A Monkey's Revenge - My Blog

Chariots of Fido

A freezing cold morning at 6 am saw me in the National Forest photographing Andy Steadman and his husky dog team-in training for Aviemore Sled Dog Rally, the biggest event in the British husky calendar this weekend. Around 200 teams of dogs from all over the country literally straining at the leash to compete across a snow-covered course.

Unfortunately husky driving training only takes place very early in the morning or late at night- both times when dog walkers tend to be back at home with their feet up in front of a nice warm fire. This means of course that it's very dark, so something of a challenge to photograph dog teams moving along at 22mph in a forest illuminated only by the musher's petzl headtorch!

Off camera flash, panning and getting in close with a 10mm lens was the solution and the only way to cut down on the blurring caused by the speed at which the dog-pulled 'chariot' flashes past in the dark. Tearing alongside on a quadbike was not an option as the track was mainly only wide enough for the dog team. I only had a few chances to get it right with only one shot possible for each circuit of the trail.

Andy's friend Max Wightman also races, but with his team of Scandinavian hounds. The howling from the dogs as they are harnessed up has to be heard to be believed-they simply can't wait to get going! After just 2 runs for the huskies and one for the hounds, the training session was over and as day broke and dog walkers and keen hikers started to appear, the dogs were re-housed in their trailer 'motel' and we headed off for breakfast.

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