ALL ABOUT SCENT WORK PODCAST

Ep.

56

Spotlight: Marcella Winslow, Photographer Extraordinaire

SPEAKERS:
    Dianna L. Santos
    Marcella Winslow
BRIEF DESCRIPTION:

In this new series, we are highlighting individuals and businesses who are giving back to the Scent Work community. For this episode, we spoke with Marcella Winslow, a professional photographer who has been instrumental in creating memories for countless dog and handler teams throughout the Western United States.

As we touch upon in this episode, having a talented, thoughtful and experienced professional to capture these memories and moments with our dogs is immensely valuable and important. If you are not already, please support the professional photographers and videographers who work Scent Work trials. Their photos and videos not only can be provide you with helpful information for you training, they are also precious memories that can look back on when your dog is no longer with you.

Check out Marcella's business Facebook Page, Pawprintz: https://www.facebook.com/pawprintz.pics

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Podcast Episode Transcript

Dianna L. Santos:

Welcome to the All About Scent Work Podcast. In this podcast, we talk about all things scent work. That could include training tips, a behind scenes of what your instructor or trial official may be going through and much more. In this new series, we are highlighting individuals or businesses that are giving back to the scent work community and helping all of us enjoy this wonderful game of scent work. In this episode, we're talking with Marcella Winslow, who's a professional photographer, who's been shooting for several years at scent work trials on the West Coast of the United States, capturing wonderful memories. In this conversation, we'll be highlighting what Marcella does as a professional photographer and reminding everyone that regardless of whether it's a photographer or a videographer, that these individuals allow us to create memories that will last a lifetime even after our dogs are long gone.


Dianna L. Santos:

Before we dive into the podcast episode itself, I'm going to do a very quick introduction of myself. My name is Diana Santos. I'm the owner and lead instructor for Scent Work University, Dog Sport University and Pet Dog U. These are online dog training platforms that are designed to provide high quality dog training instruction to as many people as possible. And we're fortunate to have a client basis worldwide. For Scent Work University in particular, we provide online courses, seminars, webinars, and eBooks that are all designed to help you achieve your scent work training goals. So as you know a little more about me let's dip into the podcast episode itself.


Dianna L. Santos:

So once again in this podcast episode we're trying to highlight an individual who has been instrumental as far as helping people really enjoy the game of scent work. And that's by creating memories that we can refer back to later. I had this wonderful conversation with Marcella Winslow who's a professional photographer, who's been shooting scent work trials [inaudible 00:01:37] the United States for several years. Let's listen in on that conversation.


Dianna L. Santos:

We're doing a new series on our podcast where we're talking with individuals of businesses that have been giving back to the scent work community. So I absolutely wanted to talk to you because of all the wonderful memories that you're able to give people.


Marcella Winslow:

It's a journey, but it's fun. It's been quite a ride to say the least. In 2013, 14, I think it was 2014, Natalie McManus actually gave me my first opportunity to shoot a trial. I had shot some, I had taken my camera up to Big Bear and done some stuff with Penny's camp up there, and they came out really nice. I had gotten a new camera. I was messing with it and I'd been taking photos for years with my kids and stuff, but I really brought these two passions, the passion for my animals and the passion for photography. And I just was having such a great time with it. And Natalie was like, will you come and shoot... Her first trial I think was the trial they hosted in Palmdale. I don't know if it was the only one they hosted, but it was, I think the first one they hosted.


Marcella Winslow:

I said, "Yes, great, yes, love to do it." And I mean, I just owe that to them. I'm like, that was the best gift they could give me because it just opened the door to do all these great things. And at the time I was trialing Jasper and we had just gotten our NW2 and I didn't feel like we were ready for threes, but I was trying to... We were struggling, we were just struggling as a team. He's just a different beast. And then I was struggling to get into a trial. Two years trying to get into a trial, but I spent two years photographing dogs and oh my God, what I was learning behind the lens was amazing.


