Out in the California countryside, we are the proud "parents" of nine healthy Newfoundland puppies! My wife Mary is the breeder, but events like this seem to involve anyone who happens to be nearby - especially someone with a camera :-)
I took the accompanying photo the other day when the pups were 1 day old. The litter includes five black (very common) and four gray (very rare) puppies, each weighing 1 1/2 to 2 pounds at birth ... a verrrrry long way from their eventual 100-plus-pound adult size!
For this image, I selected a prop - a BetterPhoto coffee mug, naturally! - plus window light as the light source. A wide aperture (f/4) and high ISO (800) provided a shutter speed fast enough (1/250th second) to easily hand-hold the camera with a 105 macro lens. Of course, it helps to have an expert assistant (my stepdaughter, Kristin), who chose a puppy that was sound asleep - so no squirming, bouncing, squeeking, or squawking! The fact that a gray puppy was selected, instead of a difficult-to-record black one, was no accident either.
With tight close-ups, focusing decisions are crucial. With most pet and people portraits, the eyes have it. But, sleeping aside, these puppies won't open their eyes until they're a few weeks old. Can't beat the nose as a key focal point.
By the way, Newf puppies do seem to look better with age :-) so stay tuned!
Thanks, Kerry Drager