Tuesday 6 February 2007

A spot of charity work

Every now and then I pop down to the local RSPCA kennels to take some shots of the dogs that have been awaiting re-homing for more than a few months. These shots are used on websites and posters by the local RSPCA.

Now this is not the easiest gig in the world. There are few choices of where to take the shots. Inside their kennels is way too dark, so the only choices are in the paddock where the dogs are exercised or out in the corridor between the kennels.

From a photographic point of view, the natural light of the paddock is better but it has huge problems. The dogs are locked up for a lot of the day so any chance they get to run around has them bouncing around like mad things. Add to this the fact that kneeling down isn't an option as there is an awful lot of doggy-doings about and you have a recipe for an interesting challenge.
It really is like motor sports photography as I try to track the dog bouncing off the walls.

A shot zoom (17-85 EFS) motor drive and shooting raw are my preferred options to ensure I actually get a usable shot. Raw helps with the fast changing exposure as most dogs seem to come in black or white, which makes not burning out the highlights quite tricky when the sun suddenly comes out.

Some of the puppies who were born in kennels are not yet confident enough to go outside, so there is no choice but to take the shots indoors in the corridor. For this I used a 580EX flash bounced off the ceiling to provide a reasonably natural light.

Not the sort of thing I normally shoot but a very interesting challenge none the less.


David Toyne said...

Me thinks you might find an ST-E2 very helpful in this environment along with a mini softbox for the 580EX.

Chris Shepherd said...

I think you might be right David. Off camera flash is something I have only just started experimenting with thanks to the advice on Strobist. looks like lots of new toys to buy :)