Last month, I was privileged to serve as the official photographer at the American Miniature Schnauzer Club's National Specialty and several associated regional specialty shows, a week of intense activity dubbed "Minipalooza". I had some childhood experiences with Schnauzers, my grandmother raised them, my aunt had one, and later on, another aunt raised them, but I had never photographed them on this level before. Ironically, the first original oil painting I ever did, at about age 12, was a portrait of a Schnauzer's head, a picture that I still enjoy today.
I found the dogs at the show to be absolutely delightful, friendly, willing and eager to please, yet still full of terrier spirit and ready for just about anything. The specialty week had activities for all of them: conformation, obedience and rally, agility, and barn hunt, and some dogs participated in everything. I also found their people to be very friendly and down to earth, there was little of the diva behavior I sometimes encounter at these events. On the platform, the exhibitors were easily directed, polite, and patient. Sometimes handlers act as if they are entitled to their awards or are a little disgruntled because they didn't place as high as they expected, but this group all seemed very pleased with what their dogs had won. Happy exhibitors make my job that much easier!
Before the show, Sonny Lelle, breeder of Southcross Miniature Schnauzers called me. She said there would be several dogs of her breeding competing at Minipalooza and that she'd like to have a "family portrait" taken with those dogs and their owners. No problem, I said, assuming there'd be maybe a dozen people. We would make arrangements once we were at the show.
I happened to run into Sonny right off the bat the day before the shows started, as I was setting up my photo area. She told me the members of her "family" would be easy to spot since they would be wearing special yellow tee shirts when they weren't in the conformation ring. Easy to spot was right, there were yellow shirts all over the place!
The toughest thing about the picture was getting everyone together in one place at the same time. There were so many events going on simultaneously and all the Yellow Shirts were either competing or helping at any given time. Finally, with a little help from Photoshop after the fact, I was able to wrangle all 21 people and 28 Miniature Schnauzers onto my set.
I was impressed with the enthusiasm! Usually with group shots, there is someone who doesn't really want to be there. But not the Yellow Shirts, they all wanted this very much and several mentioned how much this picture would mean to them. How fun to work with a group like this! And here they are:
© 2016 Vicki DeGruy, all rights reserved. See hundreds more photos from this show at http://degruy.zenfolio.com/f952806115
Technical data: Canon 5D MK III, f/9.0, 1/60th second, ISO 250, two Einsteins shooting through white umbrellas
DeGruy Photography & Digital Art