Washington · USA
I can't lie--I didn't come up with this shot entirely on my own. I thought I'd had the lush forest trail all to myself when the passing high clouds sent warm light suffusing through the fronds of a healthy stand of sword ferns. I set my tripod low and tried to compose a shot before the light moved on, but nothing I saw on the camera’s LCD quite seemed right. All of a sudden I heard a voice off in the distance: “Charlie! Charlie, come back here, sweetie! Look out!!” Before my brain could figure out what was going on I looked up from my camera to find the most happy-go-lucky-looking husky I'd ever seen clumsily rambling toward me. My effort to stand up and avoid the swiftly approaching dog was halfhearted at best, I'll admit, predicated as it were on the erroneous belief that surely he’d swerve at the last second to avoid me. Instead he plowed straight into me at bullet-train speed (I might be exaggerating slightly here) as I still half-crouched, and I stumbled backwards into my camera with a swath of warm doggy slobber on my hands.
A group of older adults soon appeared around the bend in the trail, and a lady among them--the voice I’d heard earlier--called out, “I’m so sorry! Charlie’s blind!” I looked over at Charlie and sure enough, his droopy eyelids and opaque lenses confirmed his impairment. My heart melted.
“Oh, no problem!” I replied. “No problem at all!” I reached over and gave Charlie a scratch on the head before he went on his merry tongue- and tail-wagging way, still taking the lead on his owners despite his blindness. I turned back to find the image on my camera’s LCD screen virtually as you see it here: a diagonal composition that looked far more appealing than the clunky vertical arrangements I'd experimented with before. I pressed the shutter, and viewing the photos back at home I could only half-chuckle and half-cringe at the reality that my best photographic effort that day required the help of a Seeing Eye dog. A blind one, no less.