Saturday, July 28, 2012

Impossible dogs

In London last week we were honoured to stay with gorgeous G and her adorable chocolate labrador, Alfie, who has been immortalised on canvas.

Art can freeze and capture beauty, especially where animals are concerned.  Point-and-shoot cameras, on the other hand, are often found wanting.  Picasa needs to invent a 'blue eye' feature in their editing package to cover fido refraction.

Most mornings, I set the alarm to join G and Alfie on their walk alongside the Thames.  G is the sort of gregarious, go-getter gal who knows the entire suburb of Teddington* either through her dog, her work or social life, and within minutes we'd invariably meet up with several other people passionate for pooches and with a healthy penchant for puddles.

Yet again, the point-and-shoot camera's shortcomings were not heeded or appreciated by the furry friends I met.  "Turn around, Alfie, come on..."  "Smudge, you ugg boot lining with a tongue, what are you barking at?"

Baz the blood hound was a magnificent creature but more intent on plunging himself into the water than stopping to pose.

Colin the Schnauzer (yes, that's his real name) might be an easier portrait, I thought. Mistakenly. Instead he harrumphed at my efforts and scooted off the second he'd left - erm, a warm 'part of himself' - by the walking trail.

This little Jack Russell wasn't going anywhere near me - or any other dog owner for that matter.

We counted six dogs being walked by this woman.  The legal limit for professionals operating in the UK apparently.

Steelo sat down in front of me, smiling and panting after chasing Alfie and looking utterly beguiling. I surreptitiously opened my camera case, gingerly pressed the 'on' button and ------- "Dammit!"

The caretaker of Teddington Loch's dog was also taking the role quite seriously, keeping his eye on our ever-growing collection of canines.  Right after 'click' he gave his ears a thorough flapping, flinging the just visible dangle of drool onto my left arm. 

Bunty was beautiful but shy, never daring to meet my eye.

She endured a brief butt sniff from Bella but didn't return the greeting, preferring instead to join her elderly owner making her way through the cornflowers. 

Teddy was the best shot of the day, giving me a small grin before joining Baz for a splash in the river.

Snack time! 

Smudge again, seemingly missing his front right leg as he mistakenly assumed that I too had some crunchies in my pocket.  His need to investigate was keen.  I would have patted his head in consolation but he'd rolled in horse manure a few minutes earlier so a "Sorry old fella," and a hasty step backwards was all that was offered.

The perfect side eye.  "Look Kath, I'm abluting here. Isn't there something else you could focus your attention on?"

Alfie again, near the home stretch.  Tired, muddy and distinctly smelly. But smiling.

You can learn a lot from dogs, but not photography tips.

* Teddington.  Cutest suburb name ever.


Jackie K said...

That's so true that- impossible to take good photos of dogs. And true that art captures beauty better than photos sometimes. Interesting.

I like the photo of Smudge.

Here's a site I follow by an artist who paints animals - currently featuring Labradors, lovely stuff:

Alexia said...

Lovely, lovely dogs. It sure is hard to get them to stand still, look at the camera and pose, though!
I'm often amused at dogs' names; Colin's my pick from this bunch. (we used to have a Golden Lab called Murray... best dog ever.)

Anonymous said...

Teddington, as immortalised in Benny Hill's "Ernie The Fastast Milkman In The West" with his rival Two Ton Ted from Teddington (who drove the baker's van)

River said...

I'm not surprised Colin the Schnauzer harrumphed at you. Would you like to be photographed while doing what comes naturally. (no, I don't mean dancing in the kitchen)
They're all beautiful dogs, but their penchant for rolling in smelly stuff is a little bothersome. Do they all get bathed as soon as they arrive home again? A once a week bath can't be enough to keep a dog smelling clean, can it?

MedicatedMoo said...

Thanks Jackie - have now subscribed to Laura Hardie's site.

I loved 'Colin' too, Alexia. Apparently there's another one called 'Dennis' but he wasn't out there the day I had the camera.

Anon - I did hear that Benny Hill came from those parts but didn't witness any men chasing ladies around to the tune of Yackety Sax.

River, I think that Smudge got a full on bath as soon as he got home as the manure marinade wasn't a regular occurrence. The swimmers get hosed down I think. All worth it.

Jayne said...

Awww, I love that you shared that doggy walk with us, it sounds like fab fun!
And all those characters are delightful :)

MedicatedMoo said...

Thanks Jayne. And you're right - they were all utterly delightful and so much fun to watch/pat/photograph.

Hannah said...

When I was a kid, I had a dog-spotting book where I got to add stickers for all the dog breeds I spotted. I barely got anywhere through that stupid book. Shoulda gone to Londontown!

MedicatedMoo said...

Hannah I'm hopeless with identifying breeds but Teddington certainly has what looks like the full range of goggies on offer.

No Milly dogs though!

Anji said...

What a lovely collection of dogs. Dogs are the nicest way to get to talk to people on a walk.

I went on banking courses in Teddington during the 70s - happy days...

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kath,

Your anonymous commentator beat me to it - Ernie's baker from Teddington!

Good name for a place but there are many more weird and wonderful names on our crazy island.




MedicatedMoo said...

Anji, you're spot on. Dogs get you out and about and that's when you meet people. And dogs; although I tend to know the dogs' names but not those of their owners.

PlasMan, perhaps there's a Benny Hill reminiscence blog in your future?

Pandora Behr said...

Wonderful post.

diane b said...

I love dogs too but we don't have one anymore due to a lack of fences and us often being away. I wouldn't like the picking up of their deposits. Ours was trained to go into the neighbouring scrub.I love all the names and Colin the Schnauzer had me giggling as I have a pain in the neck friend called Colin. I like the chocolate labrador best. Photographing dogs and kids is very hard especially with a point and shoot as their is a slight delay between pressing the button and the camera shooting. Try putting it onto 'Sport" for fast moving objects.

MedicatedMoo said...

Thanks, Pandora.

Dianeb, I had a giggle at 'Colin' too. Suited him rather well though. I do put my camera on 'sport' but had my little one on me - the SLR can do a much better job but is bulkier and heavier to lug around, so I don't tend to take it when I'm traveling.

Louise said...

What great dog photos. Hard to pick a favourite! Even point and shoot cameras often have sports settings, which is very handy for photographing things that move at random- I first used to need it with my nephews- I got sick of taking photos of the grass where they had been! now I use it for all sorts of things.

MedicatedMoo said...

Louise, I'll hopefully try again and put the right setting on this time. Dogs are the personification of 'they look so much better in the flesh', aren't they? are a lot of babies and kids, come to think of it.

Helen Balcony said...

Wow! More dogs than you can poke a stick at, er, throw a stick to.

Mr Bucket was bitten by a little white fluffy Maltese on the way home from drunkenly carousing with our extended fam a few blocks away. He went for a tetanus shot and informed the council. This savage fluffball lives in the front yard with no operational gate, and hurtles out to terrorise passersby. The council guy says a criminal family live there (obvs) and they will pay the fine promptly as they don't want to be on the radar.

Teddington is so like Yarraville - Dog central!

MedicatedMoo said...

Ms Balcony, what is it about the underbelly element and vicious dogs? Poor Mr Balcony!

Flemington was/is also Dog Central, but instead of the Thames it was Litter Ninjaing kebab wrappers, McDonald's trash and the occasional syringe.

ropcorn said...

So fun to see all these lovely doggies. And yeah, they can be tricky to capture on photo - for sure. Hehe. Think you did a great job though. :-)