Bertie News | Episode 05: 22 Weeks Old

I’ve just arrived back home after another trip to Baku.

There’s been a real change in the weather since I’ve been away. Autumn appears to have officially arrived, neatly coinciding with the end of British Summer Time today.

There’s been a change in Bertie, too. He’s had another growth spurt and is clearly really a golden retriever who’s been disguised with a set of stick-on comedy spaniel ears.

But Coco seems to think he’s a keeper, so I guess he’ll be sticking around.

Bertie the working cocker spaniel puppy at 22 weeks / Midhurst & Pound Commons / Fujifilm X100T

Working Cocker Spaniel Puppy 22 Weeks

Working Cocker Spaniel Puppy 22 Weeks

Working Cocker Spaniel Puppy 22 Weeks

Working Cocker Spaniel Puppy 22 Weeks

Working Cocker Spaniel Puppy 22 Weeks

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Bertie News | Episode 04: 15 Weeks Old

It’s probably a good thing I’m not a parent.

I’d just embarrass my kids.

I got a bit choked up of sand in my eye when we took Bertie for his first swim. He took to it like…..er…..a spaniel to water. I felt strangely proud, emphasis on strange.

Right, I’ll be off now. Need to get that sand out of my eye.

Midhurst Common Pond / Nikon F90X / Ilford FP4 / Developed in Kodak D76 1+1

Dogs Swimming

Spaniels Swimming Midhurst Common Pond

Dogs Swimming Midhurst Common Pond

Spaniels Swimming

Spaniels Swimming Midhurst Common Pond

Dogs Swimming Midhurst Common Pond

Dogs Swimming Midhurst Common Pond

Dogs Swimming Midhurst Common Pond

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Bertie News | Episode 03: 12-14 Weeks Old

These photos might give the impression that Bertie’s a sleepy, placid puppy.

What they actually demonstrate is that it’s only worth trying to get a decent picture when he’s sleepy. True to the working cocker spaniel breed, Bertie’s energy levels are off the scale. The good news is that now he’s had all his vaccinations, he can burn some of that energy off outside in the fields.

Nikon F100 / Ilford HP5 / Developed with Bellini Foto EcoFilm (Liquid Xtol)

Bertie the working Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Bertie the working Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Bertie the working Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Bertie the working Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Don’t worry Coco – you’re still top dog

Coco the working Cocker Spaniel

Thoughts On Ilford HP5

I’ve probably shot most of the popular black & white films over my four decades of shooting film. In more recent years I’ve tried to whittle my choices down to a handful of films that give me consistent, predictable results. The downside of this is that I can’t always remember why I might have previously discarded certain film stocks. And so it is with Ilford HP5. Seeing Jim’s recent appraisal, I thought it was time to give it another go and refresh my memory.

You can only draw limited conclusions from one roll shot under one set of conditions. Grain is more controlled than Tri-X, with a flatter, less-contrasty look. That said, the highlights were blown on quite a few of the frames. I suspect this was down to over-development rather than poor metering. I’ve just started using Bellini Film EcoFilm Developer. It’s supposed to mimic XTOL and use the same times, but I had a similar issue with a roll of Tmax 100. I have one more roll of HP5 to shoot, and I’ll probably decrease the developing time by ten per cent. Let’s see how that goes.

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Bertie News | Episode 02: Eleven Weeks Old

Q: Are there advantages when your girlfriend goes on holiday without you?
A: Duh Yeah! You get to look after the puppy for a whole week

And much of that week was spent chasing him round the garden with a Polaroid, trying to get him to stay still.

Bertie the working cocker spaniel puppy at 11 weeks old / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals Color SX-70 Film

Working Cocker Spaniel Puppy Polaroid

The Impossible Project – now called Polaroid Originals – has had remarkable success since its inception in 2008. When Polaroid announced they would stop making film, the IP founders had a Victor Kiam-esque moment and bought the company. Well, some of the machinery at least.

And as much as I’ve admired them over the years, I’ve avoided resurrecting my own Polaroid SX-70. The early formulations of the film were quite flakey, and the price continues to be expensive; roundabout £17 ($21) for 8 shots. (NB I can’t quite believe 17 quid currently only buys 21 bucks).

Nevertheless, recently lamenting the loss of my Polaroid Land Camera has made me reconsider. The latest iteration of the film seems stable, and all things considered I can afford the odd pack here and there.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say when I’ve shot all eight frames. That could be a little while yet though because, at over two quid a pop, I’m a little bit selective about when I press that shutter button.

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Bertie News | Episode 01: Eight Weeks Old

After much anticipation, Bertie the working cocker spaniel left his siblings and went to live with Jane at 8 weeks old. His new family now consists of two dogs, four chickens, one cat, and two children. I got to meet Bertie on his second day with the family and had a very happy weekend.

Over the years, Cocker Spaniels have been bred into two different types of cockers – the ‘working’ cocker and the ‘show’ cocker. Although their temperaments are very similar – both are very gentle and soft-hearted – the working cocker is a natural and eager field dog and is almost tireless. Coco is also a working cocker and it’s impossible to wear her out. These are not dogs for inactive people with little free time. It’s going to be interesting to see if Bertie will grow up to have the same amount of stamina as Coco.

Even though Bertie’s tiny at the moment, he seems to be a robust little dog. He’s curious, gentle, and self-contained. I think he’s going to have a very happy life with his new family. That’s a wonderful gift you can give to any animal.

Bertie the working cocker spaniel at 8 weeks old / Fujifilm X100T

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It’s not always easy bringing a new puppy into a household that already has a dog. Coco has had to put Bertie in his place a few times. But Bertie’s a resilient little chap and bounces right back. And I think Coco is starting to realise that Bertie’s not here to steal all her food. Although clearly the same can’t be said about her bed.

working cocker spaniel puppy at 8 weeks

working cocker spaniel puppy at 8 weeks

working cocker spaniel puppy at 8 weeks

working cocker spaniel puppy at 8 weeks

working cocker spaniel puppy at 8 weeks

working cocker spaniel puppy at 8 weeks

working cocker spaniel puppy at 8 weeks

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Not everyone was quite so pleased to meet Bertie…

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