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Thread: Ollie: My star model!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Ollie: My star model!

    At the dog agility classes again yesterday. Ollie and owner Derek gave me some time to set up this low-level shoot. I was lying on my stomach and using the Angle-Finder mounted on my 40D.

    I'm still at the learning stage and really looking to see what's possible and how good I can be at dog agility photography.

    Couldn't do this shot in a competition setting, unless with a radio control, but even then the shutter noise from burst shooting might be objected to by owners. But I think it's a good angle to get.

    What do you think?

    Again, was in Shutter Priority, Auto ISO, Evaluative Metering. Not sure if centre-weighted metering would have been better. Have never tried it. Anyone got any ideas? I usually shoot with spot-metering.

    Ollie: My star model!
    40D, 24-70mm f/2.8L @ 32mm. ISO400. 1/1500s@f6.7

    Ollie: My star model!
    40D, 24-70mm f/2.8L @ 32mm. ISO400. 1/1500s@f8

    Ollie: My star model!
    40D, 24-70mm f/2.8L @ 32mm. ISO400. 1/1500s@f8
    Last edited by Donald; 21st April 2013 at 10:17 AM.

  2. #2
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Beautiful, Donald. No. 1 is my pick of the set. Comp, background, Ollie's position are spot on

    p.s. I too have a star model called Ollie. Not quite so obedient or athletic yet though:

    Ollie: My star model!

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Hi Donald,

    I think the first especially is a cracker. Not so sure if some of the elements to the right are a bit too distracting though. Angle works a treat.

    I gave it a quick "classic treatment" to see what you thought.

    Ollie: My star model!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Phil - Your Ollie looks wonderful and I'm sure that he'll give you as much pleasure and joy in life as I know this other Ollie gives his 'parents'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Not so sure if some of the elements to the right are a bit too distracting though.
    You're right. I really looked hard at that one (because I particularly like it as well). But, y/know what's throwing my judgement here? It's the fact that I've been reading so much about how, if you are thinking of making images fro sale, you must really be thinking of the 'standard sizes for which photo frames are easily available on the high street.

    So, at one level, it's maybe good to be thinking that way (and thinking that way at the tome of composition in the viewfinder), but on the other hand the priority has got to be to keep 'seeing' what is the best image in terms of composition, content, etc.

    Another part of the learning curve.

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Very very nice!!! Agility... a subject very close to my heart

    I love the angles you've captured here; Ollie is showing lovely form too. Definitely a refreshing and creative perspective on the sport. Well done!

    Ollie is obviously doing well with his distraction training too since these were taken at 32mm. I suspect if I tried this with my own dogs I would end up with a smeared lens; potentially they would be better with a stranger... maybe I've seen similar angles with showjumping, but horses tend to be less inclined or tempted to jump all over laying bodies (thank goodness!)

    My own agility photography is somewhat limited by my judging, competing and our weather dictating that most of our training and competitions are run in the cool of night. As a result my photos tend to be all taken during competition, so no where near as exciting and dynamic as what you've captured here. Just trying to find non-cluttered backgrounds and good approach lines tends to be the limit of my creativity. So I'm absolutely loving the novel approach you've taken with these.

    The only other feedback I have though, is that I personally think the black and white treatment in conjunction with the angle makes it feel a bit like a caricature. Take that with a grain of salt though as I have a self-admitted bias for rich colours

    In all, I'm in awe... Great work!

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    ps... how do you find working with the angle finder?
    I've been considering one for some of the low-down work I like to do in the mudflats. While my tripod may get to 15cm, I find it so very uncomfortable that I rarely persevere for long.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    ps... how do you find working with the angle finder?
    I've been considering one for some of the low-down work I like to do in the mudflats. While my tripod may get to 15cm, I find it so very uncomfortable that I rarely persevere for long.
    Great - one you get used to it. It does take a couple of sessions to learn how to place your eye against the eyepiece (or more accurately for me - float against the eyepiece rather than being pressed against it). But once you've learned that, it's great. There is no way I would have got these shots without it, as the base of the camera was sitting on the ground with the lens slightly tilted upwards.

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    It's the fact that I've been reading so much about how, if you are thinking of making images fro sale, you must really be thinking of the 'standard sizes for which photo frames are easily available on the high street.
    Yes ... and no.

    - What I'm finding (for my landscape anyway) is that people buy art to put in a "space" - and sometimes that space is tall and skinny (like us!) - sometimes it's 50/50 - and sometimes it's REALLY wide. I sold a canvas the other day that was a 3:1 aspect ratio.

    - If the image is "worth it" to someone then they can always cough up the $$$ and get it custom framed. As a rule of thumb, if they "can't afford custom framing" then they probably can't afford to pay you what the image is worth either.

    - You can use a matte to adjust the aspect ratio (in fact for "appreciation" type photos it's the norm more than the exception) ...

    Ollie: My star model!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    - You can use a matte to adjust the aspect ratio (in fact for "appreciation" type photos it's the norm more than the exception) ...
    Now, that is something I hadn't thought of. That is a superb idea. Thank you. Logged that one away for future use.

