Adventurous Dogs In Breathtaking Landscapes: I Photographed Four-Legged Models In Norway, Iceland And Alaska (30 Pics)
I'm Alicja Zmysłowska, a 23-year old dog photographer from Poland. Dog photography combines my all greatest passions and creates a kind of unique lifestyle.
In my new project “Craving Miracles”, I combined the stunning beauty of nature and personalities of adorable dogs. I was mostly inspired by the beauty of the northern landscapes of Norway, Iceland, and Alaska. I wanted to create something new, unique, and different. Something that would bring my dog photography to another level. My biggest goal is to never be repetitive and have my own ideas.
For this photo series, I wanted more than just to travel through the beautiful landscapes with a dog and a camera — I wanted to create a connection, an emotional bond between the dog and a selected place. I wanted to make people not only appreciate a beautiful view and a cute dog in it but to stop for a while, think about the photo, an emotion it creates, a story it tells. For me, Dog photography is about creating emotions. To achieve that, I have to travel to such places, spent time with nature and my dog models, be inspired. That's why I spend so many weeks planning, traveling, scouting for the right places, and, finally, taking my dog photos. My goal is to create art with a core of truthful photography inspired by real experiences, real locales. Art that tells stories and has a piece of my soul in it.
Each photoshoot was a different adventure that couldn't be possible without the heroes of the project — the beautiful dogs and their infinitely dedicated owners who were ready to drive for many hours in a car, or even fly in a plane, help position a dog in a water breeze from a waterfall, walk through cold, glacially fed rivers or stand in the pouring rain with their four-legged models — just to achieve the perfect shot.
Editing a single photo from this project took me from 30 minutes up to even two hours, as I care about the smallest details and I want to use the full potential of the scene.
Ciri is a professional model, she is offering poses and spots for photos on her own. This shot that was her idea!
When she sees me with a camera she gets excited to find a right spot, pose, and get a reward. She will hide behind the trees, jump on rocks, go inside little caves and spaces between rocks and wait for me to get the shot she had in mind.
Dog photography came naturally to me from my passion for dogs and art that I had since I was a little kid. When my first dog, golden retriever Kiara, joined my family, it was my big dream coming true, which inspired me to capture most of our moments together on camera. As a kid, I also loved drawing and digital painting, which was the first form of art that got me interested. Connecting dogs and art together into a passion, and now — a job is my perfect combination.
Brave Nukvi, a mix of border collie and German shepherd at Westfjords.
For a photoshoot in this special location, I decided to choose a Siberian husky - their coat is thick, it keeps them warm and insulates them from the cold. This adorable girl's name is Mira.
There were quite a few challenges I had to go through while creating this project. Accessing those locations wasn't easy — to get to the famous Trolltunga, we had to walk a total of 28 km in one day. To get to the beautiful glacier lagoon in Alaska, we had to fly in a little, private plane. Though those are great challenges, the views on the way for both of those were stunning and it was definitely one of the best parts of that adventure.
What turned out most challenging, in terms of the shooting, was taking photos by, in, and behind waterfalls — darkness and water covering my lens within seconds didn't help to get the perfect picture. Sometimes it was heavily raining as well — as the weather in those places is really unpredictable and can change every 5 minutes! Luckily, my brave and adventurous models and their handlers didn't mind getting wet, and I learned to always carry a lens wipe and a towel with me!
Another challenge was to find specific models to take part in my project. I always try to find the most suitable models for conditions and location, in terms of the look and character. For example — the double coat of Siberian huskies was necessary, as some shots from this project were taken in an ice cave, at a temperature of -20 Celsius.
Soft souls - Samoyed named Ice on lava fields.
Almost surreal effect of my photos depends on many conditions, such as choosing the right place and dog model.
I have always loved dogs, so it is a total win-win that I can connect my work with them, spend time with them and express myself by photographing them in beautiful places, meeting their great owners. I also love the fact that I can bring my own ideas and visions to reality to share them with the world. All of those combined make each shooting a great, joyful adventure, which results in a form of art.
I am currently working on a project about dogs in the landscapes of the USA. So far, besides Alaska, I have visited two different states — California and Nevada.
My other "new project" just turned 9 months old! Her name is Zireael and she is an almost all-black border collie that joined my team last year. She is inspiring me in completely different ways than her older "sister" Ciri, who is almost all white. They couldn't be more different. Right now I am preparing and teaching Zira all the secrets of being a top dog model.
This image of a dog under water falling from 60 meters at famous Skogafoss perfectly shows the great power of water.
Ciri is having fun while hiking long trails, sleeping in a tent, posing for photos and just enjoying adventurous dog life.
My border collie, Ciri.
Another big part of this project was a shoot in Norway with my own dog — my border collie Ciri. We spent two weeks on a road trip through Norway.
I wanted to create emotional portraits of the dogs in places that are not so easy to access and are one of a kind.
Huge part of my project was shooting in various locations and different kind of environment that Iceland offers.
A big part of my project are widely-considered water themes.
I am mostly fascinated by waterfalls and ice formations, but I also like lakes, rivers, even fog or rain.
Shadow, a Siberian husky — 13-year-old amazing soul that we took to the shooting by glacier at Lake George in Alaska on a small private plane.
Self-portrait with Ciri doing her favorite trick — jumping up.
Water can be so peaceful but so powerful at the same time.
That day, the weather wasn't easy. There was a hailstorm and pouring rain. Thanks to this, we got this amazing dark blue sky, and a bit of sun shining on the dog and brightening up the ice, making it shine like crystals.
Just 28 km of walk for this amazing view! Ciri's curiosity was stronger than fear in this moment! But she was safe and on a leash.
Is there life on Mars? Westfjords of Iceland.
I photographed many individual dog models during my three-week trip around Iceland. Here is an Afghan hound, Tinni, on a red rock formation. He fits perfectly in setting because of his size, color, and unusual appearance.
Shadow ready to jump into the small plane after the shooting.
Note: this post originally had 36 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.