In line with pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, I recently signed up as a volunteer for an amazingly fun event — the Florida State Canine Frisbee Disc Championships! (OK, recently-ish, as they took place on the 11th.) It’s no secret that I am a dog-lover, and my blog and facebook page have been packed to the gills with pooches lately. These have all been relatively low-key portrait sessions, though (with the exception perhaps of my friend Bonnie’s pups, who know how to put on a show wherever they go!), and high-speed photography is definitely not something that I have practiced with any serious dedication. This event was a perfect opportunity to get some experience while helping out Pawsitive Life, a local pup-centric magazine. As a volunteer member of the “puperazzi,” I roamed the vendor exhibits, capturing some of the great things they had to offer, as well as the pups and parents there to check it all out. As the competition began with “throw-and-catch”, a contest of sheer distance covered while catching a frisbee, I got to put my skills to the test.
I am by no means too proud to admit that many of my first shots were blur-city! Even most advanced-amateur-level cameras have a mode that allows you to freeze a moment in time, and I am able to fine-tune that even more with my equipment. Unfortunately, you have to have the subject in focus to begin with! And when they move that quickly — and not necessarily in a straight line or on the same plane — it is a skill to get the focus you need when you need it. While I am quick to admit my early flubs, I’ll also pat myself on the back here for quickly getting into a rhythm.
What was even more fun than honing skills that aren’t a regular part of my arsenal for weddings or couple/family portraits was meeting some genuinely awesome people. Since I had gotten there early, before most of the vendors even, and had parked myself on the sideliness of the more sparsely-spectated throw-and-catch, it was sort of like I was wearing an “I’m With The Band” shirt. Between competitors, I learned the rules of the game — along with some hilariously-sarcastic commentary — from one of the judges. Toward the end of my time on the field, I was told that I “have been talking to a legend.” The legend is Eldon McIntire, who is credited as one of two (or three, depending on the source) people responsible for creating the sport. And as far as I’m concerned, if you are in a Wikipedia entry, you count as a legend. It’s worth noting that the other judge who alerted me to this fact was Jim Safford, who is certainly no slouch in the sport either!
Once throw-and-catch wrapped up, the main event — freestyle — began. I stuck around for all of the first round of freestyle. There was a big part of me that wanted to stay for the throw-and-catch and freestyle finals, but having already stayed almost 3 hours beyond the 2 hours I initially commited to, I decided it was time to call it a day and get some grub.
All in all, it was a fabulous day despite the skin-melting heat. The company, both human and canine, more than made up for the atmospheric discomfort. I’ll refrain from smattering all of the photos here as they have already graced my facebook page for some time, but clearly we need to have at least one image on a photographer’s blog, right??