Unleashed Education Blog

Behind The Shot: Fletcher's Beach Adventure

behind the shot Sep 28, 2022
Behind The Shot: Fletcher's Beach Adventure

By Craig Turner-Bullock

Hey folks, it's Craig here! 👋

This is the first Behind the Shot story, a new occasional series (translation: when Charlotte or I have time or a good story to share!) of blog posts. We love hearing what goes on behind the scenes of an image, how it was created and what challenges had to be worked through. Or just the fun and shenanigans that went on on the shoot, so we thought you might enjoy reading some of our stories too.

So let's get started, this is my shot of Charlotte's big man, Fletcher. Final edit is at the bottom of the post.

This is a shot I've been meaning to share for ages! I took it this year on my first trip out of New Zealand when the borders finally opened up. I was gone pretty much as soon as we were allowed to leave!

Where did I go? I headed over to Brisbane to spend a week planning Unleashed Education things with Charlotte of course. While I was there we did a few shoots for fun with her 'Furry Terrors', Fletcher, Opal and Enzo the Australian Shepherds.

Fletcher is the good boy standing perfectly still for me in this shot, he got a special solo adventure to Port Cartwright with us.

RAW IMAGE: Canon EOS R5 | RF 28-70mm ƒ/2 L USM lens @ 28mm | 1/15th second | ƒ/2 | ISO 800 | Lit with 2 iPhone torches!

I've done a couple of long-exposure images with dogs before. I love the way the water goes all soft and whispy and I really wanted to try it with Charlotte's dogs, knowing how well trained they are and inspired by one of my favourite images of her's which she used Opal for.

Not content with trying to achieve an already very difficult shot, I wanted to make it a Dogorama® too! This meant I had to line everything up very precisely on a tripod, watching the patterns and movement of the water so I could time the exposure enabling me to line up the swirls of water later on when editing. It took quite some time to get those shots. Usually, when I make a Dogorama® I shoot the dog image first, but in this case, I planned to leave left Fletcher until last because I then knew I'd got the shots of the water I needed.

The 7 Images I ended up using to create the final shot.

In the meantime, there was a pretty epic sunset happening and Charlotte really wanted to grab some Fletcher silhouettes, so I left the camera and tripod where they were and headed over with Fletcher so Charlotte could capture some of her own shots. By the time she was done, the light had got really dim and we weren't sure if I was going to be able to get the shot of Fletcher and complete the image.

Not wanting to waste the work I'd already done for the panorama, I said to Charlotte "quick, put your torch on your iPhone and get him in place". With the help of both of our iPhone lighting Fletcher, we managed to get him in place for long enough to take an image that was sharp despite the very slow shutter speed (1/15th of a second). What a relief and it was worth the extra effort we made because Charlotte's shots are pretty epic and I'm very pleased with this one too.

What wasn't so epic was walking back through the bush track barefooted in the dark (with only our iPhones lighting the way again), terrified of encountering some of Australia's 8-legged residents. Thankfully we survived and rewarded ourselves with a very nice dinner on the way home.

The final shot is made up of 7 images, not the usual high number I usually shoot for a Dogorama, but more than enough to challenge my editing skills for a seamless merge.


The first stage of stitching together the 7 images and blending the water from each shot so it looks smooth.

Thanks Charlotte for helping me make this shot happen, and extra special thanks to the goodest boy of all, Fetchy-man for standing so perfectly still for me!

Below is the final edit. As well as the stitching and blending, I tweaked the horizon line a fraction and made it higher, it was just about touching the top of Fletchers ear on the original and I couldn't have them intersecting in the final image!

Start your pet photography journey with 100 free daily tips!

That's over 3 months worth of daily tips covering topics like working with light, obtaining expression, camera settings, shooting action, composition, using the location, dog handling tricks – and so much more. Delivered direct to your inbox so you can read and absorb straight away (no homework required).

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.