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JZ, Dog Photog

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another lovely clear day, and another two drawings finished: a loggerhead shrike carrying a vole, and an eastern wood-pewee on her licheny nest. I watch the sun creep across the southern sky, low enough to shine in the studio window all day long, hitting the side of my face. I work and work, pushing until 3, when I allow myself to go outside for an hour. The reward system is in play.
Chet goes into transports of joy when he wanders into the studio at about 2:50, and is met with a smile and the question, "Shall we go for a walk?" He grabs the nearest toy and cavorts around the yard with it. This is a good time to set the camera on Sports setting, which fires off a rapid series of shots when the shutter is depressed. Oh, fun. I love freezing my doggie and his crazy google-eyed grin. He reminds me of a carousel animal in this one. Wouldn't that be a cool carousel, with all different dog breeds carved of wood?
The red ball thrower in his jaws was used for its intended purpose only when it was new; Chet kept grabbing it in preference to the tennis ball, and it has been a good toy for him just as something to haul around and chew. Just like a Boston, to redefine the function of a toy. What is not to love about these little dogs?

The woods were gorgeous today, with low golden light limning the edges of the tree trunks. It's almost the winter solstice. The days are about to get longer. The birds will begin to sing again . Can I get a YEAHHHH!!!???? We took a different route after cutting through the meadow, and headed down toward Beechy Crash. I finally got a picture of Chet's peculiar way of walking. He trots along, holding his left hind paw up for ten or more steps. The dachshund I grew up with used to do the same thing. It makes me realize why three-legged dogs do so well. The first time I noticed him doing this, I threw Chet like a miniature Angus calf and examined his left hind pawdy pad, thinking he must have a thorn in it. He looked at me like I was temporarily insane. Now I just chuckle when he does it, because it's just another of his quirks. With a hip, a hop, a hippy hippy hop...Oh Chetty you're so fine/You're so fine you blow my mind hey Chetty! hey Chetty!

We sat for awhile on a bluff, and the woods were so silent we could hear the golden-crowned kinglets, and the soft winnow of wings as a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers flew over. Chet was alert to every sound, whipping his head around. He even listened to the image-stabilizing motor in my lens. He was hoping to hear a squirrel rustling the leaf litter. Did someone say squirrel?
We came to the stream, and Chet leapt atop one of the many fallen logs that cross it. I stationed myself next to the log and shot photos as he trotted back and forth, showing off.
I'm not sure where all this dog photography is going, but I can't stop. It's good practice to shoot fast-moving subjects. Maybe someday it will translate into something. I can't tell from here. I just know that my little pied goofball and I are having fun.


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