Carpe diem

It was a wonderful sunny day today, positively spring-like, which is bad news for skiers but good for photographers. So I took the opportunity of working on an image I've had in my mind for some time now - a sheepdog in action.

I persuaded my wife and daughter to act as assistants and Jess, our border collie (actually, she's a border collie/appenzellois crossbreed ... a mongrel) to be the model.

In fact, Jess didn't need much persuading. She'll do anything for a walk.

We headed for a large open field where I knew that the afternoon sun would be behind me. I set up the camera on a sturdy tripod and fitted a 70-200mm telephoto lens and my wife and daughter took up positions in front of me, but to either side. It was as if we three formed the apexes of a large triangle.

There was a bit of faffing about as I got the focus set, effectively at the centre of the base of the triangle - the line between my wife and daughter. This was no time to use autofocus. It wouldn't be nearly fast enough. The shutter speed was set to 1/320th second - fast enough to stop action on the dog, but not fast enough to blur the background. And the aperture was f11, enough to give me a reasonable depth of field and take care of any ficussing inaccuracies.

Then it was just a question of getting Jess to run back and forth between my wife and daughter - copious supplies of cheese morsels helped there, though she doesn't need much encouragement to run - whilst I fired away.

I won't tell you how many images I threw out. With the first attempts I realised I had too low a viewpoint and was getting a jumble of trees and buildings in the background. Then there were many with the dog half out of the picture, that were out of focus, or where she had strange postures.

But this one worked well ...

1 comment:

John said...


Bravo on the blog. Because the only other person to have written is Melissa, I figured I'd drop you a line to double your "official" readership. The entries are very interesting. I have shown your site to my daughter who has just started what I hope will be a lifelong enjoyment of photography. I look forward to more.