Smart Doggie – part of a series of photographs in collaboration with my West Highlands White Terrier – “Tiki”.
Tiki, a rescue from a southern puppy mill, came in to our lives just when I was starting to have more time to dedicate to my photography. As the rest of the family seemed to run from my camera and modeling duties, or were simply busy, it was just Tiki and I in the studio.
Tiki immediately took to the studio and the treats that were offered. Even today if I pull out my studio lights, Tiki gets excited and sits where he thinks the photograph might occur.
Once when setting up an assignment photo for a Halloween shoot, Tiki wandered into the set and sat. So of course I had to give him a mask and snap the shot.
More and more images ensued. Tiki as a Broadway Actor. Tiki as Aladdin. Tiki as a ballerina. Many images were inspired by finds in the baby clothing section of the local thrift shop.
Eventually many of the Tiki the Westie series were compiled in the little gift book “The Quotable Westie” which can be purchase via CreateSpace or Amazon. https://www.createspace.com/4070210
A few years ago my wife’s boss rescued a scared, timid little hairless mutt from a trailer home where it lived in fear of the other large dogs living in the tiny run down shack of a home.
I posed the little fella with his new mom as a vet giving him a check up. This was a practical situation as the little guy would not leave her side and always wanted her to hold him or at least touch him. So this pose worked out great as it calmed him as well as provided a bit of storyline for the image.
Getting a nervous dog that just won’t pay attention or sit still for a moment is one of the biggest challenges of pet photography. Small pets can be placed in containers that provide visual depth to the image as well as contain them, at least for a little while. Just be careful they don’t jump down from high heights and hurt themselves.
Treats and clickers can be used to get the dog’s attention. Great expressions can be had with an unexpected noise just before the shutter is clicked. “Parents” of the animals can be a help or a distraction. Limit it to one other person in the room with you as you’ll be fighting for the dog’s attention if the owner is making too much of a fuss. Another person in the room is very handy for making sure the dog is in position but they can also get in the way of the shot or cause undue commotion. But they can help position the pets and provide for their safety.
Westies or more officially West Highlands White Terriers are an adorable breed of dog. Small, smart, loyal, and ferocious, this Scottish breed is all terrier and you won’t forget it if a chipmunk is around.
Here are some highlight photographs from the “Quotable Westie” sessions for the small gift book. Prints are available as well as images printed on tote bags and other products. See the entire portfolio of westie photographs and art work by fine art photographer, Edward M. Fielding by clicking the link below.
Tiki the Westie is a wonderful model who works for kibble. He’ll sit in position under the studio lights until he hears the “ok” and he gets his treat.
A smart dog breed for sure. Knows his name as well as many word commands such as sit, car, ride, walk, dinner, treat, food, tick etc.
Always up for an adventure and places to sniff and explore. Keep this breed on a leash as a random chipmuck can sent them flying off into the woods. And these little dogs are fast on their feet!
The West Highland White Terrier, commonly known as the Westie is a breed of dog from Scotland with a distinctive white harsh coat with a somewhat soft white undercoat. The modern breed is descended from a number of breeding programs of white terriers in Scotland before the 20th century. Edward Donald Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch, is credited with the creation of the modern breed from his Poltalloch Terrier, but did not want to be known as such.
Westies are often featured In advertising by companies such as Cesar dog food and Scottish whisky Black & White. It is a medium-sized terrier, although with longer legs than other Scottish breeds of terrier. It has a white double coat of fur which fills out the dog’s face, giving it a rounded appearance. The breed can be good with children, but does not always tolerate rough handling. The Westie is an active and intelligent breed, and is social with a high prey drive, as they were once used to hunt rodents.
The Wilson family got more than they bargained for when their Hanover High School senior Daniel signed up for the “Surf and Sato” March Intensive program. Each spring the high school in Hanover, NH (home of Dartmouth College) offers a week of out of the ordinary educational experiences, everything from analyzing classic horror films to hut to hut cross-country ski treks to intensive Shakespeare, drama trips to NYC, college tours in Boston and a trip to Puerto Rico to help with the street dog problem and maybe try a bit of surfing.
Rumor has it that Daniel was under strict instructions to resist all attempts of adorableness and not to return with a puppy but then Ronnie’s cuteness prevailed and after a week of being surrounded by lovable puppies, one managed to come back to New Hampshire. Luckily I was able to persuade the family to bring Ronnie over for a modeling session.
What is a Sato?
Sato is the name for mutt i Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has a large population of stray street and beach dogs. Some estimates put the population of stray dogs at 500,000.
Dead Dog Beach is located on the South-East coast of the island. A dumping ground, it is known for its stray dog population, and the abuse that has occurred on the isolated beach including gang rituals, target practice, and cars running over helpless dogs and puppies.
Dogs are dumped here everyday. The Sato Project, a rescue group founded by New Yorker Chrissy Beckles, is their only source of fresh water and food, and rescues them as their resources allow it. Dead Dog Beach is one of the many beaches of the island overran by stray dogs. (source: http://www.sophiegamand.com/deaddogbeach/)
From The Sato Project Org – Satos are usually small dogs under 30lbs. The majority have terrier in them so they tend to be incredibly smart and quick to learn. The street or beach is a very hard life for a dog and the majority do not make it past their second birthday. Nature seems to have sensed this and females are giving birth to increasingly large litters of puppies.
