It Happens Again

About a week after meeting Helen B, who so graciously took great quality photos of me and Meadow during an afternoon walk, it happened again.

Meadow appears to be a magnet for photographers. Here's what happened on November 28th.

Meadow and I head out for an afternoon stroll. The sun is shining. I have my iPhone. When we get to Old Market Street - a old road reclaimed as a park walkway along the shore of Lake Washington - I ask Meadow to pose in front of one of many memorial benches set on a raised deck along the road's length.

She cooperates. Sort of. I ask her to jump up onto the bench, but after putting a single paw there, then giving me a look that says, "I'd rather not," I let her have her way and simply pose in front of it.

Looking north along the walkway. It's actually an old bridge; the lake is to the left, and underneath and to the right is a vibrant wetland area, full of beavers, ducks, frogs and other creatures who thrive in or on the water.

Meadow does her best to obey the law. The ducks don't appear disturbed.

IAlong this stretch of the walk we always see a huge variety of birds: eagles; egrits; blue herons; mallards; wood ducks; swans; and many others I can't identify.

Mallards preening.

After taking several photos, Meadow and I continue on our walk, heading toward Juanita Bay Park proper. I can see several trumpeter swans in the distance, and hope to get a decent photo of them with my phone from one of the boardwalks with viewing platforms jutting into the lake from the park.

As we walk onto a viewing platform, I notice two tripods set up with professional grade cameras and lenses pointing at the swans, and two men standing behind them. The men are chatting to each other; an elderly couple is also there, enjoying the view. As soon as Meadow makes her entrance, all eyes focus on her. "Oh my, what a gorgeous dog!" says one of the photographers. "What is she?" I have my standard answer ready. "She's an Alaskan malamute with a haircut," I say. While we exchange pleasantries, both of the photographers are holding out hands for Meadow to sniff, and cooing about her appearance. Then they both whip out digital cameras from their coats and simultaneously ask if they can take photos of her! Of course, I agree. They both take several photos and show me the results on the camera displays. The older guy then shows me photos of his Tibetan terrier and we talk about that breed for a bit.

I ask if the big white birds trumpeter swans. They verify that they are. The younger photographer tells me that he's also been seeing a snowy owl in this area recently. I can tell he loves these birds, and photographing them.

I ask the men if they publish any of the photos they take of the birds. The younger of the two - he's about 30 - turns without a word and plucks a book out of his bag and shows it to me. "Oh!" I exclaimed immediately, recognizing the cover. "I have that! A friend gave it to me as a gift. It's great; wonderful photos." The young man smiles big, then gives me a one-armed hug around my shoulders in appreciation. A sweet gesture. [This photographer's name is Aaron Baggenstos, and the book is called Kirkland's Wildlife of Juanita Bay.]

Just then, one group of big white trumpeter swans starts swimming toward another. "Photo op!" the older photographer says, and both of them return to their cameras on tripods and start shooting. I take out my iPhone, feeling completely amateurish and inadequate, but manage to get this shot:

You can sort of see the big white swans.

I should have taken a photo of the photographers, but that didn't occur to me until much later.

Meadow and I say our goodbyes and head back the way we came. After leaving the boardwalk and back in Juanita Bay Park proper, we pass two more photographers with tripods on their shoulders, heading out to the viewing platform. The second one looks at Meadow and smiles. We keep walking, but then I hear someone say something behind me. I turn, and the second photographer has stopped and is looking at us. I put my hand to my ear to indicate I hadn't heard him, and he says, "Do you jog?"

To me, that's not such an odd question. I run a lot, and frequently through this park. So I immediately think he's seen me running but is confused and unsure because when I run, I have Finn with me, not Meadow. "Yes," I reply, "but not with this dog." By now the photographer has approached, and explains that he's a professional photographer who often provides photos for a company called Human Kinetics, that he's recently received an email asking for photos of an over-35 woman jogging with a dog. Would I be willing to run a short distance so he can take some photos?

Now that is a rather odd question.

The photographer appears legit, though. Probably in his sixties. "Do you have a business card?" I ask, being cautious. He does, and hands one to me. His name is Dale. We then agree that Meadow and I will run a few strides along the Old Market Street portion of the park. Dale sets up his camera and tripod. Luckily, my dog walking clothes for winter are mostly old running clothes, so after shedding my fleece jacket, I do sort of look like a runner. Meadow and I pretend to run for the camera.

Interestingly, Meadow thinks this was great fun, and requires no extra prompting to run alongside me for several strides. In fact, she bounces with joyful abandon!

"Send me an email and I'll send you any photos that turn out," says Dale. 

When I get home, I Google his name, find his web site, and verify that he is indeed a professional photographer. He has taken some fabulous photos of the local water birds as well as action shots of high school sports teams (football, soccer). 

True to his word, he sent me two photos. Here's one:

Doesn't Meadow look happy and youthful? Three of four feet off the ground! And me? Well, no mistaking I'm over 35 with all that gray hair flying!

Another fun afternoon strolling with my dog the photographer magnet.

Rebecca WallickComment