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Live Show Recap: Animal Interactions

You guys, we had a real live animal interaction during the show! Chelsea and Tony took their dogs for a walk and wound up bringing home a lost pup who hung out with us for a few hours. Luckily they left his owner a note and he was retrieved once they got home. But it made for a very cute start to the show. Also, I was in the studio this week!

So some of you just tried to send in photos of animals, which is cute, but we needed interactions, folks. Next week we’ll have Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer, in studio looking at your portraits.

We start the show off with some photo news:

-North Korea has the weirdest, oldest drones which use a Sony SLT to take photos

-we got the new iPad, I assume we’ll put out a review?

-Affinity Pro is pretty complex, but might be worth it to work on mobile

Okay, time to review some photos:

-omg baby bears

-pancake thief

-dog dive

-ostrich crossing¬†“they steal all your food, they steal your wallet, they steal your womans”

-eagle fight¬†“do you think they’re fighting or like, intense lovers?”

-chick in hand

-fight or flight

Sorry for all the sex-bots, those of you who were watching live. “The future is here!”¬†

-RIP Tyson

-selfie with a bee

heron v crawfish

-pink lady

geese and goslings

-dog kiss

-those are sea lions

Over to me for some of your questions:

-how did Cowboy and Sandi become part of the family? Cowboy was from the humane society, Sandi was from a breeder

-what would you do your first time shooting portraits of someone not in your family? Depends on who they are and what they’re going for!

-what percentage of your pictures will be sharp? Depends on what you shoot. Don’t worry about it either way!

Time to review a portfolio. Van Den Berg photography, lovely port. The full size layout is really nice. “Quaint af.” Maybe pare down a few of your shots, you have plenty of good work. Get rid of all the spot color. Maybe combine your about and contact page.

Chit-chat! You say dumb things we try and figure them out. 

-more flat earthers

-attribute vs attribute

-no bro hugs

-Billy Bob

-Tony used to be cute

-this chick IS kinda weird

Back to your photos:

-dog licks


-“I’m never that turned off by dead stuff”

Over to me for questions while Tony reimports:

-where did I get Hungry? Eric’s coworker had him and couldn’t take care of him

Back to photos:

-the most Texas picture

-why you do dis, birb? 

-“they live forever and they tell all your secrets”

handshake¬†“it’s a very cordial drug deal”

-tiny frogs


-what do you look for in a good composition? A clear subject, leading lines, negative space, separation, balance, contrast.

Chris Gampat is here next week to review portraits, so instead of voting for the topic this week, you can vote on a live show segment if you’re a Patreon supporter.

Back to your photos:

-“oh yeah, Dave with the long arms they call him”

-deer park

aquarium kid

-let’s make a deal, cat

-pup play

-fishing boat

-David and Goliath

-puppy love

goats are weird lookin’

Baaaack to me for questions:

-Tony’s delts are looking good

-have you had to improvise something for a shoot? All the time. Chelsea as a tripod, bubble wrap as an outfit, gaffer tape for everything

-Tony & Chelea live

-left or right sock first? Right.

-Kendrick Lavar Burton

More photos:

-beach life


-pheasant and fox

-“why you gonna watch this guy eat his lunch?”

-horse hair

-cat attack

-dog model¬†“forbidden love”

Money question:

-what’s your favorite photography book? Check out Gordon Lang’s new book, In Camera. Brian Peterson’s Understanding Exposure.

-how to start in commercial photography? Build your portfolio with what you want to sell, then contact local businesses to offer free or cheap work. Try shooting for and selling to stock.

Back to photos:


-we talked about sea monkeys for so long

-playing with a cat

-dog on a pier

More questions:

-can you math this, Tony? Sure

-Rob Tillitz, killin it


-heckin’ cute doggo

-tennis doggo

-wolf pack

-gangster as heck

Moooore questions:

-have you used a lens skirt to block wind noise? Nope!

-how to work best with a kit lens on the D3300? Shooting panoramas and image stacking would help with landscapes

Back to your pictures:

-cutie cat

-baby and dog

-bird v snake

-super dramatic man and gorilla

More questions and money comments!

-how to get into shooting senior portraits? Practice a lot, work on your organizational skills, offer a deal to schools.

-Rob Tillitz!

And back to photos:

-“I don’t think that’s a race car, Tony, I think that’s your first mistake”



-sheep landscape


-fancy pigeon

gorilla and baby

-fox and hedgehog?

-so many good photos that we just flip through at the end 

Another money comment:

-“cats are walking murder machines”

-geese photo was real

Phew, that’s our show! Thanks for watching, and join us next week for portraits with Chris Gampat.




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Beginner Photography: Animal Interactions

Oh, hubris. I really thought this subject would be easy. I have animals! I can interact with them! How wrong I was. First, taking pictures of animals is difficult enough. They are generally fast moving, unless you know a sloth. Also, taking pictures of yourself is hard. Selfie+moving animals? Near impossible. I attempted to at least photograph my hand petting said animals, but even that is unwieldy using a DSLR. So then I tried to enlist my daughter, who, apparently, is only a good model when she has to stand very still and be creepy (see here and here and here.)

It has also been in the 90-95F degree range the past few days, so we have all been sluggish. Which resulted in either a very sad looking dog and cat or a very sad-looking child. 

