52 weeks of dogs - a photography project

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions since I rarely follow through. But this year I want to focus on improving my photography skills. So my goal is to take a themed picture of my dogs each week. Not just point and shoot, but think about, set up and photograph. Hopefully I'll end up with some great shots and have fun with the dogs in the precess.

Week 1 - Frames 
 I looked for an environmental frame for my subject. For Kolt a split rail fence provided both a frame and some great perspective lines to the picture. For Kenzi, the window of an old play fort was a great basic frame .

Week 2 - Pronounced Perspectives 
 I had soo many idea to try for this week's pictures. But they were all outdoors. And that became an issue when the temperature dropped to the single digits for several days this week. So I looked for an indoor spot and came up with the stairway. Not as pronounced as I was hoping for but it worked. I used the same stairway for each dog - With Kolt, I positioned him at the bottom. Kenzi has a slightly narrower head and able to stick it through the rail (to eat peanut butter from a spoon!)

Week 3 - Fences
I used a fence as a frame in week 1 and loved the result. I decided to have them as a theme since there are dozens of different ways that they can be incorporated into a picture. 

I tried about three different set ups with Kolt and my favorite was the last one. A basic "dog standing up on a fence" picture with great lines and a fun head tilt.

With Kenzi I just had one set up - standing balanced on a split rail fence - and took shots from four different angles (while she stood there. This dog has skills!) I used a low aperture to really accentuate her and turn the busy background into a softer backdrop.

 Week 4 - Steps
Not your typical set of steps here. This set was once attached to my grandparents house. They were removed to the barnyard several years ago during a remodel project. It looked like a fun, different setting for this theme. 

I used the same set for both dogs and just shot from different angles. These were my two selections for today -

Week 5 - Shadows
We had some really great SUNNY days here this week. I found myself fascinated by watching the dog's shadows move while they played. It's kinda different to focus not on the dog, but the shadow. Shooting at a slight downward angle helped capture the fullness of their shadow. I shot into the sun with Kolt's picture and with the sun at my back with Kenzi. Two completely looks for the end results and I love them both.

Week 6 - Motion
This week was all about capturing movement. Which was kind of a challenge since we've gotten nearly 20" of fresh snow in the last week - that much snow slows even a Border Collie down a bit! For Kenzi, I was able to get a great shot of her running through the snow on one of our jaunts in the field. Notice her tongue is sticking out - she was WORKING to run that fast in the snow! For Kolt, I put him in a down stay on the back side of a snow pile, got my camera ready and called him. I got several great shots and but this was my favorite.

Week 7 - Relaxed
 Yes, Border Collies do sleep! And if you're patient enough you can capture the evidence! Kenzi had curled up on a bed and I love her "alert but relaxed" expression. She was happy enough to just chill while I took pictures from a half dozen angles. This angle was my favorite and I love how the shallow DOF works in this picture
With Kolt, I put him in a down, then laid down myself on the floor 6 feet away and waited for him to nod off. Thankfully, it only took five minutes. He barely lifted an eyelid when the camera started snapping and the slight movement of his tail makes me wonder if he started dreaming that quick!

Week 8 - Eyes.
 We had a gorgeous sunny day yesterday after a two day snowstorm. I love the brilliance the dogs eyes and how they really showed up with the snow covered faces.

Kenzi's picture is super close up and I love how her eyes seem to really POP against the black fur and snow.
I like how Kolt's picture shows the lines of his head but the color of his eyes still stand out in the mostly black and white picture

Week 9 - Toys. 
Because playing fetch is one of the few forms of exercise that is still possible with two feet of snow on the ground!
I love thow these pictures turned out - the brilliance of the discs combined with the sunshine and black and white dogs. It's fun, bright, striking.
With Kenzi I just have a simple head shot. She was watching Kolt and holding tight to HER toy.
With Kolt, I laid down in the snow to capture him at an upward angle as he came running back me.

Week 10 - Sunset. 
This week's theme just kind of happened. We had freezing rain early in the week and it created an amazing sheen to the snow. The following day we had clear skies and and lovely sunset reflections. The colors bouncing off of the snow were gorgeous so I grabbed my camera.
With Kenzi, I captured her out in the field checking the breeze for scents. I love how still the picture is except for her fur which blowing in the breeze just a bit. The clouds and slight reflection on the snow are also pretty cool elements to the picture
Kolt's picture was taken while we were playing fetch. He is almost just silhouetted but his slight blaze sticks out on his face. The shallow DOF turns the sunset colors into a bright backdrop and you can see the movement of his feet as he trot backs to me.

Week 11 - Hiding. 
Obviously the dogs aren't completely hidden! My goal was to invoke that "peeking around the corner" look. It was a fun one to think about and set up
I sat Kenzi just inside the doors of a weatherbeaten barn and waited for her to peek out. I love the lines in the picture and the simple complexity of the background.
I had Kolt down near an old stone foundation and talked to him. I captured several different expressions but really loved the one in this picture as it looks like he actually *is* trying to hide! (in reality I think his thought process was "this is weird and boring")

1 comment:

  1. WOW you are a wonderful photographer. Are you a professional?
    If not you should be!!!

    People would love pics of their dogs this good!!
    Found you like from the Border Collie board.