This shot makes me very happy; it may need to go on my wall.  If there are clouds out, I'm out shooting.  Taken at The Laguna Montage.

Art::  the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing or of more than ordinary significance.

I love the emotion shared between these puppies and their Mom. 

Art is a very personal thing.  What some may consider to be magnificent, others may shrug their shoulders at.  Being a photographer teaches you this right from the get go.  There are subjects or moments that I have captured that thrill me but when I show others they simply say "oh cute."  "What?"  "cute?"  You have to get use to this and learn to let it slide off of your shoulders.  What makes me happy to look at is not going to be what makes everyone happy.

This photo represents the innocent and oblivious adorableness of a puppy to me.  

Just visit an art museum to see this human response at it's finest.  Much of the work at a museum leaves me cold.  Sure I can see that sheer and unbelievable talent but that is as far as it goes.  Obviously I prefer dog photography but my preference is not that vast.  Even in dog photography there is great deal of shoulder shruggers for me. I like real life photography above all else.  I do not like portrait type photography unless it is a natural moment captured.  This is why I am often on the ground, standing on the arm of a chair or teetering on the edge of a wall.  I don't set up, I capture.  But that is just me, my personal taste.  I know lots of people who have had portrait type shots done and love them.  You know the ones where both the owner and the dog are smiling at the camera?  But they leave me very cold and offer nothing as far as emotion.  No interaction between the subjects in the image, no emotion shared.

I have over the years had to follow my heart and forget what others say as far as personal taste goes.  Sure I have learned the techniques of a good photo but I probably break the rules much more than follow them for a good shot.  A photo should move you.  It can move you in many different directions but it should do some moving.  If it doesn't move you then what is the point?

This image is from my handful of all time favorites.  I took it a very longtime ago but it remains a special capture for me. 

Over the years of doing photography I probably only have a handful of breath takers, for me personally.  Sometimes I know it immediately, often they are a wonderful surprise.  A great photo can come from a cell phone or disposable camera; you do not need to be a professional nor do you need a big fancy camera.  I am often asked what type of camera I use; but my camera in someone else's hands would yield immensely different images.

I like to capture life as it unfolds before me.  Of course I prefer if there is a dog in that life but there doesn't always have to be.  Some of my all time favorite images have just a speck of a dog that you can barely see, having working to find it.  It is the mere presence of that dog in the image that does it; not the size or what the dog is doing.

So when you pick up your camera, shoot what makes you happy.  When you buy artwork, buy what makes you happy.  You may have people looking at your photo with a blank stare but if you smile when you look at it; then it is a great image.  If it makes you happy to see it on your wall everyday; then it is a masterpiece.