Photographing Great Danes
Photographing a Great Dane - Ballarat
What a gorgeous weekend, the final one of Winter and Spring weather arrived two days early!
I had organised a trip to Ballarat to visit a friend, meet her new puppy Zelda and take some photos of the 2 of them together around their home town. We were hoping her 2 teenage sons would also hang out for a few pics, but as teenagers do, they made themselves scarce……one had a party in Melbourne and the other had Homework…..or so he said!
My friend Sue lost her beloved Bernese Mountain dog, Miss Phoenix at aged 10yrs, earlier in the year. Miss P had been an integral member of the family through thick and thin and had moved from QLD to Ballarat, taking it all in her enormous woolly stride.
Sue has always had dogs, BIG ones, in the 20 years I have known her, I have met Foster a gorgeous, generous sized Golden Retriever , Miss P the massive hairy mountain dog and now the currently “overzealous” Zelda is the newest BIG addition. ( I would have used energetic and enthusiastic, but overzealous rhymes so much better with Zelda…and well, means the same and more so!)
Zelda is a super sized Piebald, Great Dane puppy who is now 5 months old and one of a litter of 8.
Wow, giving birth to 8 of those puppies gives Octo-mum nothing to complain about!
At 5 months, I’d hazard Zelda is between 30-40kg and she likes to let you feel it!
I can’t say I have ever noticed other dogs weight, or perhaps you just don’t notice because they are so much lighter.
At every opportunity, Zelda would enjoy a “lean on me” experience, or jump up and place her enormous heavy paws affectionately around your shoulders, on your lap or as she did at every opportunity whilst in the car, across my forearm, whilst having a lean-on, get my balance, you can support me, not so safe driving practice! (I wasn’t driving thank goodness)
I should mention at this point, she really needs a manicure or I need to wear kevlar! Wow, big dogs have big nails.
Ever excited to be heading out with us, Zelda would jump into the car, nudge her way forward and eagerly watch the windscreen for the next location.
My plan was to photograph a Great Dane in some local haunts.
We discovered the back blocks of the Ballarat Train Station for our first photo stop, derelict, graffiti’d (not artistically) and rubbish dumped….the goal, to avoid that in the photos and show urban grit without the grime.
Our next stop, we had timed our arrival for the late afternoon sun, the wind turbines of Waubra as a silent, majestic and somewhat soothing backdrop.
Fitting to have one of the biggest energy generators as a backdrop to one of the biggest Dog’s, mind you, Zelda looked minute in comparison, almost petite!
She was just happy to be out in wide open space and loped about with joy in her big, heavy footed, sometimes awkward way.
Photographing Great Danes is not so easy, Zelda at 5 months old rarely sat still a moment!
I decided to lie on the gravel track and shoot from ground level, with a 200mm lens and Zelda charging at me full pelt, I really wish Sue had a camera to capture the aftermath!
Zelda was upon me in seconds and straddled me, nudging and leaning her weight on me whilst I was trying to protect a rather expensive camera and lens and hope she didn’t take off with my prescription sunglasses whilst laughing uncontrollably and trying to fend her off.
Zelda did pose for a nano second for a few pics before she bounded off for more play!
Photographing Great Danes is filled with surprises…….Sharing some love and adoration looks with her Mum.
Leaving the wind turbines behind, the end of a spectacular pre-Spring day.
Or, so we thought until we passed by a quaint little church and stopped in for a few quick photos in the semi dark, Zelda was more interested in the yapping little dog over the fence than the sandstone architecture and gabled windows.
Now the advantage of staying over….there is day 2!
We really should have been up at the crack of dawn, I had in my mind Sue and Zelda silhouetted by a shroud of mystical fog down by the lake, but turns out the fog was reserved for Melbourne last week not Ballarat.
So we slept in and arrived at the lake at 8am instead…..the sun was high and bright!
Sue is a Rower, competing in the Master’s games in October so we thought some pics outside her rowing club would be fitting, Zelda was far more interested in the passing joggers and her energy stores had been rejuvenated by a good nights sleep on her 16yr old brothers bed!
I have a 16yr old and cannot imagine how comfortably a lad of that size and a dog that big fit on the bed, let alone sleep! I wonder who snores the loudest? Anyway, Zelda certainly seemed to have slept and was ready to go!
We wandered down further, Zelda attempting to join every jogger along the way to a small pier, where she decided to take an unrehearsed swim. A little clumsy? ……. maybe!
Photographing Great Danes is certainly unpredictable!
Lake Wendouree is a picturesque spot, a great walking, running, dog walking track, pretty trees and very nice real Estate!
The Botanical Gardens are nearby and dogs are allowed in on a leash….I’m not sure they are meant to eat the daffodils though….Oops
So Sue showed Zelda what you are meant to do with pretty flowers, that’s right Zelda…..sniff them! Awwwwww
Still not worn out, goodness …. we are and isn’t it breakfast time yet!
We finish with a few photo ops outside the glass-house and inside a beautiful Pavillion in the gardens.
Time to head home to drop of Zelda and Breakfast time!
BYE ZELDA, I’ll miss your goofy puppy closeness, “don’t know how heavy I am” in your face happiness and energetic exuberance for company.
Above all, Photographing Great Danes is fun!
So, until next time..and one thing is for sure, my next tale will be even BIGGER!
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