Dogs Dogs (part II)

On Mum's lap!
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My original plans went astray today so instead I took the little princess for portrait scouting locations and ideas and found quite a few. Had a last second thought of taking a squeeker with us:

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First spot, easy instant idea and shot. I love this talk and deep tunnels made of hedges and or trees, very common with UK public footpaths. You will inevitably find gaps where the light leaks in and turns into a spotlight. Because the backgrounds tens to be darker as the tunnel keeps going it makes any subject stand out amazingly with so much natural contrast. All I need to do is whistle or call her name and she will run back to me giving me chances to catch her with ears up or flopping, paws in the air or galloping, usually smiling (on the first half of the trip, to tired on the way back home).

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We come up to a pretty wide and open field next to the Tone river, good visibility and relatively manageable grass size (to talk grass she loses the ball to easily and it won't work). Playing fetch outside is still pretty new to her, in the past she had no interest in anything else but running around when outside the house.

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On the first few tries I kept getting electric poles in the background which I find frustrating and annoying to deal with so I needed to plan my throws and make sure the background is cleaner from clutter.

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Like most portraits it not nice to have "things" sticking out if people's heads. The weather was cloudy so I had pretty diffused light to work with and I got my fast shutter speeds and low ISO, perfect for portraits.

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But lest not forget it's play time not just work time. After a every 3 throws I would stop and give her 5 minutes to cooled down, had a bottle of water with me and gave her a few sips (not to much so it doesn't hurt her tummy by filling up to much).

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You know you are not a fetcher when you drop your ball.

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And try to grab it again mid-run.

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And drop it again and roll over your ass in the grass like a doughnut.

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But she did take her revenge on that mischievous squeeker.

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I always try to get 3 to 5 attempts on an idea, especially with running, to have a good selection of keepers. I would rather delete pictures then have to go back out again to recreate the moment though I'm always open for more practice.

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The only equipment complain I'm going to make is that while I do love my Sony FE 85mm f 1.8 for its fast autofocus and beautiful rendering I have moments of heartbreak disappointment when it can't keep up and the focus is missed by a fraction and I end up with sharp ears or nose but not eyes. Like the one above, I have moments where I wonder if I can justify getting the stronger autofocus motors of GM lenses.

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One nice thing about having more then a one picture is that I can try different compositions as well as cropping and formats, like 1:1, 16:9, rule of 3rd subject alignment, etc.

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One nice thing about this location is that it has different elevation spots, so I can sit under the hill line and be able to get low shot without having to lay done and visualise the image easier for the ball throw. You can tell if your height is low enough when the butt is behind the head or completely hidden, if you can see the lowest part of the chest, and the ears can flop the maximum extent (if you are to high the ears can be lost in the busyness of the fur on the back.

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We changed location and went up to the hills where I never been before but I had an general idea where I might end up (luckily I have quite good orientation skill). Fences are not as bad as electric poles but it's still not something I like in the frame unless it helps with the story (farm dogs for exampl.

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Going up the hill I found a very beautiful composition with trees picking on top of the hills and valleys in between, great for DoF separation. But she was getting tired and losing interest in the ball so have up after this one and just walked around.

And with that an idea was born in my head:
*Step one, get a bit pin board to put up on the wall
*Step two, get as big as I can find local map with the public footpaths
*Step three, make small cheap prints (Zink Paper) and pin on each location
That way I can have a general plan of what kind of images I can make where (in case I forget or need inspiration or motivation). And I could even use it for the clients if they want specific kinds of images they know what they can get and where we need to go to get them.
 
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The recent rain flooded the crop fields and in a spot, there was fresh grass growing, very green and bright. We had to go through it to avoid all the puddles ... and failed (her wet paws). She was hopping like a little bunny through the tall and soft windy grass.

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And this sequence is one of my recent favourites ... a happy soggy puppy :)

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This is going to be one wet and soggy winter :p

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She not care what she runs through, sometimes I think she thinks she's a submarine.
 
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