Shooting the Action

March 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

On March 8, 2015, I attended a Sheepdog Herding Clinic with my wife Diane and our "red & white" Border Collie Rob. You would think that I would have been delighted to be shooting photos of the dogs in the clinic on a sunny day, but in fact, Border Collies are typically black and white. Many of the dogs at the clinic were either traditional black and white, or were tri-colors (black, white, and tan), and 3 of the dogs were red & whites (more brown and white). 

Why wasn't I delighted with the totally sunny day? You may have already guessed - bright sun increases the challenge of capturing images of high-contrast subjects - like black and white dogs. On cloudy days, there is less dynamic range (less difference in the brightness of the whites and blacks) - and so the images can readily be captured by modern digital sensors. On sunny days, this becomes much harder, and nailing the exposure, especially to avoid "burning out" the whites, becomes essential to capturing good shots. 

Shooting on a completely sunny day required a fair amount of postprocessing, applying shadow and highlight adjustments to capture the full dynamic range, and raising the saturation a bit to compensate for the reflected light - a bigger problem on sunny days than on days when foliage is wet.

All in all, despite the photographic challenge, I honestly loved the sun, and it was amazing to watch these smart, agile dogs literally fly through the air in their herding routine. Amazing sight to see. In the end, I think I ended up with some pretty nice photos!

Let me know what you think of the "Border Collie Clinic" photo series.


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