It’s how dog photographers roll

Picture this, you live in small hilltop town in the south of France. Nothing overly exciting has probably happened there since WWII. You’re firing up your BBQ on a perfectly lovely September evening, when suddenly something catches your ear. You cock your head in an effort to make out what exactly you are hearing, a cacophony of sounds, strange barking and yipping, whinnying, meowing and – ducks? “What the…”  you wonder. You go to the window and look out, scanning the cobblestone street for a clue.

Oh there’s a clue all right, the street is overrun with men and women in dusty jeans and t-shirts, many with brightly coloured hair! All are lugging what appears to be masses of camera gear – and dogs – a dozen, maybe more – dogs that you’ve never seen before. There are dogs up on ledges, people crawling around on the ground, dogs running and jumping, people laughing and making the oddest collection of noises.

Bonsoir! That would be us! The Barka-family. Dog photographers one and all.

Day two of shooting

The Barkjour group was in Castillon du Gard, a hill top town with cobblestone streets, weathered doors and stone walls. It was one of my favourite locations and took me back to the times I lived in Italy and Germany.

First up was the schmooshy-faced, fabulous, Boxer-Cane Corso cross named Zoumba. He suited his kooky name and was serious and goofy all at the same time. The colours and textures in the streets were glorious and perfect for framing our subjects.

After Zoumba, we tracked down Marley the Aussie Shepherd (favourite breed of Charlotte Reeves who was shooting with us on this occassion) and headed to a narrow alley for some action. He had a blast roaring up and down the alley and, in typical fashion, we were all rolling around on the dusty stones, jockeying for the best vantage point to capture this gorgeous athlete. I loved his little face, but he was very nervous of the camera up close. But after a little conditioning I did manage to capture one close up of his sweet face.

The Jack Attack

Finally, I had to work with the pack of Jack Russell Terriers in my sights. I think I got an endorphin rush when I saw them LOL and it did make me miss my little guys (although I don’t think they missed me at all!). They were a gorgeous Jack Pack, adults and pups as well. I didn’t manage to sort out their names, but I think the pup on the manhole cover is definitely a Jacques (hee hee). Thanks to Wendy Fox Hudnall of Doggie Tales Photography for taking the sweet photo of me with the Jack Daddy!

This location was the perfect end to day two – a mind-numbingly full day of learning. We were able to put concepts discussed to good use and get our “yaya”s out in the process. Cue my invisible wagging tail.

It’s like falling off a horse

Which fortunately I did NOT do. I haven’t ridden in several years, but threw caution to the wind. Thursday we had the afternoon off, so what do a bunch of dog photographers do? Spend time with different four-leggeds of course! We set a course for The Camargue region on the coast and spent a couple of fabulous hours horseback riding. We rode on one of the oldest breeds of horses in the world Camargue horses. Through salt flats, water and on the beach… all the while the pink flamingos were just wading out of reach of my iPhone. It was so beautiful and a great way to chill out.

After the ride, we peeled ourselves out of our saddles and piled back into the cars. We set a course for Nîmes where we hobbled about looking for a bite to eat. (okay, it’s quite possible that I was the only one hobbling.) The town centre was ancient and I would love to go back and explore Nîmes more, so much Roman influence.

After pizza we stalked the streets looking to satisfy those with a sweet-tooth (Note: while I’m not a sweets person, I do tend to enjoy the hunt and, alas, easily am tempted by the lure of pistachio gelato!).

As you can see, when you hook up a bunch of like-minded, passionate, kooky pet photographers you are likely going to release more than a few inner beasts… because that’s how we roll! 

Stay tuned for the next instalment of where we head to the ancient aqueduct Pont du Gard for Day 3 of shooting and Day 4 in the Chateau!

If you missed the first installment of my “out of this world” pet photography retreat, please click here!

p.s. thanks to Charlotte Reeves and Cat Race for a couple of the fun Nîmes iPhone images! And MANY thanks to Charlotte Reeves for the behind the scenes image of me and Zoumba!