Tag Archives: dog

A Picture with a Story 4……

3 Aug

– – – 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!

Scan 21

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 terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.


A Picture with a Story 2……

31 Jul

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

The mysterious case of the flying dog!

Sunset at Man o' War Bay

Today, I am continuing my theme of pictures with stories attached. Yesterday, I put up a post about a ‘fake?’ picture, although that depends entirely on your viewpoint. Here is a link to that post.  Today’s post though is not about the picture at all as the picture above is 100% real and undoctored, as, I should add, are most of my pictures. This is about the events surrounding the picture!

This was another occasion where I had been walking all day, timing my walk so that I would arrive at a suitable spot to capture the sunset, and on this occasion I decided that Man o’ War Bay on the Dorset coast would be perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed my day even though I was carrying all my camera equipment, tripod and so on, and I arrived at the bay in good time to set up for my shot as the colour was building in the sky. I decided on a longish exposure to catch the movement of the water and to create a nice wet, reflective foreground and I set my tripod up and waited.

When all the conditions were right, I took the picture above, and I was pleased with the result and got ready to take more shots when I heard a noise to my right. I was stood next to a 150 foot high cliff and the noise I heard was the sound of stones and small rocks falling down the cliffs onto the beach. This is not unusual where there are unstable cliffs as you often hear the trickling of stones that have been loosened by the weather. As I looked to my right however, I got a shock because coming down with the shower of stones was a dog! He had plunged from the top of the cliffs and was seemingly ‘running’ down the cliff face.

It was over in a split second but seemed like it was in slow motion – it was one of those surreal moments. The dog hit the beach with a thud and a very loud yelp, and just laid there! I ran straight across to the poor animal to check him over and I comforted him for a long time whilst he recovered. Fortunately, and amazingly, he seemed to have suffered no ill effects from his fall apart from being seriously winded, and after about 15 minutes he stood up somewhat unsteadily and eventually ran happily off down the beach. Whilst he was recovering, I could hear his owners calling him from 150 feet above my head and I shouted out to them that he was ok. I’m not sure if they were expecting him to run back up the cliff but that’s the way it seemed! In fact, the only way for them to reach him was to run along the clifftop to reach the steps down to the beach which I assume they did.

I often wonder what saved that dog from death. It could be that dogs also have nine lives 😉 ! It could be the fact that the cliffs at the point he fell are not quite vertical. It could be that he was a long legged, athletic looking dog and was somehow able to at least partly keep his feet. It could be that he was fortunate enough to fall onto shingle rather than onto one of the many large rocks that also litter the beach. Who knows, but the happy fact is he did survive.

The problem for me of course was that since sunsets are fleeting, by the time I got back to my camera having done my vet impersonation, the sky had lost all its colour. So on that lovely evening, after humping my camera gear all day in order to get some competition winning shots, I in fact got just one picture. But, hey, there will be other sunsets and I’m just glad that this lovely dog was ok.

I guess the moral of this tale is that if you are a dog owner and you are walking the clifftops…….well I think you know what I am going to say………keep it on a lead! Otherwise you might just spoil some other photographer’s pictures 😉 !

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

A picture is worth a thousand words……..or is it?

21 Sep

A picture is worth a thousand words so they say, and I guess in terms of conveying an idea it probably is.  But can a picture, however great and however well executed, ever truly convey the full reality of a scene.  The picture below hangs on my wall and when I look at it, it brings back great memories of a wonderful walk and a wonderful evening, but does it convey that to anyone who wasn’t there?  Can you, the ‘detached’ viewer ever really grasp any true sense of that evening?

Man o’ War Bay at sunset

To my way of thinking, a picture should have at least four dimensions – it is of course a two dimensional thing and by careful choice of viewpoint and composition, you can introduce a sense of the third dimension, depth.  The fourth dimension is that indefinable extra, call it atmosphere, mood or whatever, it conveys something of what the photographer was feeling when he or she stood looking at the scene.  But this fourth dimension can only ever be partial.  For instance, when you look at this picture, you will not feel the stiff breeze that was blowing across my face, you will not feel the freezing cold of winter, you will not feel my very wet feet (the surf was washing in and out around my feet – I often stand in the water to get the right viewpoint, even in mid winter 🙂 ).  Also, you will not hear the wonderful sound of the surf washing gently across the shingle as the waves retract – what a beautiful relaxing sound that is.  You will not hear the calling of the seagulls or the children playing in the distance; nor smell the typical smells of the coast – although since I do not possess a sense of smell, that one is lost on me!

But there is yet another thing which you will never pick up from looking at this picture, and for me, it is probably the most abiding memory of that evening – it is the sound of a dog falling down the 100 foot cliff immediately to my right as I stood by my tripod!  It was a bizarre event and fortunately, amazingly, one that had a happy ending……although it did prevent me from getting any more pictures of this fantastic sky!

I was just setting up my next shot when I heard this noise of cascading stones to my right, not unusual along the Jurassic coast since minor ‘landslips’ occur all the time.  But when I looked, I was shocked to see a dog falling, and he hit the shingle beach with a thud and a loud yelp.  Naturally I left my tripod and went over to him, expecting to see him badly injured, instead of which he was just very badly winded and after a great deal of fuss from me, stood up seemingly none the worse for his ordeal.  Ten minutes later he was running around the beach as if nothing had happened.  But in the meantime, the all too short lived sunset had passed on its way.

The most bizarre part of this story and one of the things that sticks in my mind is the sound of the dog’s owners standing on the cliff top 100 feet above just calling the dog!  Clearly they had forgotten that the dog did not have his climbing rope and pitons with him, and neither did he have his OS map and compass with him so that he could work out his route some half a mile round the bay to find the footpath that winds its way up to the cliff top and then along the cliff top path back to his owners.  I think if it were my dog, I would have made that trip at superman speed to make sure my dog was ok rather than just standing calling for him to come.  I never did find out if dog and owners were reunited!

I think there were three things that saved the dog.  The first was that the cliff at that point is not quite vertical, the second is that the dog was a lurcher type with long legs so he could almost ‘run’ down the cliff, and the third was that mercifully he fell on relatively soft shingle rather than on one of the many rocks that also litter the beach.

So back to my original point, is a picture really worth a thousand words and can it ever really convey the whole picture?

Thanks for stopping by and reading the ramblings of The Dorset Rambler.

Until next time,
Your friend
The Dorset Rambler.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.