Being a puppy, Ronnie was quite the handful as a modeling subject. I’ve grown accustomed to Tiki the Westie ability to sit for a very long time, knowing that a treat is coming at some point. At this point Tiki anticipates treats when ever I make a move towards my studio strobe lights. During the photo sessions for the book “The Quotable Westie” Tiki was so good I could set him up on a chair and then remember that I forgot the SD card or prop or something, leave the room for a few minutes and he would still be stilling there patiently.
I’ve dealt with puppies before but its been a while. When I photographed Max, Pete, and Jeanie, my main camera was a micro-four thirds camera, a Panasonic Lumix G3 which had a handy feature for photographing moving objects – an LCD screen in which you could touch a spot on the screen and it would focus and fire the shutter.
With my Canon 6D and its minimal focal points (only nine) I found myself having trouble getting little Ronnie in focus. I also made the mistake of starting out on the tripod. Not good for a guy in constant motion. But I did manage to get some good shots.
The other challenge I had was too narrow depth of field. The Canon 6D is a full frame camera which has a narrower depth of field than a micro four thirds camera like the Panasonic G series.
In order to nail the focus on the eyes with a constantly moving subject like this little puppy Ronnie, I had to shot a lot of shots. I first tried pre-focusing on a certain spot on this antique high chair I was using as a prop. But the entire first set of photos were ruined by the focus being off ever so slightly.
I end up re-shooting the entire scene later with with the studio lights cranked up to maximum and the aperture increase to f16 in order to make sure I got his cute little face in sharp focus.
I also started to abandoned my carefully composed set ups and took the camera off the tripod so I could move the camera main focal point to the dogs eye, fire and worry about composition later with cropping.
A few things I learned that worked in this latest dog photo session.
With puppies, be prepared for puppies. They don’t know how to stay put, they need potty breaks, they are likely to climb out of what ever you put them in, and they are going to tire out and fall asleep on you at some point.
Safety – work with an assistant and try to create an environment like a basket with soft towels in the bottom to help contain the puppy.
Use chew toys, bones or a bit of peanut butter on a the edge of a basket to keep them interested and occupied.
Use squeaker toys or a weird noises to get their attention. Don’t be afraid to sound like a wild animal or a complete wacko to get some great expressions.
Have plenty of paper towels handy.
Limit the number of assistants in the studio so the dog doesn’t get too distracted.
Shoot with a fast shutter speed and be prepared for motion. I don’t recommend a tripod unless the dog can sit still.
Get on their level. I used a small coffee table to raise the puppy up but watch that they don’t try to jump off.
Max is one of Tiki the Westie’s dog pals. Pete the Pug, Tiki the Westie and Max the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel were all puppies relatively the same time and they all came over for a photo-shoot from time to time.
Any of the photographs, artwork and images of these cute puppy dogs can be purchased as greeting cards, framed artwork, canvas and metal prints and more, including products such as throw pillows and tote bags.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small spaniel classed as a toy dog by The Kennel Club. It is one of the most popular breeds in the United Kingdom. Since 2000, it has grown in popularity in the United States.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel of today is the direct descendant of the small Toy Spaniels seen in so many of the pictures of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Toy Spaniels were quite common as pets of the Court ladies in Tudor times but in this country it was under the Stuarts that they were given the Royal title of King Charles Spaniels. History tells us that King Charles II was seldom seen without two or three or more at his heels.
As time went by, and with the coming of the Dutch Court of William III, Toy Spaniels went out of fashion, being replaced in popularity by the Pug dog with the little black page in attendance. We do not hear much about Toy Spaniels again until the 18th and 19th centuries. At that time the special strain of red and white Toy Spaniels bred at Blenheim Palace by the Dukes of Marlborough were well known for their sporting qualities, as well as for their claims as ladies’ companions.
The life of a super dog model is not all bones and biscuits. Sure some days the kibble rains down and luck shines but some days its a bad hair cut and stupid wardrobe.
“Just Chillin'” is just one of hundreds of photographs that Tiki the Westie has modeled for in fine art photographer, Edward M. Fielding’s series of dog photographs.
Some of the best Tiki the Westie supermodel photographs have been collected in this small gift book called “the Quotable Westie” and is available on Amazon and direct from the publisher CreateSpace – https://www.createspace.com/4070210
“This modeling thing, it’s pretty easy, but actually it’s also really tough” – Cara Delevingne
“I was successful and I enjoyed modeling, but it got to a point where I felt like I had ‘been there, done that.’ I wanted something that would inspire me and challenge me. I needed something that required more creativity. I started writing and I started auditioning. Simply posing in front of the camera was no longer enough.” – Julia Voth
“Modeling, for me, isn’t about being beautiful but creating something interesting for people to look at and think about.” – Kylie Bax
“I think the only reason I wanted to do modeling, really, was because I knew I wasn’t ready to act; I knew I didn’t have enough life experience, and I knew that doing photo shoots was a way of acting. Playing a character each shoot and being able to just emerge yourself in these awkward experiences – it was amazing.” – Dree Hemingway
“I didn’t mean to be a TV presenter, I just hated modeling. It feels very odd that it’s turned into this ‘It-girl’ thing. What does that even mean? I wear clothes and I go out. It’s so weird.” Alexa Chung
WASHING THE DOG TIPS
1. Sometimes getting a job done is as simple as having the right tools, and bathing your dog is no exception. An indoor pet spray that attaches to your sink faucet or shower head makes bathing your dog easier to manage. The spray is gentle enough for a small dog.
