Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A day out photographing Working Dogs .

I was lucky to be invited to a day out with a local shoot on Saturday just past . I went along with a good friend of mine . He had his Springer Spaniel , Daisy, with him . He was there to retrieve with Daisy and a couple of other friends that were with him were there as beaters .

I wasn't sure what to expect when i arrived as this would be my first time at a shoot . I know the people who shoot pay a lot of money to go along and i was looking forward to seeing a few Land Rovers or Range Rovers . As these are a passion of mine . I wasn't to be disappointed , with one Range Rover and two Defenders . One being the same age as mine and one being much newer . The newer one was in my favourite dark silver colour and the other was far better looking than mine !!! I need to get the polish out and get the paint work looking like it can . Rather than looking like it has been driven through a swamp for the last month lol.

Anyway , onto the dogs . There were a few there when we arrived . Three Springer Spaniels, a couple of Black Retrievers and a lovely looking Terrier . More arrived over the next thirty minutes . Which included a gorgeous Cocker Spaniel and a gorgeous Puppy Springer Spaniel .

There was a brief given to all the beaters and dog owners about the safety aspects of the day . Plus telling them what areas they were going to be working that day .
As i took my cameras out of my bag and attached the lenses i was going to use for the day . I could see a few people looking at me , realising i wasn't there to beat or retrieve . I know that some shoots get spies from the Anti brigade . But everyone on the day was really cool with me taking photos and were indeed a very friendly bunch of people . I knew i was in for a good days photography . Plus a good laugh as well . As a lot were like me with my sense of humour . Winding up my good friend about his lack of hair being one of the days topics !!

I wandered around where we were all gathered and started capturing images of the dogs as they were waiting to start a days work . I got some lovely images of dogs having a snooze in the back of cars and others in the back of pick up trucks getting cuddles from their owners . All these dogs were pets and family members . As well as a tool for working the land .

I was introduced to the organiser of the day . Then it was off to the first area of the farm for the first shoot .

I was very aware of being in the way of both the guns and the owners with dogs . So i kept a good distance to get an idea of where would be best for me to position myself to capture the best images . I wanted to capture the whole atmosphere of the day . I didn't want to just take photos of the dogs . I wanted to capture the landscape and the guys with their shotguns as well . I wasn't to be disappointed as i could see some great images opening up in front of me . A couple of ladies standing in the distance with their two Black Retrievers sitting perfectly still . This made for a great image with them all being a small part of the image . The landscape around making up the rest of the image .

It was then time to capture some of the dogs retrieving some of the birds . And the first  of my favourite images from the day was next to be captured . It was a Black Retriever giving the lady owner the Pheasant it had just collected . As they were both on a ridge with strong back light . The image made a fantastic silhouette !!!

We went to a few different areas of the farm . Including a field of maze . Which was interesting to watch from a short distance . As you could see the tall plants moving but you couldn't see the beaters that were in there .  A short walk from here to the last of the morning drives . Then it was time for a lunch break .

Lunch was a nice time to have a chat with the dog owners and beaters . We all sat around our vehicles and in the hay storage barn . The weather was being kind to us . Nice cool breeze and gorgeous sunshine . A good amount of the dog owners came over to me asking to see some of the images i had captured of their dogs . Having seen the expressions on their faces . I could see i was capturing some good images . The type of image that dog owners would purchase . Images of their dogs working !! This gave me a real lift . As it's so nice to get positive feedback about your work .

Lunch over and it was time to start the afternoon shoots . This time it was on more flat land . The morning had seen us all walking across wet muddy fields and up onto some very steep hills . I had realised that this day out wasn't a walk in the park !!! So the flatter land was a god send :-)

More great images of dogs retrieving , people having a great day walking the countryside and some more great silhouettes . One of the last images of the day was a lovely image of the sun setting on what had been a great day out with my cameras , a great day out meeting new people , a great day walking a good few miles . To which i was to suffer later that night , as my legs stiffened up and i realised that i hadn't done any walking on hills for some time . I normally get onto The Lake District Fells at least 6 times a year . But with me getting my own business up and running . The Lakes has taken a back seat this year . Although i am itching to get back up there for a few days , maybe a week before Christmas . I also plan to attatch my roof tent to my Lnad Rover and head for the hills to get to some fantastic locations , so that i can be there bright and early and ready for sunrise.

So keep popping back for when i do manage to get away and , blog about what i hope will be a great time away .
Now some photos from Saturdays day out .
I am aware that some people don't agree with some countryside persuits . If this is the case , you may not want to look at the images . As they contain dogs with freshly killed birds .
Your comments are always welcome . But please don't give me any grief about your views on anti shooting etc . As i firmly believe that we live in a free world and everyone should be entitled to follow what ever way of life they choose . So any anti comments will simply be deleted !!

Thanks for having a read . Hope you enjoy the images .
Take a look at a good range of my images on my website .
Regards Mark


Anonymous said...

Hi Mark, Really glad you had a good day out, and a great blog. I still can't get over the great pictures you got of Barnie my black and white Springer, I can't stop looking at them. Am sure you will be more than welcome to come along again. Kind regards Daz

Mark Catanach said...

Hi Daz , thanks again for good feedback :-) I have been told i can return again . So am itching to pull the wellies back on and join you guys and girls again soon .

Julie Hargreaves said...

Beautiful photos

Mark Catanach said...

Thank you Julie .