written by Chris Knight - Knightpics Photography
The pack is made up of 7 dogs in total and I recently took on the supposedly impossible task of taking a nice portrait of them all sat together. People often ask me how I manage it and sometimes I do wonder myself.
In preparation for this photo, I scouted the grounds for some old and interesting farm yard props and used them to build a little set in one of the unused stables. Once everything was set I prepared my equipment which consisted of one flash unit and a large umbrella shaped light modifier, which allowed me to light up the whole scene. With everything in place, I ensured that my settings were correct and did some test shots before bringing the dogs in. As usual it was a formula of patience, perseverance, a handful of dog treats and careful cooperation from the owners to be able to pull this off. Once they were in place I made a high pitched sound to get their attention before pressing the trigger. I’m not gonna lie, it did take a few attempts as some of them aren’t as patient as others. For some reason when I made the sound it must have bounced off the walls and some of them ended up looking in a completely different direction. We continued to set up and re-shoot and after a few attempts we got there.
For this shot I had to cut the two black dogs on the left out of another photo and photoshop them into this one to get a final image of all the dogs looking my way. It can often be hard work with one or two dogs, let alone seven but as usual I always get there in the end.
I’d like to introduce you to the dogs in this photo and tell you a little more about them (from left to right)
Molly is an 8 year old black lab and they found her when they were looking for a companion for the sanctuaries guard dog - Chester. Molly arrived when she was 18 months old and didn’t quite take to the role of a guard dogs assistant and living outside. Caron and Molly quickly got attached so Caron took her home and she now lives in the house with all the other dogs.
Leo is a 10 year old Jug (Pug X Jack Russel) and was rescued from London by Caron. He is the most gentle and loving dog and has even taken on a caring role where he nursed kittens and ducklings. He loves a cuddle and lots of attention but don’t let his calm nature fool you as he’s also a damn good rat catcher.
Layla is a 6 year old Black Lab and was bought from the same person as Molly. Seeing as Molly was such an amazing dog, Caron decided that she would like a second one from the same parents.
Bonnie is a 10 year old Patterdale X Lakeland Terrier and has been coming down for doggy day care since she was 9months old as she loves the sanctuary and being with all the other dogs. She is also an amazing rat catcher and surprised me when she shot off from a relaxed sitting position near the stables and caught a rat that she had seen in the distance.
Chester is a 10 year old German Shepherd X Rottweiler and is the sanctuaries guard dog and the Boss. He’s a beautiful natured dog and loves a cuddle (when he wants one). Although he has a great nature he is very good at his job and is always the first one on scene when someone he doesn’t know arrives.
He came from Pine Ridge Dog Sanctuary who rescued him from Wales when he kept running away from his owners when he was only 10 months old. The third time that he ran away from his owners they told the dog catcher to keep him and have him put up for adoption. I don’t feel that they were fully committed to having a dog as they could surely have kept their puppy in but thats just my opinion and I don’t know the fully story so can’t really comment.
Caron arrived at the re homing centre with her old guard dog - Jessica, which was also a German Shepherd X Rottweiler and said that she was looking for another one like her.
Chester is so used to living outside in his huge kennel with his own leather sofa and having free run of the site. When the sanctuary experienced the bad floods in 2014, Bob the yard owner took him home as everything was 2ft under water. Chester was not impressed with having to leave the site and live in a house and was always desperate to get out. Perhaps he knew he was always destined for the out door life even when he was a little pup.
The sanctuary are desperately looking for anther German Shepherd X Rottweiler for Chester to train up and eventually take his place, so if anyone reading this comes across one then please get in contact with me or the sanctuary.
Mikki is an 18 month old Podenco Cross who also came from Pine Ridge. Again Caron wanted another dog like Chester to train as a guard dog but in the end Mikki wasn’t quite right for the job. He has a beautiful nature and is very handsome but so lively that he has been described as a culmination of a littler of 10 puppies all wrapped up in one dog. If there’s ever a dog winding up another animal or stealing peoples food then you can bet that it’s always Mikki. After a stern telling off he is always forgiven 5 mins after, I guess being such a cute dog always gets you off the hook in the end as its always impossible to stay annoyed at him.
Bia is an 8 year old Heinz (X breed) from Cyprus. Caron was still looking for another companion to live outside with Chester on site and ended up speaking to SPDC Rescue UK (Saving pound dogs Cyprus) and although they didn’t have quite what Caron was looking for they asked if she would do a temporary foster while they found her a forever home.
Unfortunately, on the way back from Bristol to pick her up, the car broke down. It took 14 hours for the breakdown service to rescue Caron and Veanne, however after spending all that time with Bia, they already knew they were going to keep her and she currently lives at home with Veanne.
If you would like to work with me then please feel free to drop me a message though my website or social media.