Sunday, January 12, 2014

Maggie and Other Worthy Dogs

I Hardly Knew You: Maggie, my favorite dog/subject, left her family and friends on December 24, 2013. Although I played a very tiny part in her life, she was delightfully quirky, the sort of spirit who could be be truly funny without even trying. I believe she was very much her own dog, self-confident, living life on her own terms. I wished I had known her longer, and that we had met when she was the witty, mischievous pup I knew she was. I likened her to a grand dame, a woman of years whose very presence would tell you that the world was not only her oyster, but her personal chew-toy, and she made absolutely sure you knew it.

I photograph dogs whenever I want to practice photographing sports. Their owners usually don't mind when you photograph them, since strangers who love dogs are not perceived as threats. And if you can find a beach where dogs can play off-leash, you'll have lots of opportunities to shoot some fast action.
Photo #1
Follow The Snout: As with people, try to photograph your subjects when they are facing into the light. In Photo #1, the dog is looking into the light. This Visla happens to be my favorite "dog in motion" photo for the simple reason that this pose could not possibly be duplicated in a static environment. Definitely, a dog in motion.
Photo #2
Color Contrast: I made this shot (Photo #2) because the red collar contrasted nicely against the blue water. The placement of the feet make this dog look almost dainty, even regal.
Photo #3
Two Eyes: In my opinion, this shot (Photo #3, and Photo #2) misses because the far eye is partially hidden from view. As with human subjects, avoid "cutting" into the eye.The dog's blue eyes add to the shot, but it's still a photo that only the dog's owner could really love.
Photo #4
Smile! I have to laugh when I see this image (Photo #4). Like my late boxer, this Bulldog shows off a jaw full of tiny teeth, and the tendency for the upper lip to get caught in canines. I don't like the missing catch light in the left eye. A low power, on-camera fill flash could have helped, had I carried one at the time.

I know that some day, another dog will come into my life, and fill the emptiness left by Jocko, the dog that would define my relationship with nearly every other animal that would cross my path. Until that time, I'll be content to enjoy other people's dogs as my parents loved their grandchildren: unconditional, unlimited, and eternal.