I shot two Collie Specialties this past weekend and it was really the first chance I've had to shoot formals the way I normally do. Although I confess I set up on a tripod and did it the way the other show photographers do instead of sitting on the floor. Still, I had to use the newly-mended left arm to throw toys and I had some concerns about how well I'd do.
It appears that when you are totally focused on the dog and clicking the shutter at precisely the right moment, you don't even think about the throw. You just do it and my tosses were as good as ever. For many of you, that doesn't mean much but the toy toss is an important element in my getting the dogs' heads into exactly the position I want. It's nice to know I can do my job without worrying about my toy-tossing accuracy
I also wanted to mention an interaction that took place at the shows which really impressed me. The Specialties were being held in conjunction with All Breed shows in Ormond Beach, FL in an open pavilion. With temps in the 40's and winds at 30 knots, that pavilion can be both cold and like a wind tunnel and coated dogs really were getting their coifs blown around a lot. The photographer for the regular All Breed shows, Tom Digiacomo, had set up his backdrop and strobes in a room across the parking lot from the pavilion and when he saw that I was going to be shooting the Collies, he offered to let me use both the setup and his strobes. Since we shoot the same camera, that was really easy but I can honestly say this is the only time I've had a "competing photographer" make such a generous offer and I was totally impressed. Not to mention, pleased not to be freezing my nose off
! Kudos to Tom for both his professionalism and his generosity.