Rascals Pet Photography

– Natural images capturing your pet's true character

Poppy & Snowy

 

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Kersey Church & Village

 

I was lucky enough to join a group of close friends for an enjoyable walk around the beautiful Suffolk countryside at the weekend – taking in the picturesque village of Kersey. The walk was made perfect for me by the presence of 2 new friends for Rusty …

Poppy, the Jack Russell Terrier & Snowy, the Miniature Schnauzer …

I was apprehensive at the start of the walk, as Rusty was attacked by a grumpy Jack Russell bitch about six months ago. This has left him very wary of the breed – to the extent that he will slink past any that he meets, running away from them at his earliest opportunity. Amazingly, I needn’t have worried. Poppy was extremely well behaved and laid back – she really wasn’t that interested in her male companions and just did her own thing ! This meant that Rusty felt under no threat whatsoever, which was fantastic news …

Poppy is an OAP in terms of dog years, however she trotted around the 9 mile circuit with the vigour of a young pup. She is extremely independent and was happy to explore the countryside, sniffing out any interesting signs of rats or rabbits.

 

Poppy

Poppy

 

She is a friendly and lovable lady, not inclined to bark or snap – and is very content to cuddle up to her owners, Emma & Jock ( who understandably think the world of her…)  She loves her titbits and was happy sniffing out any available treats when we stopped for lunch at the Kersey Bell Pub – peanuts definitely seemed to be her favourite, although she wasn’t that fussy !

 

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Poppy on the scrounge – Kersey Bell

 

Kersey village is extremely attractive and unspoilt. Its main street runs uphill to the church and is lined with wonderful period cottages and grander dwellings. There is a ford at the bottom of the hill, known as the Kersey Splash – and Viv decided to pose with Snowy in the water -:

 

Viv & Snowy Marsh in the Kersey Splash

Viv & Snowy Marsh in the Kersey Splash

 

Snowy, the Miniature Schnauzer is 4 years old. He is white and so is unusual – because the Miniature Schnauzers I have met are predominately grey in colour. This made him seem like a completely different dog to me, less harsh in appearance and adorably handsome. He has the most gorgeous cocked ears that are a lovely soft pink on the inside. His temperament seemed gentler too and reminded me of my very dear friend, Elsa, the Schnauzer puppy who I met many years ago.

 

Snowy

Snowy

He made friends with us all and seemed to be happy trotting along in Rusty’s company. He was also quite independent – and resisted Rusty’s repeated attempts to play and chase around, despite much bowing and encouragement. Poor Rusty – he does love playing tag !!

Our friends Viv and Sarah offered Snowy a home when his owner needed someone to look after him – and I believe that they have taken on a real gem …They have only recently lost their previous dog, Miffy. She was a fabulous Yorkie with an amazing character – who lived to a ripe old age. Albeit having a difficult act to follow, I believe that Snowy is a wonderful successor to Miffy – as he is a complete darling – with a lovable and approachable character – and a willingness to be everybody’s friend. It was love at first sight for me… and I knew that I was completely smitten when we returned to his house for tea and he stood with his front paws on my lap to give me lots of doggy kisses !

 

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I was extremely excited on the walk, as I was on the constant lookout for photo opportunities of the 3 dogs, especially Poppy and Snowy. Neither of them stayed still for long and so were not as obliging a model as Rusty.

 

Rusty Dog

Rusty Dog

 

To finish, I thought that I would post a photo of each dog in Black & White. These were all taken at our lunchtime stop at the Kersey Bell – and certainly show that all Poppy and Rusty were thinking about were their tummies !!

 

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Snowy, being good !

 

 

 

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Where’s my food ?

 

Don't tell !!

Don’t tell – but I think I got it all !!

 

Rusty had a wonderful time on Sunday with his new friends – it was a very pleasurable experience, made even more so by the relaxed bond that the 3 dogs established…

Here’s to many more wonderful walks together in the beautiful Suffolk countryside …!

Spaniels at The Splash

Rusty and I were lucky enough to meet lots of dogs on Sunday on the Sudbury Water Meadows. It was a lovely afternoon and the dogs were intent on having fun – especially at the stretch of river near the Mill Hotel – which we call The Splash …

There we met 2 water- loving Spaniels, who dashed about in the water and along the bank in pursuit of sticks, balls and Rusty !

