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03-14-2008, 09:41 PM   #1
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How to photograph our furry friends...at their level!

Most of us have pets. It appears to be universal. Dogs especially have been human’s companions for centuries, although cat and bird drawings were found on walls of ancient civilizations.

Here in California, it seems that one out of every two families have a dog. People love their dogs as much as another human in many cases. Dogs are loyal to their owners and are always happy to see you. I know that if I was half the man my dog thinks I am, it would be great. Someone has that phrase posted on one of the Forum sites. It’s very true.

People take pictures of their pets all the time. The first rule, in my book anyway, is to get close to the animal. Take close-up pictures. Take pictures with a large aperture and you should be able to get great portrait shots with a background filled with excellent bokeh. Always focus on the eyes.

We all have a tendency to take pictures of our dogs or cats from our point of view. That creates pictures from above the animal and often includes the ground which is not necessarily appealing in a picture. Bring the camera to be at the same level as the animal, and focus on the eyes. That’s easier said than done. I, for one, am not quite ready to lie down with the camera in the middle of a public sidewalk to photograph my dog or anyone else’s pet for that matter.

Last week, we went to Pasadena, California. Pasadena is a very vibrant city. There are dozens of outside Cafés and Restaurants. People drive their pricey cars up and down Colorado Boulevard, just like in the 60’s. On the sidewalks, people are walking along with their dogs. They’re everywhere. So I took some shots of owners holding their dogs. They looked okay, but I wanted to get down on the sidewalk and take pictures at the animals’ level. Then it came to me. I had my monopod with me, the K10D, and the CS-205 cable switch. I thought that if I turn the monopod up-side-down, and bring the camera close to the ground, I could actually take pictures even from a lower point than the animals. The only problem I had, I didn’t want to damage the top of my camera by touching the sidewalk. I had a flash adapter in my bag and installed it on the K10D. Now with the camera up-side-down, the flash adapter was hitting the ground first, protecting the camera body from any damage or scratches from the rough surface of the sidewalk.


Here are the results. The pictures will have to be rotated 180 degrees but all Pentax DSLRs can do that in-camera. It even gives you a sense of the world viewed from the dog’s point-of-view. No wonder small dogs bark and are sometimes scared of people. We look like giants to them.

Use a wide angle lens if you can, and there will be a little guessing as to whether the subject is framed properly or not, but you will be surprised at how accurate you can point the camera when attached at the end of a monopod, while the camera swivels around the “flash adapter”. The CS-205 allows you to take the pictures without having to be so low to the ground.

You could use a right angle finder but you still can’t get as low to the ground and they cost more money.

Thank you for reading and leave your comments or suggestions here on pentaxforums.

There are more pictures on the blogsite.


Yvon Bourque - Pentax DSLRs

03-14-2008, 10:38 PM   #2
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Another fine post, Yvon; I agree with your recommendation about photographing on your subject's level. Here's a shot of my late cat Madhu, taken with my Spotmatic using the SMC Takumar 50mm and an AF160 strobe on an off-camera cord to the left. This shot is from 2001.

Madhu was a total sweetie and was quite special in another way; she had suffered total kidney failure and was one of the first cats ever to be fitted with a gastric tube so that we could feed her and supply her with a complex of herbal medicines that kept her alive for another two years.
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03-15-2008, 06:16 AM   #3
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I like the shots, the first "ground level" shot in you blog is a wonderful perspective. I agree that pet shots become much more dramatic once you get to their level....nice post

This is one of my favorites of my cat Norman



some more of my animal shots here
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03-15-2008, 07:13 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigben91682 Quote
This is one of my favorites of my cat Norman
Beautiful cat; beautiful shot. I don't even mind the bits that look over-exposed, because cats always sit in blown-out light!

03-15-2008, 01:14 PM   #5
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Great idea. The biggest problem I have with taking pictures of my cats is when I get down to their level they come towards me to see what I am doing so low to the ground and if I want to cuddle
03-15-2008, 04:52 PM   #6
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Snowball ready to pounce on Mickey's pants:

Last edited by PentaxPoke; 08-12-2008 at 09:14 PM.
03-15-2008, 05:30 PM   #7
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Ben-

What a great shot of your cat! Looks like he's deep in thought about where the next mouse is coming from...
03-16-2008, 01:50 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rottie*Lover Quote
Ben-

What a great shot of your cat! Looks like he's deep in thought about where the next mouse is coming from...
Thank's. He is quite a photogenic cat....



03-16-2008, 03:35 PM   #9
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I put my cat on a pedestal. Makes him feel superior. Besides that fact that he loves being in front of the camera.

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