Anyone who visits Mark's blog, website, or Facebook pages with any sort of regularity knows that one of Mark's favorite pastimes is capturing imagery at a dog beach in Del Mar, CA. Equipped with nothing more than his iPhone (with his favorite photo app, ProCamera) and an innate instinct for the day's best sun, Mark vividly draws in his audiences. So much so that Mark was recently notice by reporter, Abbie Alford from CBS 8 San Diego, CA and was featured in this informative segment a few months ago. If you have not seen this yet, please click here and check it out.
After viewing Mark's dog beach photos and hearing that they were taken his cell phone, people often then ask "how much photoshop?" or "what sort of special effects filter or special post production technique did he use to get them to look like that?". They answer ladies and gents is NONE. Since most of you are still skeptical I thought I might take this opportunity to clarify his process a bit. So I asked Mark for some of his secrets and here is what he said.....
CDL- Timing seems to be everything in capturing these perfect images. What is your preferred time to hit the beach?
MM- Low tide, this really is the most important factor. The best time is only about 3 minutes before sunset and then 15-30 minutes after.
CDL- Besides lighting and timing what other elements allow you to take all these amazing shot?
MM- Staying AFTER sunset, as the temp drops, many people head back to their cars and that is when the light is perfect. The right conditions in the sky also help a lot, which sometimes is not always a crystal clear day. The sun is much too bright at times for my iPhone.
CDL- Any other techniques you use especially when it might be too bright or sunny?
MM-When the sun is "too bright", I try to catch a dog's / a person's body in front of the sun-to reduce the brightness and the iPhone does adjust for that.
CDL-Okay the million dollar question that everyone is dying to know...do you retouch or photoshop your dog beach images?
MM-I DO NOT do any "Photoshop re-touching or re-illustration" I am certainly NOT a fan of the HDR look. (High Dynamic Range) I ONLY adjust image brightness and a slight increase in contrast/saturation to keep my silhouettes black and make sure peoples' identities are anonymous...the opposite of HDR. The iPhone does a it's own great job on capturing what I see and feel. Really the largest adjustment I sometimes I choose to make is "straightening out the horizon" as many times it is hard to keep my iPhone camera level as I kneel in the soft wet (and sometimes cold) sand.
CDL-Okay last question....what makes your dog beach photography one of your favorite pastimes?
MM-I am creating something unique, that can be electronically shared right from the beach. That and all the great conversations I strike up shooting with people surprised with what I am getting with my "iPhone"...
Mark's custom sized dog beach imagery is available for sale on his website www.mennie.com.