Last weekend I went to a pet fair.
I know there are a lot of people that don’t really like to have pets (or any animals around them, for that matter), But I do, so I went there.
And I wasn’t planning to shoot anything.
Pet breeders don’t like to have some random bucko come out of nowhere with a big SLR and any non kit-looking lens. They get REALLY nervous. (As I had the chance to feel first hand, with the cat ones).
But I get them. They spend a lot of time and money to come up with animals with certain desired characteristics, and it’s their source of income. Obviously they don’t want their results copied by everyone, because then there won’t be anything unique about their work.
As a photographer, I feel the same.
The cool thing about fairs is that you see interesting stuff every where, like the “hollow aquarium” above, the whole horse-skill set and a friendly Coati that loved to crawl on people’s shoulders (below).
All of these were made without flash.
Yes, it’s weird… Everyone of you who knows me always sees me “McNally-ing” it with a bunch of ’em, but not here, and for several reasons.
First, animals tend to get nervous with light bursts. And I didn’t want to have a whole pavilion with nervous animals on my account.
Second, there was plenty of light to go around. I grabbed a fast 28-75 f2.8, raised the ISO to 800 (the D80 can take it without problems), and got acceptable shutter speeds. Besides, I was also toying around with the Auto WB (still disappointing, sorry), square frames, and the “creative filters” at hand.
All reptiles, cats and birds were kept in cages. As I could go around that, I got my lens as close to the bars as possible, and shot through it – thus creating the uncommon look of these birds (the mentioned “creative filters”).
But the important thing here? Get as close as possible to the subjects (animals), and keep a steady hand. Critical focus is always on the eyes, and all of them are dead sharp.
If you don’t have a steady hand, you’re in big trouble…