As you know I have had a personal project this year to take as many street portraits as possible. Well, on holiday this year I decided to expand this project to man’s best friend. I actually found this as or more enjoyable than shooting humans! Maybe I’ll do a “Humans of New York” style website. Dogs of New York?
The old cliché of never work with children or animals is true in the sense that they are unpredictable and they don’t follow direction. But then the same could be said for many humans! Shooting wide open with a rangefinder also proved difficult. The first few times I found that I was focusing on the dog’s nose and the eyes were out of focus.
Elvis, a café dog in Kephalonia nose in focus. Leica m9 50mm Summarit.
The trick is to focus as best you can on the eye then move your whole head and camera slightly till the eye is in focus. I like to take a few shots and rock slightly back and forward.
Lion or dog? Lido Di Jesolo Italy. Leica m9 50mm Summarit.
As I said before, they are unpredicatable and don’t take direction but sometimes that is what makes the image so interesting.
Semi-Stray dog Kephalonia. Leica m9 50mm Summarit.
It helps of course if you have your own dog to practice on. I’m ‘lucky’ enough to have a Siberian Husky named Sonny. Unfortunately he hates having his picture taken. I looked into it and apparently some animals see the lens as a large eye which is disconcerting to them. This means taking care, not all dogs are friendly and not all owners appreciate the attention. That being said, I’ve never had a bad experience and it is often a great conversation starter.
Sonny, Fuji X-E1 M42 to FX adaptor Hellios 44-2 58mm.