Themes 2014-2015: #31 Panning

This post is my third entry for the LWRDPC 52-Week Theme Photo Challenge, and my theme selection is #31 Panning. On August 2nd, 2014, I was at the TailWaggers Club Agility Trial, held at the Turner Center in Arcadia, Florida. Our 10-year-old female Vizsla, Ritka, competes in agility, and Diane has turned over running her to me. On that day, we ran in three events, and Ritka both qualified and took first place in all of them. But even three events does not fill up a day, so I had time to get out the camera and get some pictures of other agility dogs. I thought it was a good chance to do something with the panning theme, since the Turner Center’s lighting, what’s the word I’m looking for? Right, it sucks. There’s not a lot of it, and it has a weird color distribution. On top of that, the club (rightly) disallows the use of flash photography, since breaking the concentration of one of the fast-moving canine athletes is simply the wrong thing to do. Getting to action-stopping shutter speeds is hard to do in any case, so embracing the badness leads right to panning as a way to (sometimes) reduce subject blur.

I set myself up near the dogwalk, which wasn’t hard, since it was only a few feet from the side of the ring. In fact, getting the framing right was a challenge with some of the larger dogs. I ended up actually across the walkway from the ring. The dark walls of the Turner Center were causing problems for auto-exposure, so I went to manual exposure. For the dogwalk, the runner comes up a ramp to a walkway about five foot off the ground, then walk or runs across about twenty feet of elevated walkway, before taking a ramp back down to ground level. So I would start following the dog as it came up the ramp, and fired off shots as it proceeded across the walkway, keeping the camera moving and trying to maintain about the same framing in the viewfinder throughout.

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Technical photography details: Nikon D600 camera, ISO 6400, auto white balance, 1/160s exposure. Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, at 105mm and f/2.8. Camera and lens were mounted to a homebuilt “gunstock” style mount, and I used a remote release to trigger shots. Focus was set to manual after focusing on the near edge of the elevated part of the dogwalk, then I shifted forward slightly to try to approximate having focus be in the plane where the dog was traveling.

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