“What is the most valuable thing that you have learned over the last 8 weeks?”
This is the answer I get most often on my student evaluations given at the end of week 8 after a teaching a round of Basic Manners dog training classes. It’s not “sit” or “down” or even “coming when called”. It’s patience. Guess what? I’m ok with that. I remind students each week. Before you can even teach a dog behaviors, you must have patience. You must be able to sit back and wait for those behaviors that you want to actually happen. You must be able to allow your dog to make choices and reward the right choices! The more a behavior is rewarded, the more it will occur. A little bit of patience goes a long, long way 🙂
How does this apply to this week’s assignment of “slowing down”? Just like in training, any time you are working with animals, slowing down is very important. Dogs speak a different language than we do. They have no idea what we want from them. Sometimes we have to take deep breath, relax, and see where things may lead. David Duchemin devotes a chapter in his book, “The Visual Toolbox” to this simple concept: “Just slow down. Make photographs of what moves you. Have a coffee.” (I needed this on a bitter cold day!) He says that slowing down “will help us see better and put us in a better creative space”.
I photographed two beauties, Olive and Wilco, this past week at Kenoza Lake in Haverhill, MA. Both dogs can get a little bit stressed in new environments and situations. That’s very common with dogs. We met on a Friday afternoon at 2:00 – a weekday and a quieter time of day hoping the majority of people would still be at work. Trail hikes are challenging – all of the scents and stimulation out there for the pups. Wilco wanted nothing to do with looking at a camera. Do I blame him? No! We are outdoors and enjoying the moment! The following photo is one of my favorites of the day with Wilco. I call it “tranquil”. Just this adorable dog looking out toward the lake on a sunny, brisk day! I “slowed down” and thought about composition. And it worked!
The next photo just “happened” unexpectedly. Dad and Olive had taken a little walk to get away from the distraction: a “scary” man showing up on a bicycle. How dare someone show up! LOL! When I turned and saw this scene, I got down low and seized the moment – nothing posed, just slowing down, taking in the scenery and capturing a moment .
It’s not easy tackling an assignment called “slow down” right before the holidays! Then again, it’s perfect timing …. we all need to learn to do this in each and every aspect of our lives.
Thank you for stopping by this week’s 52 Pet Photography Project. Please continue on with our blog circle and click on the next link for Kim with BARKography based in Charlotte NC and see her take on this week’s topic. Enjoy!!!