Welcome to Walter J. Cronk Photography. We specialize in Sports and Pet Photography. Based out of Paw Paw, Michigan but we also serve Kalamazoo, Lansing, Jackson, Detroit, South Bend and surrounding areas. Reading this blog is an open invitation for you to see some of what we do. Although we do specialize in Sports and Pet Photography, that is not all we do. We also do Senior Portrait's and Family Portraits. In our free time when life isn't so busy we head to the outdoors to capture anything and everything nature, but really focus on White-Tailed Deer. Please take a look at some of the photo's on the homepage as well as some of the galleries under the Portfolio tab. If you are interested in booking a session or event, don't hesitate to email me at [email protected]

 Thank you for visiting our blog. Come back soon to view recent post's to keep up with what we have going on.

Rescue dog's!

January 18, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

   What can I say, I love dogs! All season long at the track's, I think people know me as the dog guy. If I see a dog and I'm not rushing off to get on the track, I'm going to try and get a photo of it. It's one of my rules! All my life I've had dogs around. Growing up we had German Shepherd's. Now we have Boxers! My love for dogs go's waaaaay back to my childhood and continues to this day. Since I have 2 dogs of my own, naturally when I started learning and teaching myself photography, my 2 Boxers were my models most of the time while I tried to figure out the camera, settings, etc. Now days, I am very fortunate enough to be able to get great photo's of our dogs, other people's dogs, and more importantly rescue dogs! So on top of our 3 dogs we have, we usually have a rescue dog that we'll foster in the house as well. Getting rescue dog's good photo's are crucial in helping them get adopted! More on that later. This will be a recurring blog about some of the foster dogs we have in our house and other rescue dog's we get photo's of!

   Even while I was deployed to Iraq I managed to find a stray or two, to feed an on a regular basis. After I got out of the Army I ended up going back to do private security. My last month in Country I was probably the highest paid dog sitter in the world! The company I had been working for had just lost the contract for K-9 contract for base security. So that meant all our Dog Handlers were done and had to go home. Problem one, the dogs were staying and the new company taking over the contract would take possession of the dogs. Problem 2, the new company wouldn't be their for about a month? The bomb sniffing dogs still belonged to the company I worked for and had to be taken care of until they arrived. So one day as I was coming off shift I got a call on the radio, our Site Manager needed to see me in his office. It wasn't the first time I had been called to his office, but the other times I had been called in their was cause I was gonna get a butt chewing for something. Him and I didn't see eye to eye on how some things should be handled. I had it coming every time and knew it was going to happen. But this time, I really had no clue why I was being called in. As soon as I walked through the door he says that he heard from the other Supervisors that I was a dog guy? I said yes and started telling him about the Boxer's I had at home and all that stuff! That's when he filled me in on the contract situation with our bomb sniffing dogs. Basically I got volunteered for the next month to take care of our dogs! My only job was to get up in the morning, feed 12 dogs, take them all for a walk. Then come back in the afternoon to feed them and walk them again. It was awesome! Because all day I was hanging out with them. In all reality it was only supposed to be a few hours of work in the morning and then a few in the evening. But it didn't work that way for me. I was out all day walking and playing with them. Usually by the time I got done hanging out with the last dog it was time for me to feed them and walk them again for the evening. It was my 2nd best job ever!

   Dogs have always been apart of my life and always will be until the day I die. Now I'm lucky enough to have skills that I can use to donate for rescue dogs. One of the first rescue's we had for a lengthy amount of time was Buster the hairy Bulldog! Go look at the photo's before you read on. I know right, have you ever seen a Bulldog that looked like this? Neither have I! I would love to see photo's of him as a puppy if I could. Any how, Buster came to us because his original owners (older couple) had passed away. He was kind of overweight and unhealthy, a little skidish with new people. But he got really attached to my girlfriend. I'm just the photographer, she does all the real work with the rescue stuff and deserves all the credit for everything she does. Buster was ok with the other 3 older dogs in the house but not great with them. Randomly and for no reason he would charge at them. So we had to keep the house blocked off. If you plan on fostering dogs.....get baby gates! We have them all over! As awesome as he was and how unique he looked, unfortunately we knew we were not going to be able to keep him. If your a dog person, your gonna get attached to them. But ultimately you have to do whats best for them and your own dogs. As unique as he looked, their was no problem finding adopters for him! So in no time the rescue found an awesome couple up north for him where he was able to spend the rest of his days being super spoiled, non stop, everyday! They even made an Instagram account for him and everything so we were able to follow a long with him. It's truly an awesome thing to see these rescue dog's go to fantastic homes where they can be spoiled and taken care of the way that they deserve. Like I mentioned earlier, getting good photo's of these dog's really help get them adopted. You can capture their personality, use prop's, outside running around playing. The possibilities are endless. So many times you see shelter's just getting cellphone shot's in badly lit rooms of the dogs. Don't get me wrong, obviously any photo's are going to be better than nothing. But with ALL the dog's that are out their and that need to be rescued, I might as well try and help get one adopted faster. That opens up space for the next one right?

