One of my photographic inspirations is Elliot Erwitt, a street photographer who has a penchant for taking dog photos. I didn’t really understand the attraction until I started noticing our 4 legged companions on the street, often being dragged along, or dragging along their owners. The photo at the top of this post is one of those fortunate images coming at the end of a generally unsuccessful outing.
Sometimes nothing really clicks: the light is too flat, the faces too glum, you see the same poses or cliches and just can’t capture anything worth keeping. At this point it may be time to try something new, a different perspective, different subjects, or a change of modus operandi. My usual subject matter is that of people engaged in interesting activities or expressions, the look of joy shared between a couple, the conjunction of characters, or simply a story of the everyday. None of that was working one lunch break, I couldn’t seem to break the spell of dreary photos so I decided to cut my losses and head back to the office.
It was then I spotted coming towards me two dogs with their owner. One was being lead on a leash, the other had the leash in its mouth and was dutifully pacing besides the other two. I quickly made sure my settings were suitable for a moving subject in overcast light (wide aperture and high ISO) lowered my camera to knee level and shot several photos as they continued towards me. It was the last shot, framing just the lone dog that is shown.
I forced myself to keep on walking and only half a street away did I allow myself to review the shots. With trepidation I magnified the image and a feeling of relief flowed through me as I saw that it was adequately sharp and in focus. It made my day.