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Frozen Frames and Heroic Hearts: Dalia Fichmann – Dog Photography Awards Portrait Category Winner

Discover the story behind this captivating image – a story of loyalty, training and the remarkable partnership that defines the relationship between avalanche rescue dogs and their handlers. While we celebrate the photographer’s skill in capturing this moment, let’s also explore the broader significance of these images, which remind us of the pure, unconditional love that dogs bring into our lives. Whether it’s their antics or, as in this case, their life-saving contribution, dogs continue to inspire and enrich our human experience in ways that words alone struggle to express.

  • How did you get into dog photography?

I have often competed with my dogs. During competitions there is a lot of waiting time and I started taking pictures with a compact camera. People were enthusiastic about the photos but the image quality was insufficient. That’s when I bought my first DSLR a Nikon D3. Of course, I had no clue about aperture, shutter speed, ISO… and had to learn everything from scratch.

  • You were awarded Dog Photographer of the Year for your work « The Avalanche Rescue Dog », a tribute to all the dogs who work tirelessly alongside humans. How did you create this image?

I received a request from Nicole Dammann the leader of the avalanche dog team. He asked if I would accompany a training session with my camera in Melchsee-Frutt in the Swiss mountains. The dog handlers came up with the idea to get a shot from the point of view of a buried person at the moment when the dog finds them.

  • What is your most unforgettable memory of this project?

Even the situation was staged for the photo shooting, the feeling of being trapped in a small dark ice cave and the relieve when the dog breaks through the snow with his paws and puts his nose into the hole and light shines through is intense. This was a great experience.

  • What was the most challenging aspect you encountered with this project?

The ice cave was very small, dark and cold. I couldn’t use a flash because the risk of a dog getting frightened and remain with a negative association not wanting to search anymore would have been too high. When the dog opens the snow cover, backlight shines into the cave. This was a big challenge. Luckily I had a small LED panel with me so I had some light in the cave and was able to focus on the dogs.

  • What does winning the award mean to you?

In recent years I have won many national and international awards. But this award is something very special, because it was exclusively for dog ​​photography with a very high level. It’s great honor.

  • Are you working on any new projects?

Yes, I am working on several projects. Styled poodles in very special environments. For some time I have been working on the project « Drinking Dogs ». Hope you will be able to see one of the photos at the Award 2023. For me, however, every customer with his dog is a project that I enjoy tremendously.

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