I was able to take a few images of the dogs as they played and was introduced to Harry – a very handsome boy with lovely markings. He had posing on the river bank down to a fine art …

 

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Harry the Spaniel on Sudbury Water Meadows.

 

The other Spaniel preferred to remain in the water and his gaze was fixed permanently on the stick that his owners were throwing for him. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to ask his name.

 

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I was trying to focus on water shots of Rusty and managed to capture a few pleasing shots of him with ears flapping and water splashing – this was my favourite!

 

Rusty in The Splash - Sudbury Water Meadows

Rusty in The Splash – Sudbury Water Meadows.

 

As Harry was still posing for the camera, I decided to take a black and white shot of him, which I feel accentuates his gorgeous expression.

 

Harry - Sudbury Water Meadows.

Harry – Sudbury Water Meadows.

 

Rusty then decided that it was his turn to pose, as he is used to being the most handsome dog around after all …

 

Rusty - Sudbury Water Meadows.

Rusty – Sudbury Water Meadows.

 

Thanks to Harry’s owner for allowing me to post his images – I really hope that you like them !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labradors & Water …

My weekend visit to ‘All About Dogs’ in Ipswich was more ‘All About Weather’ than dogs…..

I did get the chance to capture a lovely image of a Labrador Retriever doing what it loves doing best = Retrieving a ballin the water !!

 

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Handsome dog – totally focussed on the job in hand – Wonderful …!

All About Dogs – Easter Weekend

I decided to take Rusty to a special Dog Event over the Easter Weekend at the Suffolk Showground in Ipswich.

“All About Dogs” is a specialised event that takes place at numerous venues throughout the year and is dedicated, as the name suggests, to everything ‘Doggy’ …

The Easter weather was unfortunately very chilly, windy and wet – complete with hailstorms – and so was not wonderfully conducive to a relaxing day ( on what is basically a very large, flat and open field )

Despite this, Rusty won a 3rd prize in the Fun Dog Show ‘Gundog’ class before the heavens opened and most people left the showground.   I had intended to take lots of photographs of the doggy guests, however, the weather put paid to my plans.

I will share with you three of my favourite shots that I did manage to capture in between downpours – along with some thoughts about ‘Fun Dog Shows’ …

Now I love to see dogs in all shapes and sizes, handsome or cute, fierce-looking or ‘soppy dates’ … but I have noticed that there seems to be a real favouritism towards the less ‘handsome’ of our dog breeds when it comes to  Fun Dog Show judging. Now I know that I am biased, but Rusty is a very handsome fellow – and I saw a huge number of very good-looking or cute dogs in the ring alongside him.

Every time the winner was chosen, however, it was a member of a breed displaying less than its fair share of good looks …

Is this a fashion thing ? Or is beauty squarely in the eye of the beholder ?

I have noticed this trend over the past few years – with Bulldogs and Staffies reaping the rewards over and over again … I have nothing against these breeds whatsoever – and find them to be extremely characterful – as shown by the 3 images that I am going to post.  I do find it to be a very interesting trend though – and wonder if there is a swell of sympathy for these dogs, who seem to get a negative press for their presumed bad behaviour- when the vast majority of them are ‘big softies’ …?

I have spoken to a few people about these breeds, only to find that other dog owners and the general public tend to steer clear of them – because the wrong assumptions are made about their characters – and hence these dogs do not get to socialise normally and make friends. That makes me sad …

I suppose that you could probably argue that the owner of the crossbreed French / English Bulldog shown below is making a definite ‘fashion statement’ with the way she has presented her dog – and therefore she is playing into the hands of the dissenters …!?!

I would be interested to know your thoughts – especially if you have personal experience of one of these breeds. I hope that you like my images, which I have processed in monochrome in order to highlight their characterful expressions …

 

 

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Rusty’s Story continued …

I have to apologise for committing the “cardinal sin” of not blogging on a regular basis …! 

Lots of things seem to have become really hectic all at once – and I have neglected my blogging duties whilst I have been juggling a fair number of tasks – including returning to my part-time bank work after a 4-month absence.

