Several months ago three of the world’s top pet photographers announced that they were teaming up to offer an ‘out of this world pet photography retreat’, they had my attention!

Five days in a house in the beautiful village of Olivella, just outside Barcelona, Spain. Five days filled with dogs and photography, it sounded like heaven to me. I filled in the application and eagerly awaited to hear if I had been accepted. I’ll be eternally grateful that I was. Barkelona, here I come.

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It’s hard to believe it has already been three months since I got back from the trip, I’ve been so busy implementing much of what I learned. Travelling to Spain from New Zealand for five days, travelling for four, making my total journey nine days long, might sound a little excessive, but let me tell you it lived up to the original promise Charlotte (Charlotte Reeves Photography), Kaylee (Dog Breath Photography) and Nicole (Nicole Begley Photography) made, and then some.

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Arriving at Casa Felix, an 11th century Spanish Masia on the edge of Garraf National Park was like stepping back in time, or onto a movie set. It was beautiful, stone buildings, secret gardens, panoramic views and a courtyard with dining area and a pool at it’s heart, where we would end up spending much of our time.

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The following days are a blur of lessons on photography, business, dog behaviour and marketing, photo shoots in the house, the village and in the nearby town of Sitges. Great company, great conversation, great food, late nights and early mornings. Oh and I even managed to find a couple of cats to photograph too!

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I learned so much I thought my head was going to burst. I met and photographed some of the prettiest pooches in the most breathtaking locations. I shared laughter and tears of joy and sadness with the most amazing group of people I could wish to have spent my time in Spain with. I returned to New Zealand with a million new ideas of where I could take Furtography.

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It wasn’t just our teachers, Charlotte, Kaylee and Nicole who made Barkelona such a rewarding experience. Huge thanks must also go to Sam, Kaylee’s partner, all round technical genius and amazing photographer in his own right. Ingrid, our in house dog trainer/expert and her two resident dogs Etna and Blat, who stayed with us at the house. And Connie, our amazing chef who fed us local delights every day. There will never be scrambled eggs like yours (sorry Sam!)

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The best part of the experience though, was not the location, the dogs, or even the lessons. It was meeting a group of people who all had something in common, a love of dogs and photography. We all left this out of this world(seriously, it was, have I said it enough yet?) pet photography retreat  with a whole bunch of new friends from all over the world.

In the three months I’ve been home, I’ve made so many changes to Furtography, I’ve re-branded, got this shiny new website, opened my studio at KURI and had my busiest winter of shoots to date. I feel so inspired and invigorated every time I pick up my camera and I can see my dreams coming true in front of my very own eyes. Many of you reading this will know I was ill with kidney issues for a year or so. I had surgery in February and I had some complications afterwards. Four days before I left for Spain I didn’t know if I was going to be able to go. Thankfully I made it. I lost a lot of confidence during that time. Barkelona helped me re-find it.

Here’s to Barkelona: The Reunion!!!

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Below is a slideshow with more of my favourite images from Barkelona.