Posts Tagged Cumbria
Caldbeck is a picturesque village approx 13 miles SW of Carlisle, Cumbria which creates a very memorable dog walk as it is steeped with history and stunning scenery. There are a variety of interesting features in the village – colourful chocolate box cottages overlooking the rippling stream, a delightful duck pond brimming with wildlife and historic ruins of an ancient bobbin mill to name but a few.
The built up area of the village is full of historical architecture which is accessible to all including St Kentigern’s Church where the famous huntsman John Peel is laid to rest and Priest Mill the award winning restoration of an old watermill with the quant Watermill Cafe and variety of shops. However, accessing the ruins of the old Bobbin Mill (which had the largest waterwheel in the country) is rather limited as the path becomes rough and then very steep with some rough steps whilst continuing towards The Howk (a limestone gorge with rippling waterfalls) so this area maybe best avoided with pushchairs/wheelchairs.
The duck pond is easily accessible from the centrally situated car park but remember to keep your dog(s) on a lead/under control as the ducks are quite tame and will approach expecting to be fed! As a local wildlife photographer as well as pet photographer in Cumbria I have often enjoyed capturing photographs of the resident Mallards and Moorhens on the pond.
Refreshments can be found at the Oddfellows Arms a traditional country pub with its own restaurant and car park – dogs may not be allowed in the restaurant but maybe in the bar area/beer garden – whilst ice creams, snacks and drinks may be purchased at the local store and ice cream van which is sometimes situated near the duck pond.
Public Toilets: Yes
Car Park: Yes
Wheelchair/Pushchair Friendly: Yes if you keep to the paths
Distance: as far as you wish
Railway Station: No (Carlisle or Penrith)
Bus Route: Yes Caldbeck Rambler which travels around Northern Fells to/from Carlisle
Bitts Park located in central Carlisle, Cumbria is a stunning setting for dog walks particularly in the Summer months when the flowers are in full bloom. The striking hanging baskets and flower beds which surround the Statue of Queen Victoria can be walked around with dogs, wheelchairs and pushchairs as paths are well kept.
Carlisle Castle can be viewed in the background and there is a tree lined path running parallel to the River Eden which makes a scenic route. As a dog photographer based in Cumbria I know this part of the park is particularly attractive in Autumn when the colours of the leaves change to various shades of orange, red and yellow creating a stunning backdrop for pet portraits.
A children’s play area, tennis courts and a high rope course for the more adventurous are adjacent to Victoria Park and there is also a small refreshments kiosk with public toilets nearby. Bitts Park is a short walk (through shopping areas and subways) from Carlisle city centre where Carlisle Bus Station and Railway Station can be found.
Parking is very nearby at Bitts Park Car Park just off Dacre Road (the main entrance) or slightly further away at Devonshire Walk Car Park (located at the opposite side of Carlisle Castle) both are payable public Car Parks.
Public Toilets: Yes
Car Park: Yes
Wheelchair/Pushchair Friendly: Yes if you keep to the paths
Distance: short walk of a few hundred meters around Victoria Park can be extended by taking the riverside path
Railway Station: Yes (approx 1/2 of mile away)
Bus Route: Yes (approx 1/3 of mile away)
If you are looking for a scenic and pleasant dog walk in North Cumbria The River Caldew at Dalston is ideal. As it is listed Site of Scientific Special Interest there is plenty of wildlife watching opportunities along the way! Dalston is only a few miles west of Carlisle and has its own railway station and bus route, there is a small public car park opposite the co-op on the main street with easy access to the river walk and public toilets. As a local pet photographer I have taken pictures of lots of dogs here with the River Caldew as a backdrop.
Wheelchair/pushchair accessibility is variable depending on the route you take as is the length of the dog walk. If you leave the car park and take the (non-vehicle accessible) narrow road towards the white bridge, walk over the bridge talk a right turn and walk alongside the narrow millrace (stream) the footpath is wheelchair/pushchair accessible. Continuing past Eller’s Mill (the traditional factory which still produces cotton wool) there is an attractive small waterfall on the millrace; at this point it is a good idea to turn around and back track with your dog(s) if you have a wheelchair/pushchair or are unsteady on your feet.
If you continue you will need to cross the road over the busy Bridge at Bridge End, walk a short distance through a housing estate and turn right down a rough track to access the riverside.
