About A Dog Photography – Minnesota dog photographer |  52 Weeks is a blog circle with a theme for every week (which means we all link to each other, links are found at the end of the post).


Photographer’s choice, interpreted in whatever fashion strikes our fancy. Perhaps it would be the strobes with the variable of an indoor or outdoor setup? Perhaps a location other than the couch and the backyard? Perhaps an uncommon lens? All of the above? (Weather pending for all of the above – neither Bender or myself enjoy a dreary rain.)

Part 1:  uncommon lens – 85mm f2.8 tilt shift.


Bender hesitated at the door, as he wasn’t hooked up to his harness. He may have been thinking we were missing something, then had a thought of glee as he could quite possibly run willy nilly about the yard.

He was not thrilled to learn he needed to park his bum on the top of the deck stairs and be photographed.

Did you notice something unique about the images? The tree BEHIND Bender is in focus… what in the world?

Its a property of a tilt shift lens (freelensing creates a similar effect). When tilted, the angle of the focus plane is manipulated – which means it can be vertical, diagonal or horizontal depending on the tilt and rotation of the lens. 

Regular lenses have flat focal planes that are horizontal to the sensor and can only be somewhere between narrow and deep. 

Pretty neato!


Having held the sit just long enough, Bender made his way down the steps to take a pee on the bush, hoping he could explore the smells further in the yard. The treats in hand guided him otherwise, to a sit on the grass, under the blustery breeze that was laced with cold from the north. 

Brrrr! Let’s go in the house! 

The plan was to resume image taking in the evening, under a sky that hopefully would burst with colors that danced across the clouds, the cold bluster exchanged for a warm breeze of the summer to come. 

It rained.

Then, it snowed. And continued into the later part of the evening. Gross. 


Part 2: the strobes + gels

(Strobes are monolights – big versions of flashes, not what you’d find on the dance floor, fyi).

Before the strobes were live, the living room needed to go into studio mode. The loveseat was moved up against the couch, modifiers were assembled, the two monolights were plugged in, the third light – a small flash – was turned on. 

Flash got a blue gel, monolight #2 got a red gel & was set on the floor. 

Treats were ready at hand. 

Strobes + 85mm tilt shift

Notice how Bender’s ear, eye, whiskers and nose are in focus on the left side of his face, but the right side of his face has a smooth blur? Tilt shift magic right there!

Whoops! A little too much power on the little flash…. 


Strobes + 50mm f1.4

Bender’s look was growing more low key bored as all he needed to do was sit in front of the lights and look my direction. 

Changed gears to the 50mm for one reason – autofocus. Having said autofocus was going to be useful for treat catching images that would be sprinkled into the mix to keep Bender interested in being photographed. 

Ready? Catch!

How about a beg?

Did you hear something? (Aside from the blustery wind and s-n-o-w?)

(Did you notice the black edge on the right side in the images above? That’s from going one stop above max sync speed – 1/250th. The bar is actually the shutter curtain!)


Back to the 85mm tilt

There’s just something about this lens that tickles my fancy. Trickiest part? Manually focusing especially critters who like to sniff and look about the room.

Luckily lights = look at me (give or take ears)

Deadpan looks = easier manual focusing

Soooooo very excited…. 

Oh, did you say scootch closer? Closer? How’s this? 

(Next training command is going to be backup.)

The subtleties of deadpan…


Return to the 50mm

Look above – see how the focal plane goes from a diagonal from his ear to eye to nose on the left, while the right side of his face is a smooth blur?

Look below – see how both of his eyes are in focus, while his ear is just out of focus as is his nose. Flat focal plane vs tilted focal plane. Neato!

Did you hear something? 

Yup def heard something…

Nevermind, it was nothing. Return to deadpan, half ears… 

“I’ll take more treats please!”


Next visit Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching portraits in Coppell and surrounding communities in the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex to see what she picked for photographer’s choice!