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Sunset Scentwork

By WeeGeordieLass    
I'm new to pet photography and want to improve.

The colour of Ruby's coat absolutely came alive on the beach at sunset.

I cropped the image to give more impact.

Would appreciate any critique Grin
Thank you so much for looking, it's much appreciated

Tags: Dogs Labradors Puppies Pets and captive animals Dogs on Beach



pamelajean Plus
17 1.8k 2290 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2021 7:57PM
Hello, Elaine.
Ruby has featured in your portfolio before, she is a delight.
Yes, the sunset hues work well here.

Shutter Priority is a good idea to use with an animal that is obviously moving about.
You have lovely focus on Ruby's eye. She is coming towards you, and that works really well to engage the viewer.
I like the way you have your dog over to the left of the frame.

I'd like to have seen the original, prior to your crop, which you can upload here as a Modification, so we can perhaps give you alternative cropping suggestions.

Firstly, I find those rocks at the top a big distraction. It's the dog, its reflection and the water that are your subjects. Keep it simple for best impact.

I have done a modification where I cropped the top and left, placing Ruby on a thirds line. I cloned out what was left of the rocks. I then added a bit more canvas at the bottom, giving Ruby somewhere to walk and sniff into. I finished with a slight brightening and contrast adjustment. It's a fine image.

Always try to get down low to take pictures of your pet, and focus on the eyes.
HERE is an EPZ article you might find of help.

dudler Plus
19 2.1k 2018 England
4 Jan 2021 8:16PM
This isn't my area of expertise, but I'd say this looks rather good. Beautiful yellow light, and an engaging background.

If you have shorter lenses, they will make the camera more wieldy than a superzoom - I note that you shot this at the wideangle end of the zoom range. Low and close works well.

A thought, if you plan to do a lot of low-level work - a pair of knee-pads, such as tradesmen use will keep knees dry and comfy on cold and hard surfaces...
Hi pamelajean - thanks for your mod - I like it. I left the background rocks in as I thought it would show the setting on the beach. I've uploaded the original jpeg as a mod.

Hi dudler - thank you! I bought my gear with landscape photography in mind and my lenses are 16mm - 35mm and 28mm to 300mm and are quite heavy when teamed up with my Nikon D750. I have to keep ramping up the ISO to counteract my camera shake Tongue Knee-pads are now on my shopping list Grin

Thanks for taking the time to give your advice guys Grin
banehawi Plus
19 2.9k 4354 Canada
4 Jan 2021 9:17PM
Oddly seems way oversaturated. I tried working with the original. Used that lady in the background, top left who may have been wearing a white hat and or coat as a reference.

dudler Plus
19 2.1k 2018 England
4 Jan 2021 9:43PM
Thanks for the original - I know that sort of sunlight: it lasts very few minutes, and I think you've caught it well. I recognise that light. It may not be objectively like that, but it feels it...

I don't know what your attitude to lenses is, but I reckon you might find that something like a 24, 28 or 35mm fixed focal length lens makes the camera into a completely different beastie. It requires a little more walking, sometimes, but it's amazing how much you can do with one focal length if you try.And it transforms handling! I shoot a lot of people pictures, so I love wide-aperture 85mm lenses on full frame: and even they are lightweights compared with pro-grade zooms... Moderate-aperture wideangles are incredibly light.
TrevBatWCC Plus
14 13 19 England
5 Jan 2021 11:34AM
A lovely capture as presented, Elaine (love the reflection), but I go for Pamela's mod, removing the distracting rocks and adding a little more foreground 👍
Trev 😀
mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2607 United Kingdom
5 Jan 2021 2:35PM
We had that light one evening recently, it bathed everything in an apricot glow... Here that contrasts with the gorgeous blue.

This is a lovely shot. Essentially it's about the dog's face, apparently discovering its reflection (reflections in wet sand are especially rich tonally. The tyre track at the bottom of the frame makes an interesting baseline, the rocks at the top are a distraction and also make the frame top-heavy.

Shutter speed priority is absolutely right, I would have been happy to trust 1/500 second, allowing a lower ISO. But we work on what we are comfortable with. Speaking of which, a plastic bin-liner takes up less space than knee-pads - either way it's the getting up afterwards that's the problem!

