Do you like dogs? How about photography? Maybe both? You said "Yes" to at least one of those, right? Good, then this post is for you!
I'm here with an amazing friend of mine, Chavin, who runs an Instagram account named @Koda_and_Rue! Her photography is fantastic (Koda & Rue are two of the cutest dogs ever!) and is someone that inspires me on a daily basis.
Let's get started!
Chavin, what got you into photography?
I took a class in high school. The class was really horrible, I learned nothing except that I loved taking photos. I took it in college, but that was before digital and once they closed the darkrooms down I stopped photography completely. It was only last year I rediscovered my passion for it after getting my puppy, Ruca, and wanting to take better pictures of her.
Do you have an all time favorite lens?
I do! It's the 70-200 f/2.8. Great for action shots! Although I would like to get the 135 f/2, I'm pretty sure I would fall in love with that lens.
If you had to shoot only one photography niche for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Pets! I love working with dogs and they make the best subjects! Lots of opportunities for great action shots and silly faces. Plus they're pretty easy models, since they work for treats :)
What editing platform do you prefer?
I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
Do you have a piece of advice someone has given you that has helped you?
I can't remember who told me this, but the best piece of advice I got was to shoot everyday. It really does make a difference. I think your eyes eventually just see everything as how a camera would see it if you shoot enough.
What is your favorite location to shoot at?
This is a hard one! I live in Colorado and we're surrounded by amazing landscapes, but I can narrow it down to a couple of favorites. The most scenic place is definitely hikes up in the mountains, but I'm less relaxed with the dogs off leash there, just because of all the opportunities to chase wildlife and get lost. I put ecollars on the dogs for this reason, so it takes a lot more time in post production to remove those ugly collars. Better safe than sorry though! My go to place to shoot where I'm completely relaxed with the dogs off leash is three huge dog parks we have here in Denver. They're hundreds of acres, so we have plenty of room to run and explore. And they each have a very distinct landscape different from each other which makes for a lot of photo opportunities.
Do you have any unusual things you like to carry in your camera bag and what is their purpose?
Not really. But since 90% of our shoots are on hikes, it's really more like a hiking bag. Small first aid kit, a knife, bear spray if I'm going way in the backcountry. I always have a Petqwerks bone with me in case I can't find a good stick to toss to get the dogs running, as well as treats and a squeaky toy.
Are you partial to a specific subject/pose?
I'm pretty partial to shooting my Dogo Argentino, Ruca. She's white, so she's easy to photograph even in sunny days, whereas my Ridgebacks coloring makes the contrast too harsh in bright sun. Plus she's the happiest dog and that really comes through in photos. I can call her too me and she runs full throttle right at the camera. I get so many action shots of her!
What would advice would you give someone just beginning in photography?
Practice! Practice daily. It seriously makes all the difference in the world. Shoot until the camera feels like an extension of yourself and it almost becomes muscle memory to see things the way the camera sees it. Don't be afraid to get low to ground (especially if you're shooting animals). I pretty much lay on the ground to get most of my shots. And for editing, watch tutorials. There's a ton of great tutorial sites out there, you just have to devote the time to learning.
What is your dream photoshoot? Include every detail!
Probably a hiking trip through Norway with Rue and another photographer, someone that could mentor me in the arts of landscape photography. I am captivated by the landscape up there, and I'm pretty sure I could get some epic shots of Rue standing on ice caps or under the northern lights. After that we'd head to New Zealand :)
What are any tips or what you do to get focused action shots.
Having a fast lens is probably the most important aspect. Also having a really fast shutter speed, a fast memory card, and turning the focus mode to AF continuous single point focusing has worked the best for me. After that, it's just practice.
What picture are you most proud of and why?
My new favorite picture is a shot of Rue leaping over a log. I've been trying to get a shot of her with all four feet off the ground forever, and I just happened to catch her at the perfect moment. I'm in love with that picture.
I love this interview! So much great information. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Chavin's thoughts and tips!