The Kent and Sussex Courier dropped on the doormat this morning and the wait was over. It has been over ten days now since the Courier reporter Amy De-Keyzer had visited and we’d chatted about blogging, dogs, photography and weddings. At the end, we had picked out some images to illustrate the piece. Apparently the Editor of the paper had seen the shot of Dizzy the Dalmatian in the snow from a couple of weeks back and had been intrigued.
I quickly flicked through the paper and found the article over two pages with plenty of images used too. I went to make a cup of tea and turned to find Barney sitting on the bench taking first look. He particularly liked the bit about the blog becoming an “internet sensation.”
Thanks Amy, it’s great and Barney gives it a big paws-up too.
Change of scenery this week, with it being half term.
We all had a trip down to Bexhill and while Mrs Dog Snapper went in to the De La Warr Pavillion to have a look at the ‘Warhol Is Here’ exhibition, the three pups, Barney and myself had a stroll along the seafront.
Bexhill has some super dogs and so I had to approach some of owners about getting a couple of out-of-town dogs on the blog.
First up is Ruby, a four month old Dogue de Bordeaux. This breed always seems to get described as ‘like the dog from the film Turner & Hooch.’ I loved the out of season ice cream hut so Ruby was duly plonked in front of it to add a bit of seaside glamour.
The other dog that I can name is Saxon, a three year old Westie/Shih Tzu X, owned by a lovely lady who was just so friendly.
Unfortunately, these poor dogs got put on the back burner, so to speak.
Through no fault of their own, they became the forgotten dogs. Well, only because we had a downfall of snow the day after I photographed them on the Ridgeway and suddenly a green backdrop just wouldn’t do.
First up we have Socks, a rescue Greyhound, looking splendid in her coat. and described by her owner as “a plank short of a kennel.”
Next up is Teddy, a 16 month old English cocker Spaniel, who likes “play, play and more play.” I’m also told Teddy would quite happily lick your face. Maybe I got away lightly having a similar breed of dog, but Barney isn’t really in to licking humans, which is quite comforting as he has a habit of licking brick walls (when other dogs have been there). Nice…
And finally, (and I’m really pleased about this) is Gertie, a five year old
Daschund. Since starting the blog, this is the first Daschund I’ve come across and I’m told Gertie comes from thespian stock, as years ago, her grandmother appeared in a advertising campaign for Sekonda watches.
If you like your Sausage Dogs, you must have a look at thewienertakesitall a fantastic blog written by Emily featuring her Daschund, Mort. Go on it’s a real treat.
Having started this blog, not really knowing whether it would take off or not, I see it as having reached a happily-trundling-along stage. My dog walking has taken on an extra dimension with the anticipation of whom I might meet on the way. I used to stick the iPod on and go off into a world of Mike Harding, Bob Harris and Johnny Coppin and must admit that I do miss this ‘switching-off’ way of dog walking but I feel as though I do need to be more aware of what’s around me so listening to folky tunes is done while I stare at a computer screen now.
Come on, admit it, you like a nice puppy picture don’t you? If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you like dogs, own a dog, like dog pictures or have had a business card thrust into your hand so you thought you’d better check it out. Yes, of course you do, everyone likes puppies (or maybe I’m just getting soft in my old age). So when I saw little Lexie, an 11 week old black Labrador pup been walked this morning I had to cross the road. She has only just started to go out with her owner after having all the relevant jabs etc and was dead gorgeous.
No big rambling post today. Obviously we had a good covering of snow yesterday and I just had to get out there and photograph some dogs as you never know how long the snow will last.
I snapped them on my way to the bomb crater where I was going to meet up with my kids who were sledging.
There’s seven new dogs that I’ve not come across before and one that I do know.
I was really pleased to come across Dizzy, as I’ve not yet featured a Dalmatian on this blog and this was the perfect day to photograph one. She was quite a little truffle pig with her nose very much in the snow most of the time, but looks great with her head up in a snowy backdrop. I’m not sure whether I prefer the original colour files or the black and white conversions. I like the way there’s a little splash of colour in the last remaining leaves, but having a white dog with dark spots on a largely white backdrop just works in b&w too.
Nelson, German Sort-haired Pointer – essentially this is nightmare to shoot – black dog on a white backdrop while trying to retain a bit landscape detail. Ends up looking like a studio shot. I ended up going in close to just shoot a portrait as the wider stuff didn’t work.
Broadcasting House was lit up in the night sky and truly looked impressive.
