A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing the Newfoundland Club of Northern California's summer water test up at Folsom Lake! It was exciting to see the progress that my friends have made with their training over the past year and was so nice to have a chance to kick back and catch up on the latest adventures and trials that everyone has been through getting ready for the test. One major issue has been trying to find a practice/test location that still has water! Folsom Lake dropped at least 10' from Saturday to Sunday, and you can see how much it dropped from looking at the water level relative to the orange marker in the bottom photo in just half a day!
Like any event, it's difficult to get good photographs without interrupting the test but a generous friend lent me his Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM lens (I typically use my Canon 70-200 f4) and it was like night and day with the results! The detail in the black coats of the Newfies is amazing and even in the harsh light, and the drab sandy backgrounds softened and became dreamy with the wider apertures. But let me tell you, it's not easy shooting all day in the hot sun so I always come prepared!
Here's what I pack along in my camera bag and right now it all fits in my Lowepro Photo Sport 200 backpack.
- Camera gear (I use a Canon Mark III 5d, 70-200mm f4 for action shots, my 85mm f1.8 to catch some portraits in the morning or at lunch, and a 24mm f1.4L for group shots)
- Lens wipes, extra cards, extra battery, rain cover for the camera, monopod, and a slime towel for the dogs (always needed around Newfies!)
- Extra change of clothes, head to toe, baseball hats and sunglasses. I love pants like these that have 4 way stretch and plenty of pockets because you never know when you'll be crouching down on rocks or in the water for a good shot. I also got a new pair of Salomon trail shoes which are so comfortable and the traction is amazing no matter where you are.
- Bathroom bag (all the necessities because State Parks often run out or aren't stocked early in the morning, plus its great to throw in the bag for dog park excursions as well)
- Lots of water, sunscreen, and snacks. I tend not to carry dog treats in case it distracts a dog during their test or he/she remembers that I gave them treats and they come running towards me, and if I really need to eat I go far away from the test site during a break between teams.
- Folding chair, but what I really want is one of these cabana tents on the really hot days so I can get out of the sun while I'm waiting for a new team to start
That's pretty much it for gearing up for an event or a trial and it differs slightly depending on the weather, the test site, and what type of event I'm photographing.
Overall, I'm really excited about the photographs from this last test and so happy to be able to share these memories with each team, especially since so many of them passed this year and have received their Water Dog Rescue titles! Yea!