Where to start? Where to start on 4 short days that I will take with me for the rest of my life. In short, they had me at the workshop name "Barkelona", and the premise of a pet photography workshop, with 3 of the best pet photographers on the planet, and oh yeah, in Spain!
Those who know me well, know I am not one for quick decisions. If I can plan stuff 12 months out in advance, I'm a happy girl. From the decision to go, to sitting on the plane for our long journey to Spain, was just 6 weeks. It is one of the best (quick) decisions I have ever made. I had the opportunity to meet some amazingly talented people, be inspired by those in the same field as me, and I met heaps of spanish pups!
The location for the workshop was a 500 year old villa in the town of Olivella, about 45 minutes from Barcelona. The views were pretty tough to take.
Each day of the workshop we had the opportunity to work with some spanish furry models. Let's start with Blat, the labrador/pittie mix, who is the single happiest dog on the planet. When he sees anyone, it's like he bounds right up to say hello and tell you he's glad your here.
The first afternoon, we went up into the small village of Olivella for an instructor-led session.
On the second day, we stayed in the villa. The grounds are that expansive, that you would never be bored with photo backdrops.
What I loved about the workshop was that each of the 3 main instructors all worked differently, and we had the opportunity to work with each of them. Charlotte Reeves and her magical backlighting, Nicole Begley and her love of all things spread sheet and workflows (may have found my soul sister), and of Kaylee Greer and her exuberance for all things puppy (it is quite infectious).
We also met Ingrid Ramon, who not only organised all of our special models, and provided language translation services, but also taught us a lot on the behaviours and signals of the dogs. Being able to tell when a dog is stressed, or exhibiting avoidance behaviour, and then being able to know what to do to alleviate their stress has been invaluable, and I have applied a number of these learnings during my client sessions since. (Ingrid is also Blat's mum)
Each room of the villa (and there were 16 rooms), all had their own ensuite. Quite a few of them had clawfoot baths, and views for days. So what else do you do when you have Kaylee Greer (Dog Breath Photography) in your team, you have a clawfoot bath, and a bulldog?
You might wonder what Mr Hops was doing this whole time, while we're off taking photos of pups?
The second session of the day, was also held in the surrounding grounds of the villa.
There were a few time over the course of the workshop, where we found ourselves without the wonderful dog models, and found ourselves having to improvise.
Checking back on Mr Hops. Yep, still beside the pool, but now with a friend. Apparently pointing at the numerous jet streams in the sky.
On the third night, we headed into the gorgeous beachside town of Sitges.
Where we met up with some more spanish models, including Lea. Lea was born blind, and is also deaf. Her humans (with the help of Ingrid) have done an amazing job with her training. They could place her in position, and if you bop her on the head she would stay.
Then there was this teddy bear.
And lastly, there was Teddy, who belonged to our private chef. Did I mention that yet? No? Well, yes, we had the most amazing chef, Connie, who kept us fed with delicious Catalonian food for the whole workshop. As a testament to her work, we were a little disappointed in the food when we got to Barcelona (where we stayed for a couple of days post-workshop).
Great things happen when you combine a bunch of like-minded, passionate individuals. Awesome things happen when you also combine a love of dogs. I will remember my time at Barkelona for the rest of my life, and wish all the girls all the best in their ongoing pet photography adventures.
Big thanks to Charlotte Reeves for the behind the scenes and team photos used in this post.