This area is a bit rough under foot as there is not an easily accessible path, but is ideal for wildlife watching and photographing – Otter, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Pheasant and Dippers are just some of the species which I have spotted.
Depending on the time of year you may also see a stunning blanket of Ramson (Wild Garlic ) or Wild Snowdrops as you walk underneath the trees surrounding the riverbank. You may view/purchase some of my wildlife photography most of which was captured here @ www.dwhitfieldart.wordpress.com/wildlife
Public Toilets: Yes
Car Park: Yes
Wheelchair/Pushchair Friendly: Partially
Distance: 1-2 miles (or more or less-as far as you wish)
Railway Station: Yes (approx 1/3 of mile away)
Bus Route: Yes
Working Dogs are usually large and require plenty of outdoor exercise which creates an ideal scenario for dog photography. The Working Dog group is made up of a diverse set of highly intelligent breeds which can perform a wide variety of tasks. Working Dogs with a fearless nature coupled with a sturdy and powerful build make good Guard, Search and Rescue, Military, Police, and farm dogs although can be kept in homes if given consistent training, lots of exercise and a structured life.
Outdoors is the perfect location for working dog photography. To plan your pet photo shoot in advance –
- Decide on a picturesque location such as a riverside, beach, woodland or garden where you can take photographs of your dog
- Check the weather forecast and choose a day when good natural light is forecast which is essential for taking good pet photographs.
- Consider safety – if your working dog is not used to being around other animals and people keep them on a lead but remember to try and hide it behind them if you don’t want it to show on your dog’s photographs.
Whilst it is good to take photographs of your working dog posing, playing or even working in a scenic location try to take some head shots too:
- Kneel down and position your camera viewfinder level with your dogs head
- Zoom in with your lens and fill the frame with your dogs head but be careful not to cut out tips of their ears.
- Choose a wide aperture such as f 5.6 (or portrait mode on your camera) to create a blurred background
- Try to make sure your dogs eyes are wide open and in focus
- If photographing your dog in bright sunlight make sure they are not looking directly into the sun which might make them squint.
- To create an interesting composition try to place your dog ‘s eyes/nose slightly off centre rather than in the middle of the frame.
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these photography ideas with your Working Dogs – this is the 7th in my series of Blogs about photographing all of the Kennel Club dog breed groups. Click Here for Utility Dog Photography Ideas, Click Here to read about How to Photograph Toy Dog Breeds, Click Here to read about How to Photograph Terriers, Click Here for Ideas to Photograph Pastoral Dogs, Click Here for Gundog Photography, Click Here for Hound Dog Photography Hints & Tips
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Click Here to receive a Free Printable PDF Pocket Guide which accompanies this article and includes an Equipment Checklist, a Shot List and a Checklist for preparing yourself and your Working Dogs for a photography shoot.
During my experience of photographing dogs taking part in agility and fly ball at The Kennel Club Award Winning K9 Academy I have found that the Pastoral Dogs particularly the Collies can be quite challenging to capture in action because of the speed involved. So try out these photography techniques when photographing your Pastoral Agility Dogs:
- Try to pre-empt the movement of your dog and position yourself in a suitable place
- Set your camera to a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second or Sports Mode to try and take photographs of your dog frozen mid motion
- Prepare to take a fast succession of photographs by setting your camera to continuous shooting mode
- Whilst taking photographs quickly try not to crop out the end of your dogs tail or tips of the ears
Dog Breeds in the Pastoral Dog Group such as the Border Collie, Corgi and Old English Sheep Dog were originally associated with guarding, droving and herding cattle, sheep, reindeer and other cloven-footed animals. Whilst these breeds of dogs are often kept as domestic pets nowadays they are still likely to show the genetic instincts of stock management.
To capture pet photographs of your Pastoral Dogs showing their natural traits such as stalking and herding:
- Take your Pastoral Dog to a countryside location
- Position your Pastoral Dog with a picturesque backdrop
- Keep your dog on a lead in the countryside if they are not used to being around livestock
- Shoot wide angle to incorporate a wide field of view into your pet portraits
- Use a narrow aperture such as f16-f22 or landscape mode on your camera
To create a rustic country feel and enhance your Pastoral Dog photographic pet portraits use props such as bales of hay, cartwheels, milk churns and antique suitcases, preferably in an outdoor setting such as a garden or field.
