On last week's post, it was a bit strange to read comments asking ,"Wow is that photo with your dog and Cadel real or Photoshopped?" O.K. peeps, I know I Photoshop a bit. And I use all sorts of filters on the camera and in software programs to enhance the photos. But seriously: I'm not that talented. I mean, this, this and this are my type of Photoshop projects. They're surreal, not real. Mmmmkay?
This is how that day went down.
On Tuesday, Mr. Wild Dingo emailed me and said he'd be home for lunch on Wednesday with his friend, Bob, another avid cyclist from the Bay Area who was here on business. He wanted to take the dogs to Morges to see the start of the Tour. I didn't even know it was going on, let alone starting in Morges, at the Tulip Fete and in the same park we go to all the time. So, okay. That sounds like a fun idea and a great opportunity to expose the dogs to a busy event. We go. Walking the 20 minutes was the right thing to do because there wasn't a speck of space to park even a SmartCar.
The car park was packed with bikes and trucks. We were bold and just walked in. The thing about Switzerland that I love so much is no event is really so big that it draws a huge crowd. I don't think I'd ever manage to get this close to Bradley Wiggin's bike (above) at a race in California. The crowds would be uncontrollably too huge to navigate. Here, you just sort of walk up and everything is accessible and low-key. There are no screaming fans. No pushy people asking for autographs. Just the racers and their team management hanging around.
"Princess, who's your pick for the Tour this year?"
"Big Boy, you should know by now, this husky only picks the person holding le sandwhich or le bagguette de beurre."
Even the pups got up close and personal. And I have to admit, having them so trained in photo sit-stays really helps because with this many bike riders rolling around and nervous team managers, well, you can pretty much do what you want as long your dog is behaved. A lot of the managers had something to say about how well they posed!
Because Mr. Wild Dingo was the person who taught me my way around a camera and the basics of all the settings, I let him shoot with the big camera and I shot with my point and shoot. But the first time BMC and Cadel Evens rode through I'm all, "Oh My God! Take the shot! Take the shot!" But he was much to preoccupied with Juno, who decided that it was a good time and place to poop.
Let's face it Internet: Mr. Wild Dingo has no skill at action papparazzi photography. He's got too much dignity to point the camera at people he's never met and just shoot. He has since lost his privileges to the big camera at all future events.
The second time BMC rolled through, I actually got the shot of Mr. Evans, who was checking out Loki as he rolled by. Or was he glaring at the shameless Italian snapping pictures?
Walking toward the start line, we made our way through the crowds. Juno started getting nervous and pulling like she did in the crowds in Lucerne. Naturally we took that signal seriously, knowing how easy it is that she could just explode in nervous diarrhea. So we looked for the first opportunity to find a less crowded area.
We crossed the street to get to that people-less area just after Astana rolled up. I swear it's a feast of eye candy with the bright colors and lanky muscular athletes. But one guy forgot to get the memo that it was blue arm warmer day, and stood out with his black arm warmers.
We crossed the street and that's when Cadel rolled up. So I took the opportunity to just hold my shutter button down on the continuous shooting mode and that's how I got the shot of Cadel pointing at me. Little did I know, Mr. Wild Dingo was also shooting and we got pretty much the same shots. He rolled up to us, and I'm certain he's about to tell me to stop taking his photograph but instead he asked in perfect French how Loki got his short hair if he was German Shepherd. We were too nervous to speak French at that point, and asked him to speak English. I mean the guy was less than 5 minutes away from the start and he's asking me about my dog. But what did I do? I shoved my leash into his hand and asked him if I could take his photo with my dog. Cadel was happy to do it. Notice Loki is stepping on Cadel's foot and he doesn't look too pleased. In fact he's looking at Mr. Wild Dingo who's standing to the side telling him he's a good boy. At this time Mr. Wild Dingo is explaining that Loki is crossed with Taiwanese Mountain Dog (Formosan Mountain Dog) which is a descendant of the Asian Hunting dog. All the while I'm just crouching and shooting with my crappy point and shoot camera.
Knowing who Loki is, and how his anxiety is so forcefully wrapped up in pack drive--in other words, he'll throw a hissy fit if he thinks I'm leaving him with a stranger--the idea of having him pose like this with the 2011 Tour de France winner was nothing short of bold. On the other hand, both dogs are extremely used to posing with strangers as some have asked for photos with them and depending on how feel about the stranger asking (I think they're genuine and not whacky) I allow it. So while they don't like posing with strangers, they do it. Loki isn't too pleased just yet.
It takes Loki a while to warm up. Cadel knew just the type of scratches to give him and soon enough Loki settled in for better shots.
So that's how it went down Internet. No Photoshop. Just a little color enhancing.
Days later, Mr. Wild Dingo and I are still chuckling about handing the cracker's leash to a bike racer about to start his race. Anything could have happened.
Balls. Yup. I got 'em.