Musings on Anthropomorphism.- (Well, sort of)

I spent much of last week at Quadpaws photographing the dog agility show. Quadpaws takes place at Mapledurham a little way north of Reading – the event is actually situated within the Mapledurham Estate right next to the river Thames. With such a fab location comes an abundance of wildlife, especially birds. In particular I was drawn to the behaviour of a particular swan. Over the week I watched the swan (I presume male) chase away other swans and geese – it simply would not tolerate any other large bird on ‘its’ stretch of the river.

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Now, as a dog lover I guess I’m quick to anthropomorphise all kinds of wildlife. Indeed I had this swan down as ‘territorial’ or ‘just plain grumpy’. Having formed my view I continued to watch the bird’s hissing, flapping, splash and chasing displays with detached amusement.

Towards the end of the week, and following a particularly noisy challenge to an encroaching swan, I decided to take a walk down the river towards the weir and see what the bird was up to. The cause of his aggression quickly became clear – this was no ‘grumpy’ bird but an active parent diligently making sure that nothing came close that might threaten his family. His protective instincts extended to warning off a family of geese, though at least he allowed them some proximity.

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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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