Local Fly Ball dog competition

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Chris Summers

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Chris Summers
A friend of mine invited me to a Fly Ball competition that her dog competes in. Fly Ball is quite a big sport for dogs of all breeds. Kind of a cross between a drag race and a relay race. A team of 4 dogs competes on a straight track with another team, the first dogs on each team are released and run as fast as they can towards a box with a ball attached. They grab the ball as they bounce off the box and run back to where they started while the second set of dogs are released. A lot of fun to watch although with all the dogs barking it's very loud at times!

The lighting was poor, the event was in a arena used for showing horses or other farm animals. So I had to max out my ISO to get a decently fast enough shutter speed. I mostly shot at 1/2000 sec @ f/4 with my RF 70-200 f/ lens. ISO was crazy high at 32000! I found the camera did a pretty good job of focusing on the dog's eyes as they ran towards me and tracked with them most of the time. The camera struggled a bit with dogs with darker fur or thicker coats in the low light. Keep in mind these dogs are running as fast as they can towards me and some of these dogs were REALLY fast! If the lighting was better I would love to be able to shoot at 1/4000 sec and a lower ISO.

I use Lightroom and the first thing I did was lower the noise and then just batch sync all the shots to the first one as far as noise. I will share an online album with my friend's club and most of them won't worry about noise, they just want to see some decent pictures of their dogs in action. These aren't "portfolio" shots, just sharing what the camera and lens are capable of. 15 fps mechanical really helped capture the dogs jumping the small hurdles as they run. Some of the dogs and owners got awards so I took a few of them.
 

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