How I Screwed Up Then Saved A Dog Photo

I was down low, actually laying on-the-ground. I’m a huge proponent of shooting dogs from below their eye level.


I like to think I’m a good photographer, but lots of my shots don’t come out. It’s a matter of frustration for me. There are so many settings and actions that go into shooting a photo. It’s so easy to forget or be stuck in an unusual situation and guess wrong.

The photo above is my case in point. I was down low, actually laying on-the-ground. I’m a huge proponent of shooting dogs from below their eye level. It makes a much more interesting shot.

My 8mm Rokinon lens was on the camera. That’s a fisheye lens. It sees a lot and exaggerates distance from the camera. Everything looks farther away than it really is.

The Rokinon lens is fully manual. The photographer sets the aperture and focuses. Neither is extremely critical. I shot at F/11.

I didn’t realize the camera, a Canon 7d, would see the bright blue sky and close the iris. The dog was totally underexposed.

All my photos are shot in RAW mode, including this one. RAW saves what the sensor saw with no loss or compression. The files are immense, around 25 Mb for a single photo, but they contain lots of additional details that can be recovered using Photoshop.

I didn’t just turn up the brightness. In that case the sky would be pure white and without detail. I masked the sky and manipulated it and the rest of the photo separately.

After that I performed some minor surgery to remove a horse’s ear from the dog’s head, sharpened and tightened up the contrast.

This photo has much more ‘noise’ than most photographers would accept. Tough. I like it.

12 thoughts on “How I Screwed Up Then Saved A Dog Photo”

  1. Turned out to be a great dog photo!! Being a dog lover, groomer and trainer, I naturally love pics of dogs – especially ones that catch a dog’s true expression. Took some work but its a lovely shot with great doggy curiosity. ­čÖé

  2. Actually, this was one of my favorites. Thank you for sharing your photos. And, I suspect you must be feeling much better or you wouldn’t have been able to be lying on the ground for this shot. I’m glad.

  3. This was one of my favorites too! I used to have such a love for taking photos back in the day with my Canon and real film that I HAD to get developed. Now I use a really good point and shoot but it’s a point and shoot and I never do anything with the pictures except load them on my Mac!

  4. Love digital, love my canon and love shooting in the Raw. Jeff, as always great pics, thanks for sharing what looked like a wonderful afternoon.

  5. Geoff,

    I’m missing something here. If the lens is fully manual, how did the camera adjust the iris? Did you mean the shutter speed?

    Nice save with Photo Shop.

  6. I absolutely love this photo! I like the “noise” in the photo; it gives some indication of what’s going on in his life. After all, how many dogs get to attend polo games?It’s funny watching his devil’s horn disappear!

    I never knew polo was played anywhere in CT.

    Thanks for sharing, Geoff.

  7. Isn’t it nice to have something so beautiful right in the neighborhood. You had a beautiful day. Who would know that less than 5 minutes away you can be sitting on whitney Ave. in the lovely traffic we like to call Route 10. Love the backroads, take it slow breath in the crisp fresh air, and enjoy the view! Hey…do we smell snow yet??? Love the night cold air!!

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