This past weekend I had the fortune of being in Charleston, SC and attended one day of SEWE, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. It is the first major event in Charleston and kicks off the season, as those in the know like to say. It was fun as I got to carry a camera as a pure tourist and just take in the event. I also had a little curiosity, as it was actually the first time I had shot with the Nikon D810 without a tripod and I was anxious to see how the camera responded. The D810 is amazing for architectural work and interiors and the detail it provides at 36mp is really amazing. This time, however, I was going to be capturing moving birds and dogs, handheld, with a 70-200 lens. The cameras autofocus was simply astounding and although its frame rate pales in comparison to a D3, D4, or the newer D5, it was adequate and produced some nice images.

We saw some amazing art work at the Expo as artists from all over the country exhibited wildlife themed art at venues all over the city. After viewing the art we headed over to Marion Square for the Birds of Prey flight demos. Now I have seen birds of prey on a perch, but have never viewed them in a controlled flight environment. It was pretty cool. They had many species of birds, with the most impressive being the red kite. It was fast and the handlers let this bird fly all over the square and over the crowd, so they had a lot of confidence in the bird. The exhibition was staged by The Center For Birds of Prey. There were other birds that they let fly loose, but the kite was, in my opinion, the coolest.

After the birds we went down to Brittlebank Park to watch the Dock Dog competition. There was a lot of camo being sported here. The competition is a pretty big deal and is sanctioned by Dock Dogs. Its an agility drill where dogs jump off a dock and try and catch a baton held over the water. The air these dogs attain is quite amazing and the determination of the dogs and their handlers is fun to watch. I thought there would be predominately Labs and though they stood out there was also German Shepherds, Rottweilers and other breeds. Below are images from the day. It was a beautiful, but cold day and the birds and dogs made it special.

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This shot is the same image cropped.

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This is the same image cropped.

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The next two images are cropped from this image to show detail.

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Shows the capability of the D810 files.

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Not sure who is more determined, dog or handler!

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My favorite shot of handler and dog. He looks like he’s ready to run past the dog!

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