Five black labs at the lake.
It was a good morning to be one of Carol's dogs. There was frigid water to swim in, sticks, friends, treats and a nice wide sandy beach. No leashes, no rules.
Carol hurled a stick into the cold lake water and all five large labs plunged in after it. Over and over again because ten times is never enough.
10 year-old Artemus entertained himself with a series of larger and larger sticks while 11 year-old litter mates Elliott and Oliver retrieved together.
The junior members of the pack, in age, but definitely not size, Ignatius and Sebastian, played keep-away with Sebastian as the victor. Check out the look on Ignatius's face in the last frame.
With all that was going on at once, it was hard to decide where to point the camera.
Sebastian, who often looks a bit worried when he's not sure he's doing things exactly right, is a show dog headed to Westminster in February. He gallantly posed for a few portraits to round out his stud dog portfolio. He stacked like he'd been doing it all his life, gave us every head shot angle we could have hoped for and then quietly and gently insisted it was time to get paid.
There might have been a dog (who shall remain nameless) a bit slow to return when called, a less-than-perfect sit-stay or a big wet dog shaking cold water next to an unsuspecting photographer, but I can't remember for sure. I do remember how much fun we had watching the dogs enjoy themselves, recording their antics and capturing their personalities.
Five clean and meticulously groomed labs who lined up for a portrait in front of a picturesque lake became five wet, contented dogs who'd had their fill of cavorting on the beach.
By the time I was done culling and editing the hundreds of photos I took I could tell them apart without their color-coded collars. Mostly.