Marcella Winslow:

That was just probably... I couldn't have taken a class that could have taught me as much as I learned from watching these dogs, so many of them, watching just the minute detail of what they were doing at the moment they hit odor, when they left odor, when they were approaching odor, it was just this... And as I was editing thousands and thousands of pictures, I was like, oh, oh, oh, I see this, I see this. That's amazing. Wow. Wow. And to capture it, and I've had plenty of people comment to me and say, you caught the whole sequence of how they were like, oh, this is interesting. And then they go over to this side, like, oh yeah. And all of a sudden you see whether it's a tail up or ears up or whatever that hyper vigilance on the odor is, the dog is like, oh, and then I caught those moments as they approach odor.


Marcella Winslow:

And of course the whole, "Found it." Turn back at my mom, pay me, move on. Of course, I don't know all those dogs. So I don't know all their little nuances to what they do to find odor. I just see things and I just capture it. And then they come back and like, you caught my dog exactly the way they work odor. And I can see small pieces of it because you see so many dogs. I see so many dogs do it that there's very similar things that happen in those moments, but to hear the actual handler say, "You caught that whole moment. It was awesome to finally see that happen, to catch the moment." Those are pretty powerful.


Dianna L. Santos:

Yeah, absolutely. I could just tell you, having been on the receiving end of your amazing photographs of being able to see exactly what you said, that sequence and being able to look at them and share with them the clients and be like, see this, and then the wonderful look back, give me my cookie.


Dianna L. Santos:

That must be really challenging of trying to shoot a trial and be like, oh my God, they're so close, they're so close, oh, now they're going away. Oh they're getting so close, oh, they're going away. So how do you deal with that as someone who's like, okay, I know where the hide is?


Marcella Winslow:

Yeah. Sometimes I know where the hide is. Sometimes I don't know where the hide is. Sometimes we get into a situation and it was too fast and I don't know where the hide is, but I know the sequence. And I'm like, oh. And then sometimes I'm kind of playing that game in my head. Oh, I wonder where the hide is? But I try to shoot continuously through whatever they're doing, because I don't want to stop. I don't want to cue. I don't want to make what I'm doing something that the handler may hear and say, "Oh, oh." So one of the things I don't do is I don't click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click. I know there's some photographers that just will click the whole entire sequence of what's going on. And they shoot a lot of pictures and that's how they get them.


Marcella Winslow:

I'm looking for those moments of... And I'm going to shoot even when a dog is not even near odor it just looks cute. They're hitting a box and it's a cute way they're hitting that box. I'm going to shoot that. I also want to make people aware, handlers aware that don't look at me, don't look for me for information about what you're going to do. You need to be watching your dog and listening and knowing your dog and knowing what they're going to do. I am going to capture moments that are just cute sometimes. Sometimes I can't even be near odor or the odor is so far away the photos aren't going to come out. So I have to capture the moments that are going to get you to that... Sometimes it's just not a possible for me to be outside of search area and really have a good location to photograph that.


Marcella Winslow:

I actually had one group of NW1 people. I was at the far end of the search area and it was a container search and the dogs were coming over to me. I mean, not coming over to me, but they were coming over to the searching area. The hide in the middle of the search area was about 30 feet, but it was in the shade. I was still shooting that. But when they got to me, they were closer. I could focus on their little faces. I could get some really nice shots of them just hitting that box right up front, just a nice catch on the box. And they were just cute right there. So I was photographing those, the handlers were calling them and I was like, oh, geez, okay.


Marcella Winslow:

This is interesting. But I was photographing the whole thing. It wasn't like, I was just photographing this one area. And I've seen photographers, they focus on the area kind of where the hide is and they shoot all that. And then they put their camera down and I'm like, what are you doing? You're not telling the whole story here. You're not catching.... First of all, you don't want to cue that handler into that. Plus you don't want... There is more to the story than just them at the hide. There's things that they're finding. And even running my own dog, I notice where she's like, oh, up on that table, there's some odor up there, there's molecules over there. Oh, and then it goes to there. So there's a whole nother part of it. But it's just interesting that I don't want to influence handlers.


