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MikeMcA²

New to BC Boards, and would appreciate critique and advice

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Hello, I'm Mike and I'm a photographer friend of a person who posts here regularly. At her invitation I attended the NJ Sheepdog Trials last summer, and really enjoyed the work and the activity. I've been looking through the posts here and see some fine quality photos, so am asking as "trialers" and working dog owners, what shots do you prefer and which shots have you frankly seen enough of? I understand that some shots which work for me artistically may not convey the action you want conveyed or the sense of why this form of competition/exhibition is enjoyable to you.

 

Some examples of my first time at such an event:

 

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191256782-L-3.jpg

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Those shots are terrific! When are you coming to Colorado? :rolleyes:

I like anything close up where the dog is working (not necessarily with sheep in the photo, but the dog is moving/thinking/concentrating/using his eye). So my favorites of this set are #2, #3, and #5. Especially #3.

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Welcome, Mike! I think you are going to have a ton of fun taking pictures at sheepdog trials. I love the pictures with sheep in them, like your last picture. I think my favorite action shot of all is a picture Denise Wall took, which includes one very airborne sheep. I'll try to find it, but meanwhile, she and others have posted some really nice action photos. Mark Billadeau had a thread of photos from the 2007 finals that showed some really nice action:

 

2007 Finals

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Thanks for the replies! Yes, I think I will like the action and the challenge of capturing what is at times fairly quickly changing action.

 

Hey, I'll be in Colorado the end of this month for my regular job, but I doubt there's gonna be much sheepherding in late January lol.

 

Kelpiegirl, thanks :rolleyes: This is yours, correct? Hope to see you back out in '08.

 

192420954-L-2.jpg

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Hey, I'll be in Colorado the end of this month for my regular job, but I doubt there's gonna be much sheepherding in late January lol.

 

Actually, the National Western Stock Show will be going on in Denver then. Friday, January 25, will be cattle, Saturday afternoon is intermediate sheep, and Sunday is open sheep. The cattle trial will be held outside in the stockyard, and the sheep trials are held inside in an arena. Lighting will be lousy for the sheep, but you will be able to get nice and close!

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Welcome to the boards. Wonderful pictures. I love to see herding dogs at work. Thank you for sharing us.

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Welcome! Those are some fine shots! I like, as said above, 2,3, and 5 the best. I also like the action shots that are captured (for me at least) luckly as like you said, things can change very quickly with dogs and sheep.

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These are excellent photos! Thanks a lot for sharing. As for preferences...I do love pictures that show the dogs interaction with the sheep at crucial moments (stopping sheep, making them change direction etc), but all BC pictures of this quality are very welcome IMO!

 

Btw, I don't think I ever realised the size of the ears on that Kelpie! Wow! :rolleyes:

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Thanks again!

 

Here's one of the "artsy" environmental shots I really like but which I'm not sure would work for the owner. Looking through the slats of the final gathering pen.

 

495520-1-through-the-gate.jpg

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Very nice work, Mike. I am looking at your web site now and you have some very nice shots there too. I love some of your shots of just the sheep. There also was a red merle there competing that you got a lot of nice pictures of, I wonder whose dog that was. Keep up the good work. Maybe you'll want to come out to the Sturgis, SD finals in September.

 

Kathy

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Maybe you'll want to come out to the Sturgis, SD finals in September.

 

Kathy

 

Interesting prospect Kathy. I love the Black Hills area, but have never been there other than in the first week in August with all the other Harley riders :rolleyes:

 

One question I have regarding these events would be that at an event such as the Nationals, whether there are already pro shooters there who are contracted by the sanction and given exclusivity, whether there are media credentials allocated, or whether just anyone can show up and shoot. Anyone who's checked out my website will see that I mainly focus on motorsports, and for that there are credentials issued and limited access. For event photography, access is everything. You have to get close to the action and at the right angle to the action in relation to the light to get the quality of image any potential customers would shell out their hard-earned cash for. Hope it's okay to ask these questions here.

