Film Photography

Captured: Snow-covered dog

Snow-covered dog

I can’t believe Gracie is still with me. She’s at least 16 now! She’s stiff and slow, but as eager as ever to be anywhere I am.

I had some Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 in my Pentax ME, and my 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M lens was attached. I had a few shots left on the roll and decided to burn them off so I could get the film processed. Gracie was delighted to follow me out into the yard, my favorite photographic venue. (Seriously. I take more pictures at home than anywhere else.) We’d gotten a big dumping of snow; my sons and I had cleared the driveway the day before. As Gracie and I walked out onto the driveway, a big wind gust blew snow off the roof and onto both of us. Gracie, being a dog, was undaunted. I snapped this shot of her right away.

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Photography

Captured: Travel buddies

Travel buddies

When I surveyed the Michigan Road in 2008, my dogs were my constant companions. I’d fold the back seat down in my little red wagon and pop the hatch for them. They always eagerly jumped in – they wanted to go wherever I was going. The point of the trip was to photograph the sights along the road. We were quite a sight, me with a camera in one hand and them leashed on the other. When we walked through the Michigan Road’s towns, people frequently stopped me to remark on my dogs. Gracie, left, is a Golden Retriever-Chow mix; Sugar, right, is a Rottweiler runt. I’ll never forget the elegant elderly woman in Madison whose eyes welled up with tears as she remembered her long departed, beloved Rottie. And when I reached tiny Kirklin, having two large dogs on a leash helped keep the peace when shopkeepers accosted me with sharp questions about why I was photographing their town.

Sugar fell ill and passed that summer. She was the best dog I ever had – smart, gentle, loyal, and good natured. Gracie is an abused stray; she’s never been quite right, even 14 years after she made her home with me. Age has flecked her face with gray, robbed her of her hearing, and generally slowed her down. Jumping into my wagon is hard for her now; I usually have to pick her up and put her inside. And long trips just exhaust her. But she still always wants to go.

Gracie sleeps a lot now. That’s all right; she’s earned it. Read about it.

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Photography

Captured: Letting my sleeping dog lie

Letting my sleeping dog lie

This is Gracie, about whom I’ve written before. She was fully grown when she came into my life as a stray 13 years ago, and now I wonder how much longer she’ll be with me. She sleeps a lot these days, hard and deep. Her hearing is going – she can’t hear my voice anymore, so I clap to call her in from the back yard. Sometimes she doesn’t have any interest in her dinner.

I didn’t want her when we got her. We already had two dogs and I forget how many cats. But now I’m so glad I have her, now that “we” is just she and I. She’s always thrilled to see me when I come home, always happy to snooze nearby when I’m doing what I do around the house, and always ready to go for a walk or ride along on a road trip. She plays the dog role well, and despite myself I have fallen hard for it.

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