Does it look like all the images come easy? They don’t 🙂 But that’s ok, it happens to any of us. What certainly helps me? Preparation and training. And that was exactly what this photo needed.
I had a picture in my head of what I wanted this photo to look, the location and the accessories. The accessories were easy to choose, so I knew what to take with me and I was hoping for some sun because I love intense colors. With the super low sunlight and short days (the photo was made in December so days with about 4h of light), it is not easy to find a location that gets enough light and that looks like how you want it. Some of my favorite locations, which are not too far from home, I regularly visit to have an idea of the circumstances in different seasons. The brook that I described a while ago was a wild river (well, at least too wild to let a dog play/pose) at the beginning of winter. The current that I photographed last winter was all dried up in summer. Some places are easily accessible and nicely open in the winter but completely overgrown in summer.
With Oona, I can’t let her hold something and back up a few meters yet, but Mogwai is not the easiest either. Getting a toy is easy, but holding something unknown? Eeeek! The phone that I wanted to use as a picture is an old and heavy thing. Because -12 isn’t the perfect setting to start training and negotiating, I practiced the holding indoors first (using a clicker and a lot of cookies) to refresh Mo’s memory. Then we went out and to the location and made a series of photos of Mogwai holding the phone. Some exactly as I had imagined them and some delicious bloopers (Mo didn’t expect the resistance of the cable 🙂) Although I almost always have an idea of the atmosphere I want to achieve or how I want to work with the location, I always make time to work out a few variations on the spot. Different perspective, a small adaptation to the accessories or environment (for example, with and without a tie, in the woods and on a path, …) When I look through the viewfinder and see “Yes! That’s it! “, I always make a few photos in a row because with dogs you never know, they can just blink or make a silly face or a small movement can create different light. So a small series and variations, because if you go home with 100 same photos, it also gets boring 🙂