For 2016, the Pet Photography Project 52 are working through David Duchemin’s book ‘The Visual Toolbox’. Our lesson, and theme for this week is ‘Ask Better Questions’.

“Beginners are full of questions. If we’re wise, we never lose that sense of always being a beginner with a willingness to ask questions.”
Look beyond the basics and the technical (like “what lens did you use?” or “what were your settings?”) to consider more deeply things like “What am I trying to express?” or “What will my choice of settings change about the image?” or “What role does color play?” “What is the light doing?” Duchemin includes a list of questions that require more thought and consideration, but ask your own questions in regards to what you are trying to convey through your work and the settings and tools you use to complete that work.
For this week, take a look at the images you used in Week 2 and consider some deeper questions about them. For instance, what are the elements of the image that you like and why or what did you do with your settings or other equipment (flash/strobe, modifiers, etc.) that allowed you to get the look you wanted. There are no right or wrong answers. Consider the why and not the what, as you can learn more from the whys. This lesson is for us to get the “whys” included in our thought process. So, revisit the photos from Week 2 and ask the whys.
Take at least one new image for Week 3 by asking better questions that provide more depth and meaning to the why of what you do.

When I read the title of this weeks theme/lesson, it wasn’t camera equipment and settings that I first thought about. I completed the first part of the lesson, I looked back over last weeks photographs and it is the first suggested question that is actually the most important to me – “What am I trying to express?”

I do realise that the point of going through Duchemin’s book is to start with the technical aspects of photography.  I just like to mix it up at the same time and these early chapters lend themselves nicely to analysing the whole package.
Whilst I still cannot describe my style, and don’t believe I have one that is easily recognisable (yet), I know that it will come with time.  What is more important to me is how I approach the time I get to spend with pets and their owners.  And how their relationship and personalities are captured in an environment that is special to them.
The questions I feel I should be asking are detailed in my Client Consultation form and continue throughout our session.  I love a jolly good run around to start off with and this allows me to talk to the people that belong to the pet.

So with all of this in mind, last night I headed out to the farm to hang out with my friend Kelly and her team of working dogs.
When I arrived, Kelly and Meg and Flirt and Flight and Patch and Teddy and Flick were roaming around in the front paddock having a great time.  I was greeted by waggy tails and panting tongues and none of them were surprised to see my camera bag.  We hung out in the front paddock a little longer and I learned some more about the dogs.

And they posed for me.

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Patch the Working Dog

Don’t get me wrong, I love these photographs.  The colour, the faces, the pretty bokeh.  But to me they are missing something.  They are missing an insight in to who these animals are.  So we walked, and we talked and they ran.  And we sat in a paddock and watched them dig and run zoomies after belly rubs and I heard more about what they are like as a working team, who is top dog and who gets told off for being a bit of a doofus.  Can you guess?

Teddy the Working Dog

This is it.  This photograph. Teddy is the doofus. He is a complete personal space invader.  Flirt and Flight like to dig together and he tries to get a little involved but sometimes he gets told to bugger off.  At this moment I made some ridiculous bull noise and Teddy popped out.  This is what I want to create – spontaneous, documentary photographs with heart.  It was a great night.

Project 52 is a weekly circle project so from here, use the following link to hop over and visit Carol Locey Photography serving Greater Cincinnati, OH to see what they have created, and then keep visiting the other blogs until you end up back here.

Happy Friday y’all X



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