Impromptu dog photoshoot on the highest peak in Germany
I’m standing on the observation deck of the Zugsptize, over 9,700 feet up in Germany, looking out over the snow covered peaks. It took a nerve-wracking ride on the record breaking Seilbahn Zugspitze cable car (currently closed as of 2018 due to a maintenance accident, yikes!) to get here, but the views are worth it. You can see the alps across three countries from this vantage point, or you can walk over to the Austrian platform to check out the view from that perspective. No matter country you choose to stand in, you will not be disappointed. If you’re crazy enough you can even climb the last little bit to the summit (I am not that crazy). And as always, there is a restaurant (best pretzels of our trip and I tasted many just to be sure) with the prerequisite beer while you’re enjoying those views.
I gaze around at the scenery in all directions and suddenly catch my breath. I turn to my husband and whisper, “Oh my god!” He twists around toward where I am staring, trying to see what has me so excited. “There’s a dog up here”, I say with glee. He sees the dog, then looks back at me. He grabs his backpack, pulls out his book, and says, “I’ll go get a beer and read, have fun”. This is one of the many reasons why I love him, he just gets me. No matter where I go, I’ll always be a dog photographer first!
I approach the woman with the dog, a gorgeous Australian Shepherd, and hope that she speaks english. She does and only looks somewhat confused when I explain that I’m a professional pet photographer and would she like me to take some images of her dog. But she agrees. I lead them over to the best spot on the observation deck near the stairs. It’s the only part where there isn’t any fencing to obstruct the view of the mountains in the background and I start posing her dog, Danny. He’s very well trained, which is not normal in most of my experience (is it me or are dogs in Europe generally better trained?). People are walking up and down the stairs and I’m working the background to make them as unobtrusive as possible but it’s a busy day on Zugspitze. Luckily I have my dog squeaker in my camera bag (always), so I’m able to keep Danny’s attention despite all of the distractions.
Pretty soon I am laying on my stomach to get the shot, and other tourists are taking photos of me taking photos of the dog. Another tourist wants his photo with the pup. I hardly notice them or the puddles of melted snow that I’m laying in. I’m working fast, the platform is filling up with more people and I don’t want to disrupt this woman’s whole day, but I am in heaven. Seriously, I’m in a gorgeous location halfway around the world from Michigan, taking photos of a dog. It doesn’t get much better than this. I exchange email addresses with Anne and promise to send her gallery when I get back from our trip.
Eventually I join my husband for a beer and pretzel in front of the view. But now he’s into it, pointing out other dogs and encouraging me to take more photos. What was supposed to be an hour long adventure to see the tallest point in Germany has turned into half a day but we’re both having a fabulous time.
We were having so much fun that after our descent back down to Eibsee we decide to walk around the lake one more time. I had met some huskies along the edge of the alpine lake on our hike the day before and had managed to grab a few papparazzi images of them. And we ran into them on top of Zugspitze, too, it’s such a small world! I hoped to see more dogs in the same location and I was not disappointed. We were entertained by a happy little Jack Russell terrier named Henry (you might recognize him from my top 2018 derpy dog moments). Eventually though, we had to move on.
Not long after I sent Danny’s images to Anne I learn that he tragically passed away in an accident. I’m incredibly sorry for her loss, I know all too well how difficult that is. But I’m so glad that I approached a woman halfway around the world about an impromptu dog photo shoot on top of the tallest mountain in Germany. At least she has the images of her boy, on top of the mountain in the sunshine. We’ll both have those happy memories.
I hope you enjoyed the images from our trip to Germany. It was a fun challenge to make the best possible results within a limited time frame in a new area, sometimes with a language barrier. Imagine the kind of images I could take of your pet, with more time and your input for pre-planning. While I am based in southeastern Michigan I do love to travel. So don’t let location stop you from setting up a portrait session for your pet. Destination weddings are a thing, why not destination pet portraits? Because pets are family, too!