windy out, I also love to dash our with a camera! 😀
I have been using my camera at an upside down angle more and more often now, instead of trying to shoot the whole picture straight. In my opinion, the photo turns our much better.
Wind drama ;P
More and more people are using their iPhones for cameras. I have used one several times, but one of the things I just can’t get it to properly capture is a full-body pose like this. It usually stretches out the person weirdly. I still enjoy using my own camera and feeling the weight of it around my neck.
Right now I am really into taking ‘bending’ photos.
A dramatic face can tell louder than a backdrop.
Again, the face speaks louder than the backdrop. Your main focus should usually be the object to which you are capturing.
In between shoots, we had to wear coats because it was so cold. As you can see, someone likes to capture photos off-shoot as well. 🙂
I might like to capture them as well…😏
Although I don’t prefer using the iPhone, sometimes an ‘iPhone style’ photo is still cute. Shortly after my sister and I finished up our shoot, our younger siblings walked up and wanted to try a hand at the camera.

At imagination of a photographer, great things can happen. With the click of a lense, you can capture a memory to last longer than a lifetime…don’t miss a single chance!