The blog that I am going to post today originates from Rusty’s early days, whilst his fur and skin were still recovering from the mange, even though he was settling in well to his new home and discovering the magic of ‘playtime’.

The shots that follow were my first attempts at capturing Rusty having fun with his beloved tennis ball …

RUSTY – ACTION SHOTS

My front garden is south-facing and well enclosed, so I thought I would have my first attempt at some Rusty action shots. I had the camera set on shutter priority at 1/1000 and the aperture was registering between F4 ( the largest on my 24-105 lens) and 6.3. The ISO was set to 400 and I used the High Speed Continuous setting. Rusty was on the tennis-ball setting…..

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I was hoping to catch some shots of him pouncing on the ball in a ‘Scooby Doo’ fashion, but these were very hard to get pin-sharp. I may need to switch to my f 2.8 70-200mm lens for this next time in order that I can let more light in at the fastest shutter speeds. I was reasonably pleased with the following photo – but I will enlist some help with ball throwing next time in order that I can get a frontal view.

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I was impressed by several elements of the photo shoot. Not by my technical achievements, but rather by the opportunities offered by my subject. Rusty’s flapping ears gave a real sense of movement to the shots, and freezing the action enabled me to capture expressions that would normally be missed by the human eye.

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I was also fascinated with seeing how Rusty’s legs coordination looked when frozen by the camera. It is something that you cannot see working when things are going at normal speed.

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The following shot is probably my favourite profile image of Rusty so far….He was bringing the ball back to me when he heard some interesting noises coming from the house opposite. His attention was grabbed by this and it enabled me to capture a really handsome shot.

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From time to time Rusty would play a really ‘puppy-like’ game with the ball, and I especially liked this close up….

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My final shot for my blog today is one of Rusty pouncing on the tennis ball. You can still see how his ribs are showing, which is amazing considering the amount he is now eating !

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I am really pleased with my first action shot session – and encouraged that with more practice I could take some fantastic shots of other people’s dogs……

Easter at Marlborough House

It’s been such a beautiful day today and so I decided to get out into the garden to enjoy the sun whilst it lasted …

One of the things that I wanted to achieve was to take some Easter Chick photographs. The area by my pond in the front garden is south-facing and I still have a glorious array of miniature daffodils filling the area in front of the water.

The trick was to get one of my bantams to happily roam amongst the yellow blooms for an eye-catching easter-themed image. I chose my black Australorp bantam, Trumpington, for a good contrast in colours – and made use of some strategically placed corn to keep her occupied !

This was my favourite shot, as she seems to have a cheeky expression for the camera – I hope you like it ?

HAPPY EASTER !!!

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Noodle the Doodle …

It was a bright but cold day today – and I decided to take Rusty to Roman Fields – which is a very popular location for dog walkers in Colchester. Everyone is very friendly there and the dogs can really enjoy themselves chasing each other around on a wonderful expanse of meadow which was once the site of an ancient roman settlement.

Today I met Noodle, the Labradoodle  –  apparently, an Australian version of the breed – who was extremely friendly and placid (and rather cuddly to boot !) He had been with his current owners since he was 8 months old, after an unsettled start to life with various owners who were not really best placed for looking after an active dog. After some hard work on the training front, Noodle settled down into a happy, carefree dog – and his owner describes him as “having calmed down considerably now he is 5 years old”. He seemed full of fun and playfulness to me – just perfect !!!

One of the very first things he did upon meeting me was to lay down on his back so that I could give his tummy a tickle – instant endearment on my part – I fell in love with him and just had to get a quick photo.

Hope you like Noodle the Doodle …!?!

 

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Noodle the Labradoodle at Roman Fields, Colchester

Ready to Run …

 

 

It was a beautiful afternoon yesterday on the water meadows in Sudbury – cold but bright – and perfect for me to capture some action shots of Rusty Dog.

I particularly wanted to take some images with Rusty ‘poised for action’, because he strikes some excellent poses when he is waiting for his ball to be thrown. They can be athletic or goofy – yet in my opinion, Rusty always looks exceedingly handsome.

I’m entitled to be biased …

 

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Rusty on Sudbury Water Meadows

 

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Rusty waiting patiently for his ball

 

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Rusty on the old railway line to Rodbridge, Sudbury

Coco – or is it Cocoa ?