I've uploaded two modifications based on your original file. The first, a tighter crop, with a tiny bit of cloning along the top; colour cooled slightly, exposure increased slightly, shadows lifted.

The second modification is my little flight of fancy...
Hi All,

Apologies for not getting back to you guys sooner but I've been busy with work (I'm one of the lucky ones who has been able to work from home throughout all of the lockdowns).

I thought you might like to see where that special light came from that evening, so I've uploaded a shot of the sunset as a mod. It was the kind of light that I've driven for many miles to try and capture in a landscape image. And, lo and behold here it was, on my doorstep on my local beach, just a few miles from my door!

Willie - thanks for the mod. I was lucky with the light that evening.
Dudler - thanks for the advice re; lens choice. My heart's desire is a prime with a really wide aperture f1.8/f2.8...just not sure I can justify the cost at the moment Tongue
Trev-agreed, I think removing the rocks may be the way to go.
Moira-thanks for the mods. Both are great. Good point about the tyre tracks, my first instinct was to clone them out but when I edit the final version I'll leave them in.

Thank you so much guys. It's been a long while since I uploaded and I knew I'd get great advice on pet photography (a genre I haven't tried before) here on Ephotozine.

P.S. it's still a lovely friendly group.
Elaine Grin

mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2607 United Kingdom
6 Jan 2021 6:16PM
Thanks for the really great feedback, and for the extra shot. It's always good when we hear back from people - I hope we'll see you back here again soon.
dudler Plus
19 2.1k 2018 England
6 Jan 2021 9:55PM
I second Moira's remarks: it makes this so worthwhile when there's a conversation.

Yup. A good sunset!

A thought on a fixed focal length lens: I've had a look on eBay, and there's an f/1.8 28mm Nikkor AF for 80. My own lenses are around 50% secondhand, and only one has ever been troublesome (and cost 35 to fix).

But I wouldn't be too worried about maximum aperture with a wide lens - f/2.8 works well. (Though I will admit a deep affection for f/1.4 lenses, I recognise that if you aren't going to use them wide open quite a lot, you pay a lot of extra money, and carry a lot of extra weight for no advantage).
Hi Dudler,

I've just been looking on ebay, thanks for that tip - I never though of looking there for maybe a second hand lens.

I'm not sure what lenses would still have full frame capability with my Nikon D750 though. I'll have to do some research.

I wouldn't mind picking up a lens for under say 100 and practicing with it and then if I find I'm getting good results I could upgrade later.

Thanks so much for your advice and taking the time to check out Ebay and give me advice...I really do appreciate it Grin

dudler Plus
19 2.1k 2018 England
9 Jan 2021 5:56PM
Any 28mm lens will be good for full frame, I think. People tend to forget that legacy lenses were mostly designed for full-frame film cameras. I've got a very elderly 28mm f/3.5 Nikkor - at least 20 years pre-AF, and it gives decent quality, though it's a little prone to flare. An AF lens will be much more recent, and much better.

And quality isn't a great issue with a brand like Nikon: it's only with crop-frames and zooms that there are real questions over quality. I've bought a fair bit of kit through eBay, and there's a money-back option if something doesn't work. A 28/2.8 is a bit unfashionable, and so likely to be reasonably priced compared with both a wider-aperture lens and a wider 24mm..
10 Jan 2021 10:06PM
Thank you Dudler, you've certainly given me loads of good advice and plenty to think about...got any advice on how to get an adorable, excitable, five month old Lab puppy to sit still for just a few seconds so I can get a portrait of her? Lol Grin Grin Grin

dudler Plus
19 2.1k 2018 England
11 Jan 2021 5:14PM
Never work with children or animals?

Sorry - I'm not a pet person, so I haven't got great insights. It's possible that there's an article somewhere in EPZ about this (there are articles on most things under the How To/Features dropdown at the top of every page) if you do a search.

I have a memory of ideas about using treats to lure and slow down a bit (and I think that can work with children, as well). Maybe try after a good long muddy walk, when energy levels are a touch lower? Certainly, don't be a grooming perfectionist. The pictures of my children that I regret not taking aren't formal portraits, but the spontaneous ones, with mud and tears and favourite toys and memories built in. It's probably the same with pets...
12 Jan 2021 4:48PM
Thanks Dudler - will check out the EPZ How To/Features Grin

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