Tuesday Photo Challenge – Contact

Making contact…

Welcome to Week 136 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!

As I was caught repeating a theme last week (great attention to detail!), I made doubly sure that this week’s theme was not used for a previous TPC. Also, I want to thank Na’ama for contributing the theme of Contact.  When I saw this theme in her list, I was at once intrigued, as Contact can be taken in multiple directions.  First contact with aliens might be far-fetched, but making contact can range from a fender bender to a phone call…

I hope that you will let your creative huices flow for this week’s theme and have some fun with it! There were some great whimsical entries last week and I certainly look forward to your flights of whimsy!

Here’s an interpretation to get you going…

Contact!

In the dogsport of agility, there are certain obstacles, such as this see-saw that require the dog to touch a certain area before dismounting.  This area of the obstacle is called the contact area.  As you can see in this photo, there are very fast dogs that get to the end of the see-saw and then have to ride it down.

The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week (note: pingbacks may not appear immediately, as my site is set up to require approval for linking to it; helps against previous bad experiences with spamming)
  • Have fun creating something new (or sharing something old)!!

Looking forward to the contacts that you create  this week!

DogStar Thursday – vol. 16

English Springer Spaniel

As I have begun my side project of looking through the 300K+ dog images that I have captured over the years, I started picking some representative images of various dog breeds, so that I can start using them as a series.  As most of my photography is from agility competitions, you may be amazed at the enormous variety of breeds that I have captured over the years, ranging from the ultra-rare to common breeds, and the smallest toy breeds to an enormous Great Dane.

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English Springer Spaniel

Description

The English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized compact dog. Its coat is moderately long with feathering on the legs and tail. It is a well proportioned, balanced dog with a gentle expression and a friendly wagging tail.  This breed represents perhaps the greatest divergence between working and show lines of any breed of dog. A field-bred dog and a show-bred dog appear to be different breeds, but are registered together. In fact, the gene pools are almost completely segregated and have been for at least 70 years.  A field-bred dog would not be competitive in a modern dog show, while a show dog would not have the speed or stamina to succeed in a field trial.

The English Springer Spaniel field-bred dogs tend to have shorter, coarser coats than show-bred dogs. The ears are less pendulous. Field-bred dogs are wiry and have more of a feral look than those bred for showing. The tail of the field-bred dog may be docked a few inches in comparison to the show dog. Field-bred dogs are selected for sense of smell, hunting ability, and response to training rather than appearance.

Show dogs have longer fur and more pendant ears, dewlaps and dangling flews. The tail is docked to a short stub in those countries that permit docking. They are generally more thickly boned and heavier than field-bred springers.

The English Springer Spaniel is similar to the English Cocker Spaniel and at first glance the only major difference is the latter’s smaller size. However English Springers also tend to have shorter, and higher-set ears than English Cockers. In addition Springers also tend to have a longer muzzle; their eyes are not as prominent, and the coat is less abundant.  The major differences between the Welsh Springer and the English Springer are that the Welsh have more limited colours and tend to be slightly smaller.

Coat and colors

Field-bred dogs tend to have shorter, coarser coats than the longer furred show-bred dogs. They normally only shed in summer and spring months but shed occasionally in the autumn.  The coat comes in black or liver (dark brown) with white markings or predominantly white with black or liver markings; Tricolour: black and white or liver and white with tan markings, usually found on eyebrows, cheeks, inside of ears and under the tail. Any white portion of the coat may be flecked with ticking.

Sizes

Males in the show dog line are typically approximately 18 to 20 inches (46 to 51 cm) at the withers and weigh 50 to 55 lb (23 to 25 kg). According to the UK Breed Standard, the English Springer Spaniel should be 20 inches (51 cm) at the withers. The females should be 17 to 19 inches (43 to 48 cm) and usually 35 to 45 lb (16 to 20 kg). Working types can be lighter in weight and finer in bone.

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 1D Mk III using an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens with 1.4x Extender.  Exposure settings were at 1/500 second at f/6.3 and 400 ISO.

