|Taking pictures of dogs, now I realize, requires two distinctly separate techniques, which are almost polar opposite from each other.
Firstly, the knack for capturing the images of fast-moving dogs is essential. The dogs in the yard can be running, jumping or chasing each other at very high speed.
"Follow shots" are accomplished by swinging the camera to keep up with the dogs in motion. "Deliberate blur" by means of a relatively long exposure can sometimes vividly depict the action. And of course a high shutter speed will freeze the moment.
Secondly, the skills involved in taking portrait-type photos of individual dogs are required . This is like a studio photo shoot where the main objective is to have the subject looking as pretty as she or he can be. In fact I would like each and every one of the dogs that I meet in the Hayama Dog Yard to be looking like a movie star in such shots. The effect to aim for is that of glamor shots.
For this the dog needs to stay relatively still. A telephoto lens can create a blurry background, which helps to make the subject stand out. Also the focus has to be absolutely on the eyes.
Conversely, the use of a wide-angle lens in shooting portraits will result in unfavorable distortion of the face, thus unintentionally creating passport photo mug shots of my canine subject.
As to how successful I have been in capturing what I want, less than 5 % of what I have shot is barely passable. Oh, well, that's pretty decent, I should say.
Most important of all, though, is the act of taking pictures itself. Who cares if the photos come out a bit blurry or out of focus? Even those horribly poor-quality shots taken casually with a dime-a-dozen low-end compact camera suffice to remind me of the precious moments that I had the privilege of sharing with my canine friends here in the Hayama Dog Yard.