Be Prepared?

Unexpected shoot at the beach

I was down at a local beach working on some long exposure shots and hoping to capture a nice sunset. I had my camera set up on a tripod and was composing some shots when a beach local came up and took an interest in what I was doing. He had three dogs with him and after a little conversation he asked if I would be able to take some impromptu photos of his dogs. I knew that if I did the dog portraits , I would miss some of the last remaining light but I had already had the best of it, so I agreed to photograph the dogs and we worked out a price right then and there.

I usually take a good selection of gear with me when I am out shooting, including a few lenses and usually at least one flash unit. It was just as well because I needed both a different lens and the flash for this fun little shoot.


We sat the dogs on a table and I warned that it was not exactly level but the guy didn’t mind. I actually got him to hold the flash off camera. I initially thought I would mount the flash on a tripod but I noticed the dogs would not look into the light but rather at their owner. So their owner holding the flash was a perfect way to get the dogs looking into the light. I had to shoot at the fastest shutter speed I could because the dogs refused to sit still but after about 10 photos I knew I had the image as good as I would be able to get it with the equipment I had. I would have liked to use a diffuser of some sort. Perhaps an umbrella but I didn’t have one handy. The image is not perfect but for an impromptu shoot it is not too bad. The guy checked the image on camera and was happy.

I took his cash payment and scribbled out a receipt and sent the image to him a day later via email. I also took the liberty of getting two prints for him. This was a little over and above what he asked for, but it pays to under promise and then over deliver.

So the moral of this wee story? Never eat pumpkin on a night with a full moon. (Or something like that). Here is a long exposure sunset shot then.


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