Sunday, 10 June 2018

On trial

Like a fool I fell into the trap of thinking new gear might improve my photos. Not being utterly convinced I bought a very cheap and very battered (as in being in worse condition than my own cameras) crop sensor body to try to get sheep dogs larger in the frame. The camera is dog rough, but it functions fine. To try it out I headed north again.

The light was ideal to start with. Bright enough but overcast. As the day wore on the cloud cover broke by the time I had found the best angles. And that saw me mostly shooting into the sun. Less than ideal. Although it does help get a decent exposure on the black and white dogs.

The problems I had this time were partly caused by the terrain. The  rising ground made finding a good position tricky, but did mean I could have a lower viewpoint. However, although the field had been mown there were lots of thin grass stems which both fooled the autofocus and obscured the dogs at times.

This wasn't a problem for getting wider shots, although positioning was. Again the sloping ground saved my knees as I didn't have to bend them or kneel down so much!

One of the aspects of trailing that has potential for good pictures is the penning dance.  It's all about capturing the gestures of dog, sheep and human with stick. I've not managed to get all three in good poses at once yet. The dog-between-legs shot is the one I really want to nail.

Just as people watch the dogs, dogs watch the sheep. Even from behind you can tell they are watching intently. Pity there aren't any sheep in the picture below...

As time passed I decided to swap bodies and use the full frame body to photograph the action. Maybe it's the newer tech or my familiarity with the camera but things improved markedly. I didn't even notice the reduction in effective focal length. Oh well. The beat up camera can go in my fishing bag. One thing I did notice with the camera when I tried it out before hand was that the screen on the back isn't anything like a good guide to how sharp or well focused the files are. So I don't delete anything that looks borderline in focus.

Although I didn't think I'd managed to come away with much the computer revealed that I'd got about half a dozen pictures I'm happy with, and enough reasonable (as in not perfectly sharp but OK at screen size) ones to make a gallery which can be seen here.

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