Hints for Running Dog Shots

Started Jan 14, 2009 | Discussions thread
BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 22,708
Lots of advice, some good

Re> Set Camera in AV (aperture priority mode).

Seems like a bad idea to me, and I photograph a lot of dogs.

Anyway, photographing running dogs is a challenge, and you need a resonably small aperture to gain decent depth of field in order for the autofocus to keep up with the running dog.

And you need a fast shutter speed to semi-freeze the moving dog as a whole, and the various parts of the running dog.

So, as you start to learn to do this stuff, set your camera at ISO 800. Any decent picture you capture will enlarge to 8x10 with no problme at ISO 800.

You were on the right track with continuous autofocus.

Take a look at the surroundings, and decide if you are going to try to zoom the lens when taking your shots.

Plus, what color is the dog?

If you are going to zoom so that the dog continues to take lots of space in the frame, look and see if the background / foregorund brightness is going to change a lot as you zoom. For instance, zooming wider and the dog gets closer might mean lots of bright sky in your frame. Or zooming wide may cause tje background to include a lot of dark trees.

And if the dog is black or white, it will start to "fool" the light meter as it fills more and more of the frame.

So, there's a lot to be said for setting exposure on M for manual, as long as the light falling on the dog (not the background) remains consistent as it runs.

If not shooting in manual exposure, P for program is your best bet. Remember that you can move the setting wheel while in program, changing the shutter speed to whatever you like without changing the overall exposure.

Look in the lower right corner of your viewfinder. When you half-press the shutter release, you should see a number telling you how many shots you can take in a row with the shutter on continuous. Learn to time your initial pressing so that you do not run out of frames before the dogs gets nice and close.

For a dog running toward you, the face may be sharp but the legs blurry, depending on the shutter speed. A faster shutter speed freezes the ears as they fly up and down (depending on the dog, of course). And, up reasonably close, dogs move very, very fast, so getting them without motion-blur is trickyy.

Remember, lack of sharpness is caused by mis-focus, by camera movement, and by subject movement.

Often you can get nice photos by swinging the camera so the dog stays in the frame and shooting while the camera is moving. Backgrounds will blur but at least some parts of the dogs will be sharp.

BAK

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