Dogstar Thursday – vol 14

So close…

One of the dog activities that I very much enjoy photographing is the sport of agility.  The simple reason is that it’s great to see dogs and their handlers having fun, as they work together as a team to navigate the courses that may have lots of tricky sequences and even some traps to lure the team into making a mistake.

Of course, the goal is to run the course without any mistakes, which is known as running clean, but that doesn’t always happen.  If the run isn’t clean, it’s always human error, as we simply didn’t give the right instructions at the right time.

Then again…

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Oops!

As you can see from this shot, sometimes even the fastest dog can end up cutting a turn a little too tight and by rubbing the upright cause the bars to start falling (the bars are just leaving the cups in this capture).  Definitely, there was no lack of focus, or lack of trying to bend around the jump, but the sense of Oops was present!

Hope you enjoy this image.

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 1D Mk III using an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens and an EF 1.4x II extender.  Exposure settings were at 1/320 second at f/6.3 and 640 ISO.

Dogstar Thursday – vol 10

An evolved dog!

Today, I’m posting a memory tht is close to my heart, as it is our ‘Old Man’ Darwin from 5 years ago, when he was just in his 10th year…

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Focusing on the Target

Darwin clearly focuses with great intensity on the end of the see-saw, as he knows he wants to keep going as fast as possible to the next obstacle!

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Happy Poles!

And he is a master of the weave-poles, which he knows how to enjoy!

Darwin maybe in his 15th year now, but he still runs around like the crazy puppy that he thinks he is, and then sleeps a lot longer than he used to do.

Hope you enjoy this glimpse of our Theory of Evolution!

Dogstar Thursday – Vol 9

A dog of kings

One of the really fun things about photographing agility, is that I have had the opportunity to capture a large variety of breeds over the years.

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Stepping Saluki

This wonderful saluki strides across the dogwalk with the great elegance that is inherent in the breed.  These hounds are built for speed and run with a grace that is amazing to behold.

Saluki are a breed that you don’t see that often, even though it is a very old breed.  The breed dates back about 6,000 years from the Fertile Crescent.  Salukis and greyhounds can be seen depicted on the walls of the tombs of ancient Egypt.  According to legend, the saluki was introduced to Europe by returning crusaders.

This dog was the favorite of kings across the ages, showing up in portraits over more 1,000s of years.

Hope you enjoy this image of a wonderful dog!

Technical Details

Shot with a Canon EOS 1D Mk III with an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens.  Exposure settings were 1/400 second at f/6.3 and 400 ISO.

Dogstar Thursday – vol. 4

Faster, higher, stronger!

This week, I am going back to one of my many agility photos and am picking one of my favorite obstacles to photograph, the A-frame.

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Whoooaaa!

This image was taken in October, 2010, at the Cape Cod Kennel Club AKC agility trial in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  It was a beautiful day with great light and a pretty good breeze, so the dogs were ready to run!

Clearly, this pug had a good head of steam, when cresting the A-frame, which, for this jump height, stands at 5’0″ (apps. 1.52 m).  For a small dog, that is quite a height; if we’d scale this for the average human, it would be 4-5 times as high!  Luckily, these dogs are well-trained and quite used to it, but it is still a feat of courage for them to fly over this A-frame at speed.

Out of curiosity, have any of you run your dogs in agility or other competitions?

Dogstar Thursday – vol. 2

Water, water everywhere!!

Last week’s image was of a Golden Retriever clearing a jump on a nice, sunny day.  Today’s photo shows you that agility competitions are not always blessed with wonderful weather, but the contest continues!

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Exploding Rain!

This shot came from a competition in Broomfield, Massachusetts, held in October of 2006.  The morning conditions were abysmal with rain and wind sending everyone looking for a place to stay dry and warm.

None of the weather could hold back this Border Collie blasting through the chute and sending water flying everywhere!!

Technical Details

This shot was taken with a Canon EOS 1D MkII, using a 70-200 F2.8L lens.  Due to the weather, I had to push the ISO up to 1600, so that I could get this shot at 1/400 second at f/4.5.  Clearly, it’s not a perfect image, but it got the sense of the day across rather effectively.