This morning my alarm went off at 6am like it always does.
I climbed out of bed and headed towards the spare room window. The spare room faces the front of the house, and it's always a lovely spot to watch the sun come up. We're the only house on our street that doesn't have another opposite, so we get a really good view of the sun rising over the hills in the morning.
It's funny, I don't know why I do it, but the first thing I always check when I wake up is what the sunrise will be like.
I find a lot of inspiration in the colours of the morning, it always makes me visualise stepping outside with my camera and photographing horses or dogs under colourful dawning skies.
This morning was no different. Blurry eyed I peered out the window. The sky was clear, with a band of deep orange on the horizon and the occasional twinkling star left over from the night passed. I battled in my mind. To go, or not to go?
With the imminent arrival of the next storm, I decided not to waste the chance at getting out into the autumn air with the boys. I got dressed, grabbed a coffee and hopped in my car (Charlie thought it was a little early for a walkies, but he obliged after some gentle nudges and hearing the jingle of his collar).
It's only a 4 minute drive to a lovely quiet spot in our local country park, so I headed there, parked up, and made my way up the hill.
Pinks, oranges, pastel blues. The colours filled the sky as I reached the top of the hill. They glowed and twinkled through the silhouetted leaves. I set the boys up to get a couple of photos, but nothing felt like it was working. Sure, they were pretty photos but there's a deep desire to create something new when it comes to my own dogs. I like to scrape the depths of my creative barrell and try new things. I sighed. Moved on to various spots but still nothing was lighting the fire.
I decided to call it a day, and go via little spot where I could recreate a gorgeous photo of a client's dog that I got a few days before.
It can be really hard to accept defeat as a creative, but I told myself to let it go. Just being here was enough and after all the boys needed walking anyway.
Head dropped, I started walking back towards the car. As I was heading back, I scanned the sky with my eyes and my vision was obstructed by the most beautiful oak tree. I've passed it thousands of times when walking, but it was silhouetted against the sky with the light glistening through the oranging leaves and its roots surrounded by the brown and gold of leaves that had already fallen.
Then it came to me. A vision of the most gorgeous photo.
Albert isn't a fan of standing up on things, so I left this one to Charlie. I guess this is significant because really he was the inspiration for all this photography malarky in the very beginning. I positioned him where I wanted him, but he wouldn't look up the tree for some reason. My creative flame was flickering dimly now. I tried a few times, and for a dog that constantly scans the tree tops for squirrels, he really wasn't playing ball.
One more go, I thought.
I swear this dog is in my mind. He did exactly what I wanted and held still for a good few seconds to allow me to take the shot. The same flame he lit over 4 years was burning brightly again inside.
It's hard to describe the feeling. When you're on the verge of giving up - which for me with my own dogs is always a huge challenge as I've photographed them so much over the years - and then one huge rush of desire comes flooding back when you create something new.
There's so much more to a photograph than just the pretty picture you see in front of you.
This image will always mean so much to me for so many reasons. I'm thrilled I got up and out this morning. Imagine missing the rollercoaster of emotions for a few more minutes sleep.
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