The first shoot of 2019 was actually a surprise shoot for someone.  First time ever I’ve had to do a 100% “hush hush he knows nothing about this” photo session.  In true stealth mode I arranged plans with Liz, the wife of Peter who was the one being surprised.  This meant I had to do some sneaking into their farm to check out potential best locations beforehand on a day we knew he’d be out and then arriving on the day to shoot and leave all without the gift receiver having the first idea it had happened!

Totally LOVED that!

I swear the Mission Impossible theme tune was playing in my head the morning I went scouting for locations.  That and the potential for police sirens to come raging into the village to escort me off the premises for being potential burglar…!

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The session and those resulting images were bought as a birthday present for Peter.  Liz loves black background pictures and they already have one of another pet.  This time they wanted some of their collie dogs.  Flora, the younger pure black and white collie and Vas, their older tri-coloured bitch.  I don’t do too many BB’s for dog’s but they are such fun.  As ever with dogs everything happens so very much faster than with horses.  A flick of an ear, a turn of the head or the blink of an eye all happen really quickly.  So you have to be super quick and aware of what might distract them away from you.  Keep them still and focused is an art form that generally requires the owners on hand.

Collie dogs, and active working collie dogs, well, things have the potential to get seriously frantic at times!  So I was a little worried about keeping the two of them still for long enough to get the shots I wanted ideally.

Bribes work a treat though!!

However I shouldn’t have worried as they are both so well trained they were just fabulous to work with.  I was able to relax, listen to Liz and enjoy what she was proudly telling me about both of them.

Vas hasn’t had the best of health in recent times.  She’s diabetic.  With age she also now has the start of cataracts to contend with.  However you would be hard pushed to see anything wrong with her at all – maybe a little clouding in the eyes in certain lights.   A lot of time and energy has been put into Vas’s care by Liz & Peter with keeping her diabetes under control.  It sounds like it’s not been easy but as they both have a medical background it at least made understanding the implications of the disease easier along with the management of the symptoms.  Having thought they were going to lose her last year, Vas has totally bounced back on that front and is still super active around the farm. Even coping with the slight loss of vision she has now.

I heard plenty of tales from Liz about both dogs capabilities around the farm and how they really love to be working with the sheep they have, but also some of the lovely long walks they have together.  More over though it was incredibly clear just how strong the bond was between both dogs, they didn’t leave each others side very much at all and were really attentive to Liz’s commands.  They were an absolute pleasure to photograph.

With our secret session complete it was time to leave Flora, Vas and Liz to the remainder of their day and head off.

The tricky part was remembering the next time I saw Peter – which was just a couple of days later – to not say a flipping word!!


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Have a fabulous week ahead…

Rachel x


If you’d like a personal canine or equine photo shoot with me then please see here for more details.