This weekend saw the start of the Redpath Waterfront Festival, attracting thousands of visitors down to the lake in Toronto, including a wine and spirit event at Sugar Beach, flying men at the 2014 Flyboard North American Championships at Harbourside, and flying dogs at the 2014 Dockdogs World Qualifying Championships. World Pride 2014, which is hosted this year in Toronto also kicked off with a Sweetness Pride Beach Party today, needless to say also at Sugar Beach!
The jumping dogs are hilarious, and don’t let anyone tell you that they don’t enjoy every minute of this. Various competitions take place including both a highjump and a longjump competition. Maybe both should be included in next years Panam Games. Dogs perform their amazingly athletic leaps off a raised platform, landing in a water tank.
Nikon D3s, Nikon 200-400mm f4 lens at 400mm, 1/1600th @ f 4.5, ISO 320, Handheld
In the longjump the owners throw a favourite toy in to the far end of the pool and the dogs launch themselves into the water to retrieve it. Speed down the runway translates into distance, just like a human athlete.
In the high jump a bumper is suspended at height over the water, the dogs leaping into the air to grab the toy, each getting two attempts at a successful leap to progress to the next round where the height goes up.
Nikon D3s, Nikon 24-70 mm f2.8 lens at 24mm, 1/2000th @ f 5, ISO 400, Handheld
For all of these shots I set the exposure manually. I needed to keep a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action but these shots were all taken in early afternoon with the sun very high in the sky. With the variety of different dog colourings had I relied on Aperture Priority Automatic my exposures would have been swinging widely all over the place, especially as the dogs splashed down into the water where the white spray would have thrown the auto metering widely off. To get a starting exposure I metered off the blue sky and then opened up about one full stop. A few quick shots checking the exposure on the LCD screen both visually and using the histogram proved this was bang on.
I always have blinking highlights turned on to check for areas that blow out to pure white. In the above shots I didn’t worry about the overexposed highlights in the spray, the important subject, the leaping dog was what mattered to get right. Even with pretty accurate exposures I still had to do a little work in Photoshop to get the look I was after.
Nikon D3s, Nikon 70-200 mm f2.8 lens at 92mm, 1/3200th @ f 5.6, ISO 500, Handheld
Nikon D3s, Nikon 70-200 mm f2.8 lens at 80mm, 1/2000th @ f 5, ISO 500, Handheld
Superdog with his red cape was quite a favourite with the crowd. After an hour of photographing the leaping dogs we moved further down the harbour front to catch a few of the competitors in the 2014 Flyboard® North American Championships. Competitors perform a series of moves in an aerial ballet on a platform driven by water jet via a hose from a jet ski.
Nikon D3, Nikon 500 mm f4 lens, 1/2500th @ f 5, ISO 500, Gitzo monopod
I continued to use manual mode as I found myself shooting almost directly into the sun. The backlighting worked well for the water but care needed to be taken to ensure good exposure on the competitors. Before competition started I took a few shot of the safety boats that were in roughly the same direction as the competitors would be and again checked the screen and the histogram to ensure an accurate exposure.
Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200 mm f2.8 lens at 92mm, 1/200th @ f 5.6, ISO 400, hand held