At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For March we chose an image from a dog sled photoshoot on our Fairbanks Northern Lights Workshop created by Jerry Bush. We hope you enjoy Jerry’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to March 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Jerry Bush
The Story …
It has to start with our location. We were in the right spot thanks to Tom and Cree.
It was a beautiful spot. My goal was to get shots of the full sled first, and then get close up action shots of the dogs. Fortunately we had four different chances to photograph the dogs running by.
The first time around I just focused on getting the full dog team and the musher in the elements – the snow and the trees in the background.
When I went for the close up shots I didn’t see the tongues when I was photographing. I noticed the tongues were wagging all over the place when I went back through the images later. Even the dogs in the back had tongues wagging.
Sometimes I struggle with finding the best image when I have hundreds to choose from. I use the grid view in Lightroom and bring the images up to a very large size. I go through them quickly the first time and use the X key to reject the images that are not in focus.
I use the compare mode after that and think about what I was trying to accomplish. Wow, I wasn’t shooting for a tongue shot – but there it is.
On the action shot there wasn’t much editing needed. I brought the highlights down and adjusted the exposure a bit for the snow. On my full sled image I brought down the saturation in the background to give it an aged look. I also cropped more than in the first image.
Sony A7 R4 with a 70-200 mm lens at 200 mm
F3.5, 1/1250 sec, ISO 400
About photographing in Alaska in the winter
I absolutely loved it. When Deb picked me up at the airport, I am sure she was ready for me to stop talking about it by the time we got home.
It’s beautiful. It’s unique. If you don’t go to Alaska, you just don’t see that kind of environment.
It was cold. Fortunately it was not as cold as it usually is in Fairbanks. There were times it was so cold that it was hard for me to feel the controls on the camera.
It is interesting shooting with so much snow in the frame. The camera makes adjustments to middle grays because of all the snow. You have to tweak the exposure in the images to accommodate for that.
Between the dogs, the ice carving and of course, the aurora, the variety was awesome. I love everything about Alaska.
Jerry’s tips for photographing dog sledding:
1) It is all about capturing the face. At our first dog sled shoot, I cut off ears and paws in the frames – and they were throw aways. I’m a dog lover and I learned it is all about showing the dog’s face.
2) In your action shots, look for open mouths. Teeth and tongues make really interesting shots.
3) Look for dogs that are posing. If they are just sitting there, it will not be as interesting. Dogs are natural posers. Look for a face that is bending over a fence or a dog that is jumping up. Get them to do something.
4) I learned that a low perspective is so important. It’s a perspective that you don’t see that often. On Day 1 I saw Tom shooting on his stomach. After that I did the same thing.
On Jerry’s Horizon
Olympic National Park
Interested in photographing northern lights? We have two trips to Lofoten, Norway in the next 12 months with chances of seeing northern light on both: September 11-18, 2022 (for warmer temps) and February 18-25 (for hardy folks)
We are both off to Sicily, Italy for a few weeks with Strabo Photo Tours. We look forward to photographing rustic coastal villages and eating plenty of cannolis on the largest island on the Mediterranean Sea. We have space on our May trip to Southern Spain if you would like to join us in Europe this year.
Enjoy your early spring and thanks for reading our posts!
Tom and Cree