Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sunday at Gettysburg

After having wonderful weather on Friday and Saturday, an approaching cold front turned the skies overcast and threatened rain. Despite that, I wanted to go see the first group of greyhounds get their chance to do the speed run and have their speed recorded. I love watching greyhounds run and trying to photograph them doing what they're designed to do is always a challenge.

I set my D300 to shutter priority because after I decided to use ISO 1250 I wanted to choose the shutter speed and let the camera choose the aperture. I set the shutter speed to 1/1250 sec. Why that and not some other number? To see the difference, here's a picture I took at the speed run using 1/250 sec:


See how the end of the tail, the feet, the grass, and the plastic fence are all blurred? This is because I was following the greyhound as it was running past me ("panning") and the shutter speed wasn't fast enough to freeze the action in this situation. But if you meant to render those objects blurry because you wanted to convey a sense of motion then 1/250 sec (or even slower, like 1/60 sec) worked as you intended. Try various shutter speeds and see what you get, then adjust accordingly. We're having fun, right?

Now, here is a picture I took after setting the shutter speed to 1/1250 sec:


See how everything on the greyhound, the fence, and (for the most part) the grass is much clearer? When I'm photographing a running greyhound I'll use a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 sec; I'll even go up to 1/2000 sec and faster to get what I want.

After watching the first part of the speed run it was time for me to pack my things and go with my two friends Aimee and Beth to another friend's house for lunch.  Our friend Meredith and her husband have a white greyhound, Turbo. I love white greyhounds -- probably because our first greyhound, Alex, was also white but had black ticking. The front door and windows let in plenty of light so I had to take advantage of it when taking Turbo's picture:



For these two pictures I used aperture-priority so I could focus on his eye and blur everything else using a large aperture on the 50mm lens.

(Shot with the Nikon D300 using the 18-200mm zoom for pictures one and two. First picture: program mode chose 1/250 sec at f/8; ISO 1250; +2/3 exposure compensation; cloudy white balance. Second picture: shutter-priority; set to 1/1250 sec at f/4; ISO 1250; +2/3 exposure compensation; cloudy white balance. Both picture quality set to fine JPG. Third and fourth picture shot using the 50mm f/1.8. Third picture: aperture-priority; set to f/2, camera chose 1/1600 sec; ISO 800; +2/3 exposure compensation; auto white balance. Fourth picture: aperture-priority; set to f/2, camera chose 1/160 sec; ISO 800; +2/3 exposure compensation; auto white balance. Both picture quality set to RAW.)


  1. Turbo is a stunningly handsome boy, I can see why you like to photograph him. Love his collar too:)

    If I ever graduate to a DSLR I might know a bit about proper photography thanks to your tips! You explained the differences in the first 2 photos well.

  2. I like that lesson! I just need to print a cheat sheet for the next time I have the girls at the dog park! lol

    I love the white hounds, too! They just seem so elegant and regal. I really hope that one day, a solid white hound will choose me!

  3. @Greyhounds CAN Sit: turbo's collar is from LongDog Leather Works, run by a couple of friends of mine.

    @carrie: white greyhounds look harmless enough. :P

    oh, and turbo has some awesome ears. have you seen his youtube video showing his reaction to dog treats when one says "Greenies?" -->

  4. Such beautiful pics! You can really tell that the dogs are having fun.