Up Close and Personal with IED Detection Dogs
Sgt. Tammy K. Hineline has been enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps as Combat Camera since 2008. Now serving in Afghanistan, Tammy recently got the opportunity to document the training of some IED detection dogs and to “hang out with some rockin’ dogs and hardworking handlers.”
For the shoot, Tammy decided to go for an unconventional angle that would showcase the dogs at work and give her the chance to try out her new PocketWizard Plus III’s. Her account of the shoot follows.
When photographing Doc, one of the IED Detection Dogs with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, I was fortunately able to plan individual shots accordingly. It’s not often that I have the time for extensive pre-visualization, but with training bumpers spread up and down the road for the dogs to retrieve and bring back to their handlers, I was able to spend the time I needed to get the shot right.
The PocketWizard Plus III was perfect for this shot, as I wanted to get a worms eye view but my presence at the camera would have distracted the dog from his task. I also didn’t want to lie in a ditch full of rocks that day. So with the PocketWizard being used as a remote trigger using a CM-N3-ACC cable, and my favorite Canon 16-35mm lens, I was able to set up the shot.
Because I had the bumper to focus on, I set my focus point and left it so I wouldn’t have to worry about any auto-focus adjustments when the moment came.
This image was taken at 1/800, f/11, and ISO 200.
It took a few tries to really nail the shot, as for some reason the dog decided to enter the shot from the back of the camera instead of the front as I was anticipating. I’m a big proponent of “working” a shot until it comes out just how I saw in my vision, and once in awhile I am pleasantly surprised.
I was concerned about interference from the nearby flight line, but the PocketWizard performed admirably.
One thing I’ve learned out here is that in some environments you can’t be too attached to your equipment. The dust gets in everything here, especially when being kicked up by MV-22 Ospreys or during intense sandstorms. The environment I work in is very kinetic. There is a lot of getting on and off helicopters, moving fast from location to location, and everything I use I have to carry on my person everywhere. I could be up and gone at a moment’s notice. I find the PocketWizard Plus III lightweight, easy to clean, and quick to use in my environment.
I have to admit though, when I’ve got this set up somewhere and I’m in a completely different location holding the transceiver, I feel like some sort of awesome photo ninja.
Taken at 1/250, f/8, ISO 200.
In addition to being an awesome photo ninja, when off-duty, Tammy takes some pretty nice portraits as well. See more of her work at tammyhineline.com.
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