Saturday, 13 October 2007

What a day!

Thank you to the three people who came to the shoot at late notice! I hope you enjoyed it, we did! We took some breathtaking photography yesterday and we were busy from the start to the end. They're always busy days, but yesterday had a few unusual ingredients!
First on set was Ida from the Blog, a four month old black Labrador being puppy walked for Dogs for the Disabled by Rebecca Hotchkiss. I've never seen a glossier dog and her fur was like velvet. Gorgeous! Rebecca and her partner told us some amazing and unexpected stories - but you'll have to wait for our February edition to hear them - really uplifting stuff!
Apparently it doesn't get any easier giving up the pups at the end of walking them. Rebecca hopes Ida will have great hips and become a brood for the charity - that way she gets to stay!
First giggle of the day - we'd photographed the sit - so it was time for "Ida - down". We're easily amused!
Phone call says Mr Trevor's running late, the bus hasn't come. We're all looking forward to meeting Mr Trevor - again from the blog. With a name like that he must be a very important dog. We'd fit him in when he arrives, we're impressed by any attempt to use public transport - it can't be an easy journey!
In comes Fred with Mina - another blog find and we spend quite some time wondering what are the ingredients that make up the gorgeous and unique Fred. His paperwork had said Jack Russell - but it wasn't one of the breeds I could see! Fred posed on a brown background that brought out his delicate red and brown shades and his really cute pale nose. Fred had been fostered by Mina, but he bounced back and she couldn't let him go a second time. He reminded me a little of Basil Brush and Spit the Dog - but I could also see a trace of Bull Terrier around the eyes. Some very nice shots, he was fascinated by the beep the flash makes and pulled some funny faces!
Mr Trevor and party arrived, and he was a very distinguished gentleman. We had a few background changes - he's mainly black with a reddish tinge and a hint of grey - so we had a few tweaks to do him justice. Got some lovely shots and his arm-stretched begging was quite remarkable!
Next were the Bolognese for our Fido Facts feature. I have to say they were unbearably cute! Imagine a little Bichon and relax that perm. They look discheveled and gorgeous, delicate and pretty. All four had tiny pink bows in an attempt to keep the wayward hair out of their eyes. They were so light on the leads - and the puppy would stand on her back legs and bounce like a little rabbit if she saw something that interested her. I don't know why, but they kind of reminded me of Gwen Stefani! Watch out for the March issue for the feature if you're interested in this numerically small breed.
After these tiny little dogs we had quite a contrast.
Suddenly the studio - which is pretty large - began to fill up. Everywhere you looked were Labradoodles and no two were alike! We're doing an in-depth feature on the 'breed' and we wanted to show the diversity. The Labradoodle people had done us proud! They were all gorgeous, but different and so well behaved - don't think we've ever had that many dogs in the studio at one time. There was a fair few play bows going on, but when each dog went on set they concentrated beautifully.
Next we had January's Fido Fact breeds and we had been so relieved to get some Boston Terriers - they'd come all the way from Derby and Bournemouth! Gosh did they photograph well! Jet black and white and such expressive little faces! Have to say we were stunned by the head studies - some of the best photographs I think we've ever taken. While we were shooting there was a knock on the door, I'd almost forgotten we had a TV documentary crew coming along!
In came Raw TV who are filming a series that will go out on the new Virgin 1 channel (you know the new one that is showing Eddie Izzard in the Riches at the moment - isn't it good? I'm hooked!) The dog show goes out on December 5th we think - so watch out - it's all about dogs on trial and is all about injustices and dogs in court.
They filmed our Bostons and interviewed their owners and we had one more Labradoodle on set too, they wanted some establishing shots for their documentary before the last dogs on set arrived. They said they wanted to show how glamorous our shoots are - I had to laugh! (Of course they managed to film me making my silly cat noises and barking - very chic, but I'll do anything to get the dogs to put their ears up!)
I'd really been looking forward to our last item. I started this blog in June in order to publicise the story of two pet Poodles that had seized by the police after escaping from their garden. I christened them the Two Poodle Martyrs.
Jill and I had spent month's emailing each other, but at last we were going to meet. The film crew were keen to capture the moment, but we stuffed it up by hugging each other and making our radio mikes go all muffled!
Meeting the Poodles was very emotional. They really are the sweetest, most gentle dogs. And seeing how soppy they were and cuddly with us made me really quite tearful - imaging them locked up for nearly four months, not knowing why or whether their people were coming back.
We got some lovely shots. The case is back in court again in a week or so. The death sentence still hangs over their heads, the real possibility of a criminal record, too and crippling fines (if found guilty they'll have to pay for the privilege of having their dogs incarcerated (about £8k) - plus compensate the sheep farmers. Lovely people, lovely dogs - such a waste of public funds.
If you don't know the story click here.
It had been a long day - but much longer for Jill. She's an air hostess and she'd just finished working the flight from Hong Kong!
I love my job, (we've been using the studio and Slough and wonderful Tim Rose since 1992 - but every shoot still comes up with surprises!). What a privilege to meet all those lovely people and dogs today. Thank you to everyone who came. And watch out for the pics appearing in the magazine!