- Position rustic props carefully against a suitable background
- Groom your dog so that he/she is looking their best before dog photography
- Sit your dog in front of the props to create an interesting composition
- Kneel down to your dogs eye level and try to gain direct eye contact
- Don’t use flash as this might startle your dog – but use good natural light instead
The best known of the Pastoral Dogs is probably the versatile German Shepherd Dog which is trained by police and military across the world and is often used as a Guide Dog for the Blind.
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these photography ideas with your Pastoral Dogs – this is the 3rd in my series of Blogs about photographing all of the Kennel Club dog breed groups. Click Here to read about Gundog Photography, Click Here to read about Hound Dog Photography Hints & Tips and watch this space in the next few weeks for Terriers, Toy, Utility and Working Dog Groups!
Please feel free to leave a comment and share this article
Click Here to receive a Free Printable PDF Pocket Guide which accompanies this article and includes an Equipment Checklist, a Shot List and a Checklist for preparing yourself and your Pastoral Dogs for a photography shoot.
Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters are the four recognised categories of Gundog Breeds. As the Labrador Retriever is the most popular pet dog in the UK the majority of companion dogs in the country are Gundogs. With a wide variety of all shapes and sizes throughout the different breeds the one thing all Gundogs have in common is the need for regular outdoor activity. This creates a perfect scenario for capturing stunning outdoor pet portraits surrounded by the natural environment.
There are a variety of stunning outdoor locations to be considered when planning to capture Gundog pet portraits. Depending on the time of year seasonal scenery can range from lovely lilac heather moorlands, blankets of orange leaves in Autumn, snow covered patchwork fields in Winter or a sheltered sandy beach in summer. Seasonal landscapes such as these can set the scene to create stunning backdrops for your pet photographs. To successfully incorporate seasonal landscapes into your pet photography:
- Positioning your Gundog in a suitable location
- Use a wide angle lens
- Choose a narrow aperture such as f16 – f22 (or landscape mode)
- Capture an expansive background behind your dog
Rolling countryside, waves lapping a sweeping shoreline or a majestic mountain range are ideal settings for your dog photographs however, If you are unable to access the countryside for any reason summer blooms or flowering spring bulbs in your garden or local park can also create an eye catching backdrop for your Gundog photography.
To capture attractive close ups photographs of your gundogs:
- Positions your dog in front of evergreen foliage, flowering shrubs or summer blooms
- Kneel down to a position where you are level with your Gundog’s eye line
- Zoom in with your lens to fill the frame with your dogs head (be careful not to crop out the tips of the ears)
- Select a wide aperture such as f 5.6 (or portrait mode on your camera)
- Create shallow depth of field to blur the background slightly
Capture creative images of working Gundogs showing natural behaviour traits of hunting and retrieving by using a fast shutter speed of least 1/500 of a second to freeze their actions – be prepared to hit the shutter button quickly as capturing unexpected behaviour often creates unusual and amusing pet photographs.
Part of the reason Gundogs are very popular pet dogs is that they are usually very loyal and affectionate to their owners. Pet photographs showing dog and owner together can be a powerful way to show this strong bond. To capture photographs of pets and owners together:
- Try setting the timer on your camera to allow yourself time to move into position beside your dog(s)
- Ask a friend to oblige by taking the picture
- Commission a professional pet photographer to capture such a special moment www.debsdogphotos.wordpress.com
Always avoid using flash when capturing dog photographs as firing a flash not only creates the potential problem of startling your dog but also forms a strange green glow in their eyes (the equivalent to red eye in humans).
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these pet photography ideas with your Gundogs whether they are Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters and ultimately capture keepsakes of your special pet to treasure forever. If you found this article useful please feel free to share it and leave a comment below. Click Here to receive a FREE Printable PDF Pocket Guide which accompanies this article – including an Equipment Checklist, Shot List, and Checklist for Preparing Yourself and Your Gundog for a Photo Shoot!
It is not surprising that Keswick, Cumbria was recently recognised as the best dog friendly town in the UK. Keswick was the Winner of the Town/City Category of ” Be Dog Friendly Awards” a Kennel Club initiative to encourage non pet businesses and public places to be more dog friendly. There are not only plenty of great locations for dog walks with stunning scenery (and fabulous photo opportunities) in Keswick but also lots of dog friendly accommodation, shops and pubs, with water bowls often available on the town centre streets for thirsty dogs.