I’m going to tell you now, this project was a failure. I missed focus a dozen times, I cropped the dog’s feet, my daughter’s shirt is wrinkled. I captured a few sweet moments, but they are still technically terrible. Here’s a funny video to make up for it:

So as usual I shot in aperture priority, but using a higher aperture to attempt to get Eloise and Hungry both in focus. Somehow that still often resulted in missing focus. I shot outside in natural light which worked fine, but my cramped back yard resulted is some busy backgrounds. I almost never got both of them looking at the camera. Ah well, this is what I wound up with:


f/3.5, 1/80th, ISO 200


f/5.6, 1/80th, ISO 200


f/5.6, 1/80th, ISO 640 (?!)


f/5.6, 1/60th, ISO 500


I don’t know. Looking at them now, I’m quite fond of them, but I just see everything about them that’s wrong. I need to work on manually choosing my settings and probably give back button focus a try.

Do any of these shots work for you? How would you have done things? I look forward to seeing so many animals on the show this week (and I’ll be there in studio!)

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Live Show Recap: Animals & Wildlife

Animals, you guys! What could be a better topic? Nothing, that’s what. Animals are great. We had SO MANY submissions this week, so I’m very sorry that statistically, you did not get yours seen. But you got to see cute animals, so no one lost.

We have a few topics up for the next two weeks live shows, next week is Sports and the week after is Storytelling. You can see the upcoming topics here.

Photo News:

  • Our friend Chris Gampat, the Phoblographer, has an analog zine coming out! You can fund it and get a copy at
  • “Here’s a story I personally related to as an astronaut and a dog lover.” Leland Melvin is an American hero.
  • Beyonce is having twins and got some real weird pictures taken by Awol Erizku. All hail Queen Bey.

Here’s Justin entertaining you while Tony imports pictures.

Ok, let’s get into your photos:

  • this sweet angel pibble
  • “Justin, I love you cause you think I’m funny even if I’m not”
  • Buffalo goes viral
  • damn, Kyle. This is a great sea lion.
  • “some of my closest friends are groundhogs”
  • backlit moth
  • and a backlit monkey
  • dragonfly
  • “bokeh balls”

Time for chit-chat! The part of the show where… ah you know what it is:

  • let’s celebrate Tony getting his drone certification!¬†
  • how bow dah?
  • pantsuit Chelsea
  • nobody cares about digital anymore?
  • did radiation make Tony’s hair grey?
  • listening fatigue victims

Comment tips!

Now over to me for your questions:

  • Roxy!
  • food photography lighting?
  • how do you keep wildlife shooting interesting? Shoot new species, try to get your best shot of each.
  • when you first started shooting, how did you get outside your comfort zone? Have man confidence. “If someone else deserves to be mediocre, I do to!” Take classes to expand your focus, shoot for contests like DPReview. Shoot with groups.
  • culling process for your shots? Weed out the worst shots based on focus or framing, depends on the subject. Use star ratings to keep just the best.

Let’s look at a portfolio! Peter Bartlett. Great macros! Pare down the¬†wildlife shots, one per species. “I wanna know about you. You’re a flower.” Most people don’t leave the first page, so maybe have one main page of your best shots. Great work!


Back to your photos!

Back to me for some questions:

  • YouTube paid comments? Oh good, people with money can be heard.
  • Tony, why you no do astrophotography? Because NASA is doing what we need.
  • You can see Eric feeding my dog
  • classic camera posters from Etsy

This dog is my favorite.

Tony hates ostriches and had a dog growing up named Willie Nelson.

And that’s our show! We love your animals. Join us next week for sports.

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Beginner Photography: Animals

Hey folks! This might feel like deja vu for some of you, as I photographed my dog a few months back here. But who gets sick of seeing dogs? A monster, that’s who.

It’s winter, so my backdrop wasn’t quite as vibrant as last time I shot in our back yard, but we still have green ivy back there. Hungry is a mostly terrible model, because if I try and get down to his level he climbs into my lap. Then when I stand up, he puts his ears back and looks guilty, so that’s mostly what he looks like in these shots. I kind of love shooting him from above, though. The perspective makes him look so tiny.

I use the lowest aperture (f/3.5 on my micro 4/3 Olympus, which isn’t really low, see video below)¬†on aperture priority, so the camera chooses the shutter speed and ISO for me.

Pretty sure that has to do with crop factor, which you can learn about here:

So here’s what I wound up with:

Look at that seal pup

f/3.5, 1/160th, ISO 200


I got his eye in focus!

f/3.5, 1/200th, ISO 200


This shot isn’t technically as good, but I love the mood with the backlighting and urban backdrop.

f/3.5, 1/1000th (why?!) ISO 200


I also attempted to photograph my cat, Frank. He is old and barely opens his eyes. He was in the windowsill while it was snowing, so I wanted to capture all that, but was not successful. It was too bright out to capture the snow while also exposing properly for him. When he was sitting still he didn’t give me much of an expression, and when he was moving he was frantically trying to get me to pet him, and was just pacing back and forth (don’t worry, I gave him many pats). I even shot manual to try to get the exposure and shutter speed I wanted, but just couldn’t nail it.


Refusing to make eye contact

f/3.5, 1/60th, ISO 200


Giving himself head rubs.

f/3.5, 1/60th, ISO 200


I honestly don’t have much to teach you here, except that animals are uncooperative models. What did you shoot this week? What could I do to make my pets better models? Let me know in the comments, and I look forward to seeing your fur-children this week!