I have been both blessed and cursed to have three built in extras whenever I’m out on a photo shoot. Sometimes I’m out primarily to walk the dogs, and the photos are an added extra, and sometimes I’m out to try to capture a particular scene, and the dogs tag along. The dogs however see it differently, and as far as they’re concerned it’s always all about them. If I’m tucked behind my lens, lost in the beauty of my surroundings for too long, they have developed various strategies for pulling my attention back onto them. Molly as the youngest is the least sophisticated and simply pushes her way right up to the lens, completely taking over the scene. This is photo bombing at its best, and it always makes me laugh, no matter how long I’ve been lining up a potentially beautiful shot. This time the light was changing very fast, as pools of sunshine would peep out from small gaps between speedily moving clouds. I had just got my settings right……and Molly popped up for some attention, which meant I missed the shot. Don’t worry though, there was another pool of light along in a minute or two.
Maisie and Willow have been at this extras game far longer, and they are more subtle and sophisticated in their approach. They will wander into shot at a discreet distance, and I often won’t notice immediately. I had spent a while setting up this shot when I spotted my uncalled for extra, posing in a grassy pool. I took the shot anyway, hoping she would move, as she often does, once I stopped looking through the camera. However she wasn’t for shifting, as she wanted me to walk out towards her, so I just took the next shot, deliberately making her the focus. I never did manage a shot here without one or all three dogs in shot, but I still like the effect.
Yesterday I had walked out to a coral beach which can only be reached at low tide, and as the tide had turned I was acutely aware of having only a limited window of time to take photos before I would become trapped. This photo was particularly time pressured as I was standing on a narrow spit of sand and coral which was fast disappearing into the rising water. The gorgeous length of sand sweeping into the background would only be there for another few minutes. Behind me is water, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get all three dogs into the water and out of shot at once. The best I managed was two uncalled for extras, so I will just have to go back another day, perhaps with another human companion to help with the required dog herding.
Sometimes it’s simply wonderful to have three willing extras to add interest and focus to a photo. Here Maisie is enjoying watching the waves and the seagulls, and she was so beautifully lit I could resist taking a rear view portrait. This reminds me of my childhood spent scrambling over these rocks and seaweed, usually with a doggie companion.
This final photo, with added extra, was all lined up beautifully. Just as I pressed the shutter Maisie appeared from behind the coral bank, where she had been patiently waiting in hiding to make her entrance. Somehow she has positioned herself perfectly in the landscape, and I actually really like this accidental extra.
The dogs bring such joy and mischief to my walks, and despite many ruined or impossible shots, I wouldn’t be without them. There’s always another day for taking images, but the dogs are here in the present moment, adding extra emotion and engagement to each moment of life shared with them. On reflection they are always a blessing, and a great lesson in not taking life or photography too seriously, after all it’s supposed to be fun.
See more photographic Extras at this week WP Challenge