Best of Show at PPSDC!

WOW!  I’ve only been a member of the Professional Photographers of San Diego County for a few short months, but last night I took home Best of Show in their Image Competition.  My image, “Stout,” was selected out of 46 images entered in a variety of classes.  The three judges really liked two of my images, scoring them both an 86!  Both images were made on location at the Bryan Animal Center, Bryan, Texas using Canon speedlights.  I’ve entered “Stout” in the DogTalk Print Competition, so I’ll put him at the bottom of this post in case you’re a DogTalk judge ;).

“A Whirling Dervish”

The judges debated whether or not “A Whirling Dervish” was one puppy or three ;).  Little “Reese” would not be wrangled, so I took the three images I managed to get of him and composited them together, à la an image Ashley Seigert, CPP, entered in the Brazos Valley PPA print competition earlier this year.  She did something similar with a baby rolling over on a high key background.  I’m not sure this composite will fly in PPA’s International Print Competition, but it was fun to enter it nonetheless.  Maybe I’ll enter it in the “Artist” category, come to think of it.


A Whirling Dervish terrier puppy rescue shelter PPSDC November 2016

“A Whirling Dervish”


“Stout” was a very challenging dog to photograph, too.  He LOVED peanut butter!  It was the only thing that would get and keep his attention.  If you give peanut butter to dogs, carefully read the ingredients and make absolutely sure that it doesn’t contain the sugar substitute, xylitol.  Even in tiny amounts, it can cause hypoglycemia or even death.  I had to “fix” the peanut butter hanging off of his lips on this image.  He was quite a handful for my assistant.  The final image is actually a crop of the original, which included a reflection in acrylic.  I also flipped the image over because the Western eye reads from left to right.  Finally, I added the catchlight in his left eye (camera left) because a lot of judges still don’t understand that an animal’s face and eyes are much different than a human’s.  Their faces are not as flat as ours, and the catchlights often depend on the breed you are photographing.  For more, check out Angela Lawson’s, Photog. Cr., CPP, terrific article in the June, 2016 issue of Professional Photographer (page 40).

Stout pitbull mix rescue shelter best of show ppsdc november 2016

“Stout” – Best of Show PPSDC November 2016

I finally got my training at San Diego County’s Animal Services yesterday morning and hope to be turning out images like this for them soon.  Great images can make all the difference in getting shelter animals their forever homes.

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