Autumn at Westonbirt

The National Arboretum at Westonbirt ( is one of our favourite places. Typically we are there every Saturday morning for a walk with our dogs Coco & Marley among the trees, plants and other dog lovers. It is certainly a mecca for dogs – I’d guess that a very significant percentage of those people that arrive soon after opening have one or more dogs in tow. Our dogs absolutely love it – doggy heaven. For me it’s great to meet the other dogs and their owners and hopefully take a photograph or two.

This morning’s highlight was meeting Dante the whippet and Zeus the young boxer:

Of course given the time of year the main attraction at Westonbirt is the display of autumn colour. I have no idea what the ‘expert’ opinion is but I think it may be an exceptional year for colour; certainly Westonbirt is looking very beautiful indeed and there is much more potential for colour to develop through the next few weeks as we slide inevitably toward winter. Whilst Yellow Hound is focused an the animal side of my work I love to photograph all sorts of subjects and can’t resist the lure of nature in particular. The challenge of course is to arrive at a composition that is artistically pleasing and this is something that can be particularly challenging when faced with fantastic colours and beauty in abundance. This week I felt that I spent most of my time wandering the grounds enjoying the surroundings but failing to find good compositions. Indeed I often feel that whilst the temptation my be to try to capture the wide view it is often the details or narrow views that are are more pleasing; very often when I’m walking with my wife she will point to something and say ‘that’s nice’ but, whilst lovely, I can’t see how to make it work as a photographic composition as there is no obvious focal point.

Here are a few shots from this week – I’d be delighted to hear your views on them.


My name is Chris Tarling and I'm a photographer living in Cheltenham (the centre of the wonderful Cotswolds!) with my wife and two labradors; the irrepressible Coco & Marley. I've been a passionate photographer since my teen years, chasing the perfect image initially through precious slide film and now with my digital cameras. I absolutely love taking pictures of my two labradors, they are without doubt my muses and feature prominently throughout my web site. I have a priceless record of them growing up from puppies, so much so that they are both very used to my camera. Posed photographs have their place but for me the thrill lies in capturing their unique characters in an arresting image. My favourite pictures are invariably taken whilst the guys are playing freely - they absolutely love any water and a good 'throwie stickie' session. Largely this means that they are wet and dirty most of the time but the fun they are having always shines through. My aim in setting up Yellow Hound is to use my skills as a photographer, and my deep love of animals, to generate wonderful, special images for others. Images that will be cherished, that capture their personality and also the bond with their owners. I like to work closely with an animal's owner to understand both of their characters, what they enjoy and hence create an environment at each session that's fun and produces great images. Whilst I love dogs and animals I am keen photographer of many different subjects; you'll see some examples of my work on this site. I also work commercially so if you run a business and are looking for a special image to use then please give me a call to discuss what I can create.

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