– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –
The unusual case of the trapped dog!
Today, we are back on the theme of dogs……and what a strange tale this is! We are turning the clock back over 30 years, back to the days when I was an active freelancer who carried his camera gear absolutely everywhere. And not just one camera either. In those days, I would carry my 35mm gear over my left shoulder and my medium format gear over my right shoulder, even on family outings and holidays. The reason was that a lot of publications insisted on 120 transparency film only, considering that 35mm cameras just didn’t give good enough results. My medium format camera of choice varied over the years but at one time I carried a Mamiya RB67 studio camera with me. In the other camera bag I would have two 35mm bodies, one with transparency film and the other with black and white negative film. Plus , of course, both bags would have lenses and other equipment, and even a tripod.
Having reached a certain age, I just have no idea how I managed with all that gear whilst on holiday or whatever with my family. But I guess when you are young and keen to get on as a freelancer, you just do whatever it takes. Anyway, on this day, carrying my equipment proved useful as I came across a rather unusual incident involving a dog!
We were in Salisbury at the time, and in the market area there are underground toilets. A dog owner went down the stairs, leaving her dog at the top, and the dog, seeing her owner through the parapet wall, pushed her head through the gap and of course couldn’t get it back out again. When the owner came back up, she tried, the people around all tried, and in the end the fire brigade were called. They tried but failed initially until someone had the bright idea of buying a large tub of grease which they smeared all over the dog’s head. Finally, with a ‘S-l-urrpp’ the dog’s head popped out. I should add that Trixie was perfectly fine and suffered no ill effects 🙂 !
Of course, this was the pre-Internet days so as soon as I got home, I rushed into my darkroom, which was in my garage, and processed the film. Having allowed the negatives to dry, I later went back out to print the best negatives onto 10″ x 8″ glossy paper as this was the industry standard. Having allowed those to dry, I then had to compose and type a letter to go with them, add a self-addressed return envelope, package it all up and send it off to whatever publication I thought would be interested in using the story. In this case, I printed several lots as I knew that more than one magazine would like to run the story, although of course I had to make sure that I did not send the pictures to competing magazines as this was not the done thing.
This particular piece appeared in ‘Weekend Magazine’ but the pictures and story featured in several others as well. Of course in these days of digital photographs and Internet, pictures like these can easily go viral but in those days the only viral things were the illnesses we picked up 🙂 ! I’d like to add that I got paid handsomely for my efforts but I think all I could say is that I got paid. The ‘handsomely’ bit didn’t come into it……but it was always a thrill to see your work in print anyway! I used to regularly scour the magazines in the shops to see if any of my pictures had been used.
Back then, I had a ‘normal’ job as well so my freelancing took place in the evenings and at weekends. I spent so many nights out in my garage darkroom which had no heat, even in freezing winter weather, and often till the early hours of the morning too. Oh, and it had no running water either so the prints had to be washed under the outside tap…….brrrrr!!
I guess one thing this story does show is that its always worth carrying a camera with you as you never know what you might come across 🙂 ! But at least these days it can be a lightweight digital camera!
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler
If you would like to contact me, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org – comments and feedback are always welcomed.