Thursday, 31 October 2013

Perfect Pooch Pics

'Sheez Dale, you are taking such boring photographs of these dogs'
That upset me.
Not just that I was getting a reprimand from my assistant Sam Oliver, but I knew she was right.
We had the gig to shoot the RSPCA Dog Calendar 'Here Boy'. I knew I had to try something different.

At a tiny roadhouse near Moora Sam found a rag and rubbed it on a cat strolling by and put it in a plastic bag (the rag not the cat).
At our next shoot at Morawa Sam dangled the rag with feline aromas in front of the pooch and immediately his tongue lolled out. Success!

Farmer and mate near Moora Western Australia

I then unleashed a new secret weapon, a high pitched belly-dancing yodel like call from deep in my throat


The dog's ears immediately pricked up and stood at attention.
I shot a half dozen frames.
I had already made sure we had catchlights in Fido's eyes to make them come alive.

We had developed a little formula to make sure that we were getting animated dog shots.



You can discover more secrets about shooting dogs in my Beginners Digital Workshop at UWA where I conduct a micro workshop on shooting dogs without getting bitten.
Click HERE for details.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Why Can't a Woman be More like a Camera

Is your camera a male or female?
Oh, you didn't know there was a difference?
Not all makes and models are the same; some have different knobs and buttons; some are much easier to use; and others are VERY expensive.

Just recently on Facebook I declared my passion for the Fujifilm X100. Yes, I've grown accustomed to her buttons and she is definitely a female. Miss X100 is sort of the Kylie Minogue of cameras. Small, petite, exciting, offends nobody and so talented.

Danielle/Voigtlander Bessa 1. Pic - Dale Neill 
On the other hand, Leica is sort of like the Joan Collins of cameras - Leica and Joan have both been around close to a century. Leica produces classic images as sharp as a surgeon's scalpel (or Miss Collins' tongue). Even ageing Leica bodies continue to increase in value and are prized by young collectors.

My work camera is a Nikon D700, reliable, super-fast, virtually indestructible, classy with great accessories; the Juliette Binoche of cameras.

On Facebook  a friend suggested that girls were more fun than cameras. I agreed but pointed out girls are more expensive and don't come with instruction manuals.

So why are cameras better than girls?
For a start I can go out walking with several cameras and nobody blinks an eye. When I go on holidays I often weigh my cameras and take the lightest - try doing that with girls!

On tour, when I pack my favourite two cameras in my bag and leave my trusty, old reliable Pentax 67 at home in a dark cupboard, does Miss Pentax get upset and weep. No way! She is there waiting for me when I return.

In the old days I would load up Miss Yashica Mat 124G (a cute Japanese model) with film and she would whir and click effortlessly. I got upset after I dropped Miss Y from my pushbike and she was damaged. After a little  TLC with a small screwdriver and a pair of multi-grips Miss Y was back in action. Miss Y still bears the scar of that bicycle accident today. Does she bear a grudge? - maybe just a little for her less than perfect appearance.

And when my current cameras start to fade a little; their shutters become sluggish; their sensors develop dust spots or sand crunches in their  zooms, none of them get upset when I start looking for a new camera. Try that with girls and you're dead meat!!

Perusing pages in a magazine or checking for new models on the internet, analysing the technical specifications I hear not a click of discontent. And when I acquire a brand shiny new Lumix FT4, the other cameras simply slide sideways in the cupboard and accommodate the shiny, new arrival.

I remember my first real camera when I was just 15 and i was totally inexperienced. I worked hard all summer holidays to buy Miss Hanimex C35. I sat there admiring her as I removed her from her protective wrappings. I was
nervous about touching her in case I broke something So many buttons and dials I'd never seen before. I didn't know which one to adjust first. Miss C35 was completely manual. Nothing automatic about Miss C35! I had to do everything manually to get her operating. The excitement in loading her with her first roll of Kodak Pan F film had me trembling.

With film there was no second chance. And I learned the hard way. One mistake with any adjustment and that was it. Disappointing results. Sometimes I never saw the results of my incorrect adjustment until two weeks later  ........  when the telephone went dead.

How to tell whether your camera is a female or male.

1. If the lens length is greater than the lens width; if your camera weighs more than your bag of pharmaceuticals and gives you a pain in the neck - your camera is almost certainly a male.

2. If your camera comes with a whole range of questionable accessories and a 450 page instruction manual you can't understand; if you put your camera on Auto and your viewfinder shows 356 focus points but the camera still can't decide what to make sharp, you probably own a female camera.


Bring your male or female camera to class and I'll explain what all the fuss is about in my next UWA Intermediate workshop. Discover Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual.
As a bonus I'll show you how to shoot lightning, fireworks and star trails. All females and males welcome.

Click HERE for details.