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CAPTURING THE SPIRIT, Part III [ © Dennis Glennon ]
Now, my first Chessie was a magnificent girl named Rachel. She
was beautiful, strong, energetic, and had keen, sharp senses, always interested in, and
aware of, everything in her environment. An adventurer by nature, she loved to explore
and, even as a six-week-old puppy, she escaped the triple-fenced yard at her
breeders home, something that had never been done before by any other pup. We knew
we wanted THAT puppy!
Rachel had DRIVE. It was evident in everything she did. She
traveled with me often and was truly a great companion. When she was almost two years old,
I decided I wanted to capture some special images of my Rachel so I took her to the very
woods I used explore as a kid. Late afternoon light is flattering and warm in tone, so I
waited until later in the day, as I wanted to show off the beautiful color in
Rachels coat and eyes.
A hunting dog is best photographed in a hunting environment, in
my opinion, so I made sure to have tall reeds in the background. If you can put a dog in
its proper environment, let them do their thing to bring out their breed
instincts AND their individual personality, and get great light on them, you will have a
very successful image!
the intense look in her eyes -- a quality of the Chesapeake yes, but an expression unique
to Rachels profound desire to investigate -- is what's emphasized in the final
piece. The image is called Intensity
and it clearly shows the hunting instinct of her breed and Rachels strong
Another image I was blessed to
capture that day was a close-up of Rachel turning her head to check on me. She wasnt
distracted. She was doing what came naturally to her; watching like a sentry, keeping one
eye on her environment and the other on her Daddy.
|One of the
images resulting from that afternoon adventure was a photograph of Rachel sitting among
the reeds looking out into the distance as she responded to a scent or sound. The
Chesapeake Bay Retriever in her shows through in the shot, for sure.
|What was so compelling about this experience was how
dramatically the look on her face changed when she went from thinking and focusing on the
brush before her to looking to me. Her entire face softened. Her eyes, sharp and piercing
only a moment earlier, were now full of wisdom, depth and love.
This is SO indicative of the
breed, as any Chesapeake lover will tell you, and with a click of the shutter, I captured
that beautiful moment in film forever. The result is Eyes of the Soul,
another favorite among collectors of my work, and one Jody and I will cherish
When I photographed Rachel that
afternoon, the images were for me, and for Jody. I had no intention of selling them. I
couldnt have cared if anyone else liked them, or even ever saw them. I wanted our
dog on film for us, to keep forever. Rachel almost died months before those pictures were
taken, so when she was ready to go out and have adventures with me, I celebrated, in my
heart, and on film. Less than a year after that special afternoon in the woods, Fate had
its way and took her from us.
I urge you to take pictures of your own dogs at all stages of
their lives, even if they are not "exceptional shots of quality." Who cares! We
never know how long our dogs will be with us, and images of our dogs are powerful. Most of
the time, our own personal dog pictures make us smile. Sometimes they make us sad because
certain dogs are no longer with us. But most importantly, their photographs have bought
joy to our hearts, and the hearts of others, and though our dogs cannot always remain with
us, their images stay with us all our lives.
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