Lindsey and China

Lindsey Lobree has produced some of the best photos that I feature on WhippetView. He has taken digital photography to a new level with his racing action shots. I feel very fortunate to have Lindsay taking photographs for WhippetView at this years Whippet National in Denver. I feel sure that all of you will want to discover his work at the National as we try to shoot photos of each and every dog in the show. Here is Lindseys story of owning whippets, and some of his great photography.

In August of 1999 I had made up my mind. I had not had a dog in my life for over 14 years. My last dog had gone through college with me, I finished him in the show ring and he earned various obedience degrees. I had done a lot of research on which dog would be best for me, but I wasn't quite sure. Fortunately, living with my next door neighbor, Joe, was a sleek, muscular, medium sized package of grace. After she introduced herself, we quickly became friends. Her name is Noney, Joe informed me, and like most whippets, she is a real sweety. My research was over, I knew what kind of dog I wanted, I had to have a whippet.

China

I had made the emotional commitment to become the best friend my new whippet could ever have. The next thing was to simply find a whippet to bring home, which was not easy. By November, I had finally located a whippet breeder within 100 miles of where I was living that actually had whippet puppies, 2 left for sale. As I spoke with Mary Cutherell, I soon discovered that she was equally concerned about her puppy's future. Mary asked me numerous questions over the telephone, sizing me up, and eventually allowing me to make an appointment to visit her kennel. She brought out two puppies, both bitches, and well, they are puppies, adorable. Mary told me of her whippets accomplishments in the show ring, agility, flyball, obedience, lure coursing, and racing. What couldn't her whippets do? Mary smiled and simply said, your whippet should be able to do anything within reason that you ask it to do. They are very intelligent, very curious, competitive and like sleeping under the covers in your bed. After what seemed like an eternity of me pleading, Mary agreed to let me bring home a puppy. Like every new owner, I was smitten by a little 12 week old bundle of tail and legs.


Rigo

One afternoon I decided to go watch some local racing in Southern California. At the track was Mary and several other whippet owners. I was curious, I had never seen a dog race. After watching my first whippet race, I was in awe of the power, determination and incredible speed that these dogs possessed. I loved how I could feel the ground shake beneath my feet as the whippets thundered by.

But there was something missing. There was nobody capturing the remarkable grit and beauty being displayed with each race. I had been doing some freelance photography for many years, it was time to put the Nikons and myself to a new test.

It soom became clear to me why there aren't more images of whippet racing. After a couple of races, I realized how difficult it was to photograph a 35 pound dog running 35 mph. I was torn between trying to squeeze off just one shot at a time or let the camera blast away at almost 8 frames a second. At first, I photographed a lot of tails and hind legs. As I came to more races, I learned to use my ears as well as my eyes. For example, to photograph the start of a race, the trick is to listen for the box to open. If you watch for the box to open, it is already too late.


Rigo and China

Ok, fine, what about digital photography? My first digital camera had numerous limitations. However, I was convinced, if I used the right camera, I could capture the best dog racing images possible. I made the leap of faith and bought my first digital camera. After lots and lots of races, lots and lots of practice, the digital helps give me the tools needed to obtain the best images possible at any part of a race, or at any part of the track. I can now consistently capture the incredible action and color of our wonderful friends. I look forward to sharing more and hopefully even better images of our magnificent racing hounds. I am also happy to share any information regarding dog racing photography.

There are lessons in life, where one must learn at an exponential rate. For me, learning to live with an athlete who also doubles as a dog has been one of them. I have tasted the potato chip theory and now have two whippets, and hope to add another potato chip in a few years. What Mary told me continues to ring true, a motivated whippet not only wants to do everything for you, they are exceptionally capable.

Regarding what uninformed individuals may think of dog racing. First and foremost, in our non-gambling world of whippet racing, our dogs are always pets first. Their health and fitness is a priority, not necessarily for winning a race, but to enjoy the highest quality life. The dogs must be very sociable, there are always eager children and strange adults who want to touch and interact with the dogs. No dog is ever forced to run, let alone allowed to run injured. Yet, make no mistake, most whippets love to run hard and we encourage their hunting/pack behavior when they chase and eventually catch the lure.

Most importantly, win, lose or draw, our whippets come home to loving families, eager to share the couch and a warm lap.

Mail Comments to Lindsey

Visit Lindsey's Website


Visit the WhippetView Racing Pages for more of Lindsey's photography