  Unfortunately Buster passed away a couple weeks ago. He had very aggressive cancer and by the time his people found out about it, it was to late. As much as it sucked hearing about cause he was such a one of a kind dog, it was a real treat getting to have him in our home before he went to his new people.


Yellowstone, Part 2

January 16, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

  Welcome back! So this is Yellowstone, Part 2. When we planned this trip it was so we could spend a whole (work) week, 5 days at the park. When I was reading through other people's blogs and watching video's my biggest concern was that we weren't going to see much if anything! But we saw so much, some stuff was at a long distance but we still got to see them. The thing I wanted to see the most was a Grizzly Bear! And we lucked out, over the 7 days we got to see 3. Not close, we had to use the binoculars or a spotting scope, but we saw them. Check that off the bucket list! Anyhow, their is so much to see, that you will not see everything their is in a week. Between wildlife, waterfall's and trails, like I said it's like an amusement park for people that love the outdoors. 

  Before you go, order a map of the park. We got a National Geographic map, I think off Amazon for $20/30 dollars. Well worth the money spent! Besides my camera, that was the best tool we had once we got to the park. It has everything you could need. All the massive tourist spots are labeled. The thousands of miles of trials are on it with plotted points and distances. Their is also tons of waterfalls in the park, so if that's your thing, can find those as well. With so much to see and not enough time to see it all, the map comes in handy for planning a head of time of where you want to go and how to get their. Don't think you need to plan? Ok, check this out. The main loop around the park is 142 miles long! And the speed limit is only 45 mph. Remember, it is a major tourist attraction for people all across the world. There will be a lot of traffic in spots and not always a place to turn around. Depending on when you go and how busy it is, it could take anywhere from 4-7 HOURS to drive the whole loop. Your not just gonna drive the whole loop with out stopping. Their is way to much to see with mountains, wild life, etc. My suggestion, do the North loop one day and the South on another day. Plan a head what tourist spots you want to hit, if any and go from their, also fill the tank up ahead of time. There is gas stations through out the park at all the major tourist traps. But if you fill up the day before you go out, you  might  not need to hit one while your out that day.

  Trails, trails and more trails! Their are so many trails around the park it is unreal. And for all level's of experience. Up hills, valley's, what ever you want to do, Yellowstone National Park has it. This is where that map comes in handy! We had originally planned to hike a whole lot more than what we did while at Yellowstone. But once we got in the truck, driving around and seeing so much I hated to stop and go out hiking where we might  not see anything. Some of the waterfall's were a mile or two hikes round trip to see. The longest hike we went on was along the Nez Perce Trail through Hayden Valley. That one was about 6 miles round trip. Highly recommend that one! Although we saw a ton of stuff at the Lamar Valley, EVERYONE go's their to hang out. The road run's parallel to Lamar Valley so people are always stopping cause of Buffalo and what not. We saw a ton of stuff their, but also didn't want to deal with all the people, that's why we opted for hiking Hayden Valley instead. We had already witnessed a few people in large crowd's being dumb around some black bear. You'll see people around the park getting close to the wild life thinking its like a zoo or something. There is a reason for all the sign's up around the park warning you to keep your distance away from the wildlife. Just google Yellowstone Buffalo attack and you'll see what I mean. That's why we choose the trail less traveled.

