Barkarica Day 1 Surprises

 The view from just outside my room at Casa de las Brisas in Costa Rica. This was my job for 5 days! BEST JOB EVER!!!

The view from just outside my room at Casa de las Brisas in Costa Rica. This was my job for 5 days! BEST JOB EVER!!!

I promised to blog about Barkarica and day 1 held a few surprises. The "barka experiences" are dog photography workshops held by Charlotte of Charlotte Reeves Photography, Kaylee Greer of Dog Breath Photography and Nicole of Nicole Begley Photography.  

 Casa de las Brisas in Costa Rica. The home for the Barkarica experience. This is the view from the largest of 3 pools towards the back of the house. 

Casa de las Brisas in Costa Rica. The home for the Barkarica experience. This is the view from the largest of 3 pools towards the back of the house. 

I was lucky enough to be selected to attend week 1 of Barkelona in April 2016. When I signed up in December 2015, I had no idea that decision would change my life. After signing up, I had mixed emotions about going. I didn't know very much at all about photography. I certainly wasn't very good. I'd started offering photography to my dog walking and pet sitting clients with limited success and mostly that was because I lacked the confidence to really market myself.

Attending the workshop is a substantial investment so I decided if I was going, I had from December to April to learn and absorb as much as I could about photography. I didn't want to be left behind or overwhelmed during the workshop so I worked really hard and I realized once I was there, I had a decent foundation of knowledge. 

I learned so much about every aspect of photography at Barkelona. I learned about using my camera, how to take action shots, how to use a gray card, and so much more. I learned a ton about the business side of photography which was a surprise to me. I've run a dog walking business since 2009 but operating that business and running a photography business are two totally different animals. For starters, photography is expensive - there are a lot of up front costs. Tracking cost of goods sold was confusing to me. Barkelona and Barkarica helped me gain clarity in these areas.

Barkelona was such a gift to me and I'm grateful every day.

I met so many amazing people at Barkelona. It was really hard to say goodbye to all of them. Following each other on facebook and instagram is so nice and it helps me keep up with those I wouldn't otherwise talk to. 

After week 1 ended, week 2 began and via our private facebook group, I got to watch a group of really amazing photographers work. Week 2 included photographers from Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and the US. I longed to meet these people.

 One of my favorite images from my time in Costa Rica. Romeo the Boston Terrier has a serious vertical leap and I had fun photographing him, I think Mickey the other dog is looking at him in amazement too.

One of my favorite images from my time in Costa Rica. Romeo the Boston Terrier has a serious vertical leap and I had fun photographing him, I think Mickey the other dog is looking at him in amazement too.

 Nicole held the marketing session in this pool. 

Nicole held the marketing session in this pool. 

Fast forward to February 2016 and Barkarica. This year I participated in week 2 and I got to meet several of the photographers whose worked I'd admired since Barkelona. I already knew how special they were and I was constantly in "pinch myself" mode that I was part of their group. If I'm being honest, I still kind of am. The "barka" experience has all kinds of surprises.

So on day 1 of Barkarica, Kaylee asked each of us to talk about what had occurred in our lives since Barkelona. I was in the middle of the room so I had some time to think about what I would mention when it came to be my turn. Since BARKography was just launched in June 2016, there was a lot I could say. I would talk about coming up with the name "BARKography", getting my logo created, launching my website, having my first official BARKography photo session and all that I have learned.

Then it came to be my turn.

Everyone else in the room might remember this better than I but this is what I think happened. I looked up and saw Kaylee, Charlotte and Nicole standing in the front of the room and I said to them, "Because of you three, I found my why." Then I had tears rolling down my face. I tried to tell them how much they meant to me and how they had impacted my life but I couldn't get the words out. I'm pretty sure they got the point but I do wish I had more words and less tears.

That was my biggest Barkarica day 1 surprise. I actually surprised myself (and probably everyone else in the room too.) 

There would be more tears from me throughout the week.... Kaylee talking about taking her father's photo with his dog. Christina learning that she could adopt Coco. Seeing some of the amazing images created by the incredible photographers that surrounded me. This love I have for photography moves me to tears frequently. 

After attending Barkarica, my heart is full. 

Nicole, Kaylee and Charlotte - I wish I had more eloquent words than "thank you" but thank you. You have changed my life and made it better. I'm living my dream because of you and I am forever grateful. I can't wait to see you at the next Barka experience.... wherever that might be!

Kim HollisComment