Saturday, April 23, 2011

One week to Gettysburg

I'm attending the 13th annual Greyhounds In Gettysburg (GIG) event in Gettysburg, PA next week. I hope to have a lot of fun photographing greyhounds on and off the battlefield.

April marks the beginning of the Civil War 150 years ago. There will be reenactments on Saturday in Gettysburg (part of the buildup of Civil War-related activities pertaining to the great battle there that took place in and around town from 1-3 July, 1863). I can only imagine the crowds that will show up two years from now to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle.

I visited GIG for the first time last year, so I took pictures of some of the numerous monuments there. On my last day there, a couple of friends and I walked along a hillside near Culp's Hill southeast of town. It was a foggy morning so everything was muted:


At the base of hill we turned and walked along Wainwright Avenue when we came upon a woman walking her young female brindle greyhound in the opposite direction. I had to take a quick snap before they went on their way:


I added a bit of fill-flash to take away some of the blueness from the overcast sky and used slow-sync to keep the background exposed properly. Too bad I couldn't get her complete profile against the grassy hillside.

(Shot with the Nikon D300 using the 18-200mm; first photo: 52mm; program mode chose 1/400 sec @ f/10; ISO 400; exposure compensation +1/3; auto white balance; matrix-metered; processed using Lightroom Ultimate Fighter preset; second photo: 170mm; program mode chose 1/160 sec @ f/7.1; ISO 400; exposure compensation +1/3; auto white balance; matrix-metered. Both pictures normal JPG.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today is Sadie's 9th birthday

On this day, her ninth birthday, and pretty much like every day, I expect to be barked at, pounced on, gnawed on, and stalked. Then I can enjoy watching this crazy, crazy girl go crackerdog.

Sadie has the most wonderful facial expressions of any greyhound we've adopted. I would daresay that this photo exemplifies her personality better than any other picture I've taken of her.

Sadie and Katie

Happy birthday, Sadie, and may you have many more.

(Shot with the Nikon D200; Nikon 12-24mm zoom set at 12mm; program mode chose 1/80 sec @ f/7.1; ISO 450; SB-800 flash; slow-sync; auto white balance; normal JPG.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dewey Beach in the twilight of an October dawn

Aimee and Bootsy

A friend of mine walking the greyhound of a mutual friend of ours paused a few moments to take in the dawn twilight at Dewey Beach this past October.

I'm a sucker for the rich blueness of twilight that happens about 35 minutes or so before sunrise and after sunset.

(Shot with the Nikon D300 using the 18-200mm zoom set at 18mm; program mode chose 1/15 sec @ f/3.5; ISO 800; auto white balance; normal JPG.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Seeing the shapes of things


I sometimes try to see geometric shapes when I photograph. Sometimes it's trying to see how the shape of a subject affects the shape of its surroundings. I guess that would be trying to see the negative space in my viewfinder and not the subject.

So what does this have to do with greyhounds? Well, late one afternoon, when Sadie, Katie, and I stepped out of our West Yellowstone hotel room, there was a shaft of light coming through a side exit glass door and slanting down the hallway. You know how greyhounds are sometimes called "needle-noses" when you view their heads in profile or full-face? With Sadie standing in the hallway, that shaft of light sort of mimicked her profile.

So I thought I'd try and capture Sadie's silhouette within the shaft. But if I put her in the center of the viewfinder, the light meter would expose her correctly but the wall behind her would be way overexposed. So what I did was use the "AE-L/AF-L" button that's just to the right of the eyepiece. The default setting for this button is that it'll lock the exposure AND the focus on your subject. But I changed the button's function (it's custom function "f6" on the D300) so that the button would only lock the exposure when pressed and not the focus. (I find myself in those sorts of situations more often than needing to lock focus.)

Anyway, I aimed the camera at the wall behind Sadie, metered the wall, then pressed the "AE-L/AF-L" button down with my thumb to keep those exposure values, then focused on Sadie's profile to take the picture. I don't think I got the shapes exactly as I had pictured them in my mind, but it was fun trying to see if I could.

(Shot with the Nikon D300; 18-200mm zoom set at 27mm; aperture-priority; 1/400 sec @ f/5.6; ISO 200; auto white balance; normal JPG.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why you do take your greyhounds to Yellowstone...

...because you find out they love playing in snow (taken next to the Fishing Bridge visitor center parking lot):

The National Park Service restricts pets to within 100ft/30m of roads, parking areas, and campgrounds. They are not permitted in the back country, boardwalks, or on trails. Refer to this page for all their pet regulations: NPS Yellowstone Park pets rules

(Shot with the Nikon D200; 12-24mm zoom set at 13mm; program mode chose 1/200 sec @ f/7.1; ISO 100; auto white balance; normal JPG.)

Why you don't take your greyhounds to Yellowstone...

...because they don't care about geysers.

Rachel watches Old Faithful; Sadie and Katie do not

(Shot with the Nikon D300; 18-200mm zoom set to 18mm; program mode chose 1/320 sec @ f/9.0; ISO 200; cloudy white balance; normal JPG.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sadie has her play face on


Sadie gets a should I, crazy. After I first started taking pictures of her playing with Nikki, and then with Katie, I began to marvel at her facial expressions. This picture is very typical. Kind of scary, too, if you didn't know her.

On this mid-November afternoon in 2009 I took Sadie and Katie to my in-law's backyard. Their backyard is large so there's a decent amount of room for them to run and play. I was watching them play from one end of the yard, and I saw how soft the light was coming through the overcast. Sadie was busy digging a hole; she saw me approach, and as I held my camera down just above the dirt, she did one of her patented snarling-play-bowing-jumps right at me. Then she ran away, hoping I'd run after her. I couldn't look through the viewfinder and I took just one shot.

As I mentioned, I held the camera just above the dirt for a different look. The lens was set at 18mm, so this exaggerates the closeness of her front feet. White balance was set to "cloudy" because I wasn't sure if "auto" would remove enough blue in the picture. The tilted horizon line makes the picture a little more dynamic. Then I added a graduated filter adjustment to darken the sky a bit using Lightroom.

(Shot with the Nikon D300; 18-200mm zoom lens set at 18mm; shutter-priority; 1/1600 sec @ f/8; ISO 1000; cloudy white balance; normal JPG.)