The photographer with an eye for catching dogs in flight

dog photography

Beanz, the dachshund gets airborne in one of Nigel Wallace's flying dog portraits - Credit: www.nigelwallacephotography.co.uk/

A photographer is carving out an unusual niche with his camera - by snapping dogs in flight.

Nigel Wallace specialises in capturing the moment the animals leap over obstacles, creating dramatic images for their owners.

He took up taking pictures for a living three years ago, after taking early retirement from the telecoms industry.

In an earlier life, Mr Wallace, from Mildenhall, was a successful target shooter, taking part in the 1992 Olympics and winning a gold meal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia with his rifle.

Nigel Wallace

Nigel Wallace, who has carved a niche as a dog photographer - Credit: www.nigelwallacephotography.co.uk/

Nowadays he shoots with cameras, not guns and the 54-year-old's preferred subject matter is man's best friend.

"One of the images that is particularly popular with my clients is the 'flying dog' shot," he said.

"This is where I take action shots of the the dogs jumping over logs, capturing them mid-flight to make them look like they are flying - like little canine super heroes."

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Mr Wallace, 54, eschews studio portraiture of his subjects, preferring to head outdoors to spots like Thetford Forest or Brandon Country Park.

www.nigelwallacephotography.co.uk

Nigel Wallace's speciality has become the 'flying dog'' picture - Credit: www.nigelwallacephotography.co.uk

The woods provide a perfect backdrop for his trademark picture of a dog appearing to fly as he captures it jumping, lit by just the light through the trees.

Despite the natural look of the images, they require careful preparation.

Mr Wallace positions a branch at what he considers the dog's safe jumping height - which varies according to the animal. He then has to make sure the dog does not make the leap until he is in position to capture the moment.

nigel wallace dog photography

Darcy the collie, who inspired her owner Nigel Wallace to take up dog photography - Credit: www.nigelwallacephotography.co.uk/

He added: "I took early retirement following successfully beating cancer, and decided to combine my love of dogs with my passion for photography." 

"I absolutely love being able to capture the character of the dogs I photograph. The photoshoots are always fun and I am able to produce images that really put smiles on the owners' faces.  

"Sometimes the owners don't see the many different expressions that the dog makes when jumping and running, and I capture these wonderful moments with my camera."

His collie Darcy provided the early inspiration for what would go on to become his living.

"I did photography when I was at school but then my sport took over," he said. "I didn't really pick up a camera until we got her eight years ago. She's been my little model."

flying dog pictures

Cooper the spaniel takes off for dog photographer Nigel Wallace's camera - Credit: www.nigelwallacephotography.co.uk/

How he does it

Mr Wallace sets up his shots with care.

He starts with a consultation with the dog's owner to see if their pet has any hip or back problems that may cause them issues when running or jumping.

Nigel Wallace

Nigel Wallace checks dogs have no health issues before a photoshoot begins - Credit: www.nigelwallacephotography.co.uk

He says dog safety is his priority. After checking that the owners are happy with the dog jumping, he finds large branches or fallen tree logs to use as the obstacle.

He then checks his camera exposure, to ensure he has a fast enough shutter speed to get the dog sharp, before he kneels to take the shot, with the owner standing behind him to encourage the animal to make the leap.

Mr Wallace can be reached via www.nigelwallacephotography.co.uk.