At the beginning of the year I began a project on flickr where I was to take a shot a week of my Dog Dasher for one year called “52 Weeks of Dogs.”
Like most things I was not sure how this would go or really how I would approach this, but I was keen and interested in the idea. The group has an great array of wonderful and truly doggie dedicated members. So here I am at Week 44 with only 8 weeks to go and it has certainly flown by.
My dog Dasher, has had the greatest of patience with me and been a sport about everything. He is such a wonderful little puppy. I am always amazed that we found this doggie at the pound. He has been such a blessing in our life.
One of the difficulties I find when taking shots of Dasher is the white fur and have found that natural light is the best for this, early morning is the perfect as it is a softer and more gentle light.
You also have to go with what feels comfortable with the dog, you cannot go against the personality of the dog and you have to work with that. Dasher, despite his cute widdle looks and sweet face, has an inner devil to him that can give great personality to a shot. It can, however mean that sometimes when he has had enough, he turns away from the camera and would rather go pee on a tree than co-operate. It is then you need to let him be a dog and do what he needs to do, so to speak, and work at the shot later. Sometimes the best shots I have taken of Dasher are natural shots like this, that come at the end and were not at all what I had envisaged at the beginning. And that is just fine by me… best laid plans are not always the right ones.
I have tried to take a variety of shots with different ideas and themes, some natural in content and others staged. I have learned that Dasher loves to go on location for a shoot and will happily go in the car and behave for the privilege. He likes to lay on his back and will do so for long periods of time, as he sleeps like this and I will sometimes take advantage of it when taking shots from above. The bathtub I have found is perfect to get a wonderful white background for seamless shots, but not a fave of Dashers as he is not too keen on the shower connotations it has. I have used the garden here for many shots as he is happy to roam and content to spend time there. As I said, you have to work with the dog and the dog will work with you.
I love it now when I pick up the camera and Dasher is on alert and ready to trot with me for the next adventure that I will put him through. 🙂 This also may be that he gets a yummy treat at the end of it for great work. ( as does Bailey my other dog, “cause fairs fair mummy” lol)
So a few of my favourite shots from this challenge.
This has been by far the most popular shot of Dasher that I have taken. It has won an International Photo competition with Burrard-Lucas Photography and was came runner up in a local newspaper competition as well. This was taken on my veranda, again in natural morning light. I set a pillow in a laundry basket then laid Dasher on his back looking up and surrounded him with my Teddy collection. He was quite content to stay there for quite a while and in the end nearly nodded off. lol I put my tripod above the basket and shot down. I also made the choice of shooting this just after Dasher had had a bath to get the texture to his coat similar to that of the shaggy bears as well. The one thing I always do is focus on the eyes. To me that is key to getting the expression of the dog right. (I will often do a little eye trim too when the hair is getting a little unruly before a shoot- you just gotta see those eyes) I took a number of shots in this session and have a few more that I really like, but this was the winner for me.
This is one of my personal favourite shots of Dasher from the 52 Weeks project. I had planned this for a while as I needed to get Dasher used to the glasses as he is not comfortable wearing things on his face. To get him used to them I put them on him just for a minute or so each night for a week and gave him a scratch while he was wearing them, which distracted him nicely. By the time I did the shot he was completely used to them. I waited until Dasher was comfy and sleepy on the bed and slid the book under him. Then I went and got the camera gear ready. I came back and put the glasses on him giving him a little scratch so it was all familiar to him. I took a few shots, but nothing that i was happy with, when Dasher looked at me, turned his head, put it on the book and looked to the right, and I snapped a shot and that was a take. Sometimes the dog makes the shot for you and this is a perfect example of this… what a perfect poser he is lol. I choose black and white processing as it really worked well with the theme of the text and the book.
This is a scene I saw one weekend where all the flowers had just fallen overnight and I drove back home to get both my dogs for this shoot. The bed of pinkish purple flowers was a perfect contrast with the white of Dasher’s fur. This is an example of taking advantage of an opportunity and also always being on the lookout for a possible place to shoot that is interesting and different. When we got there I let the dogs roam and get familiar with the smells and aspects of the area before getting Dasher to pose for some shots. I took a few from above off a veranda taking in the whole expanse of flowers and him looking up, which I was really happy with, but this is the shot I choose for the 52 weeks project. This is because I like the lead in of flowers ( me shooting laying down) and that he is looking off camera yearning to run really appealed to me. Isn’t it clever how the tongue colour matches the flowers too lol. :0)
This is one of those, this just came about shots. I was cleaning out the cupboard and found these old socks of mine. I got to thinking about possible shots and looked down and there was Dasher underfoot, like he always is and that gave me the idea of this shot. He was in bad need of a haircut so this was a perfect time to take this shot before the snip, so to speak. His textures and my sock textures a perfect match. I took this again in early morning light in my upstairs bedroom, it has a bank of old push out glass casement windows and lets in the nicest of light. I have taken a lot of shots in thee as I love the reflections on the polished floorboards that give a shot that extra interest. I put the camera on the floor in front and stood Dasher where I wanted him and focused the camera, set the timer and then stood above him. He thought this was real fun. It only took a couple of shots and that was that. I have sent this photo overseas to a dear sweet friend of mine who loves this shot and asked for a copy. It is nice to know Dasher and I have traveled so far. 🙂
I have so many shots of Dasher that I really like, but I thought I would just share a bit of background on these few. Sometimes I take a lot of shots and there are a few out takes that are well worth seeing, so as a special treat here are a few that you would not have seen before.
Stay tuned for tomorrows Dasher shot……………. now what will I do for that ??? Carxx
See, Look, Feel…Photograph… Experience it all!