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Monday, June 11

Moving the goalposts

Where have all the dogs gone? Ray Moore could conjure up a hound or two (apparently) when he needed them. Lots of other photographers can as well. I've had luck influencing the flight patterns of seagulls so they fly into my frame at just the right spot, but dogs?

I love the creatures - have three wee bichon frise pals who are great (they look nothing like the poncy ones you see at dog shows, btw), even if they stop me and Cath from getting a holiday together as they'd never survive going to a kennel for a couple of weeks. You'd think there would be some quid pro quo from the canine world to one of its major benefactors. But, no. 

Hence the rather empty-looking photograph at the top of the page. I waited for about 30-40 minutes sitting on a grassy bank overlooking these local council football pitches in vain. I wanted a big black dog to stop for a pee against the nearest goalposts. At a push, one of the goalposts in the next row back would have done. Even a white dog would have been acceptable. Possibly even preferable. These are hardly unreasonable requests and I'm flexible.

To be honest, I wasn't too prepared for this shot. I had the OM1 and a 28-135mm Tamron zoom on it, a roll of Tmax 100 and nothing else. It was about 8.30 a.m. and the weather was quite dull. At f4 I was working at 125th - and no tripod. The Tamron zoom is quite decent but it's not outstanding close to wide open. I'd have liked to have been at f11 and tripod-mounted.

Normally, I'd have gone for a walk along the beach at that time of day but I feel I've photographed that area to death in recent weeks and wanted something different. I'd played football at Dundee's Drumgeith Park as a teenager but had never visited it since so I thought it was worth a look.

Perfect Placement

Is it possible that whoever laid out the football pitches many moons ago did so without reference to the needs of a photographer sitting on a bank overlooking them? It hardly seems possible so perfectly placed are they. If I could pick them up and reposition them I don't know if I could improve on their arrangement seen from my particular viewpoint.

The 135mm end of the zoom was needed to frame them nicely. Unfortunately, the lens suffers a bit from some vignetting unless stopped down a few stops although the slight darkening of the outer edges of the frame actually works quite well in this photo. I don't think it's quite as marked as it seems here when I print from such a neg: the scanner has probably made it look worse than it is.

After developing the film in ID11 stock, I was quite pleased with this shot and resolved to keep going back until a black dog, pack of wolves, herd of wildebeest or similar, made an appearance. A week or so later I returned to the park, fingers crossed. What did I find? Some bugger had taken the goalposts in for the summer season! They had literally moved the goalposts! It couldn't have been the guy who laid them out 40 years ago as he would obviously have checked with me to see if I had everything I needed first.

My suspicion is that it was a woman. They can accompany men to the terraces or even start playing the game but we all know deep down that they're just doing it to spoil men's fun. 'Twas ever thus.


milldave said...

Thanks for a great post, Bruce!
The last two paragraphs really made my day!
Greetings from the Peoples' Republic of California.
PS I'm really glad you're back and writing in your unique style; such a change from so much dross out there in Cyberspace.

Herman Sheephouse said...

I rather like them dogless, however you've missed a trick in not photoshopping one in.
EVerybody's doin' it, doin' it, doin' it . . pickin' their nose and chewin' it, chewin' it, chewin it . . .

DavidM said...

I dunno. You don't understand Wimmin at all. They accompany their menfolk because they really enjoy making tea. Ask any woman and you'll get a full exposition of the deep fulfilment of tea-making.
We have a field, just like yours, just up the road, filled with goalposts, but I've never managed to get a shot as good as yours. Well done. Like yours, our goalposts migrate to some peaceful goalpost holiday-home in the summer
And now, a secret.
This was from a photographer (Elliot Erwitt, maybe?) who has taken a good few dogs snaps.
Liver. A small piece of liver, placed on the Thirds, is the secret of the casual but serendipitous presence of dogs in pictures. Other tasty morsels are available.
Is nothing sacred?

John Carter said...

milldave didn't get it completely right: it is the 'Peoples' Socialist Republic of California.' Where they are always moving the goalposts.

Forget that, I like your photo even without a dog. I started documenting every building in Danville about ten years ago (maybe more). I can't believe how many have been knocked down or remodeled to look like a Ramada Inn. So, historic photography has a short incubation period is my area.