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Thread: Still practicing my dog agility

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Still practicing my dog agility

    Last week, here, I launched myself into the strange new world of dog agility photography.

    Was at the second session yesterday and whilst Sheila and Garry were training in the beginner's class, I was looking at what the more experienced dogs were doing. Filled two 4Gb Extreme III cards, but I will get better. I could see myself improving over last week. It's just a case of practice, practice, practice.

    Was quite pleased with this one. I saw the possibility of the tree and its branches and thought it might work if I tried to use them as a frame. Was annoyed with myself that I had the dog's back foot hard up against the edge of the frame.

    Your thoughts and comments always welcome, especially as I'm still a beginner at this type of shooting.

    Still practicing my dog agility
    40D, 70-200mm f/4L IS @ 169mm. ISO400. 1/750@f5.6

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    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    Donald, I like the pic overall; however I think the woman is to dominant in the photo. I do not know how to correct it. Bruce

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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    The back foot is a little bit bothersome but not too much. I do like how you framed it with the tree and the branches. I realize that the trainer needs to be in the shot for the connection (otherwise it would just be a dog walking on a beam 5' off the ground, and that would be really odd)...I wish she was about 8" shorter or in front of the pooch. Keep them coming Donald, they are a joy to see and bring a smile to my face.

    Cheers

  4. #4

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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    The branches work great for me.

    I agree that the woman is too dominant. Try setting up your shot in advance using manual focus and an aperture that just barely keeps the bar in focus with nothing in front of it in focus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Filled two 4Gb Extreme III cards
    The shutter count on your 40D is going to rise exponentially now that you are making action photos. Be prepared with a solid line of reasoning that will convince your loving partner that a new camera body will soon be needed.

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    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    Good capture, and I think the trainer just has to be in the shot. As for the back foot - well you always said that you aren't a wildlife photographer Pull back and crop! It is so hard to get just the right framing, not quite like landscapes.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    Thank you guys. That's really helpful stuff. I'm not as confident at critically appraising what I'm doing here as I am with my landscapes. So these sort of comments are very helpful in terms of making me think.

    Mike - Your comments have helped me remember some of the goals I set for myself in terms of trying to make dog agility images that have a reasonable artistic quality to them as well. Maybe it's an impossible goal, but that's the aim I've set myself.

    There are some photographers out there doing things like a print-on-site service at dog agility events. And some of them are very, very good. But, with respect and maybe quite correctly from a commercial point of view, they are not approaching it in anything like a fine art way. Certainly no-one seems to be doing B & W.

    The idea of going to AV (or Manual) and taking time to set up the shot in advance is something I need to do. I have been in Tv (Shutter Priority), Auto ISO and AI Servo (tracking) focusing.

    I have a vision of an image using flash, second-curtain sync and a slower shutter - all to get some forward movement motion. I've got to be careful about using flash with the dogs and it will need to be carefully set up, probably using just one particular dog, beforehand. Am working up to that one.

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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    Donald,
    If you are friends with a competitor, you might have them stage the shots. You cqould have the freedom to get different angles that way and could use fill flash (which is banned from U.S. Agility).

    I have never done this shot, but, I would expect that a great hurdle shot might be gained using a UWA lens laying on the ground (shooting up) just in front of the hurdle using a remote release. Fill flash (at high speed sync) might help.
    This is at least one instance in which a protective filter might very well be in order.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Donald,
    If you are friends with a competitor, you might have them stage the shots. You could have the freedom to get different angles that way and could use fill flash (which is banned from U.S. Agility).
    This young lady and her dog would be great, but it's Ollie, who features in the picture at the head of my Facebook page, who would be the star for this. His owner will be more than pleased for me and him to go off to the side and set up a shoot for specific shots. I'd certainly never use flash in any circumstance other than a set-up shoot and only with a dog upon whom we'd checked it out as it just played around. I know that my own dog doesn't mind it at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I have never done this shot, but, I would expect that a great hurdle shot might be gained using a UWA lens laying on the ground (shooting up) just in front of the hurdle using a remote release. Fill flash (at high speed sync) might help.
    Brilliant idea. That's one shot I hadn't thought of. Don't tell anyone else, so that I can be first to try it.
    Last edited by Donald; 15th April 2013 at 03:26 PM.

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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Don't tell anyone else
    Other than the tens of thousands who already review these threads. Success has its drawbacks.

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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    Very good image , donald. My only advice, is to use your focus dots. Learn to quickly adjust them without pulling your camera from your eye. (a must when using servo mode.)

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    Very good image , donald. My only advice, is to use your focus dots. Learn to quickly adjust them without pulling your camera from your eye. (a must when using servo mode.)
    Very good advice Steve, which I will take on board. As a slow landscaper shooter, using the different focus dots in the way you describe is not something I've ever really had to worry about (or master to any high degree) too much. So, that's tonight taken care of.

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    Re: Still practicing my dog agility

    Donald, isn't it fun to step out of our comfort zone and try something new! That's the really nice thing about our hobby. It is so versatile and can complement and add to virtually any activity...

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