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Laura Hicks is in charge of the 2008 Sheepdog finals in Sturgis and she is on these boards. Hopefully she will see your post and answer your questions. If not, you can PM me and I can send you her email address.

 

Kathy

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Yes Mike- that's my Kelpie Lucy- I call that shot the "Look out Lance Armstrong" look- as her thighs look HUGE!!! You can see just how good the quality is! Yes, we hope to be back, albeit a little calmer, so you can actually get some shots of her, and not her zipping by! You do a great job!

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....so am asking as "trialers" and working dog owners, what shots do you prefer and which shots have you frankly seen enough of?

 

Mike,

 

Nice shots. As a trialer/working dog owner I want to see more shots capturing the interaction between dog and stock. I especially like seeing those key moments when the dog is greatly influencing the stock.

 

LLShep1.jpg

 

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TWSly1.jpg

 

 

However, you'll probably find the shots that sell are the upclose shots of the dogs like those you've posted and this one.

 

IMG_0721.jpg

 

Mark

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I love all the shots but the ones that I really appreciate are the dog/sheep/cattle action shots. I don't have any dogs that work sheep (yet) but those are the pictures I find the most appealing! That being said, I do like your 'artsy' shot too!

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I like action shots, preferably with both sheep and dog in the frame. I agree with the majority that it's awesome to see the moments in which the dog is strongly influencing the sheep.

 

If I was trialing my dog and wanted to buy a photo of her at that trial, I'd probably go with a pretty photo of her moving the sheep at a nice pace.

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As a trainer and hobby dog owner I love both.

I like the whole picture.

So as a horsetrainer I loved the action shots that showed off the hard work. But I also love to group them with a character (art) shot of the horse.

And the same for the dogs. I have never competed with my dogs (others than a basic BH) but my own pictures I love to try to get like two action shots and group them with a nice head, expression, art shot for display in frames or group of frames.

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Wow, what lovely pics!

 

We rarely have a pro photographer at our trials so at this point, I would be happy with any pic of my dog that is in focus and doesn't make him look like a dork. :rolleyes:

 

While I am not a photographer by any means, I usually take pics at the trials and the ones that go over the best are the ones with the sheep and dog together.

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Hi Mike,

 

Very beautifull pictures, I would enjoy it to see more of them.

A warm welcome on the border colley board.

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I would be happy with any pic of my dog that is in focus and doesn't make him look like a dork. :D

 

I save making dogs look like dorks for my own TV watching dog. :rolleyes:

 

The guy loves Animal Planet

 

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Thanks for the feedback everyone. The challenge with the interaction shots, is the compromise between close focus on either the dog or the sheep, or backing off and getting the group in the shot as Mark has done, which does not show as much eye detail as a close-up of the dog. I guess that's my question, is which side of that compromise would people prefer. Of course I can always shoot both and sell both shots lol

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... The challenge with the interaction shots, is the compromise between close focus on either the dog or the sheep, or backing off and getting the group in the shot ...

The folks around here seem to prefer that there be some sort of evidence that the dog was working sheep at the time of the photo. Even if the sheep is blurry, as long the dog is in focus (and in a non-dorky stance), this kind of style seems to go over well:

patch_sm.jpg

 

Dog-staring-at-something-not-quite-in-the-frame are the easiest photos to shoot, of course:

rusha.jpg

 

Only a select few appreciate this kind of photo:

roo.jpg

 

:rolleyes:

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I think as a dog person I would prefer to have the dog in focus..showing the level of intensity with which he's working....blurring the sheep a tad makes it interesting for me.

 

Maria

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Great feedback! Thanks!

 

I took plenty of sheep/dog pics, and it's good to know there is demand for these as well, because from a technical, purely photographic sense I would not pick these over the closer shots. As an example:

 

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I like all five of those shots very much, especially the first and last. I like how they show that the sheep are pretty calm, i.e., the dog is doing well.

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