Maybe I should expand a little on our Assistants. They are dogs. There are many shots on our Facebook page – and a few on the website that have been improved (not my choice of word) by the inclusion of a doggy interloper when the Assistants have wandered into the shot.
Whatcha lookin’ at? The amount of times that a dog has blundered into a shot or refused to get out of one is incredible
When I pick up my camera bag to head out to explore our wonderful Isle of Skye it is the signal for the Assistants to head for the door too and do their “we’re ready” dance. Senior Assistant like to do a back legs running excitedly on the spot, front legs firmly planted style while junior runs in circles flapping his ears making yippy barks. Once the human has his act together and is ready to go the doggy dance steps up a gear until a hand touches the door handle. That is the cue for the assistants to charge the door with the predictable result of the door being unable to open because it’s wedged shut by two idiotic dogs pressed up against it. They have never learned. Once the dogs have been shoved out of the way the door is opened and they bomb-burst their way outside. They still don’t know what happens next so one run around in bigger circles barking while the other heads off down the road to the beach. You would think they would have got it by now, but no.
The Assistants in their car. They must have spent days over the years in this car
Once in the back of our car junior assistant lies down with a pathetic sigh as he is not keen on travel. Senior Assistant is too excited and runs about trampling on her poor junior. He puts up with it as complaining just gets him snarled at. The journey is punctuated by feverish barking and leaping at anything that she takes offence at, such as other dogs and especially horses because horses are evil incarnate apparently.
Once at the chosen site for photographing the explosion out of the car is even more impressive than the one out of the house. They still have very little idea where they are or where they are going but they are going there with gusto. The headlong charge is impressive in its velocity if not its forward planning. They go where their impetuosity will take them. Nine times out of ten it is not where the human has decided to go so there is either a lot of shouting and waving or a pause from the human then a shrug and a parting of the ways as the photographer walks off his way. The Assistants continue their headlong charge to the horizon.
Whooo! Ghost dog!
If the Assistants come back then this is the point that it most often goes wrong. They run about in their usual demented fashion while the human sets up the shot. The human gets all the stuff necessary to capture that glorious image out of the large camera bag and places the bag back on the ground next to the tripod. The dogs meanwhile have trod, rolled and fallen in all sorts of undesirable things while the human has composed his work of genius and is about to capture the career defining image, maybe even the image that defines landscape photography for generations to come. Senior Assistant then blunders into shot and Junior careers into the back of the photographers legs. One of two things happens next; sometimes there is an explosion of flailing limbs and spittle flecked swearing as the photographer goes down like he has been tackled by an American footballer while he takes a picture of a dirty big dog blurring its way across his carefully crafted masterpiece: or a comically effeminate grubby spaniel bounces off the photographer and splats his muddy bum onto the camera bag while the photographer takes a picture of a dirty big dog blurring its way across his carefully crafted masterpiece.
Senior Assistant like to make sure that if she isn’t getting her ball thrown then you aren’t getting lovely pristine sand to photograph
We live with the daily interruption to our work because on the whole we like having the dogs for company on location. They are very affectionate (and demanding, stupid, impetuous and clumsy I grant you) and it can be very lonely taking landscape photographs. However at home they are loud, cantankerous, smelly and incredibly slothful. Thus they fit almost perfectly with the rest of the family. Having young children means they act as highly efficient food hoovers. When our children were both still in high chairs if they didn’t like something they were eating they just dropped it over the side of the high chair and it disappeared almost instantly. Great at home, mightily embarrassing when eating out when they would still absent-mindedly tossed food over the side of the high chair.
Senior Assistant spends most of her free time either barking at passers by or sleeping under my desk. Junior spends his free time either barking at passers by or sprawling like a great hairy vomit on a sofa or armchair and snoring at window threatening volume. If disturbed he will eloquently display his displeasure by making long drawn out groaning noises. If children are around Senior Assistant isn’t. She abhors loud shreaky noises and that the only pitch in which our children communicate. Hence the hiding under the desk. Junior will never abandon his sofa so gets involved in all sorts of childrens games from dressing up to let’s see what happens if we insert this in a dog. Don’t feel sorry for him he is too lazy to get out of the way when the children approach with whatever they intend to insert (be it a bit of Lego or a section of Hot Wheels track).
The unconscious acrobat
Senior Assistant only comes out from under her bed if we are in the garden or if there is a visitor she can stand beside and bark happily and continuously at whilst dropping a soggy tennis ball in their lap. Junior Assistant lies under the table and farts noiselessly but noxiously. We don’t get many guests.
So there you go. We have two dogs that are a pain in the neck when you take them out and an even bigger pain when in the house. We wouldn’t have it any other way. They are part of our family and we love them – and they are a lot cheaper to run than the children. Probably not as smelly or loud or embarrassing as them as well. And it is acceptable to put them on a lead.
We have an E-book available with many more Dogscape images to enjoy. it is exclusive to iPads and iPhones and only costs £1.79 Please click HERE to buy it.