Great Pet Pic: Barnyard Pets

by Jim Chesters

Ringo is our great pet pic today from New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary in Arlington, WA.


Ringo’s photo is gorgeous. I love the way the light forms a circle that spotlights his face. It’s really a great use of the natural lighting, and also an example of the perfect timing needed to capture barnyard pets.

Photographing barnyard animals presents a different challenge than cats and dogs. With cats and dogs you can have better luck positioning them and staging them. You can guide a dog to the sunny spot in the house to get good light on him, and you can physically pick up and move (most) cats. Barnyard guys like Ringo here make that quite a bit more difficult. Without some super-human skills, posing a 900-pound cow the way you want may not end well.

Two of the most important things when photographing barnyard pets, like with nature photography in general, are a fast lens and a lot of patience. Patience to wait for the shot to present itself, and then a fast lens to make sure you get it. Fast lenses are ones with a large aperture. An aperture is the opening that lets light into the camera and the wider this opening, the faster light gets in. So with a wide aperture you can take photos in rapid succession, which is crucial when you need that one perfect shot and don’t have much control over what you’re taking a photo of. It also helps eliminate blur and fuzziness that comes from shooting moving animals when you’re using a slower speed.

Kevin. I think I went to school with this guy.