Barkzealand - What an opportunity!
A few months ago, I got the chance to go to Queenstown New Zealand and learn along side some amazing people, from more amazing people. Did I say it was amazing?… It was amazing.
The 4th barka, an ‘out-of-this-world pet photography retreat’, was on and I got to go *insert girly squeal here*. Organised and run by inspirational pet photographers and teachers; Nicole Begley, Charlotte Reeves and Kaylee Greer, with the help of Craig Turner-Bullock and Sam Haddix. This was a dream that I was sure I’d wake up from.
For 5 solid days we absorbed ridiculous amounts of information, photographed countless dogs, and encouraged each other. The other 13 attendees were all pet photographers from around the world, and we were all on various journeys in our pet photography career. One thing we all had in common without question, was the passion and joy we got from photographing dogs.
I don’t think I really realised how good it was to make connections with people who share such a passion, and who are so incredibly supportive of each other. I have made some awesome friends from this experience.
Day 1 we got straight into it with some spectacular presentations. All hyped up from our morning in the classroom, we then went out to a location called Cromwell. This place was incredible, I could have stayed there all week. There were so many photo opportunities.
Thanks to Craig for this behind the scenes of me taking the below photo of Jawa the Viszla.
We had so many dogs to choose from, but here a just a few more from the first day in Cromwell.
Day 2 was a bit rainy, so the instructors had worked furiously away the night before rescheduling all the dog models. We instead got stuck into more theory and presentations. There were a few mind blowing moments for sure.
Day 3 we woke up early and headed out before the sun. We split into two groups to go to two different locations. I went to Shotover River and played in the mud…literally
But hey, it’s all worth it. No one said pet photography was a clean job, most of the time you’re rolling around on the ground and getting slobbered on.
It was here that I took what is one of my favourite images of the trip. Stell was quiet, but had me captivated. Just look at those eyes!
After 2.5 solid days from [before] sun up to bed time, it was time for a little break. We all had the afternoon off and got out to explore Queenstown. I took the gondola up the mountain and went for a few luge rides (which were way more fun than I anticipated) and took the ‘easy’ way down the mountain, ZIPLINING! There were quite a few of us, and I’m not sure what the zipline guides thought of us. We may have only known each other a couple days, but were carrying on like we had all been best mates for years.
Day 4 started in the ‘classroom’ like with day 1. In the afternoon we headed out to a little place called Arrowtown. My group headed into a little forest area where we had a fleeting bit of gorgeous afternoon golden light.
Day 5. How can it already be day 5? We began the day early again, and as we did on day 3, we split up between two locations. This time I went to Bobs Cove where a beautiful layer of mist was covering the lake.
Loki here is a water baby and it is nearly impossible to keep him out of it, no matter how cold it is. Somehow, I managed to get this image of him on “dry” land
Back at the house, we talked, had a few more presentations and did some image reviews.
That evening, we headed out to catch the last of the sun rays on top of a mountain for a last quick shoot. Here I got the change to have a play with some off camera lighting, something I haven’t tried before. Milo was pro model for me.
We had a group dinner out and went back to the house exhausted.
The next morning we all packed our bags and went our separate ways, but it certainly wont be the last time many of us see each other again.
Until next time!