Friday, August 12, 2011

Slightly Off Topic...Famous Amos: Water Dog and Obsessed Retriever!

And now for something completely different. Well... it's still "Lights, Camera, Action!", only different.
Wendy and I were in Northern Michigan last week, and we took along our travelin' dog, Amos. He is a retriever in the truest sense. Maybe not a good hunting dog, but a retriever for sure.
And we discovered that Amos LOVES the water.

Amos. Photo: Wendy Wooley, Manual mode, 1/250 @ f/5.6, ISO 400, 35mm.
To get this shot you really need to be committed, and maybe we should be committed.
There are a several keys to getting this shot.

First, you may heard me quote my hero, Joe McNally, by saying "push in tight and shoot wide". You really have to get in their face when using a wide angle lens for a single subject. Our inspiration for this shot comes from Joe.

Secondly, for the photo to work, we needed to get Amos above the horizon line. Wendy is shooting from about one foot above sea level. This gives the subject some prominence.

Wendy had to be committed to this shot. Photo: Matt Wooley, Manual, 1/100 @ f/10, ISO 400, 70mm.

The third key is the off camera flash. In this case we are using pocket wizards to fire a Canon speedlight on a mini lightstand. Check out this previous post for more ideas on off camera flash.
We also wanted to give the light some warmth to match the sunset. An orange plastic poop bag wrapped around the flash did the trick. And... it kept the rig dry!

Amos, set to retrieve! Photo: wendy Wooley, Manual mode, 1/250 @ f/8, ISO 400, 35mm.
Our best pictures came after the sun had set. Water has a wonderful reflective quality that increases the available light. The shot just would not look the same on a grassy lawn.

The forth key is to shoot in Manual Mode. When using a flash, shoot in Manual. Just do it. Always.

We set the exposure for the sky, f/8 at 1/250th. Checking the Exposure Meter through the viewfinder, the reading is -2 or lower. Perfect for color in the sky.
The flash fills the subject with a pop, and we have a picture. Without the flash, all you would have is a silhouette of leaping Amos.
In this case, our flash is also set on Manual at about 1/2 power.

My job was to keep Famous Amos focused. Not too hard with an obsessed retriever. Amos said it was his best summer vacation EVER!

The last key is warm water. Northern Michigan is beautiful, and has been home for Wendy for the last 7 years. I guess she must see something in me and the Bluegrass to pack it all up and move to Kentucky.... I'll do my best to be worth the trouble.
We plan to return to the North regularly. 

Capture the Light Equine is pleased to announce our Fall Bluegrass Equine Photography Workshop!
We had such positive response from our Spring Workshop, we are doing it again November 1-3. Conveniently planned for the week before the Breeder's Cup, this class will be limited to 9 participants with 3 EquiSport instructors. We will visit some pretty cool spots in the Bluegrass for equine photography, like Old Friends, Keeneland, Kenny McPeek's training center, and Spendthrift Farm. Check out the details and drop us a line!