These are the chronicles of two Shetland Sheepdogs and their adventures in rally-o, obedience, flyball, agility, tracking and therapy dog work.
Also including information on raw feeding, canine epilepsy, positive training, and lots and lots of Sheltie hair!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

52 Weeks for Dogs

One of my personal desires for 2010 is to become more practiced and skillful at photography. The technical points as well as the processing afterward. It will be a HUGE learning process for me!

Lucky for me, I found a great group of people on Flickr. I first learned of this group through some of my favorite dog-bloggers, Dig It, Fetch It, Herd It, and Many Muddy Paws. The "52 Weeks for Dogs" Flickr group is a project based group where the members strive to post one really great picture of one dog every week for a year. Such a great group of people, and so much talent in one place. I jumped at the opportunity to join for 2010!

Despite having been "taking pictures" for years, I'm a far cry from what anyone would call a "photographer". To me, a photographer is someone who understands how cameras work, how to manipulate their surroundings and the light to capture a really great image. Who understand the art of intriguing photo composition. And who don't rely solely on the "auto" function of their point-and-shoot camera!

I don't claim that I will be a "photographer" by the end of the year ... but I certainly hope to improve my skills and learn a little sumthin-sumthin about photography!

So, if there happen to be any photographers reading this blog, I value all CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, pointers, and tips! I'm using a Canon Power Shot SX110 IS and I have a tripod ... that is the extent of my equipment. Please do keep in mind that I am a single gal with a house loan and a student loan to pay off, therefore please do not suggest that I spend hundreds of dollars on fancy flashes or kits. I would, however, greatly appreciate affordable do-it-yourself ideas!

I'm using GIMP as a photo editing program, so to all you GIMP geniuses out there, HELP!

I would love pointers on everything from photo composition, to the technical aspects of actually taking the picture, to different photo editing options.

Anyways ... without further ado ... here is my first submission for the 52 Weeks for Dogs project!

WEEK 1 - Gio-centric?

This photo is not at all what I had in mind for week 1. I sat down hoping to gather a serious, dignified, thoughtful expression from Gio. The type that he so often wears in public. Alas ... I got crazy Sheltie-Mind-Meld Hover Ball things happening. I "like" it, but I'm not thrilled with it. I know the editing could have been better. It's just a little TOO bright and vivid. Also, the composition is a little off, the crap on the shelf behind the couch is a bit distracting. But I am happy with it overall, knowing that I will improve as things progress!

Like any good junky, I had to try my hand at this picture taking business again tonight. I'm decidedly more happy with tonight's image! Though, it is too late to submit this picture in my 52 Weeks project ... very strict rules about only ONE picture per week, and the picture must be taken within the allotted week, no diving into archives. So, for this one, I need to be happy with it solely for its quality and the tricks I (somewhat successfully) attempted in taking the picture and editing it.

If you want to follow along with our 52 Week adventure, check out my Flickr photostream for the project.
52 Weeks of Gio

(Don't get too excited, if you are reading this during the week of January 4th-10th there is only one picture there!)


Anonymous said...

Flash issues!
If the vivid part annoys you the most, take a picture of the couch using the flash but set the camera from different angles and look at the blue colour (dark versus bright areas). Then take a picture using the tripod without the flash (the auto setting will probably tell you that you need a long exposure). Long exposures with dogs can be tricky!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous again...
I forgot to say to play with the 'white balance' or 'colour balance' feature when working without the flash. You have to guess (or experiment) with the setting for the light source you are using.

Anonymous said...

i like the first photo better. it is more interesting...
sometimes what you plan doesn't happen, but something better does. I am still struggling to get mine this week. Boone is such a big challenge compared to Pixel.

I learned a lot just by playing with the camera, I went online (found a forum specific to the type of camera I have) and went from there.

also, I have friends who know stuff about cameras so ask if I can't figure it out.

a class would probably help you, although they aren't cheap!


Arwen said...

I think for beginners (that includes me) until you know a LOT about using flash, best is just to disable flash on your camera. If that means you can't photograph indoors, go where the natural light is. I don't think I'd *ever* managed a successful flash pic of an animal, they always end up looking weird and washed out with ugly backgrounds.

If you must photograph indoors, turn on all the lights - aim some lamps at your subject from the side and aim a really bright one at the ceiling for light bounce. That will 'fill out' your subject so that you get some depth perception, if that makes sense.

Good luck - it's a fun challenge. Wish I had a dog to do it with :-)

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