It’s Time For The Annual Dog Swim At The Pool!

The first Sunday after Labor Day our dogs get a once a year chance to go swimming at the country club pool. Un-oh. Winter can’t be far behind. But for today, we are still enjoying hot weather and everyone is going to the dogs. It’s always a way fun event!

Well if you’re a photographer, having fun photographing a pool party is a bit of a stretch and “way fun” doesn’t exactly capture the feeling of panic when you try to make images in this enclave of energy and fur. Jeez, this is about as difficult as it gets.

Hey wait. We can deal. There’s always a simple solution when we end up at a county fair, animal show or mad hatter party, and that solution is to…come on… if you’ve been reading the blog you know the answer to this one….YES! Our first priority is to move in close.

If you are photographing with a cell phone, this is even more imperative. Moving in close is my number one rule with a cell. If you are shooting with an SLR, move in as close as possible, knowing you can do a bit of post edit cropping with your software program to give the viewer a sense of being right there.

Here’s one that wasn’t working. Shade and sun. Roof line, fencing. Yikes.

I might try for a much tighter camera crop of just the woman and the dog, but I’d still have too much clutter and sun and shade to deal with. Short of asking them to move to a different location, (that little dog is obviously too happy to ask her to do that) what other options do I have? What about a close up of the dog’s face?

Nice, and all I did was move in close.

Over in the baby pool, there is a good subject… a little girl having a ball with her dog, although I’m not sure her dog is having the same thoughts!

Sometimes it’s hard to move in close with so much going on. Plus the necessity to protect your gear from the water is an additional difficulty. However, I’m using a 18 MG Canon,  so I know I can stand back and crop a bit in post editing.

When making this image, I waited until the little girl was looking straight at me before I pushed the shutter button. If she had been looking off to the side, the connection to the viewer would have been lost. Canon 60 D, 250th of a second at f 11.

If you like doing simple editing and don’t have the time or inclination to master Photoshop, try Photoshop Elements. A layman’s version of Photoshop, Elements offers more than enough easy-to-use picture editing options without breaking the bank or giving you a margarita headache. You’ll be back to the beach party a lot quicker with Elements, and a lot richer too.

Here are a few more images from the pool. I could include a before and after, but I bet you already get it. Just think of the clutter in the opening image and then study how cropping distilled these images down to a simple truth.



One last thing. Don’t plan on doing much cropping with a cell phone. If that’s your camera of choice, moving in close is all you’ve got. Because, cell images don’t have enough pixels to hold a photo together once you start to crop and you’ll be left with a soft hazy image. Enlargements with a cell phone fall apart quickly.

If you are using a 16 MG or higher SLR  you’re in luck. You can “throw out” a lot of information and still have something wonderful left. If you have an older SLR with less  resolution, you have to work harder to do your cropping in the camera. Just move in as close as you can.

Good shooting!

Susan-Signature-2014

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