Celebrating Rescued Love with Winston the Pit Bull at Mingo Creek Park

Bark & Gold Photography provides on-location photography of Pittsburgh pets and their people, and choosing the right location plays an essential aspect in the final look of your images. When you book your session, a beautiful 28-page location guide is all yours to help you decide on the best location based on a number of considerations such as your dog’s personality, the look you desire for your final images, and its distance from you.

One of my summer pups, Winston, a nine-year-old pit bull, and his family were coming from the Greensburg area, which made Mingo Creek Park in Washington County a great in-between location for all of us. One of my favorite park-type locations, Mingo Creek boasts everything from open sky spaces and large fields to run among to its iconic covered bridges with stone detailing and lots of water features for dogs who love to swim. I couldn’t have been more excited to meet him and watch him explore this absolutely magical location.

Meet Winston

“I adopted Winston, formerly known as Foster, from Animal Friends in Pittsburgh seven years ago,” shares Julia. “I went up on a Friday night and Winston was the saddest dog at the shelter. He was sulking in the corner, not barking and not interacting with any of the people looking at pets. When I got him into a private meet-and-greet room, I was told he had separation anxiety; however, he was sweet and gentle and super cute. I told [the volunteers] I would think about it and went home.”

Julia returned to the shelter the following morning where Winston was so excited to see that she came back, and it was then that she knew there was no turning back.

“I filled out the paperwork and took him home, and he’s been my furry little bud ever since,” says Julia, who gave him not only a new home but a new name as well.

“We tried a bunch of names, but he seemed to acknowledge Winston. He’s a very regal boy [and] the name seemed to fit his personality.”

A Smile-Filled, Stress-Free Session (No Stay Required)

“We’ve tried ourselves to get good pictures of Winston, but he loves to not look at the camera and blink,” laments Julia. “He also tends to look very serious or grumpy in pictures, but I love when he smiles.”

Relatable, girl…so relatable. Not only do I hear this often from my clients, but it’s a challenge Hunter likes to throw my way too. (Hey, we don’t call it #photographersdogsyndrome for nothing!) Knowing that his smile, however rare it appears in photos, is one of the things Julia loves most about him, I knew I had to bring it when it came to portraits of this sweet and silly guy. With that floppy ear-to-floppy ear grin, I’d say Winston knocked it out of the park for his momma, hamming it up while he posed and pranced throughout an open field amidst the most gorgeous golden light.

“Winston has a pretty expressive face and communicates with all his heavy sighs and air barks and grumbles,” Julia adds. “For a dog that just started barking a few years ago, he’s mastered communicating. I love his floppy ears and his tail that he has no control over. I love that he is so bouncy when he walks, almost like he is trotting.”

smiling happy white pit bull prancing in a field at Mingo Creek Park in Washington County

Heading into their session, Julia told that while Winston can sit, give paw, lay down, and rollover, he has never mastered stay because he just wants to be right next to his people. She described him as pretty calm and potato-y at home, but warned me that when he’s out on an adventure, he wants to go, go, go! He loves a good walk, car ride, and his beloved sloth.”

I was thrilled to see that Winston’s sloth made the trek with them. Dave especially loved the portraits of Winston as happy as could be with his sloth along for a ride on his back, just one reminder of why it’s always a great idea to bring along a few toys to use as props during your session.

Sweet Silhouettes at Sunset

This particular park has a gem of a spot perfect for capturing silhouettes, so that’s exactly where we headed to end Winston’s session. Julia and Dave joined in, running, playing, and motivating Winston with chicken.

senior pit bull with owners in a field at sunset for silhouette portraits at Mingo Creek Park

Not pictured: the shower of chicken pieces that rained down over Winston in an attempt to get him to jump up and look at Julia when the bag fell open.

A Love Deserving of Heirloom Products

Prior to seeing Winston’s portraits, Julia initially thought they would do a large wall art grouping and had a few potential spots picked out in their home; however, this beautiful boy presented so many must-haves to Julia and Dave that narrowing them down to just a handful for the wall became nearly impossible. During their reveal and ordering appointment, we bounced back and forth between several wall art mockups of their favorites on their actual walls and the possibility of an heirloom folio box. Ultimately, this 20-print bamboo heirloom folio box won out, and I was not at all disappointed in their decision!

bamboo heirloom folio box with 20 matted prints from a pit bull's session at Mingo Creek Park in Washington County

With the option to store their portraits inside this gorgeous internationally handcrafted box or remove and frame them for displaying all throughout their home, Julia and Dave got some major impact in this substantial bamboo piece. A smiling Winston on one of the park’s footbridges earned the outstanding deckled edge floating lid image while a similar shot of him dancing across the bridge surprises on the inside of the lid when opened.

In addition to their heirloom folio box, they also received a level-1 bonus product of three 3×3 mini accordion albums filled with 10 mini Winstons so they’ll be able to bring their precious boy with them wherever they go!

Julia and Dave, thank you both for loving Winston as much as you do and for inviting me to capture that love for you. You are all incredible and it was an honor to create something that will celebrate the joy he brings to your world for many, many years to come!

If you would like to book a Bark & Gold Photography session for your pet, click here or give me a call at 724-913-BARK (2275). For more information on Bark & Gold Photography sessions, visit “The Experience” in the menu and be sure to join the VIP list.


This post is a part of the Content Marketing for Pet Photographers blog circle. To see what the next pawesome photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “A Walk in the Park,” check out Jemma Martin, award-winning pet photographer of JM Photography, Suffolk who’s sharing images from her latest dog walk photoshootContinue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.

9 thoughts on “Celebrating Rescued Love with Winston the Pit Bull at Mingo Creek Park

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      Thanks, Jemma! I offer my Silhouette Sunset Sessions once a year, but I do have a few locations where we can usually get them year-round. This was one of them.

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      I cracked up when I heard that description of him. It sure fit, although he was happy to prance about that evening.

  1. Darlen says:

    I”m loving Winston!!! What a beautiful pooch and that smile is amazing! What a gorgeous folio box to cherish the memories 🙂 Love all of these!!!

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