- Mission: Capture moments with my dog and progress as a photographer
- Photographer: Ellie Sharples
- Location: Hillerød, Denmark
- Kit used: Nikon D850 (opens in new tab), Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
I received a Nikon D40, my first DSLR, at 14 and fell in love with the ability to capture moments that would never happen again. It was just before a family holiday to The Gambia – what animal lover wouldn’t enjoy taking photos in such a nature-rich location? It has only been during the past couple of years that I’ve been motivated to learn more and practice as much as possible, so I can turn my hobby into a profession. And much of that inspiration comes from my dog, Dax.
Five years ago, I made the big decision to leave the UK and move to Denmark. I’ll never grow tired of exploring the beautiful forests; their pine trees and mosses create such a magical atmosphere. I came across an awesome moss-covered mound in a local forest (top), and returned during the golden hour with Dax. I use a wide aperture in most of my photos to produce wonderful bokeh and to emphasize the crisp subject.
I love this image (above) because of the stark contrast between the pure white snow and dark trees, which makes my canine companion’s coloring even more striking. I framed Dax in a gap between the trees and called her so that she would run directly towards me. I used a fast shutter speed of 1/2000 sec to freeze the action – continuous focus and back-button focusing made it much easier to keep the collie in focus as she ran.
Most of my dog photography is based among nature, but I wanted to challenge myself and incorporate man-made settings into my portfolio. I thought the beautiful Frederiksborg Castle (above) would prove an ideal backdrop, with its warm colors and the busy textures of brick walls and cobblestones. Being a busy tourist spot it was hard to find a quiet area, but I love the results and am planning on shooting in more towns in the future.
The above image is a similar concept to the shot in the snow, but in place of the dark trees I chose to use the dark railings of the bridge in Frederiksborg Park. I chose a wide aperture to blur the railings into the background, and used exposure compensation to bring out the white snow.
Denmark has quite a flat landscape, so I often find myself drawn to smaller details, such as the stunning poppies that grow during summer. I struggled to find a location where we would not be damaging crops, but eventually we stumbled upon some lone flowers, isolated within the tall grass.
I positioned myself so that Dax was backlit and, when she sniffed one of the poppies, an otherwise simple portrait turned into something much more special. I was so glad that my camera’s settings were prepared, otherwise I might have missed this charming fleeting moment.