Photo Gallery

We've got tons of pictures -- you need to take a lot to get good action shots of dogs (hundreds per day). See Best in Snow Photography for more.

Yes, Dogs can fly! Ken Davis's Jamaica Dog Sled Team, from the PSDC 2011 Spring Wrap-up Dryland Race, this is a top competitive team in the 6 Dog Rig Event -- all 6 dogs have all their paws off the ground and are traveling close to 20 mph.

Husky Snow Romp: Denali, Rubi and Holly

Sled Dog Action Pictures

Through 2011 our camera was a Nikon D80, with an AF-S DX VR 18-200mm f3.5-5.6G IF ED Nikkor lens (zoom, vibration reduction). We finally went digital in late 2007 after years with a Nikon F3 with a bag of fixed focal length lenses, shooting Kodachrome 64. Kodachrome was fantastic, but the F3 could only shoot as fast as you could click the shutter -- about 1 picture per second.

For our action shots on the D80, Dan puts the camera in sports mode, holds the shutter down, and then just adjusts zoom and focus. The D80 can do 3 frames per second, so you get 30 - 50 shots as a team goes by, and you hope for the best (autofocus sometimes doesn't). There are no retakes and the dogs are fast, so most of the time you can't think about what's going to be the perfect picture. Just shoot and review later and hope for a suspended moment that captures the excitement, grace or power of the action.

We've now switched to a Nikon D3S, with an AF-S 24-70 f/2.8G ED Nikkor lens (zoom, no vibration reduction), or the AF-S DX VR 18-200mm lens (equivalent to a 27-300mm lens on the D3S), and using the D80 as backup.

The D3S is equipped with 64GB of memory, and can take up to 9 frames per second -- super sharp, high resolution, stop action, ready for inclement weather. The camera and the lens are fast enough to allow us to shoot raw images, in aperture priority mode to control depth of field and still stop the fast action of moving dogs.

Once we have the raw images, we use Adobe Lightroom for basic post processing.


You need to buy the absolute fastest SD memory cards that you can -- an inexpensive card can't keep up with the camera, and will "stop" after about 15 pictures to empty the buffer and slow down. And you can't have enough memory in the camera.

Our other trick is to shoot up at the dogs -- Dan was lying flat on the Iditarod trail as teams went by. And find the right vantage point as the dogs come around turns, over hills, etc., to get better views of an entire team.