Paws at the Gallery

We have all seen scene’s in movies of actors at a gallery all dressed up with a stiff upper lip and sipping champagne as they peruse the art.  Dog paws at the gallery would be the last thing you would think of. Well, at the Arts Center of Yates County, you will be pleasantly surprised to be met by Cara, a friendly chocolate lab with a wagging tail and gentle demeanor.  She gives a welcoming and down to earth feel to the Gallery.  Here is a little bit about the Arts center and it’s 4 pawed greeter named Cara.   If you would like to read more about my overall experience as an Artist in Residence for the Arts Center of Yates County you can read about it HERE.

The Arts Center of Yates County is located in Penn Yan, NY.  It is a volunteer-driven nonprofit whose mission is to enrich the quality of life for Finger Lakes residents, artists and visitors by providing opportunities for active participation in the arts. Kris Pearson is the Executive Director of the Arts Center of Yates County.   As the Executive Director, Kris is the only paid staff.  She is required to oversee the day to day operations of the organization, including the gallery, workshops, creative programming, membership and fundraising efforts. Kris has a challenging position where in any given day she may be  called to help with Maintenance at one of the properties, teach a class, write a grant, meet with other volunteers and board members as well as local residents and businesses to promote the Arts Center.   Kris does this while coordinating and working along with the volunteers and active board. She is fortunate however, to bring her dog Cara to work. 

Cara gives a welcoming and open feeling to the gallery.  It is hard to find the Arts Center and gallery stuffy if you are met with warm eyes and a wagging tail just waiting for someone to rub her ears.  While Cara enjoys greeting children and visitors attending programs at the center, she is also content to sit by Kris’s side while she attends to her work. 

During breaks at work, Cara gets a nice walk around the town.  If time permits she may be able to walk to the local park where Cara can exercise.  While I visited the Center Cara showed me her athletic ability for playing fetch and diving.


Photo tip:  You will notice clearly in the above 2 pictures that Cara is not centered on the photograph.  I utilized a guideline for composition called the – RULE OF THIRDS.  This composition guideline recommends visually dividing the image into thirds (vertical and horizontal) . The principal is that the best position for the subject is along one of the imaginary lines or at the crosshairs where the divisions intersect. ( Think of a tic, tac, toe board lying across your image.   This creates movement and interest in the image.  Where is Cara looking?  It encourages your eye to move across the whole image.  Now when you look at the top image you can see that the rule of thirds was also utilized here.  Cara is still the center of attention, but I did wish to include her owner and surroundings in a softer focus in the background.  Your eye immediately catches Cara since she is in focus and in the bottom third of the image, but your eyes puruse the rest of the picture to give you a sense of her story.


I have taken up a challenge with some other Professional Pet photographers for Project 52.  The challenge is to have a blog each week on a certain topic.  This weeks challenge was utilizing the RULE OF THIRDS in our images.    I invite you to follow our blog circle to Linda from VPshoots Photography in Tampa Florida to see her interpretation of the subject.  There are several new photographer’s that have joined the blog this year.  Have fun!


Nancy Kieffer is a photographer serving  the Central New York and Adirondack region.  Travel assignments also welcomed.   If you would like to book a lifestyle session for your pet, Please email me at or call 315-469-8807