In half an hour, BBC London’s Barking At The Moon show would begin so in I went and asked at the desk where to go. “Oh BBC London, that’s not in here, go out the door and second left down the walkway”. Let me tell, you Egton Wing entrance is a little less impressive but soon I was up on the second floor drinking a cup of coffee staring at a lifesize cardboard mannequin covered in sweets (yes sweets, humbugs, toffees, Love Hearts etc) and at the top was a photo of the grinning face of Danny Baker. I had arrived at BBC London.
I was shortly to be joined by journalist Alice Hart-Davis, who had come in to talk about her skin care products and Alfie, her Jack Russell. As we talked, Alice admitted she wasn’t overly familiar with the show but knew that the first words she would say would be “Woof, Woof.” Out came Alice’s phone, “I’m going to tweet about meeting you”. In an instance, my website address has turned up on 3744 of her followers twitter feeds.
The show starts with presenters Anna and Jo, woof-woofing each other before saying hello their dogs Molly (Miniature Bull Terrier) and Matilda (Bulldog) and asking them about their day before cracking up. Back outside, Alice had turned her chair around to look at the TV screen showing the goings-on in the studio. Suddenly, she looks a little worried. A minute later, Alice has gone in and I attempt to read all about that nice man John Terry on the back of the Mirror, but give up when Marie Sawle, from Billy and Margot turns up. Marie is there to promote her new range of doggie ice-cream and has brought some samples in. Molly and Matilda are in for a treat.
Alice exits and I’m am ushered in while Elvis’s “Hound Dog” plays over the air. Now seated, I take a quick snap of Jo across the desk which causes much amusement and look around for Molly and Matilda who are down by Anna’s feet next to me. Should I get up and take a picture? I daren’t move. I know nothing of radio studio etiquette. Jo and Anna read out emails and Facebook entries from devoted listeners. Jo even manages a Mockney accent for one of the messages read out, which Jo finds very funny because Anna is quite posh.
It doesn’t start well. If only I’d known that Jo would refer to a picture of mine that I just couldn’t recall, then I may not have frozen like I did. I’ve had 41 years to practise talking. Why choose now to forget everything? I didn’t manage to finish my first sentence…I rambled, some tumbleweed flew by and I was eventually rescued by Molly making a noise. Ah, my own buttock-clenching moment.
What followed was a blur. A repeated listen this morning has told me that the following conversation happened -‘photographing particular breeds, how the blog works, Tilly the dog I freed up from the nasty barbed wire, packs of dogs, where I dog walk and my way of working, photo sessions, Jo’s general trust of male dog walkers and observations on absent-minded dog walkers, Barney, headphones, having another dog, dog mating – Anna pointed out it might be considered “mean” to only allow Barney one go (she’s got a point), Shiba Inu, light levels in the woods, the hopscotch dog, FoGH, important points when photographing dogs, Uggie the dog in The Artist, plugging the website.’
Annnnnd relax. 13 mins 22 secs of terrifying enjoyment.
In all this time, Anna and Jo were complimenting me on what I do and the images they were looking at on the blog and for that I must thank them. They have a fantastic show and I now appreciate how good broadcasters really make it sound easy.
While Johnny Harper’s “Little Doggie” played over the air, Jo and Anna got down on the floor for a picture with Molly and Matilda. With this done, I said my goodbyes, left the studio and back outside drank three cups of water. Bit of advice for anyone in the same position…take some in with you.
Making my way back to the tube station, I picked up a text from my wife, “Stage struck. You did really well though.”
Just as I thought I’d be going back empty-handed (in picture taking terms), there they were at the end of the pathway.
When I say they, I mean Phoebe (10 yrs) and Jasper (11yrs), a fantastic pair of Shiba Inu. I’ve seen them about a fair bit but not since I started the blog and am really pleased to get them up here.
The Shiba Inu is one of the smallest of the six native breeds from Japan originally bred for hunting. In fact, Inu is Japanese word for dog and Shiba means “brushwood” and could refer to a particular tree or shrub whose leaves turn a shade of red. As this breed was used to hunt in wild shrub, the term may have been used to describe the similar red colour of the breed’s coat. But also in the local Nagano dialect, Shiba means small, and the Shiba Inu is sometimes known as the “Little Brushwood Dog”.
According to the owner, Shiba Inu are independent and intelligent making them tricky to train. He seemed to have them well under control though, but this could have had something to do with the titbits of Edam cheese he fed them for a treat.