Flowerpot said...

Sounds like an amazing day. Am so sorry to hear the Poodles and Jill and husband are back in court again soon. How terrible living with that threat hanging over you.

Chapstaff said...

Sounds chaotic, but great fun! Do you ever rest? Hope you have a relaxing weekend.

Wendy & Caesar said...

Sounds like a fun day, will be looking forward to seeing pictures of Ida. It's always a mixed blessing for Puppy Socialisers, but believe you me, not a week goes past when I thank God for Caesars' Puppy Socilaiser and her skills in preparing him for such an arduous job. Her careful preparation has ensured he is confident in new and novel situations and always very appropriate in his behaviour. There are some ladies who are serial puppy mummies, and I think Caesars' must have socialised more than 25 by now, he was her 9th! Fantastic job, unsung heroes if you ask me!

Now, onto the phtography. What's the secret of photographing black dogs please? I have several friends with black dogs and nearly all the pictures I have taken of them over the years have been less than flattering to them. A feature on how to take a good shot of ones dog in the pipeline at all? That would definitely be one to cut out and keep ;o)

Beverley Cuddy said...

Hi Wendy
Lovely to hear from you again - and thanks for your other contributions on the researching doggie firsts post. I'm afraid there's not that many tricks to photographing black dogs - it's lighting, lighting, lighting and a degree of trial and error! Tim has some very expensive bits of kit - he has a massive subdued overhead light box and then several more diffused lights and then big reflective boards, too - plus one of the most expensive digital cameras in the world (a hassalblad (sp?) with a digital back).
The studio we use is normally only rented for advertising and design work - lots of food for packaging etc - so they're perfectionists capable of shooting stuff that will be blown up to use on an advertising hoarding.
We've been going to Slough for about 15 years and Tim has developed a specialism - many of the top petfood/veterinary companies now shoot their pix there, too! Tim has always been doggie and also good with kids (similar skills!) - he owns Willow, the Irish Setter featured in the current issue with the post-spay incontinence article. And the studio owner - Martin Dawe is a big dog lover, too.
When I did the MBO back in Dec 1992 he was lovely and gave me extra long credit so we could get on our feet!
The first cover shot Tim did for us was to illustrate the 'From here to Maternity article' in the Oct 92 edition - preparing your dog for a baby. We borrowed a Rottweiler and Martin Dawe very kindly lent his own baby for the shot - what a generous man! His kids are all grown up now - we tend to stick with things that work.
Watch out for Ida's owner's story - it is remarkable on every level. I'm finding it so hard not to just share it now! Really inspiring stuff.
Lovely to hear from you Wendy, will see if I can get the photographers to come up with tips for photographing black dogs without spending a fortune on equipment. Even with all those toys - Tim does tend to sigh when we bring in a black dog - but he finds them easier than doing a group of mainly white dogs, but with one black one - that is a real test!

Graham, Prince & Tilly said...

Great post! It sounds like a hectic but fun-filled day....

Mina said...

Thank you for the chance to pose! Fred enjoyed his moment of glory and I'm just glad he didn't pee on someone's shoe!

Sorry to hear about the Poodles - knowing someone who lives next to a cow field and having seen the damage they do to fences it's a shame the owners of the cows aren't taking some sort of responsibility in this case.

Wendy & Caesar said...

Beverley, many thanks for your reply, I am sure there are many black dog owners who'd also love some tips on how to get the best picture they can!