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Got a new-old piece of gear, another hand-me-down DSLR — a Canon EOS 550D to replace the heft and bulk of my Canon 20D. Went to the Marin Headlands on New Years Day to test it out.

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It didn’t take long to get the Bows accustomed again to off-leash hiking. Nevertheless, I’ve been taking them to less popular dog parking sites until I am sure that they remain as responsive and generally behaved as they ever were. Rodeo Beach was crawling with visitors that day, but there weren’t many dogs, and few people on the more rugged trails.

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A couple passing by noted that the Bows seemed well trained for the camera — Bowdu, in particular. “Oh look, he’s posing for you! Quick, get a picture!” I chuckled at their sense of urgency, since it was hardly the first or last time Bowdu had struck a pose for me. He’s the one that’s got me trained to watch him for photo-worthy moments.

Actually, most dogs are naturally photogenic subjects to me, it’s just degrees of motion that separate the camera-friendly dogs from the difficult ones. The thing about the Bows is that our paces are basically synched, so I can get them photo-ready by pausing to rest. If I stop in a clearing or on a ledge, I don’t have to say anything and they know it’s time to just hang out for a while.

Because that’s what we do on hikes.

They watch and await my signal to move on down the trail. And sometimes I look back and take a picture.

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The above shots are unedited snaps (with minor cropping) from the Canon EOS 550D using the EF-S 17 ~ 85mm lens that I’d carted around before. We’ll see how this machine changes the view of things this year.

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