July 18, 2017
Dogs and people are an interesting mix of elements. Yes, dogs are human’s best friend. We all know that. Having had several dogs it is fairly easy to spot different kinds of owners. My favorite kind of owners are those who do not teach their dogs tricks, or train them for hunting or protection, but have them as companions, and treat them as family.
They are easy to spot. Take a walk sometime in a park, with your camera of course, sit on a park bench and observe. It is important to interject that good photographers are excellent observers. When the mind is in shooting mode but relaxed it gives one the opportunity of taking in what is going on around you.
The photo above is a good example. This older couple and their dog are interacting with this young lady. This park is frequented by many kinds of people and having been here over a period of time and watching the people at some point there is always a story waiting to be shot.
Catching the moment and capturing the story in one image renders the moment as timeless. This is where knowing your surroundings and being familiar with people who frequent certain places are ideal settings for stories. It is sometimes called practice, practice, practice.
When this group was first noticed one realized the opportunity was approaching. Knowing where to be was important in this case. The setting involved being at a certain spot on the path at the right time. With an eye constantly in the viewfinder, the image was framed and the shot taken.
The image below has several elements working together to give this wordless narrative its energy. The rails of the shallow arch of the bridge frame the sides and draw the eye into the center of the image. The green of the surroundings contrasts sharply with the clothes, the people, and the color of the dogs.
The young lady wants the dog to pay attention to her, but the dog is not having it. It tells us the dog is relaxed around people and has probably been handled like this before. The women may be discussing the situation, or the girl or the weather. It doesn’t matter. There is action, subtle but dynamic.
The light in this situation is also of major importance. It is bright, but not stark, thus no hard shadows casting areas of the scene into sharp contrast. The sun has either not come over the top of the trees or the sky is cloudy or has a light but dense overcast.
Everything is delineated sharply, but softly gentle. This renders the scene with a quality of a realistic painting. What is not noticed and should not be noticed unless you are a serious photographer, is the gradation of the image from white with definition in the highlight areas, to detail in the shadows or darker areas.
This is what gives an image of this type its best quality. Its ability to tell a story. Next stop: Exploiting nature with exciting action shots.
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