Craig's Top 10 Photos of 2022Dec 30, 2022
I thought it would be a fun little challenge to pick out my personal top 10 images I’ve created in the past 12 months and share them with you, along with a story or two about how they came to be and what it is I love about them. 2022 has been a very challenging year for me in my home life, but the highlight of the year was finally being able to travel again and I made the most of the New Zealand borders opening up, visiting Charlotte a couple of times and having an extended adventure in Europe.
It’s not really a surprise then, that many of my favourites from this year were taken for personal projects rather than client work. Not that I don’t love my client work of course, but it’s just another reminder of the importance of creating work for yourself to keep the artist in you satisfied!
Canon EOS R5, Canon RF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS USM @ 84mm, ISO 160, 1/500 sec, ƒ/2.8
Billy & Maggie
We will start with a client image. I've worked with Maggie before, she’s a real sweetheart, so when her mum told me a new puppy had joined the family, we booked a session for them both. Billy was already the best of friends with his new sister and I just loved the little touch of their paws crossing in this shot. It’s the little things!
This was taken at one of my favourite locations here in Christchurch, The Port Hills. I love that we had a slightly moodier sky which complimented Billy’s blue and Maggie's bright white fur.
This was an Edit My Photo challenge earlier in the year. In these challenges, Charlotte and I take turns to supply a RAW file and you edit and submit it! Then it turns back around, and we edit one of the winner’s RAW files. This challenge is free to participate in, and you can sign up here.
We also create a full Unleashed Edit (editing tutorial) of the image, which is added to our Premium Membership and also our Editing Unleashed Membership. The tutorial “Maggie’s New Brother, Billy” is available now.
Canon EOS R5, Canon RF 28-70mm ƒ/2L IS USM @ 28mm, ISO 100, 1.0 sec, ƒ/7.1
I have played with slow shutter speeds a couple of times before, not really with the best results. So when I was in Brisbane visiting Charlotte, feeling freshly inspired by her slow shutter speed images of her gorgeous girl Opal, I wanted to give it a go with her wee man Fletcher. Not wishing to make it easy for myself, I also made this a Dogorama using 7 images.
Making panoramic images has its own set of challenges, but when trying to match up the movement of water, it takes the difficulty rating to 11! I’m thrilled with how it turned out, the motion blur in the water looks good and I love the colour with cool and warm tones both in the landscape and in Fletcher’s fur.
You can read the full story from Behind the Shot in this blog post.
Fujifilm X-H2S, Fujifilm XF 8-16mm ƒ/2.8R LM WR @ 8mm, ISO 400, 1/1250 sec, ƒ/5.6
Wizzid - Fujifilm Avalanche Dogs Project
There are times when your job takes you to the most amazing places, this shoot was one of those times. On assignment with Fujifilm for the global launch of the X-H2s camera, I not only had the chance to shoot with this brand new technology before anyone knew it existed, but I was able to do it in the most incredible location with the Aspiring Avalanche dogs Wizzid and Ziggy.
This alpine search and rescue team is an inspiration. I've worked with their handlers before for my book ‘A Dog’s Life’. There’s something really special about watching dogs work, their willingness to help us is just incredible.
This time we headed to Isobel Glacier in the heart of the Southern Alps and I photographed them on a training session. All the while being filmed for a short clip about my experience that was used to promote the camera on its launch all over the world.
For this shot, my absolute favourite from the day, I used a super wide lens and held the camera as far down into a crevasse as I dared to reach. The distortion at a wide angle added to the sense I was further down than I was. Above is a behind the scenes showing me and the videographers.
Canon EOS R5, Canon RF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS USM @ 163mm, ISO 640, 1/1600 sec, ƒ/2.8
When Charlotte and I created the Unleashed Challenges, we knew they were going to be awesome for our students, but what we didn’t expect was how wonderful it would be to actually do the challenges with our own dogs. Both of us have had a blast creating images from the Embark and Emerge courses and we’ve even created little behind the scenes clips we share with our students.
So here’s my Ralph, taken for the final Embark challenge, Party Time, which is all about dogs enjoying themselves. This pretty much sums up Ralph’s beach adventures. Find a feather and run so fast you might actually fly!