  The very 1st thing we saw at the trail head for the Nez Perce Trail was the bear warning sign, Specifically Grizzly Bear. We had already seen one at a distance, and yes I would like to see one closer. But not TO close. The Army taught me years ago and I still live by it to this day. "Their is a fine line between hard core and stupid." If your out hiking and venturing around Yellowstone, don't be stupid! Pop's and I grabbed our stuff and headed down the trail. This was a nice easy going trail that runs along Alum Creek. To the right of us about 50 yards away was a steep wooded ridge and off to the left was the creek. So if we had jumped up and startled a Grizzly Bear the options would be pretty limited. And your not going to out run a Grizzly Bear. The best you can hope for is you get him/her with the bear spray and HOPE they take off. About a mile to a mile and a half into the trail we stumbled onto an old Buffalo skull that had been picked clean. And a little further up the trail we found another one. Their was one hairy spot in that hike where the pine trees were pretty tight and close to the trail. For majority of the hike it was wide open valley, but it was at that point we decided to actually pull the bear spray out and have it at the ready. At least until we got to the other side and we could see better. We had figured out how far we traveled and how much time it took, so we could guess when to turn around and head back to the truck. The last thing we wanted to be doing was hiking, in the dark, in the middle of Grizzly country. Once we hit the half way point, we took a good half hour break and sat back and relaxed for a bit. As busy as what Yellowstone is, their are plenty of places to go where your completely away from all the tourist and it is some of the most peaceful places you'll find. The one thing I regret is not hiking more of the trails, but I was to preoccupied with getting photo's of the wildlife. If your going to Yellowstone, definitely hit more of the trails! But be safe and have your bear spray!

 

Warning SignThe trail head going into Hayden Valley. It is Grizzly country!

Buffalo skullOn our hike in Hayden Valley at Yellowstone National Park

 

  Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park Hayden ValleyOur view in Hayden Valley at Yellowstone National Park. Towards the truck in case we had to get out fast! Grizzly CountryHeading into Hayden Valley for our hike.


Yellowstone, Part 1

January 12, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

  So in 2018 we had a pretty good year. I was still working my full time job but we had booked a lot of sporting events on the side. At the time that's all my photography was, just on the side. But it was still our best year at that time. After all the hard work put in learning the last few years, shooting different events and learning more as we went along, we needed a reward! I didn't want to go up north or anything like that, it had to be someplace new. After looking at the map....Yellowstone National Park! One of those places that is an absolute dream vacation! Now it was time to start planning. 2019 started off with planning a road trip! How does it get better than that? You'll hear me say we in this Blog a lot. That's cause I had invited my dad to go along with me. What's the point of going on such an awesome trip and not having anyone to enjoy it with?!

 Their was a lot of stuff to get figured out. What time of year to go, drive or fly, where to stay, the list go's on and on. Researching online will be a life saver for you. Between peoples personal blog's if you search "Yellowstone National Park" on Google, video's on YouTube and the park website itself should give you just about everything you need to know. But I'll give you a few of the things I picked up while planning our trip.

 The very 1st thing, get bear spray. Every blog, video, v log will tell you to get bear spray. And because once you get out their, they (everyone) recommends taking your bear spray every where you go. You can rent it from the park when you get out their or you can just order it online and have it shipped to your door. Each person needs to have a can of it on them. Don't get the cheap stuff either. The stuff everyone, including the park Rangers uses is called Counter Assault. Seriously, coming from Michigan, I don't know crap about bears. So if that's what the Park Rangers use, Ill take their word that its the best.

 The 2nd thing is figuring out where your going to stay? You can camp in the park or they do have cottages you can rent. I wasn't going to camp. I needed electricity to charge camera batteries and dump photo's from memory cards onto my laptop. And the Army pretty much ruined me for EVER wanting to  camp in my life ever again. Not gonna happen. If your going to stay in a cottage in the park, you need to book it about a year in advance. We found an awesome little place, about a mile away from the North East entrance to the park called the Grizzly Lodge. It wasn't super fancy, but it had everything we needed. A coffee pot, microwave, 2 warm beds and hot water. And it was way cheaper than staying in the park. The view around this place was amazing. We had mountains all around us and also we were high enough up to be in the clouds. By far one of the coolest places Ive ever stayed. One morning on the way to the park we had a momma Moose and baby Moose run across the road in front of us, less than 50 yards after we pulled out of the drive way. We were still getting situated in the truck with our coffee when it happened. Caught us both completely off guard but was really awesome to see.

 3rd and final thing, before you go. If you are scared of heights or driving on super twisted mountains, this is NOT place for you to go. Just about every where you go in the park you will be driving up, on and around mountains. The Bear Tooth Pass coming in on the North East was especially nerve racking. Super awesome to see.....once! If I ever get the chance to go back to Yellowstone National Park, I wont be going that route. As cool as it was to see, it's one of those experiences that I need once. My dad or myself had no idea what we were getting into.

 When I say Yellowstone National Park is a dream vacation, it really was. I have watched shows from National Geographic on it, I mean it's like an amusement park for people that love the outdoors. It was someplace that I had been wanting to go my whole life. Their is thousands of miles of trails you can hike. You can stay on flat ground or hike up mountains. Plus the possibility of all the wildlife that you might see. Thank you for reading part 1, we'll get started writing part 2 soon. In the meantime, click on the photo below to view the gallery from our trip!

