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Thread: More beach dogs

  1. #1
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
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    More beach dogs

    I thought it was time to take the camera with us to the beach again... so more damp, sandy dog photos below. Once again I ask you to indulge me while I share too many pics of my kids

    More beach dogs

    More beach dogs

    More beach dogs

    More beach dogs

    More beach dogs

    More beach dogs

    More beach dogs


    I'd be interested in feedback on composition particularly. I'm finding I'm really only hitting focus with my centre cross-point which is a little limiting.

    Reflecting on the shots myself... I like photo 1. Photos 2 & 3 aren't as sharp as I'd like; shutter speed was getting slower at that point, so I may not have been as steady as I needed to be; in hindsight I probably should have dialled in some more ISO at that point but welcome any other advice. I missed focus on the eyes in photo 5 but have included it for feedback on composition as I feel it is more dynamic than photo 4. Photo 6 and 7... off-centre vs centred, intense vs comical; not sure which has more impact.

    Thanks for looking!

    Cheers
    Trace

  2. #2
    Harpo's Avatar
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    Re: More beach dogs

    Hi Trace,

    I agree, 1 is sharp and a good image. Horizon above your kid looks tilted though.

    3 is cute. Wonder if a longer crop instead of a square to include the kid on the right would look better?

    I like the expressions on 7. I wonder if a different crop may work better? More off the top?

    I wish my dog would cooperate for pics. One sign of the camera she runs!

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: More beach dogs

    Trace

    Composition-wise, I think trying to take the dogs in 'head-on' type shots is always going to be hugely challenging. With that being said, #1 works. But that, I feel, is the exception. For example, 7 is, I think, a far better image than 6. And that's because in 6 the head is flat on the sand and it just doesn't work in a photograph, I don't think.

    #2, for example, is, I think, a good image. It's not full head-on.

  4. #4
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
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    Re: More beach dogs

    Hi Mike, Thanks for commenting You are right the horizon on 1 is tilted, now fixed! Thank you! Sorry for all the square crops, I was making a square calendar so was working within that crop specifically. As for 3, it does look a little better in the original format but I still didn't have all of the pup on the right in the frame, so still isn't an especially good composition.
    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts
    As for getting your dog to cooperate; throw treats whenever you get the camera out (and don't expect any decent pics the first few times) just start to pair the camera being pointed at them with food coming their way. Depending on your preferred focal length as to how far you throw the treats... you don't want them to come in and mug you for the food, you want them to learn to stay out a ways but still be looking at you and to realise that the camera is actually a good thing. That's how I started out with my guys who weren't all that keen at first either.

  5. #5
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
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    Re: More beach dogs

    Hi Donald,
    Thank you for those thoughts. I will try to mix it up more with the game next time; playing ball with them tends to mean they race straight out away from me and straight back towards me and so limits my angles. But I will be more conscious of that and try to mix my position up more next time. Or leave the ball at home and wait for spontaneous play instead. I have been working on that turned position in some portraits with them (after reading Colin's tutorials) but those are stationary and one pup at a time, so a little easier to manage and a bit more time to think about how to frame the shot. But... I still love the active ones better. So will work on ways to get some more angled and side-on shots. Thank you!

  6. #6

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    Re: More beach dogs

    Trace, I can't offer much in the line of critique, I like these too much, but I'll try.

    #1. Perfect
    #2. a little soft but still very nice
    #3. Love it, but agree it would be better with all of both the kids. As is though it is a very cute shot. Such concentration.
    #4. Perfect. I love the windblown hair and the expression. The black one always seems to have the ball while the other looks at it longingly. Is the black one older. He/she looks very calm and easy going but seems to be the boss.
    #5. Love it
    #6. The only one I don't really like. Something about the nose and mouth being out of focus makes him/her look odd.
    #7. This is better. I just love the expression.

    This is a great series. There may be little flaws here and there, but I would be thrilled with any of these shots, and as far as showing the dogs personalities, well, I think you've got that down.
    I kind of like the head on shots, but that being said, I'd love to see more of these. Beautiful shots - Beautiful dogs

    Wendy

  7. #7
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
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    Re: More beach dogs

    Hi Wendy,
    So glad you enjoyed the photos
    There are actually two black shelties that have very similar markings. The black dog in photos 1, 3 & 5 is my 2 year old, Calamity (she has that name for a reason... she's not at all calm, though has learned a lot about self-control since coming to live with me a year ago ). The black dog in photo 4 is my boy Jonty, he is 11 now. He is the leader of the clan, though my Border Collie Zoom, in photos 6 & 7 is the one who "tries" to keep them all in line (I'm sure she believes they are her sheep). The sable sheltie is my old girl, Missy, who has been my constant companion for the past 12 years.

  8. #8
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: More beach dogs

    Hi Trace,

    Is that all natural f/2 and and f/2.4 'bokeh' with the 85mm?

    I must put my 100mm, f/2.8 or 50mm, f/1.4 on and try something similar one day, but I might need to borrow a trained dog though

    Great series, which I enjoyed too, although I'm ashamed to say I didn't recognise there were so many different subjects in the mix until you explained to Wendy I guess I'm not exposed to them often enough, we've always had 'more obviously different' breeds in my family (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it)

    #1 looks like the eyes might stand a little help to show they are sharp, there are other elements that are more obvious
    #7 could perhaps 'lose' the largest blob of seaweed (death by cloning)

    I'm obviously ina an 'odd' mood sinec my favs are; 1, 3, 5 and 7

    Cheers,

  9. #9
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
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    Re: More beach dogs

    Hi Dave,
    Yes it is all natural bokeh at all the apertures... all I did in pp in any of these is white balance, added global clarity/contrast, cropped, then darken/lighten centre for a subtle vignette. So I appreciate the feedback on what still needs to be done. I tend to be *lazy* with my dog pics and I really shouldn't be. But they are quite a different beast to landscapes, so I need to take some time to learn more about good workflow and techniques.
    This was my first time shooting with this lens (Sigma 85 f/1.4). So I was still very much in a learning phase pulling together a new fixed focal length with the wonderful large apertures. Have to say I was very happy with the results, especially the 'bokeh', once I downloaded them. I also shot a few hundred doggy photos at our agility Xmas party over the weekend, and have decided I abolutely love it as both a candid and staged portrait lens. A distinct difference to my 50mm f/1.8. However it will be a matter of practice and a lot of throw-aways to get my focus spot-on with the narrow dof and a moving dog.

    As for the number of subjects in this shoot... who in their right mind would have this many hairy herding dogs in one household??? Especially since I now live in the tropics and there are no sheep for many many miles LOL. People often ask me about being a "tri-colour" person with three of them, but they are all rescues that were rehomed with me "sight unseen" so pretty much a coincidence. And I will admit I often have to look twice to distinguish them too

    Thanks for commenting and for your feedback. Glad you enjoyed the series

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