Friday, March 14, 2008

One trick to take pictures of our furry friends:

Most of us have pets. It appears to be universal. Dogs especially have been human’s companions for centuries, although cat and bird drawings were found on walls of ancient civilizations.

Here in California, it seems that one out of every two families have a dog. People love their dogs as much as another human in many cases. Dogs are loyal to their owners and are always happy to see you. I know that if I was half the man my dog thinks I am, it would be great. Someone has that phrase posted on one of the Forum sites. It’s very true.

People take pictures of their pets all the time. The first rule, in my book anyway, is to get close to the animal. Take close-up pictures. Take pictures with a large aperture and you should be able to get great portrait shots with a background filled with excellent bokeh. Always focus on the eyes.

We all have a tendency to take pictures of our dogs or cats from our point of view. That creates pictures from above the animal and often includes the ground which is not necessarily appealing in a picture. Bring the camera to be at the same level as the animal, and focus on the eyes. That’s easier said than done. I, for one, am not quite ready to lie down with the camera in the middle of a public sidewalk to photograph my dog or anyone else’s pet for that matter.

Last week, we went to Pasadena, California. Pasadena is a very vibrant city. There are dozens of outside Caf├ęs and Restaurants. People drive their pricey cars up and down Colorado Boulevard, just like in the 60’s. On the sidewalks, people are walking along with their dogs. They’re everywhere. So I took some shots of owners holding their dogs. They looked okay, but I wanted to get down on the sidewalk and take pictures at the animals’ level. Then it came to me. I had my monopod with me, the K10D, and the CS-205 cable switch. I thought that if I turn the monopod up-side-down, and bring the camera close to the ground, I could actually take pictures even from a lower point than the animals. The only problem I had, I didn’t want to damage the top of my camera by touching the sidewalk. I had a flash adapter in my bag and installed it on the K10D. Now with the camera up-side-down, the flash adapter was hitting the ground first, protecting the camera body from any damage or scratches from the rough surface of the sidewalk.
Here are the results. The pictures will have to be rotated 180 degrees but all Pentax DSLRs can do that in-camera. It even gives you a sense of the world viewed from the dog’s point-of-view. No wonder small dogs bark and are sometimes scared of people. We look like giants to them.

Use a wide angle lens if you can, and there will be a little guessing as to whether the subject is framed properly or not, but you will be surprised at how accurate you can point the camera when attached at the end of a monopod, while the camera swivels around the “flash adapter”. The CS-205 allows you to take the pictures without having to be so low to the ground.

You could use a right angle finder but you still can’t get as low to the ground and they cost more money.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

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