Archive for the ‘GASA’ Category

This week at the Greater Atlanta Schutzhund Association club field, I experimented with using as wide open aperture and high shutter speeds to freeze the action, and adjusting the ISO accordingly to get reasonable exposures. As with the photos in my last post, I shot with a Canon EOS 7D camera, a Canon 70-300mm DO IS USM 1:4.5 – 5.6 lens and a UV filter. This time, I decided not to use a ProMaster Digital Circular Polarizer filter, to see my results without the filter.

During the early part of the day the photos in the shadier areas of the field came out better without the polarizer filter, as shown below.  This image was shot at 1/1000 at f 5.0 and ISO 640.  The focus on the dog is a little softer than I like. Part of the challenge is to be sure the lens is focused right on the dog or else it tends to focus on brighter areas of the image. Also, while camera shake is not as big an issue at higher shutter speeds as it is at lower speeds, photographer movements can affect focus, such as when you move to following the dog. Some days, my focus targeting is better than others. Hmmm – maybe I need more focus training, except I really don’t care too much for hot dogs.

Moving on…This next image was shot at 1/1000 at f 6.3 ISO 640. The dog is sharper, which is due to the lighting being more even (no shady area), and probably better focus targeting on my part.

This next photo shows great action. It was shot at 1/800 at f 5.6 with an ISO of 400. Notice the little mushrooms near his front feet and the blurred area at the front and back of the image. The photo following this one is my favorite of the entire day’s shoot. It’s composition is spot on, the dog’s expression adds drama and it looks like the dog is about to run me over, which he was. This one was shot at 1/1600 at f 5.0 with an ISO of 640. To get both of these shots, I sat on a beach chair on the side of the field. I do not do well with squatting – don’t have the knees for it – so a beach chair gets me low. I propped my elbows on my knees for stability, or you might try using a monopod.

The next set of pictures are a before post processing and after. You will notice the background in the first image seems brighter and the dog darker. With a few adjustments in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, I was able to achieve the balance I wanted for this image. As I mentioned in my last post, this is a useful technique with dark-coated dogs. It also works to compensate for shadows cast by the handler onto the dog, another persistent challenge on bright, sunny days. This image also was taken at 1/1600 at f 5.0 and ISO of 640.

The next image illustrates a problem all photographers have with shooting into the blind. The interior of the blind is often shaded, with the sky very bright. This photo was taken at 1/000 at f 4.5 and ISO 400.  I really like the composition and the action, but what I don’t like about this photo is the sky. It looks artificial to me and the trees to the left of the blind, although nicely blurred, do not look natural. Photoshop can help here, but when you’re in the field, try focusing in as tightly as you can on the blind. It will help the camera get a good exposure and limit the amount of annoying and distracting background elements. This image was taken midday, which in Georgia during the summer is the worst time of the day to taken photos. The light is harsh and there are a lot of particles in the air, which reflect light.

The following three shots again demonstrate the effectiveness of getting low and zooming in. The first and third images were taken at 1/1000, f 5.6, ISO 640, and the second one at 1/400, f 5.0, ISO 640.

In conclusion, the results of this week’s photo shoot taught me that getting low and using the power of my zoom lens really works for me, especially with a wide aperture and faster shutter speed. Shooting midday in the Georgia sun isn’t fun – too hot and humid – and the results are not what I’d like to see. On the other hand, that’s when protection work is most often done, so…I gotta continue figuring that one out.

And, finally, I want to try going even higher with shutter speeds to see what happens. I was at family wedding last weekend. The ceremony was held on a beach. I took a peek at the settings on the wedding photographer’s camera. Shutter speed was set at 1/4,000! Couldn’t get a good look at the aperture or ISO settings. If that works for wedding photography, it might just yield some interesting images in Schutzhund photography as well.

I will close out this post with another favorite shot of the day – a handler and his dog heading onto the field for a little work. Until next time, thanks for visiting!

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Pardon the sidebar from my usual posts, but wanted to share some good news.  The Greater Atlanta Schutzhund Club held Board of Directors elections on Saturday, June 26th:

  • Peter Spanos – President
  • Stefan Mannsbart – Vice President
  • Larry Hodge – Treasurer
  • Tracy Schaeffer – Secretary
  • Fabian Walker – Training Director
  • Gary McGillivary – Member at Large
  • Ashely Barrientos – Ex Officio (property owner on which our club field sits)

Our helpers are Mitchell Walker, Mark Patillo and Fabian Walker. BJ Spanos (that’s me!) was appointed webmaster.

The Board has a lot of energy and great ideas, including a complete redo of the GASA website and to become more active at the regional (Southeast Region) and national levels of the United Schutzhund Clubs of America.  Our club members also shared some excellent ideas at the meeting.

The Greater Atlanta Schutzhund Club is an all breed club that is dedicated to providing excellent quality training for all levels of dogs and handlers.  We are a family club and have not only individual memberships but also family memberships. We welcome new members and those new to Schutzhund who would like to visit and see what Schutzhund is all about.

Next post will be in mid-July due to travel and work deadlines!  Thank you for visiting and your encouragement!

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