Three years and a month ago, I took on the biggest challenge of my life. While driving home from an extended photography trip in Southern Utah, I spotted a wandering dog on the southbound side of Interstate 15 about fifteen miles east of Baker, California (the southern gateway to Death Valley). Seeing that she was a pit bull, I knew she was a goner if I didn’t do anything, and I knew I wouldn’t sleep that night (or the next one, or the one after that….) if I just passed her by. As a cat-person, all I knew about pit bulls was what the news media projected (which any human owned by a pit bull will tell you is overblown nonsense; any breed can be trained for aggression and fighting). I was terrified of her, she was terrified of me, but after three and a half hours of effort, I got her in my truck – suffering no bites or ill feelings – and drove her three hours further to home.

Snap to today: this dog has changed my life. Like any pit bull, she is a willful handful and has required lots of discipline and a huge commitment, but she is a vibrant and smiling personality, is full of affection, and is spoiled absolutely rotten. Mojave has been on more adventures and stood on more mountaintops than most people ever will. For this pit bull, life is perfect, and like any doting parent would say about their child, I cannot imagine a day without her.

She is my photographic subject quite often, but rarely do I get something that really excites me. Like this one…
Mojave, amongst the oaks

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

13 thoughts on “Mojave

  1. hey Michael

    I’m the first one to comment!

    Shouldn’t this blog be linked to from the rest of your site? it’s REALLY hard to find.

    Mojave looks like a great little pup. here’s to more good times with her.



  2. Wow Mike – that’s a fantastic shot and I’m definitely not a dog lover. The framing and the 3-D look is awesome. What is it that gives this shot so much depth? Awesome shot – you do pretty good with color as well as B/W it would seem.

  3. Hi Ernie! Thank You for your comments!

    The apparent depth is a result of shallow-ish DOF (without checking, I think about f8), variable contrast, and mixed light. I’ve reduced the contrast around the edges while leaving the center untouched, and I have enhanced the natural Chiaroscuro.

    Thanks, Ernie!

  4. Pingback: Lucky « Michael E. Gordon Photography

  5. Pingback: Art from the Pit « Michael E. Gordon Photography

  6. Pingback: My last photograph of 2009: The Burning Bush « Michael E. Gordon Photography

  7. Hia Michael, I’ve been looking at your website. Very nice. Beautiful pictures. I was moved by your dog story. Mojave is a lovely animal and a marvelous find.
    I had a plubmber in my house just before Christmas, and my dog, Elsie, also a wonderer, slipped through the door when he went out to his truck. I found her three days later after two sleepless nights. She was on my land but was in dreaful pain with her left hip dislocated. She had a collection of small holes in her upper thigh. She was under a fur tree, just sheltered in from the wind and heavy rain.
    The vet said she’d been caught in a trap and had dislocated her hip in getting out of it. Just trying to conjure that up as a story is beyond the effort of imagination. She is back to normal now -virtually – just a small tear in her skin just above her paw.
    Owning a dog is a special activity, but beware of a love that’ll turn you into a blind softie as when you see a happpy dog its one that has your willing heart in its mouth.
    Your dog though, isnt what we call a bull terrier in English speaking Europe, he’s beautiful all right, but it seems to me that ours are different. They’re more squat, broad, have slitty shrewed looking eyes, that are sometimes pinked in the lids. Altogether, a tighter head with a very slight skull and not so much feature and they’re only about 18″ tall. Usually white with possible touches of sand in the coat. Very short smooth hair like Mojave who is also a powerful dog, but these never, at least the ones that I have seen never look happy. They have dead-pan looks
    like Alan Lad or Rambo. (Look up on the net English Bull Terrier and you’ll see what I mean) I think I might have described the English Pit Bull Terrier.
    The Spannish brought their fox hounds from Spain to Ireland when they were here as they didn’y like the English Foxhound: they thought it less agressive. The Irish called these dogs ‘Black and Tans'(This was before the Irish ‘Troubles’ when that name was given to a particularly nasty section of British troops who wore black beltsand caps) because of their colouring which was a mixture of black, white and sandy brown. These dogs looked like MoJave as far as I can remember from photographs I have seen, apart from their Spaniel/Basset type head and ears. They were somewhat taller than the English Foxhound and really good looking, muscular, solid looking and fast. Not quite so big chested as Mojave.
    Our Elsie is a Collie type with som Labrador in her. We think she has some Red Setter as her wavy coat looks to have a pink sheen in sunshine.
    Anyway, I’ve been looking at your courses as I want to get going with LF and they look atractive, but I haven’t got very much of a clue – Yet!
    You must be one of the Good-Uns to pull in a dog off the road like that. Much luck. John.

  8. Hi John: that’s an incredible story about Elsie, and I’m very glad to hear that she is doing well! Bless you for the love and care you provide her. You, too, are one of the good-uns!

    I sent you a photo via email; we believe that Mojave is American Staffordshire Terrier.

    As for my Large Format course, it is an “Introduction” so no previous experience OR equipment is required. The biggest hitch to your attendance would likely be the distance! You might also want to check on Tim Parkin’s Large Format courses in England.

    Thanks for your post, John!

  9. Simply awesome. Pit bull owner here also. I recently adopted a pit left for dead. You probably already heard from Shauna while we were in the woods at Pat’s Arrowhead house.

    I applaud you, and am very glad we had the chance to not only meet you two…but party in high altitude!

    What a great time. You and Shana really are great people.

    Best of luck Mike.

    Jim Bruce

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s