Most of the time I'm taking outdoor nature shots, Erin, my 12 year old shepherd lab is with me. Her vision is starting to go, but her nose is keen as ever. Sometimes, she seems a nuisance -- the deer snort and flee, grouse scuffle into the woods, turkeys awkwardly land in trees -- but I don't want to deny her the fun of being out there.
Recently, we've been working better together. If I listen to where she is, and veer a different direction, I have a better chance of having the recipient of a certain amount of fear come my way.
In June, she left my side and soon I heard yipping in the woods. Following her, I found she'd treed a baby woodchuck. She tried shaking it loose, but the critter held tight. Lucky for me, it was eye level. Not wanting to come too close to it, I stuck with the 300mm lens so I could give it a little space and buy time to get a good photo. Erin backed off too.
One Eye On Me, One on the Dog, f2.8, 300mm, ISO 400, 1/320
Young woodchucks are not quite cute. But the woodchuck's posture is so articulated and I love it. Using the monopod keeps that heavy lens steady once my breathing settles down -- and the sharpness is wonderful in its fur, claws and eye...