Elora woman”™s story featured in national magazine

Elora resident Michelle Duvall is featured in a national magazine.

Duvall’s photo essay depicting the Fergus dog park was published in the March 2017 issue of More of Our Canada magazine, a Reader’s Digest publication – and one of her photos was chosen for the cover.

Duvall said she and her dog Bailey have frequented the dog park since moving to the Centre Wellington area about 12 years ago, before it was even a township park.

An amateur photographer for the last 10 years, Duvall said photographing dogs at the park has helped hone her skills.

“I wanted to show the dogs having fun, in their element,” she said of her piece in More of Our Canada. “Enjoying a park made specifically for them with so much room to run and play.”

The magazine spread spans seven pages (including the magazine’s cover) and features 10 of Duvall’s photos

“It was a blast! Still seems surreal,” she said.

“Whenever I see someone browsing it at work, have to admit it makes me grin.”

But the process to get the final product wasn’t effortless.

Duvall said getting the dog shots took a lot of trial and error.  

“Dogs are agile and quick, never standing still for any length of time, so I’ve had to learn the best camera settings to take fast action shots, where to position myself to optimize the light, etc.,” she said.  

“I try to keep ahead of them, anticipate where they’re going to go.  One trick I learned early is to get down low. Sometimes laying down in the dirt/snow gets the best angle.”

She even has specific dog park clothes, so she’s not concerned when she gets dirty or slobbered on by one of her canine subjects.

Duvall submitted her photos and article to More of Our Canada magazine in September and found out in January her photo would be on the cover. She sent about 50 photos to the magazine and staff chose which would be published.

“Their choices were as much a surprise to me as everyone else,” she said.

But the feedback has been good.

“I’m blown away and humbled by the show of support, congratulations and positive feedback I’ve been getting,” she said.

“I’ve gotten emails and phone calls from friends and family across the country who’ve sent congrats and kudos for my stepping out of my comfort zone.”

Because of her positive experience, Duvall encourages anyone with a hobby or talent they would like to share to go for it.

“Don’t let fear hold you back or worry about what others think,” she said.

“It’s been a positive, fun experience for me and has only motivated me to keep learning and striving to get better.”  

To see Duvall’s photo essay visit www.readersdigest.ca/travel/canada/fergus-dog-park-photography.