November 11, 2009

Fortuitous Encounters

Rami has been my constant companion for the past 2 ½ years. He’s my loyal friend and confidant, never far from my thoughts. Enthusiastic, brave, a connoisseur of life, he loves sports, especially Frisbee. One recent Saturday morning we walked the beautiful curve of California coastline called Carmel Beach. I would throw the Frisbee. Rami would run, leap, or dive for it. We meandered and played this way, making our way in misty grey fog toward pristine Pebble Beach before others had picked up their first morning coffee.

On our return, we noticed a young man walking onto the beach, professional looking camera in hand, presumably to shoot a remarkable scene where a large shaft of sunlight illumined the links at Pebble Beach. But instead of walking past Rami and me, he kneeled on the sand and took what appeared to be shots of my guy playing Frisbee.

Rami and I continued along, me throwing, him running and leaping, when the young man sidled over and showed me one of the images he’d taken. Amazing! Rami in a forward balletic arch, suspended in mid-air, Frisbee not yet in his mouth, but soon to be. Immediately I thought, “Let’s take more!” but our cameraman was already on it. “One of my favorite subjects to photograph is dogs,” he said. My boy seemed to know he was on stage and ran, leaped, dove, swam, and in general, showed off. Instructed to sit, stay, run into the light in just a certain way, jump, catch the Frisbee, Rami glorified the fun of being alive.

Occasional glimpses at some of the photos our cameraman took made me realize this was no ordinary photographer. Perhaps he knew what he was doing – maybe even an artist, but why was he taking photos of us? What was his gig? Because by now, I want these photos. Was he going to keep them? Would he show them all to me? So, I asked him. “How can I get copies of these?”

“I’ll send them to you,” he said. “By the way, my name is John Hudson. I’m a professional photographer and artist. I love dogs. I’m traveling all over the west by motorcycle raising money for Homes for Our Troops. If you’d like to contribute, you can go onto my website and read all about it. I’ve raised $1700 so far and met some wonderful people along the way. I feel really good about helping our veterans get what they need when they return home.”

By now, many people and more dogs had joined us on the beach. The fog had lifted, the sun was higher in the sky, Rami showed little sign of slowing down, but John and I were ready to depart. He said he was keeping a blog about his travels and we could see his professional photo gallery at I gave him my email address and said I’d look forward to seeing the series he took of Rami. As he left he said, “Remember, John Hudson Photography. That’s my website!”

I was so inspired by John’s artistry and his good nature, I went straight back and looked up I learned it is a national non-profit organization established in 2004 that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans. I donated a small sum, feeling good for being able to help out, even in a miniscule way. Then, I awaited my photos by email from John. It wasn’t long before these sensational photos of Rami came through, many of which had been touched up with an artist’s eye to make them multi-toned or to eliminate background distractions.

I passed along this story to my friend Gina, keeper of a gorgeous Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and she said, “Why do I never come across professional photographers when I’m out with DaVinci?” I didn’t know the answer, but Rami and I, we got lucky. We met a sincere person with talent and style, received priceless photos, and got a great bonus gift too – that of one person meeting another at random and sharing joy. Thanks John, from our hearts to yours. We wish you a safe journey.

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