Rusty and I met a new friend on the water meadows in Sudbury yesterday afternoon – a huge bundle of shaggy fur, called Coco.

She is a cross between an Old English Sheepdog and an Alsatian and has the most gorgeous grey coat tinged with shades of brown. Friendly, yet mischievous, Coco made off with Rusty’s ball and refused to relinquish it. This suited me fine, as it gave me the chance to capture a few images of this beautiful dog …

 

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Coco on the Sudbury Water Meadows

 

 

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Coco looking gorgeous yet still refusing to give up the ball …

 

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My name’s Coco – I’m beautiful and butter wouldn’t melt …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of “Dog”

 

Do you ever feel like you have lost all  your positive energy ?

 

That’s how I felt this morning …

This is a bad feeling to have on a Wednesday morning – as I now have 2 days off to spend being creative and having fun with Rusty – so I should be on top form.

At the present time I have to carry on with my part-time job at the Bank that I have been working for since I left school 35 years ago – sometimes it’s not great and gets me down.

My creative spirit had taken a nose-dive and I was feeling lethargic; not wanting to do much at all but feel sorry for myself.

ENTER : Rusty the Dog

Rusty doesn’t differentiate between my good and bad days – he wants attention regardless. Cuddles, tug of war with his stuffed doughnut and “walkies”. No sooner had he scoffed his breakfast, he was parading around the kitchen with his collar in his mouth, with a definite plan in mind. Once I had put his collar on, he had found his lead and was ready to go !

I got myself ready to go out, more as an act of duty than anything and vowed to myself that if I could throw the ball for him lots on a circuit around the playing field, then my duty would be discharged.

He was so excited, as always, to be heading out on an adventure and was soon careering across the field after his ball – tail wagging madly. I trudged along behind; throwing the ball as required – still in my own introspective world. I was trying to convince myself that something would eventually make me feel better and that I should soldier on.

Once we had covered 3/4 of our circuit, we came to the kiddies play area and mini obstacle course. It consists of a bridge, a wavy platform of logs, some mounds of grass and a raised, narrow plank of wood for the children to balance on as they run around the obstacles. For some strange reason (as I have passed this play area many many times before) I suddenly had the notion that I could teach Rusty to run along the narrow plank and then complete the rest of the course …

 

Rusty on the wavy wood ...

Rusty on the wavy wood …

 

He was initially more interested in his ball, then in snatching mouthfuls of grass, however I finally got him to concentrate on the task in hand. Rusty is not the cleverest pup in the litter when it comes to fitting all 4 feet onto a narrow object ( and has fallen off a good number of low bridges into streams in his short lifetime so far ! ) and therefore spent a good 5 minutes either with one of his back legs in the air as he balanced precariously, or falling off the plank. I put his lead back on to give him more security, even though it was only a very low plank. This helped somewhat and I managed to get him to walk along most of it before he bailed out and jumped off. One of his endearing traits is that he loves to please and so I gave him increasing amounts of fuss and praise as he improved, making sure I took him over the other obstacles in between his attempts, so that he didn’t get stressed. He was great over the wavy wood and the bridge and so I began to get more excited, my mind taking leaps from imagining myself signing him up for an agility training course, to him winning agility medals at Crufts.

I was getting hot by this time, despite the chilly weather, as I was running around the course with him, so I took my coat off and rolled up my sleeves physically and metaphorically speaking. His lead was off by now and he was doing well, responding to my commands and finally running up on to the plank, walking the whole length and running down the end slope – AMAZING !!

 

Rusty on the plank ...

Rusty on the plank …

 

Needless to say, much fuss and cuddling ensued, followed by a few more practice attempts to check that it had not been a “one off”. I decided that we had done enough for one day – I didn’t want to risk overdoing things – so we set off again to chase ball …

As we returned home, across the remainder of the playing field, my sprit had been lifted, my ball throwing became fun and I laughed at Rusty as he bounded this way and that – doing one of his most favourite things. I felt so glad that I was lucky enough to know such a wonderful dog and that I had lots of exciting things to do for the rest of the day ahead.

So there we have it -:

The Power of “Dog” …

 

Rusty relaxing after his agility training.

Rusty relaxing after his agility training.