AI Servo and Dogs Gone Wild

AI Servo and Dogs Gone Wild

Yesterday I took my husband and my two dogs to the dog park. My intention was to recreate a photo I had seen of a dog racing through an open gate. The caption on that photo read “Live like someone left the gate open!” I thought this was a fantastic idea. So I had Bob hold the dogs back at the gate to the dog park and then release them on my say so. The photos we got were hilarious. They turned out so well I wanted to share them here.

leftthegateopen

I also wanted to share some knowledge that helped me get this shot. I have always had trouble getting “tack-sharp” images when shooting pet portraits. Unless I am shooting an older dog who likes to sit still, it is really hard to get consistently good, sharp images. I heard a photographer who does pet portraits mention shooting with AI Servo. I was curious so I looked up a tutorial on YouTube*.

AI Servo controls the way your camera attains focus. If you are like me and never changed this setting before, you are used to hearing your camera find its focus when the shutter is pressed half way. The focal point is typically whatever is in the center of your frame and it will only change once the shutter is fully released.

AI Servo is for subjects that are moving. In this mode the camera is constantly attaining focus. You still use the focal points to select what you are focusing on. When you press down the shutter half way the camera will find a focal point but if your subject moves as you are pressing down the shutter the focus will adjust. This one small setting change made a huge difference for me.

For the photos below I left my ISO on Auto and cranked my shutter speed up to 3200. I set it for rapid fire shooting. Check out some of the captures I was able to get:

 

* This is the tutorial I mentioned above. He does a good job of explaining the different Auto Focus Modes.

Houston Zoo Photo Day

Houston Zoo Photo Day

Last weekend my husband and I attended a Photo Day at the Zoo. The idea was to allow photographers the chance to take photos early before the crowds. The trainers came out and fed the animals while we ran around and took pictures. They told us funny stories about the animals and tried to help lure them to where we could take better photos of them. Continue reading “Houston Zoo Photo Day”

Playing with Perspective

Playing with Perspective

This is photo challenge #2 on my New Years list.  This challenge I expected to be more of a practical effect but what I found was, unless you want to invest a lot of time into building miniatures, this is going to require some Photoshop skills.

What I found interesting were the issues I had with depth of field. I ended up taking two shots of each “picture.” One where the foreground was in focus (Deadpool) and one where my background was in focus. For example, you can see where the images below could work with a little trickery. If I’d had something on the same scale as my model for him to stand on or partially behind and some fishing line I might have had something. Continue reading “Playing with Perspective”

Framing

Framing

This past weekend I was responsible for photographing a Texas Best competition. My husband, as a member of TASBT, was asked to judge the competition . While this didn’t fit into any of my predefined New Years Challenges, I did manage to find a few set-ups that work for Challenge #3 which was framing.

To me, framing is a very important element of photography. The use of it, or even the absence of it, can really affect the way a person views a photograph. My favorite technique is to use hanging tree limbs, or a gap in the shrubs, or  even tall grass to soften and darken the edges of an image. The darker colors provide a nice contrast to the lighter subject matter. It also gives the image a slightly surreal feeling like you are are spying on your subject. My favorite images have always been candid images where the subject appear unaware the are being photographed. Continue reading “Framing”

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2016

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2016

This year the Rodeo did not disappoint. They had a little of everything from the absurd to the exquisite. We ate barbeque from Goode’s, visited the petting zoo and the birthing center (where we saw two baby lambs that were just born today), shopped, then watched the sheep dog herding trials.

My favorite thing at the rodeo is to people watch. We saw families buying tiny cowboy boots for their kids, foreigners gawking at everything, vendors in period costumes, 4H kids and their animals, highschool kids involved in engineering project related to AG, a watercolor artist creating a new work live, people wearing steam punk couture, and on and on. Continue reading “Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2016”

Shake Stills Challenge

Shake Stills Challenge

This week I decided to attempt to recreate a photo from one of my favorite photographers Carli Davidson. She did an entire series of pet portraits, which is now available as a calendar and a book, that I adore. You can see more on her website:

http://www.carlidavidson.com/

The challenge was simple enough, capture a split second still of a dog mid-shake. The execution was a tad more complex. To start I didn’t want to shoot this inside because I was expecting to make a mess. Thankfully even though it’s still February in Texas the weather has been fantastic. Continue reading “Shake Stills Challenge”

What I am Thankful for …

What I am Thankful for …

I haven’t been keeping up with my blogging lately because I have been feeling well. For those of you who don’t know I suffer from fibromyalgia and migraines. A fibro flare up or a migraine trigger for me can cause me to  be sluggish and hurt all over for days. Mentally I feel lost in a fog. Even small things like having a conversation on the phone or walking the dogs takes herculean effort.

I have this recurring dream especially when my symptoms are bad that I am trying to climb out of a muddy hole in the rain. I push forward with all I have on hands and knees but no matter how hard I try I keep sliding back into that hole. To me that’s how it feels when I am in the middle of a flare up. Continue reading “What I am Thankful for …”

Fetch for the Go Pro

Fetch for the Go Pro

This weekend we went back to the dog park and tried out the Fetch. Basically, it’s a harness with 2 attachments to mount the Go Pro. We set up Loki with the camera on his back and let him run wild at the dog park.

We had a terrible time getting it to stay put. Most of the footage was completely unusable. The harness kept sliding off to one side. Loki was running full-out and the rig was bouncing all over the place. The footage kind of reminded me of the view from inside the Tasmanian Devil whirlwind. Continue reading “Fetch for the Go Pro”

A few of My Favorite Things – Photo Challenge #1

A few of My Favorite Things – Photo Challenge #1

This weekend I decided to kick start my New Years Challenge and complete my first photoshoot; with a lot of help from my husband Bob.

I chose the first and in my estimation easiest of my setups. The idea was simply to arrange and photograph a few of my favorite things as a way to help people get to know me better.

This was a lot harder than I had anticipated. First condensing my personality and all the things that I am into in a single photo wasn’t easy. Continue reading “A few of My Favorite Things – Photo Challenge #1”