“I need something I can get dirty.” That’s what I told Helaine before Saturday’s trip to the Wallingford Animal Shelter. Getting dirty was part of the battle plan for my shoot at the pound.
I took a backpack full of stuff, but used little.
I have a technique for shooting dogs. The two most important elements are shooting low and shooting wide. Getting close usually produces the best shots.
Our shooting area was behind the shelter. The dogs get exercise here while pooping and marking their turf. These dogs need less fiber!
I laid down on a blanket and hoped for the best. Before the shoot was over even the blanket had been piddled on.
The EXIF file packed inside every digital photo (yes, even the ones on your phone) tells me a lot about each shot. Shutter speeds varied, but in Saturday’s bright sunshine the vast majority of shots were 1/400 and faster. That stops action and helps handheld shot be sharper.
I took 455 shots with my Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 lens. There are clusters of shots at each end of the length, but it looks like I used its entire range pretty evenly.
Normally I’d shoot everything at F/2.8 which produces a sharp foreground and a dreamy, fuzzy background. Because the dogs were always in motion, meaning focus would be a problem, I opted to stay mainly at F/4 and F/5.6. If any part of the dog was in focus the entire dog would be sharp!
Another 60 pictures were taken with an 8mm fully manual fisheye lens from Rokinon. Focus is totally uncritical with that lens, but I shot mainly f/8 and f/11 just to be sure.
My camera was a Canon 7D in RAW mode. Each photo is 18 megapixels (5184 x 3456). Each photo file runs around 25MB.
Going from 500+ photos to 100 is easy. Lots of shots are blurred, poorly lit, missing the action, or just plain bad. Others closely duplicate each other.
Getting from 100 to 20 was a lot more difficult.