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October 1, 2016 @ 6:30 am - 10:30 am EDT

Animals in Action: Retrievers on the Run

Photographing animals can seem like barely controlled chaos, working with a creature that has their own agenda can make you feel like you are fighting to keep up with them. If you’re unfamiliar with shooting action or have found yourself frustrated by out-of-focus or motion-blurred photos, this class will hone your skills for all types of animal action photography. We have the opportunity for a special photo session at a world renowned retriever training facility with their very photogenic and energetic dogs.

Both wild animal and pet photography are in high demand (and a heckuva lot of fun!), in this class we will cover core techniques that will improve your abilities in both.
Photographing¬†animals in action is not without its challenges, often you are reacting to what the animal is doing on the fly. In this class we will teach you how to go from reactive to proactive, by learning the right settings for action, how to position yourself for the light and movement, reading body language, and how to get sharp shots through good panning technique. Because we are working with trained dogs, we are able to practice these techniques in a more controlled setting. If you like pet photography, this is also a great opportunity to learn how to work with our best friends, such as photographing black dogs, animals that ignore you, getting the best snout shots, capturing an animal’s best expression, and getting creative with your pet action images.

We will photograph the dogs in natural outdoor settings, while they take them through their daily training. Their specialty is Labrador Retrievers, a number of them will be there for us to photograph, in a variety of ages and colors. Because they are trained as bird dogs, we will see a lot of running, fetching, and water action, making for some really fun and high energy photo ops. Learning to capturing that energy, can be a great way to convey an animals character, give your images a dynamic feel, and taking your animal photography to the next level, whether for pets or wildlife.

Type: Outdoor Workshop

Activity Level:  Low to Moderate.

Things to Know:  We will be outdoors the whole time, so be prepared for the weather! We will also be around the ponds and wetlands dotting the property, so be prepared to have wet feet. Many of these dogs are being trained as hunting retrievers, so they will be retrieving both plastic bumpers as well as real birds.

What to Bring: ¬†You will probably want something in a wider angle, and a longer telephoto like a 70-200mm equivalent. But get creative, just about any lens will find its use here. A tripod is always a good thing but hand-holding will often be necessary (good opportunity to break out that monopod!), depending on the subject and your composition ideas. Be sure to wear clothing and footwear you don’t mind getting wet or dirty.


Black Hills State University
1200 University Blvd
Spearfish, SD 57799 United States