    By the way, the Epson R3000 arrived yesterday. Managed to get it installed (wirelessly) and all looks to be fine. Got Kelby's and Kloskowski's 'The Photoshop Elements Book...' (having got Elements primarily for the printing dialogue) and am getting myself ready for printing take-off. Am discovering there's a whole new knowledge area I need to work on and that is on sizing. I think I'm over-complicating it at the moment, but it's beginning to make sense.

    Kelby & Kloskowski seem very good on 'sharpening for printing' which is a whole new ball game for me.

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Now, that is something I hadn't thought of. That is a superb idea. Thank you. Logged that one away for future use.
    No worries. In my opinion, image presentation can (and usually does) lift an image to the next level -- it's a big separator between amateur work and professional work. People buy a product - an experience - a feeling - not "just a photo".

    By the way, the Epson R3000 arrived yesterday. Managed to get it installed (wirelessly) and all looks to be fine. Got Kelby's and Kloskowski's 'The Photoshop Elements Book...' (having got Elements primarily for the printing dialogue) and am getting myself ready for printing take-off. Am discovering there's a whole new knowledge area I need to work on and that is on sizing. I think I'm over-complicating it at the moment, but it's beginning to make sense.
    Here begins a journey

    Not sure if you're meaning print sizes or resolutions? Sizes are simple - it just spits out whatever you tell it. Resolutions are as easy or as complicated as you want them to be; if you're going your own printing then no need to up-sample (the driver does that anyway) or down-sample (why throw away information) so in reality "it is what it is" (so don't worry about it!).


    Kelby & Kloskowski seem very good on 'sharpening for printing' which is a whole new ball game for me.
    It's not too complicated. Generally, the bigger the print, the less you have to worry about output sharpening because the eye is better able to resolve the boundaries that define the surfaces. Just experiment and you'll be fine

    Gotta go - Formula 1 starting

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    then no need to up-sample (the driver does that anyway)
    See - that's the sort of gem of information you get by being part of a forum like this. Not sure where else I would have found that (or understood it if I had). Now, it makes a lot more sense.

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Beatifull! Two great photographs give impressive results when they work together!

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    In the first photo, the stuff on the right isn't at all distracting to me. Instead, it's informative. That could be because I had never heard of agility training or competitions until you began posting threads about them. I suspect that people who know about them would prefer not to have the stuff included on the right side.

    However, including that stuff positions Ollie too far to the left relative to the rest of the composition. That explains why I prefer Colin's crop; for me, Ollie is perfectly positioned in that one.

    I've now got another reason for you to make the argument to your dearly beloved of the need for a new camera: quiet shutter release.

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    I really enjoy these - dogs, especially these, have such an appealing athleticism, and these capture that so very well. To me, the monochrome works very well for these. Still working out why some images invite monochrome. Had to look up "angle finder". Darn! another thing on the list of things I "need".

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    I've now got another reason for you to make the argument to your dearly beloved of the need for a new camera: quiet shutter release.
    It'll have to be a 1D X I'm afraid Donald - you NEED it's 12 FPS

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Very well shot, interesting information. Thank you for sharing.....I need to go practice taking action shots of my dogs.....thank you for sharing your settings.

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Great idea for this subject. I doubt you will ever get agreement to do this during a competition but could market private shoots where you take this sort of shot.

    If you are planning on shooting agility to sell the photos, what I've found marketing agility photos is that we photographers way overthink it. Agility people aren't buying art, they are buying pictures of their dogs. I started out treating agility shooting as I would wildlife and quickly learned no one cared but me. If your goal is to sell agility photos, dynamic shots of the dogs in focus and properly exposed is really all people care about. I've tried various focal lengths, DOF effects, shooting from different elevations, etc., and no one really seems to notice. At least from the standpoint of selling photos. And yes the standard sizes are what sell too. Ninety percent of what I sell are either 4x6 or 5x7 prints. There is also a good bit of interest in digitals at web resolution, not so much at print resolutions. Probably the most important thing is to make the photos available as soon as possible after the event, preferably during. There is usually an emotional reason people are interested in the photos. First event for the dog, best performance to-date, dog getting old and may be its last, etc. The emotion fades with time so goes the interest in the photos.

    No doubt different locals and cultures behave differently and none of the above may apply in the UK. So take it for what it's worth.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    No doubt different locals and cultures behave differently and none of the above may apply in the UK. So take it for what it's worth.
    Dan - What you say makes perfect sense and what you've written is very helpful. Thank you. It's a situation that I certainly anticipated and have been thinking how I would operate in that environment.

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Excellent Donald! Im impressed that the background is clear from "human elements" that you usually see at competitions- tents, people, cars, trailers, etc. That really adds to it along with the clouds. You're picking up fast considering you just started doing dogs.

    We are in the process of getting a dog this summer and will be going through several trainings towards becoming a certified Therapy dog. The training place is also involved in agility competitions and I was thinking… getting involved will bring me in contact with people who may allow me to take photos at those competitions and see where that goes.

    The b&w is interesting, as Ive only seen these in color. Kinda surreal.

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    Re: Ollie: My star model!

    Donald, I think these photos are stunning, especially #1 although I'm very partial to #2, too. I also very much like the colouring or effect of Colin's edit.
    Last edited by Brownbear; 22nd April 2013 at 04:20 PM.

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