2. If you must bathe your dog indoors, getting him into the tub may be a job in itself, let alone bathing him once he’s there. To help in the effort, purchase a dog bath helper that has a mini lead attached to a suction cup that sticks to the bottom or side of the tub. The suction cup can be easily removed once your dog is squeaky clean.
3. When rinsing the soap from your dog’s coat, use a one part vinegar to four parts water solution to leave his coat shiny and clean.
4. If your dog just doesn’t like the water, use a waterless shampoo that must be applied then lathered into his coat until a foam appears. Brush and towel-dry with a blow-dryer.
5. If you prefer, give your dog a dry bath to remove any odors when it’s too cold to bathe him. Rub some baking soda into your dog’s coat, gently massage it in, then brush it out.
6. To help give a small dog a bath, place a small window screen across the sink in which you want to bathe him. The screen will give your dog something to stand on, and, because the bath and rinse water flow beneath it, will prevent him from having to stand in water.
7. If you want to give your dog some extra help in the self-cleaning department but don’t want to stress him by subjecting him to a bath, use pet cleansing wipes to remove dander and
saliva from his coat. The product, made from all-natural ingredients, leaves your dog’s coat clean and healthy looking.
8. If your dog comes into contact with chewing gum, remove it by rubbing an ice cube on the gum until it hardens and can be pulled out, then wash the area thoroughly.
9. If your dog walks on tar, remove it by rubbing butter or margarine on the tarred area until the tar softens and can be pulled off. Repeat if necessary, then bathe your dog’s feet.
10. If your dog rubs against oil-based paint, wipe it off immediately with a dry cloth, then bathe him. If the paint has dried and hardened, cut it out, then bathe your dog.
11. If your dog doesn’t like the sound of spray conditioner after his bath, spray the conditioner on a brush, then run the brush through his hair.
Just as a new circus opens in Washington, D.C. including an oranged haired boss clown, its sad to see the closing of an American Institution – the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. For more than 100 years the circus provided an escape for people across the spectrum. An exciting event of thrills and laughs.
PETA is claiming a victory of shutting down yet another treasure of our collective memories. But I don’t see putting the hundreds of entertainers – clowns, aerial artists, gymnastic, horseback riders, trainers, artist, musicians, wranglers, riggers, teamsters etc. out of work and disappointing the next generation by removing yet another source of live entertainment. It’s ok kids, you can watch old clips of the circus on your phones – it’s just like being there! Just imagine the smells, the taste of cracker jack, begging your parents for a flashy light and inflatable elephant. Better yet, have three phones going at the same time and flip your head back and forth as you try to take all of the action in at once among the three rings.
“The circus is a place where horses, ponies and elephants are permitted to see men, women and children acting the fool.” – Ambrose Bierce
“Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung.” – P. T. Barnum
If PETA, the international terror group, had their way, all joy in life and culture would be squeezed out until a meager existance of playing checkers with rocks by the light of a soybean candle is all that is left.
No lobster dinners, no fishing, no hunting, no shoes, no belts, no fishtank, no pets…good grief where does it end?
“The circus allows one to be logical and unreal at the same time. In the circus, all is possible: there can be a man with two heads or a character with a green face.” – Fernando Botero
Taking young kids to the circus was kind of like, well…a three ring circus. I recall going to the Ringling Bros. circus in Boston with my elementary school child. We arrived just as the opening number was starting and it was a full blown, over the big top, sensory overload explosion of sight, sounds and smells. Then there was the carnival barker or major league sports aspect of the hawkers selling all kinds of food and flashy souvenir trinkets. Every where you looked something was competing for your attention and your wallet.
A less over the top experience was found at the Big Apple circus which comes our way every once in a while. Big Apple is a more traditional, one ring circus with traditional acts and Grandma clown. At bit less over the top and easier on the pocket book. Maybe this size circus will have a future post Ringling Bros. A more compact, easier to move, circus with few seats to fill and less mouths to feed.
Portrait of a Westie – Fine Art America’s bestselling westie dog portrait
Portrait of a Westie – When “Portrait of a Westie” by Edward M. Fielding was selected as one of the featured artwork on the homepage of Fine Art America, a bestseller was born. Link
Selected by the staff of Fine Art America among the 100,000s of thousands of photograph and artwork within the portfolios of over 125,000 living artist, “Portrait of a Westie” was granted a rare award and a place of home on the home page of Fine Art America.
This is one of the most popular configurations of “Portrait Of A Westie Dog” that is purchase on the Fine Art America site: