A frosty day is a wonderful opportunity to capture some special images that will forever remind you of a winter wonderland and the holiday season. You don’t need a special camera to take great images as all the shots on this post were taken by an inexpensive and small mirrorless camera. Being a big bloke I’m not a fan of small cameras as they are fiddly to set up and use but I often carry one around for the convenience of always having one in my pocket.
Whilst, for me, a mirrorless is fine for static images, they are still lag behind for the sort of action images that I love taking. Whilst the technology is continually improving I find the start up time, the focus speed and the ease of use still doesn’t match my DSLRs but I’m sure, one day they will get there.
Having said all that, I can usually make any camera work sufficiently well to get something of value and I enjoy the challenge of adjusting my techniques to suit.
Finally, a very Merry Christmas to all of you out there in gun dog land!
On my last post you may remember I mentioned photographing a dog scent training class at K9 Brain Training. One of the lovely dogs there was Roo the Fox Red Lab. I was lucky enough to get Roo’s owner, Rachel, to give Roo her own photoshoot and here are a few of the results.
Roo is a great dog, full of personality, verve and vigor so it was a delight to get a chance to photograph her.
She also lived up to his reputation of jumping like a kangaroo and being a wonderful funny dog that keeps her family in stitches!
I first met Georgina when she was involved with a Search and Rescue group and I was shooting images for them during a training session. She and her partner, Phillip, trained a number of their dogs to become qualified scent dogs but since then, Georgina has started classes to train other dogs and their owners.
I was recently given the opportunity to watch Georgina at work training some spaniels and a lovely Fox Red Lab in an industrial area near Farnborough and hope to return to photograph other classes in the future. It was great to see these dog’s owners putting their animals through the various tasks and to see the fun that everyone was having. There was little doubt that the dogs were enjoying the work which encouraged them to use their natural talents and incredible scenting capability.
Weather permitting, I shall be returning to join K9 Brain Training on the 1st of December to get some more images of the dogs taking part and can recommend Georgina’s classes… she is a great instructor and her pupils certainly get a lot from her classes. She has a facebook page at:
… are just a click away. I will do a full photoshoot, either in a my studio or in the lovely local countryside for just £60; the choice is yours For that small sum you get several hours of photography plus a day or two of detailed post processing to obtain fine art images that would grace the walls of the most beautiful house. In addition, you will have a set of your images watermarked and in a size suitable to publish on social media made available for you to share with your friends.
A gallery of your photographs will be placed on my website from which you can order large sized downloads, prints or a dazzling array of beautiful formats ready to be put onto your walls.
When the squirrels and birds aren’t playing, our Rusty likes nothing better than to leap through the wet areas where we walk chasing dragonflies. Her teeth flash as she leaps and bounds around, trying to catch those elusive insects that are intent of avoiding her.
She often freezes, stock still, just waiting for that moment when the iridescent creatures take to the air, then… the game is on!
Her athletic leaps become more energetic as her jaws snap on thin air.
Occasionally, however, her prey isn’t quite fast enough and she gets within striking range!
And snap, she has a mouthful of crunchy insect. Mind you, I’m really not sure that the taste is truly worth all that effort!
This is wonderful weather for photography, so if you are thinking of getting some photographs of your athletic gun dog, or any pet come to that, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Although I spend a lot of my time capturing those wonderful moments when our dogs do something memorable, my photographic interests frequently take me to other subjects. Recently I was lucky to be invited to join many from the Airline Pilot Guy www.airlinepilotguy.com community at the Wings over Pittsburgh airshow.
A classic American airshow of old and new it proved to be a great place to watch such remarkable aircraft as the F22 and the previous generation of fighters, the P51 Mustang.
Photographing aircraft can be a bit of a challenge and I am always in awe of those who do it well. It needs a very steady hand to pan a big camera with the sort of long lens needed to bring an aircraft close enough to see properly. A fast shutter speed is essential unless you want to get some prop blur, in which case you need to be unbelievably steady!
I was using my fairly new Canon 5D Mk4 with a 100-400 L MkII but even that wasn’t enough so I had a 1.4 teleconverter attached, giving me a reasonable 560 mil of reach. The camera settings were just as important as when shooting against the sky, even against a clouds, the camera will expose for the bright background and leave you will a flying silhouette! Around a stop of over exposure is needed to get the detail you will want from the aircraft.
Of course, not all photo opportunities are in the sky, there were plenty of things to shoot at ground level, including a wonderful old machine that flew in the Berlin Airlift.
And although we all loved the noise and excitement of the fast jets, one of the most beautiful displays made no noise at all!
I am always on the lookout for recent developments in software that might give me a new look, an improved effect or just an alternative way of doing things. So when Chris Pearsall of CPPhoto told me about Affinity Photo I thought I’d give it a go. At only £48.99 it isn’t an expensive option, certainly when compared with the Adobe products but is it any good?
This is a remarkably capable programme with comparable capabilities certainly to Lightroom (my usual weapon of choice) but also to Photoshop (somewhere I go when I need to do something special). You will have to forgive my lack of practice with Affinity, I haven’t had it for long, but I ran my usual list of alterations that I regularly apply and produced the photograph below.
I am quite happy with the results and it represents a fair job considering my clumsiness with the software. I found it a little hard to reduce the depth of the shadows without causing a loss of contrast but overall, it gave very good results. It should be borne in mind that this was a RAW conversion from the latest Canon DNG files that the 5D Mk4 produces, which Affinity handled with ease.
Compare the results with the same photo which recieved my usual Lightroom alterations which is below.
From my perspective I got exactly what I wanted from Lightroom including the reduction of those hard shadows as you can see from the detail visible on Blue’s chest. However, I am confident that with enough time spent on the tutorials that Affinity have available for new users I would have been completely happy with the results.
One area I wasn’t able to explore was Affinity’s library functions and it’s ability to categorize photos. I was treating it like Photoshop and working on a single photograph whereas my usual workflow requires me to rapidly process a few hundred images in rapid succession.
However, Affinity has a lot more to it than I have been able to discover so far and I have no doubt that it will become a great alternative to the Adobe products for those who are conscious of the price of committing to the Creative Cloud that is needed by Adobe nowadays!