Unleashed Education Blog

Mel's Mentoring Session with Skadi the Koolie

mentoring May 15, 2014

I was watching one of my favourite shows the other night - Vikings - when I heard a familiar name pop up - Skadi! The Norse goddess of winter and mountains, Skadi is also the name of this stunning Koolie girl who came along to model for my mentoring session with Mel from Furry Feet Photography.

After meeting Skadi, I wonder if she might have been better named Loki? While very well trained, she also has that spark of mischievousness that made her super fun to photograph.

The second of my shooting sessions with Mel, this one took place in a much different location than the one the day before at New Farm Park with Pepper the Dalmatian. I just adore shooting in the pine forests near the Glass House Mountains north of Brisbane, so we made the trek up there to one of my favourite spots.

We started off deep in the forest amidst the pine needles and creeping vines on the trees, concentrating on finding the most light in the clearings, and making sure Skadi's face was facing upwards to get catchlights in her eyes. It's very easy to lose details in the eyes when shooting under the deep shade of trees in a forest.

Next we headed to an open field next to the pine forest, to practice some action shooting techniques. Skadi was all about the action and happily ran, chased and jumped! Shooting with a fast shutter speed, at least 1/1000 sec but preferably higher, is essential when you have a very quick dog.

Shooting in full sun is best done when the sun is low in the sky, to eliminate harsh shadows and give a warmer look to the image.

Next we played around with backlighting, placing Skadi in an open field with the warm light from the setting sun streaming in from behind her. The resulting image needed some fairly strong editing to reduce the highlights and fill in the shadows - this is the kind of situation where some fill flash or a reflector can be handy to bounce some light back into the front of your subject.

I couldn't resist including this goofy shot of Skadi, showing her silly side!

With the very last light of day just touching our pretty model, I love the two resulting images, but can't decide which one I like best! Which framing do you prefer? I think I may lean more towards the top one.

Here’s what Mel had to say about her dog photography mentoring experience:

"With all her years in the pet photography industry, Charlotte is a wealth of knowledge and more than happy to share this knowledge and personal experiences with you. She is a wiz with the camera and knows all the modes, custom settings and technical capabilities of the camera like the back of her hand and explained them all in great detail with respect to portrait vs action shots. Not only did we reassign specific buttons on my camera to better suit my shooting style, but I also learnt alternative focusing techniques that is already evident in my image taking since my mentoring sessions."

"Along with some tweaking to my workflow and editing approach, I now have a thorough understanding of the aesthetics of outdoor photography and feel confident in adding this service to my current in-studio work. Thank you Charlotte, you are a very kind, patient and giving soul. Thank you for imparting so much knowledge and just spending time with another dog lover and talking the language of photography and dogs."





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