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Frankenlens: Why dog photos in wide angle are my favorite

    Yellow Lab mix at the Mudhole in Priest River

    The Tamron 10-24mm lens has been a part of my life since 2011.

    I remember my buddy Jack, a wedding photographer, saying the best setup for me, then a ghost-town photographer, was three lens covering the range of focal lengths: a 10-24, a 24-70 and a 70-200.

    The second I put that 10-24 on my Nikon D200, I was hooked.

    Barns, abandoned farmhouses, landscapes …

    Little did I know that around the corner, my life was going to be all about dog photos in wide angle.

    Spokane rescue dog peeks over a rock

    The story of Frankenlens

    My first 10-24 rarely left my camera.

    Even before I learned about this magnificent business of dog photography, I was training it on my boy Shep.

    I loved the ability to see his goofy, loveable side and show off the landscape behind him.

    Dog photos in wide angle on the Thompson River in Kamloops, B.C.
    My goodest boy in Kamloops, B.C.

    In 2014, however, after he had departed my life, I was returning from Spokane to Kelowna where I was living with Bella, then just six months old.

    We crossed the border just north of Kettle Falls and there was a little spot I spied to get out for a pee (her) and to take a few pictures (me). As we were walking down the road, a truck passed by and happened to kick up some gravel as it passed us.

    In bizarre coincidence, a rock struck my lens and chipped it.

    Yup, the lens cap in its proper place would have been most helpful but there I was, stuck with a giant chip in my favorite lens. I weighed the pros and cons, which included being unemployed at the time and waiting for my K-1 fiancee visa.

    Budgets be damned. I bought it anyway.

    For whatever reason, I quickly lost the sun hood. (I tend to have short-term relationships with lens caps and sun hoods.)

    A few years later, my husband, a coder and owner of a 3-D printer, offered to make me a new one. As he was measuring and testing his production, he held onto the focal ring and twisted the wrong way.

    My second 10-24 was a goner, just two years later.

    In a rare stroke of genius, I had saved the first one. I found a local camera repair shop and said, “do you think you could take the first lens and the second lens and put them together?” Ron Sinnott at Camera Care on the South Hill said, “Let’s give it a shot.”

    And now I have Frankenlens, my tried and true mashup for shooting dog photos in wide angle.

    Balto Park in Sandpoint is a great location for dog photos in wide angle
    Tippy the foxy one

    But why dog photos in wide angle?

    You know, that’s a hecka good question. I can nail it down to three good reasons.

    1. Landscape

    I have the standard portrait lenses that I love to shoot with a shallow depth of field to get that soft, blurry background. I’ll do a few of those in every session, especially using these lenses for the “you and your dog” images. Wide-angle lenses tend to make humans look, well, unattractive and nobody wants that. Feet look bigger, noses are all wacky … it just isn’t pretty.

    When I switch to my wide-angle lens, though, I’m tightening up my aperture and to celebrate the beautiful views with which Mother Nature has blessed us.

    golden retriever at the rocks of sharon in spokane valley
    Winnie at the Rocks of Sharon with the legendary Palouse behind her

    2. Your dog’s personality shines through

    Yeah, I love the serious, pretty portraits as much as the next person, too, but you know that your dog does things that make you laugh, groan, smile, roll your eyes and … ALL THE FEELS.

    I want to see all that during our photo session together. So we’re going to have some fun with squeaky toys, treats and water play. Once he’s comfortable with my presence in his world, I’m going to get up close and engage with your dog and coax that playfulness out of him.

    (Er, so … most dogs don’t need coaxing. The second they see my rubber chicken, they’re ALL IN.)

    And I’m going to jump in the water with him, splash around and have some fun. You don’t mind handing me my lens wipes, do you?

    chesapeake retriever playing at priest river
    Gunner has some fun with me in the Priest River

    3. You get a unique portrait of your dog

    To the best of my knowledge, I am the only photographer in the Inland Northwest creating dog photos in wide angle.

    Combined with my deep knowledge of epic locations for an adventure photo session, you know you’re going to get a portrait that is as unique as your dog’s personality.

    It’s going to be the kind of image that deserves to be on your wall, a Statement piece that will stop your friends and family in their tracks, a piece that will prompt you to tell the story about your adventure, and a piece you will treasure well into the future.

    Staffordshire terrier mix at Post Falls
    Daisy in Post Falls, Idaho

    All around the circle

    The 10-24 is the one piece of gear I can’t live without. But then there’s the D500 that it goes on, which is pretty special.

    And my new Tamron 70-200, which is another story altogether!

    But then there’s my D750 and my 35mm and … and …

    Who the hell made us pick a favorite anyway? What a jerk.

    My pet photographer friends are blogging about the one piece of gear they can’t live without, too. Start the circle with Syracuse pet photographer Nancy Kieffer, sharing some of the tools of the trade.

    When you get to the bottom of her post, click the next link in the circle and then keep going until you find yourself back here to my dog photos in wide angle. That’s when you know you’re home.

    Right where you belong.


    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

    3 thoughts on “Frankenlens: Why dog photos in wide angle are my favorite”

    1. I love the wide angle lens too! I love that last shot of Daisy and love the shot of Winnie too! I love the landscapes you take your photos at. Wish we have more locations like that here.

    2. Your luck seems to be about the same as mine when it comes to out of the blue rocks hitting camera lenses. The widest I go is a prime 24mm, but I love to admire everyone else’s wide angle shots!

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