Marcella Winslow:

So I have to really be careful. And I have had moments where I'm photographing and especially of NW3 until they call finish, I am behind that camera 100% until they call finish. And then I can put my camera down for half a second. And there's been times when I'm like, shoot, shoot, shoot and they get to the hide and I know they've found the only hide there and then like, wait, wait, oh, wait, keep photographing, keep going. You can do this. You have those brain burps and you say, "Oh yeah, we're still in the search. Keep going." So, I mean, it's a challenge, but I think I've been doing it long enough that it's become more just routine for me to do that, to make sure I don't want a cue.


Marcella Winslow:

And actually after that one trial, several people came up and said, "You were right there. You were photographing our dogs. I figured it was right there." And I'm like, never take your cue from the photographer. Never take your cue from the photographer. The photographer is placed in many different places. It's a luck of a draw where we get to be. We can't determine that. You need to pay attention to your dog not to, what's going on around the room, not to the judges, not to somebody's face. You shouldn't be anywhere but in the search with you and your dog connected there, and everything else is just fall away.


Marcella Winslow:

And I said, "And definitely do not, do not cue your dog out of what I'm doing, because I'm never going to tell you." I can't say that I never do because I don't know that, but I try never to influence what's going on in the search. And that being said, I will also watch for dogs who are being sensitive to me. I've had many dogs come right up to the lens and I've had several judges go, "Oh my God, that would've been such a cute picture, that dog's nose is on your tip of your lens." I'm like, "Yeah, I know I got to clean the lens."


Marcella Winslow:

I will stop shooting because a dog is like, every time that click the dog goes, what are you doing? What are you doing? You're stealing my soul. Get away from me. And I'm like, Oh, that dog doesn't like this. And I don't want to disturb that search. Your search is definitely more important than the photograph. I mean, wouldn't, we all love that photograph? Yes. And it's a great memory and it can be a great tool, but it's not to the extent of you not getting your title, you not cuing in that search, whatever it is, that's not important at that moment. So I will take from the cue, or to upset the dog where the dog doesn't ever want to go back to a search because I was in its face or what it thought was disturbing it or scaring it or confusing it or whatever.


Marcella Winslow:

I don't want that to affect the dog. The dog is the number one in that search. It's his job. And I don't want to effect affect that search. So I will definitely back away from those moments. And I actually will take shots at the beginning of the search, right as a dog is on the start line. If it's close and I'm thinking, this click on my camera seems louder than normal because of the situation, there's an overhang or in a tunnel kind of thing or whatever, or an indoor search with containers and I'm not as far back as I'd like to be, I will take the shots at the start line to see not necessarily for something I'm going to sell, but to see what the dog's reaction is.


Marcella Winslow:

If the dog immediately looks at me, then I'm going to be more cautious. And sometimes they do. They're like, well, I'm just standing here doing nothing. So what are you doing over there clicking that thing? But as soon as they get started, they're fine. And they don't even notice me. But sometimes if I click in the beginning and I click that first one and they still kind of like, what are you doing? Then I'm probably not going to shoot your dog. I'm just probably going to, sorry... I mean there are people that do realize that their dogs are sensitive to it and ask me not to photograph and that's fine too. But if I notice it and you haven't, I'm definitely not going to, so that's something else I do too.


Dianna L. Santos:

And that's awesome. And I hope that people really take into account just everything you laid out, as far as how thoughtful you are being in what you do. That you're trying to ensure that you're not cuing the handler that you're not saying it's over here. You're also trying to make sure that you're capturing not just finding the hide, but everything else. Because again, I've seen shots of the people with their dogs at the start line or even after they're done and the celebration and the joy. And they're both like, oh my God, we did it. And that's amazing.


