Partners-10xRoxbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

I got home from work the other day and was happy to see there was still some light in the sky. A good sign that the season has changed. To celebrate I gathered Wally, my dog, and camera with one lens, a lightweight carbon fiber tripod with ballhead, and headed out for a walk. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to take the boy out for a really good walk and he was happy–joyful even, to be out of the house and walking new territory.

I soon found myself pulled in two directions, literally. I won’t let Wally run free off the leash as much as both of us would like it. He is a good natured dog, and I’m confident he would come if I called him, but I also know that I would never forgive myself if some harm came to him while off leash. At the same time I was trying to look for photographs, and it seemed that every time I put the camera to my eye Wally would give a tug and the camera would be pulled away. After that happened a few times I began to think he was doing it on purpose. I had two options; put the leash on the ground and step on it or tie it to a nearby tree. Stepping on the leash was quicker, but it tended to pin me to that spot making it hard to recompose without picking up the leash and starting over. I tried tying the leash to my belt, but when Wally saw something he wanted to investigate his tug would be enough to jerk my whole body, usually when I was pressing the shutter. So we would walk, Wally with his nose to the ground, me with my eye out for a likely subject, until I spotted a likely spot, at which point I would tie Wally and go make a few exposures.

The sun had set behind the local hills and the light was starting to fail when I saw these two trees, their branches entwined, and the lone tree in the distance that they framed. Do they lean on one another in bad weather? I had time for just a couple of exposures and the light was gone. By now Wally and I had developed something like a method if not a partnership. Not bad for a first effort.


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