The benefits of dog friendly public places include increased social interaction (dogs owners often stop and chat together )thus creating a friendly atmosphere and not forgetting the business benefits of accommodating the estimated 8 million dog owners in the UK to a town centre whereby trade will consequently improve. If you run a businesses such as a pub, hotel, cafe or shop in the UK you could not only benefit from increased trade by welcoming dogs and their owners to your premises but by being a dog friendly workplace studies have shown that your business could prosper with reduced stress levels, increased attendance and improved moral of your staff .
On the other side of the fence It is important to be a responsible pet owner and ensure dogs are toilet trained and able to sit, stay, be recalled and are well controlled in food serving premises. The Kennel Club encourages “Petiquette” practical tips for pet owners to ensure their pet is welcome in pet friendly businesses and public places – for more information see http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/our-resources/kennel-club-campaigns/be-dog-friendly/petiquette/
Debbie Whitfield is a professional pet photographer in Cumbria and owner of Maggie the Red and White Border Collie. Click here to find out more about Debbie.
Hi I’m Maggie and I live in Cumbria with Deb who is a pet photographer – she recently took me for a walk around Derwentwater, Keswick in the English Lake District. As you can see Deb composed this pet photograph with a wide angle lens by positioning me on a rock in the foreground, with the still water of Derwentwater and sailing boats in the middle distance and the Cumbrian mountains in the background. A standard zoom wide angle or short lens (around 18mm-55mm) is sometimes called a kit lens as it usually comes with a camera purchase. It can create a wide field of view and give a sense of distance with depth of field so is often used for landscape photography, but can also be used successfully for pet portrait photography. When composing a pet photograph with a wide angle lens you can create a sense of distance by including a strong foreground feature, an interesting subject in the middle distance and a scenic background. You will also notice Deb composed the photograph with me looking into the scene (rather than to the edge of the photo) to draw the eye of the viewer around the stunning scenery.
Try out this pet photography technique to capture compelling photography of your pet in their favourite location. “Woof Woof!” Speak Soon – Maggie
Today my puppy pal Bobby came to play and Deb took some pet photographs of us! Bobby is a Border Collie Dog and lives in Cumbria too, but he’s a bit younger than me and as you can see he has black, white and brown hair, (I think it’s called tri coloured) not red and white like me . We had a great time chasing each other around the garden. Sometimes we did high flying judo moves in mid air and sometimes we played hide and seek. I played a joke on Bobby and pretended I was dead just so that I could jump up and catch him! Deb laid down on the grass too I thought she wanted to play but she was doing her pet photography! It is a good idea to lie/kneel down to your dogs level and focus on their eyes using a fast shutter speed (or sports mode on your compact) to capture a good photos of them playing.
Speak Soon Woof! Woof! Maggie
Deb my mum is a pet photographer in Cumbria and we thought you might like to know how she composes pet photographs to make them interesting so that maybe you can try to take some creative photographs of your own pet.
Whilst capturing pet photography Deb usually places me or my face (the main focal point of the photograph) off centre to create an interesting composition. Imagine two vertical lines and two horizontal lines across your camera viewfinder when composing your shot and place your focal point where the lines cross, like this –
As you will notice Deb has placed my eyes were the lines intersect with my nose on the vertical line to create a pleasing composition.
Sometimes she uses landscape format placing the longest side of the photograph at the bottom of the frame, like this –
Sometimes she chooses portrait format by turning her camera so that the longest side of the image is vertical, just like this –
Experiment with both to see which works best for your pet portraits.
By capturing wide angle shots (standing back and setting her lens as wide as possible) Deb captures photographs of me with an interesting background to create a sense of space and set the scene. As I am a Red and White Border Collie Dog and I like to stalk sheep , so Deb captured a wide angle shot to show one of my behaviour traits. In Cumbria there are lovely landscape scenes which Deb uses as a backdrop for wide angle shots but you could practice this pet photography technique in your garden or local park.
Wide Angle Composition
She also captures close ups of me by zooming in and/or standing close when composing her photo to show finer details like my yellow eyes and red fur off well.
Close Up Composition
I hope you will enjoy trying out these pet photography composition techniques.
Have a look at some of Deb’s pet photo galleries https://debsdogphotos.wordpress.com/photo-galleries/
Speak Soon Woof! Woof ! Maggie