Want to know more about our Unleashed Challenge courses? Check out the first one - Embark.
Canon EOS R5, Canon RF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS USM @ 177mm, ISO 2000, 1/320 sec, ƒ/2.8
Rudy was one of our models at Unleashed Workshop in New Zealand, back in August. This was our first shoot with the students, at the beautiful Shotover River - which might lead you to wonder where the river actually is! It’s down under the bridge I shot this image on.
I just had to capture Rudy here. It was the final few minutes of the shoot and the light was almost gone, but the muted colours, leading lines, and Rudy’s beautiful face had me squealing with delight.
I think this shot shows you don’t need spring blossoms or the red and gold of autumn to create an image in nature. The muted brown tones of winter can be pretty magical too.
Read the wrap up of the Unleashed Workshop here.
Canon EOS R5, Canon RF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS USM @ 89mm, ISO 800, 1/500 sec, ƒ/4.0
I volunteer for a couple of charities and New Zealand Chihuahua Rescue is one of them. We’ve been doing fundraising calendars for a few years now and it’s always fun to do a group shot for the cover.
This was our most ambitious so far with seven dogs. At the time, most of them were needing a forever home, with a lucky couple who had already found their happily ever after.
This image is the first time I’ve used my FurReel product in a commercial sense. If you buy the calendar, there’s an app for your phone that you can use to watch this image come to life and see a little Behind the Scenes video from the shoot.
Fujifilm GFX 50S, Fujifilm GF 63mm ƒ/2.8R WR @ 63mm, ISO 200, 1/500 sec, ƒ/2.8
When we location-scouted at Glencoe in Scotland before Barklander, I instantly knew how I wanted to shoot this location to include the epic sweeping landscape and the iconic house at the bottom of the mountain.
When Phara arrived at our week two shoot, in all her slender, regal glory, I knew she was the dog to make the shot work. All I had to do was capture the perfect pose with her looking off into the distance.
To capture the epicness of the location, I shot the rest of the images to complete my Dogorama. The final image you see here is made up of 50 images stitched together. The moody weather was an added bonus, certainly makes it feel more Scottish I think.
Fujifilm GFX 50S, Fujifilm GF 63mm ƒ/2.8R WR @ 63mm, ISO 400, 1/500 sec, ƒ/2.8
This will go down as one of the most epic shoots of my life! Part of my Dogs of the World project, this was taken at the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
The hike up to this location was CRAZY! Not a particularly long one, but it was a fairly steep climb, but the weather, WOW! We had all weathers on the hike, rain, sun, rainbows, and fog (at one point we couldn’t even see the famous rock formations), more rain, wind, and then hail!
Pretty cold and very wet, when we reached the top, the fog had cleared and I was able to capture another moody Dogorama. This ended up being made from 19 images stitched together.
It just goes to show, sometimes braving the elements is worth it!
Canon EOS R5, Canon RF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS USM @ 163mm, ISO 250, 1/500 sec, ƒ/2.8
Sakinah’s session was my final client shoot of the year, and what a wonderful way to wrap up. She was such a lovely dog and wonderful to work with. I chose this shot from her session as a favourite because I love the texture of the tussocks and, as seems a bit of a running theme with my selections, the softer harmonious colour palette.
Canon EOS R5, Canon RF 28-70mm ƒ/2L USM @ 61mm, ISO 3200, 1/500 sec, ƒ/2.0
My final image is a bittersweet one. Is it my best ever image? No. Is it in my usual style? No. But what it means is so much more.
This is the final portrait of my boys as a quartet. On the day I took this, two weeks ago, we said goodbye to Jazz, our Bengal cat. Let me tell you, it hurts like hell right now and I can barely even think about it. But this is why we do what we do, isn’t it? We make such precious memories that, with the passing of time, will only ever grow in value. Our work doesn’t have to always be perfect, award-worthy work, it just has to be created with love and remind whoever it was that loved the pet of the love they had. If we can do that successfully, what more can we ask for?
So there you have it, my personal favourites from 2022. What are your personal favourites? We’d love to see you share them in our Facebook community.
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