Action Photography with a Rangefinder?

In October, I was for fortunate to attend the Cleveland area Dog Agility Trials. If you don’t know what Agility Trials are, you are not alone. They are often referred to a dog show, but they are far from it. They are athletic competitions for dogs. The dogs negotiate an obstacle course while being timed. The fastest dog in their class wins. The courses consist of jumps tunnels, chicanes, and other difficulties.

It is really impressive the amount of training that goes into these dogs and the patience of the owners. It obviously takes a long time to train a dog to do this. I think the most satisfying part of the trial is when a dog finishes a run. No matter how well they did, you can tell they are having the time of their lives.

I brought my Leica to the event, knowing that my Canon would be easier to use to capture action. Even when my eyes were younger, I could never focus as fast as autofocus. Plus, with the Leica, I was limited to using a 90mm Summicron lens – I had to use a foot zoom. (I guess it was a combination of wanting a challenge as well as I just really enjoy shooting my Leica). Here are a couple of shots from the event:

Ken Rieves Photography

A Standard Poodle Attempting a Jump. © Ken Rieves Photography

Ken Rieves Photography

An Australian Shepard Clearing a Jump. © Ken Rieves Photography

I found the easiest way to shoot was to pick a certain distance in which to set focus where I anticipated action (in this case a jump), then wait for the action to come to me. It’s easier with a rangefinder because you can see outside the frame lines. It makes timing the shutter much more precise since you can see the action before it gets there.

So if you get a chance to see an Agility Trial, take advantage of it, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Thanks for reading!