Grizzly LodgeThis was our home for the week while at Yellowstone National Park.  


It's not you, it's them!

January 06, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

 This one is informative but also a little of a rant, so bear with me! As I mentioned in a previous post, my 1st big break was covering The International Champions Cup game for an online media company back in 2016. I was nervous, i mean really nervous! Why? This was a huge event at University of Michigan on the football field.....The Big House, covering one of the premier soccer events that would be seen all across the world!

 On top of all that, while waiting at the media entrance to get in their was a line of photographers their with big camera bags carrying tons of gear. Their was a team of like 6 photographers from Getty, more from AP, I mean I was standing in line with photographers from every major media outlet in the business. Most of them dragging in $20,000 worth of equipment. And here's me, with my little camera bag with my 7dmkii and a rented 70-200 lens.

 I got a chance to chat with a few of them. MOST of them were pretty nice people their just to do a job. But theirs always that one guy! That one photographer that looks down his nose at you cause you don't use or have $20,000 worth of gear! They are to good to have a conversation with you and act like they were born with a [email protected] camera in their hand! Those guys are a$$holes! Stay away from them! I repeat.....stay away from them! Those guys/girls give a lot of photographers a bad rep because of their there attitude. They forgot that everyone had to start some where. They also forgot that at the start of their career they didn't have all that expensive gear. They started with what they could afford! Not saying they are bad photographers, they just forgot where they came from.

 I would be willing to bet dollar for dollar that SOMEONE helped them at somepoint in their career. By either giving them some advice about either there gear set up or something? Don't be one of those a$$holes! I can and have no problem saying if it wasn't for others helping me out along the way, their is no way I would be where I am today with my photography. Bill Howard took a chance on me after seeing some of my work in a photography group on Facebook. He got me in with that online media company that got me credentials to photograph the biggest event of my career to date. Even now, if I have questions about something I'll shoot him a message on Facebook and when he gets the time, he helps.

 The point of this blog, HELP OTHERS and don't be one of those a$$holes. Ive been lucky and fortunate that I had some great people help me along the way. Because of that, I will absolutely try to help another photographer if I can. I dont know everything or claim to know everything. If I cant help, ill try to point them in a direction so they can get help. Plus you can still learn from them. So in case you forgot, don't be an a$$hole and help others!

 

BlueSouth Haven after hours.


Dont be intimidated by other peoples gear!

January 06, 2021  •  Leave a Comment
When I got started and was shooting amateur MMA I was using my T3i with a rented 70-200mm lens. The other photographer at the event was using a camera and lens that cost probably 10x more than mine. No lie, it scared the crap out of me! I thought their was no way I could compete with them. I was right lol Them and their cameras produced far better photo's. BUT it taught me a few very valuable lessons. The 1st one, was I had to learn how to edit. The conditions I was shooting in wasn't ideal. A crappy camera in a horribly lit bar photographing cage fights! But learning to edit will make all the difference in the world. The 2nd lesson, the better you get at editing with a not so good camera and bad lighting the better and easier time you'll have editing once you eventually upgrade to a better camera. The final and 3rd lesson it taught me and I still see it to this day. Just cause someone has a bunch of expensive gear DOESNT mean they are more superior than you! It doesn't mean their photo's are better than yours. People blaming their gear cause they can't get good photos when other people are out their taking VERY good photo's with less expensive equipment. So just cause your out taking photo's and see someone shooting with thousands of dollars worth of equipment, don't be scared!

My 1st Blog!

January 06, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

  So this is my 2nd year in business but my 1st ever blog site. Yeah, im kind of late to the game but oh well. Over the course of these blogs their is going to be a little of everything. From some of my sessions, sporting events I shoot and things I've learned over the years. And also the frustrations of self teaching myself business. Taking photo's is easy, the business part is definitely more like work. But I'm enjoying the learning process. If you've read this far, go to my website and check out some of my work. #michigan #photographer #itswhatido #lovemyjob #petphotography #petphotographer #dog #dogs


Welcome to Walter J. Cronk Photography!

January 06, 2021  •  Leave a Comment
Welcome to Walter J. Cronk Photography's blog. Where ill try post regularly and take you on my photography journey. A lot of sports photography and pets. The 2 things I love to photograph the most. Along with helping some of my veteran brothers and sisters. Thank you, and let's get this started! #petphotography #sportsphotography #michigan #michiganphotographer #selftaught
 
 
 
 
 

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