Skye Commercial Photography Has Dog Walk Distractions
What is Skye Commercial Photography Has Dog Walk Distractions? Well, there is a thing I do on Twitter, it’s called Dog Walk Distractions. It’s quite popular, even though I say so myself. I thought it would be fun to collect a few highlights and explain what was behind it.
A dog walk is a daily occurrence, sometimes twice daily – our dogs are brim full of energy. We have regular dog walking venues and we have got to know them quite well. This has led me to take them a little bit for granted. I shouldn’t. They are on or about the Isle of Skye and scenery like that deserves much more respect than I give while trudging ignorantly through it listening to an audiobook and occasionally shouting at dogs to come back.
The distractions began as double takes during a walk. There would be moments that would arouse a “ooh, would you look at that…” response, but since I had a really rubbish camera in my phone I would shrug and carry on.
It occurred to me I was not thinking this through. I am a photographer and everybody knows that the difference between a normal person and a photographer is that a photographer has a nicer camera. That is an in-joke within the photographic community. When you admit to being one people often say,
“Oh, I bet you have a really good camera.”
Or, “I want to be a photographer but I’ve only got a rubbish camera…”
Not irritating at all.
Sometimes while I am working someone will say,
“That’s a good camera, bet it takes great pictures.”
The answer is obviously no. Given half a chance it will take as crap pictures as any other camera in the wrong hands. saying that, I bet they would say something similar to Tiger Woods – “Ooh, that went far. I bet you have a really nice driver…”
I started to wonder if my previous refusal to take pictures with my phone a subconscious admission that I thought my photography chops were to a degree down to a good camera? Did I have the right hands? Was I relying on my equipment? I was pretty sure that wasn’t the case.
To make sure I thought I better give the phone another go…
I really tried to take pictures with the phone. I was constantly on the look out for interesting stuff. I clambered over walls and fences, sloshed through bogs and shooed sheep out the way to get the right shot but my phone really was beyond redemption. I mean it was at least 3 years old! No matter how good anyone was they were going to end up with a rubbish picture with that particular model. Little or no focus and the picture was taken at a randomly decided few seconds after the button was pressed, it could be as little as one or as many as four seconds later.
Then I thought of our old Canon 5D MkI. Old? The MkI had been state of the art when it was brought out in 2005, Now it is more state of the Ark. Technology has cantered away into the distance leaving it far behind but I still loved it. We now use 5D MkIVs and Eos R5 mirrorless cameras they are many leagues ahead of the MkI. So far in advance that there is little or no comparison between the two. But it was my first serious full frame camera, it made a reassuring cast iron ringing thunk every time you released the shutter. We had been through some adventures together and it was supposed to be enjoying it’s retirement at the back of the shelf. using it added to the challenge, not only did I have to turn a distraction into an interesting photograph I had to do it with a camera with none of the advanced abilities I have become used to in my workaday cameras. Most phones are technologically way more advanced. Though in it’s defence it has a full frame sensor and ii has the build quality of an airliners black box. Then there were the state of the art lenses. They were a definite plus. Saying that, I would still have to work within long lost limitations and concentrate on composition. I could prove my often stated view that it is the most important part of taking a photograph. Lots of megapixels, multipoint focus and perfect colour capture means nothing if the composition is crap. Something uninspiring which is captured perfectly is still something uninspiring…
Taking the MkI for a walk was refreshing, interesting and stimulating. My thoughts about composition and lighting were being challenged by the cameras limitations. It was good for me, I started to take a closer interest in what was going on around me. I would take note of things. There would be subjects that needed the right light and conversely the right light that needed a subject. Sometimes walks would be taken at a specific time in a certain place so a photo could be captured. The camera was pretty damned heavy though…
Then I got a new phone, a Huawei P20 Pro, which had a fancy camera and weighed a fraction of a 5D and a lens. It also made much better phone calls. I quickly moved back to taking pictures with the phone. This is when Dog Walk Distractions really started. I could take a picture and post it while still walking. God knows where the dogs were while I was fully distracted editing and posting on the phone it but I haven’t lost any yet.
Sometimes, to change things around I take a Canon Eos 4000D. They call it an entry level camera. There is a good reason for it being the cheapest DSLR in the Canon range. It is a million miles away from the 5D MkIV – actually it’s abilities are very similar to those of the 5D Mk1 but it is made primarily of plastic. It has a adjustable aperture which the phone doesn’t and sometimes a picture needs some depth. I like using it in a similar way to the 5D MkI, It challenges me not to rely on the latest and best technology. As with the 5D Mk1 It can be really challenging. It’s sensor is basic (not full frame like the 5Ds, it’s ISO range embarrassing – the same as the 5d MK1 its ISO maxes out at 1500 ( the MKIV keeps going to 32000 though with some adaption this can be pushed to 102400) and it’s manual functions a tad infuriating. To be honest even though a phone camera can do some remarkable things I am happiest with a DSLR, any DSLR, on manual in my hands. I could prattle on about apertures and F-stops sounding like an audiophile extoling the virtues of turntables and analogue amps giving a richer more pleasurable listening experience but pictures taken with a manual camera are just superior to anything a phone camera can produce. Using great big lenses and sensors instead of apps to give a photo depth and contrast is better.
What to keep in mind is that the important bit isn’t really what you take a picture with it’s what is in the picture. The previously stated adage of you can still take a really crap picture with a really good camera is very true. What’s just as important is that the inverse is also true – you can take a great photo with a crap camera. The most important to remember that no matter what you use, composition is king.
So that is Dog Walk Distractions, proving that you don’t always need a super-duper fancy camera to take a nice picture just inspiration, imagination and a couple of dogs.I should say that we came across the seal pup by accident and we beat a hasty retreat after a very hurried snap which I took to send to a seal rescue organisation who reassured me that the pup was fine (no discharge from the eyes or nose, eyes not dull, or have a dry ring around them) and it was safe to leave alone. Which I did.