Unleashed Education Blog

Pet Photography Mentoring in Half Moon Bay, California

backlighting mentoring Jul 05, 2013

For a moment, it felt like I'd been transported back home to the eucalyptus forests of south-east Queensland. The tangy scent of gum tree leaves as they crunched gently under my feet, the subdued grey-greens of the foliage and the way the sunlight filtered through the long skinny leaves. There was also a not-quite-right dreamlike quality though - the sounds of the birds were different, the air felt cooler, damper, and the trees loomed over me - a scaled-up version of the Australian eucalyptus forest I was used to.

Not at home in sunny Queensland, I was instead just south of San Francisco in a pocket of forest in behind Half Moon Bay, hanging out with my mentoring student Diane and her stunning Boxer, Gromit.

Originally intending to just cover business topics during my USA mentoring sessions, I happily ended up doing some shooting as well. I couldn't resist the lure of trying out some different locations, and of course it's always beneficial for my students to get some practical experience to go along with the theory. Diane from Fog Dog Studios was kind enough to take me out exploring the eucalyptus forest with her big boy Gromit in this beautiful spot where she often walks with him.

Gromit, like many photographer's dogs I am sure, has resigned himself to staying put when asked and modelling on command. Unlike Luna, he has a great expression while doing so - though very serious! We were lucky enough to get a smile out of him this time though.

Backlighting and shooting using a shallow depth of field were a couple of topics we touched upon, so this field of long grass provided the perfect location to practice.

Being Spring, we were also lucky enough to find some white daisies while I got up close and personal using my new Canon 35mm f1.4L lens.

Heading back down the trail and off to our next destination, Diane and Gromit lead the way.

Fog Dog Studios is very aptly named! The fog is a regular feature of this area, sweeping in off the sea and blanketing the coast in a thick layer during the warmer months. Even though we had some sunshine just back from the coastline, as soon as we headed for the beach, the fog made an appearance. I'd already dealt with fog the day before up in the bay area, and again found it strange but kind of fun to shoot in. The light seemed to envelop everything and come from every direction at once.

While walking on the beach we came across another Boxer who was happy to play and pose for us, such a fun loving dog!

For the business mentoring component of our mini mentoring session, Diane took me to the local brewery - Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. There was a fantastic outdoor dining area where dogs were welcome - a refreshing change from most places back in Brisbane. Gromit minded his manners well while I sampled the local amber ale and a new dish for me - Ahi Poke. What a great way to spend an afternoon! A huge thanks to Diane and Gromit for showing me the sights and making me feel welcome in Half Moon Bay.

Interested in booking a pet photography mentoring session? You can find out more about our mentoring services, both online and in-person here: Pet Photography Mentoring.

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