Sunday, February 20, 2011

Solvang Streaking

The West Coast Greyhound Gathering will be held in Solvang, CA, this coming weekend. It's three days set aside where people and their retired racing greyhounds can socialize, go to seminars, shop, and participate in events. One popular event held on Saturday morning is the Solvang Streak. A grassy area within the Solvang elementary school is fenced off, and the greyhounds are allowed to run, either one at a time or in groups (provided they're muzzled), from one end of the enclosed area to the other. The local police clock each hound's speed; the winners of various Streak categories are awarded with racing silks embroidered with the name of the category at the Saturday night buffet dinner at Pea Soup Andersen's.

While the run is not long enough for the hounds to reach their top speed, I'm still amazed to see them go as fast as they do. I'll set my camera to shutter-priority, set my shutter speed at 1/2000 second, ISO at 800 or higher, and then shoot as the hounds pass by. Depending on what model of Nikon DSLR you have, you'd either: (1) turn the exposure mode dial atop the camera to "S", then spin the rear command dial to the shutter speed you want, or (2) on my D300 you'd press the "Mode" button, and while holding it down, spin the rear command dial until "S" appears on the top LCD panel, then release the "Mode" button and spin the rear dial to the desired shutter speed. The camera then picks the appropriate aperture for the correct exposure. I happen to use 1/2000 sec, but if you've never used shutter-priority before, try one shutter speed, shoot a few frames, preview them, then adjust the speed if necessary until you get something you're happy with.

You could end up with pictures like these:

(Front to back): Sheba, Ruby, Callie, Je t'aime, Fiona


  1. Looks like a fantastic day! Love watching the hounds run...and in the last pic, I see some 'interference' coming from the hound in the green muzzle!! Too funny!

  2. Excellent shots as always! What a beautiful day there...
    Thank you for sharing the technical specs in detail.

  3. well, the latest forecast (as of 1145pm, 22 feb) is a 60% chance of showers both friday and saturday. if the streak is canceled, it'll be two in a row that sadie and katie won't be able to run. on the other hand, it also means there's a 40% chance no rain will fall. i have to think positive...

  4. Great pictures! Sounds like a lot of fun.

  5. Hope the Streak didn't get rained out!! And hope you had fun - I'm very envious - would LOVE to go to Solvang someday... (been to the town, but long before the grey event...)

  6. The Streak was rained out. I will have to try again next year. Sadie and Katie will return next year as well and, with a little luck from the weather gods, will get to run in their first Streak.