Marla Misclevitz April photo submission

When we set out to host a “Pet Portrait” photo contest, we knew it would generate a lot of interest. Even so, we were blown away not only by the quantity of photos we received, but by the quality, as well. You really love your pets! There were more than a few unique photographs submitted, but Marla Misclevitz’s image above struck a chord with our judges. Not only is it a beautiful photo to look at, but it hints at a deeper story and conveys an emotion of companionship that those of us who grew up with pets remember very fondly. Congratulations to Marla, and a big thank you to everyone who entered the contest, which was undoubtedly one of our best monthly contests yet! Read on for a brief interview with the photographer on how she got the shot.

Please tell us a little about yourself. What kind of photographer do you consider yourself? Enthusiast? Professional? Amateur? Weekend Warrior?

My name is Marla. I am in my 30’s and live in Portland, and I happily spend my time with my little family doing everyday life things and photograph it along the way.  I was given a film camera when I was 16 by my grandfather and still use that camera today, along with a few other film cameras and my digital Canon gear.  I kind of hate titles, especially since some people take them so seriously… but I work as a photographer and get paid for it, so I believe that classifies me as a professional.

Tell us a little about the image and how you shot it: time of day, location, your plan, technique, gear used, etc.

This image was taken last summer in Sellwood on the waterfront.  My daughter and I had been modeling for another local photographer that early evening, but I brought my camera (Canon 5D Mark II) to take a few pictures afterwards.  It was just after sunset and I documented a true and natural moment, there was no posing or prompting.  I used an 85mm f/1.2 L lens at f/1.2 and took several exposures, but I loved this one best because it signified real, authentic friendship between a girl and her dog.  It was captured in the natural light at ISO 1000.

Tell us about the post production process for this image. What software did you use, what adjustments did you make (if any)?

I used Photoshop CS4 for the post production.  I did remove the distracting poles coming off the dock, but all other adjustments were toning-based.  I edited for color first, then converted to black & white with the gradient map tool; brought up the midtones with a levels adjustment layer; created a matte finish with a curves adjustment; and then a low-opacity white layer adjusted to ‘soft light.’  I likely sharpened a little with unsharp mask.

Where can people go to see more of your work?

I have a new website debuting this weekend at and I update a blog several times a month at but also can be found on Flickr and Facebook.

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