Dianna L. Santos:

But also like what you just said that there are lots of dogs who are very worried about the camera. Like you said, like you're stealing my soul. What are you doing? And the fact that you're thoughtful enough to say, I'm noticing this when the handler is already probably stressed to the nines and so nervous that they may not know. That's amazing. And for anyone who has the privilege of working with yourself or other photographers who are of that professional caliber, please understand how important that is, that these people are doing everything they can to help create these memories, but also keeping you and your dog at the forefront of their mind. So I thank you for that because it is such a big deal and you should really pat yourself on the back for doing that.


Marcella Winslow:

I know what I would want in a search. And I think that's probably one of the best things I was able to do, was I was able to trial and understand what the search parameters were before I have even started to shoot the trial. So the understanding of how a trial works is really kind of important.


Marcella Winslow:

Some people go, well, I could shoot a trial, that's pretty easy to shoot the dogs. I'm like, yeah, it can be. There's things like limitations about where the judge says you are allowed to stand, there's limitations on... and not everybody understands the way light works. So, they're like, yeah, you can stand right here. Okay. Yeah. Well, all I'm going to get is butt or the light is so off no matter how well I know my camera, I'm not going to get... It's too dark. There's limitations to that. And there's limitations to just understanding what you're photographing, what your goal is and how the whole program works. I think that's a really vital part in knowing how to photograph.


Dianna L. Santos:

Really important to point out for people who may want to do photographs with yourself, is that again, you are actually competing in, nose work and scent work and that you know what it's like to be the competitor and that you've been doing it for so long. So because you have done this for such a long time, what's where are the areas that you've traveled in shooting trials?


Marcella Winslow:

In shooting, so I have shot Colorado trials is I think my furthest one so far. I just reached out to Jill one time we were going to be up there competing. And I said, "I'm going to be up here. Do you need a photographer?" She's like, "Sure. We'd love to have one." And there were thankful because they never get them right because they just don't have anybody up there.


Marcella Winslow:

Arizona I've shot. Of course, all of Southern California, I did shoot one in Northern California a long time ago. There's some good photographers up here in Washington or up in Oregon and in Washington, I think there's a couple up here. A lot of times we're the back end of it. I don't think sometimes people realize that. They're all looking for the video. They're thinking the video's so important. And I've had people come up to me and go "Your pictures, wow. I could see what happened." Even if their dog is cued they're like, "Ah, I see what happened there." Because I took whatever they needed. They know their dog, they know how they run, they know the sequence of the search. They kind of have all those pieces and then I captured those moments for them. And they were like, oh!


Dianna L. Santos:

So the other thing I really wanted to have you talk about, was what are some of the things that really stuck with you as you've been shooting as far as different teams that you've seen or certain trials that you've done? Are there any things that as you were shooting or when you were developing the photographs, you were like, wow, that's going to stick with me for a while.


Marcella Winslow:

I think now that I'm competing on this upper level with Grace, like when I watched the summit trial just recently the one we shot in the search and rescue foundation up in Santa Paula. It's a really cool site, but I was watching how handlers... Because there was a lot of older dogs there, so I was watching how handlers really took some care for their dogs in that particular venue, because it was a tough terrain. We had long, big searches. Like those powerful moments when the handlers... it was hot, it was gravelly it was uneven surfaces and here's this handler and she's got her dog in her arms. It wasn't a tiny dog, it was it was a good sized dog. And she's carrying that dog because she's going to protect that dog to get him to the search area so that she can have a really good experience in that search area.


Marcella Winslow:

She knew she could do the search, but she was just going to give her that little extra, and especially these dogs that are older. So I think those things are very powerful for me. Those moments where you're like, yeah, that's what it takes to be a team is being the full partner, regardless. You know your dog can do it. And we all could have... I mean that probably that dog was fine walking up there, but she just knew she needed to, you know what, I'm going to give her this little bit of extra. It's going to be a little harder on me, but I'm going to give her this little bit of extra. They came out and they rocked the trial which is nice. But I think that's just part of the team. I think watching teams just be like Zen in the moment and it may be there's Zen in the moment of that search.


Marcella Winslow:

And that's so amazing to watch them. And it's that dance you see? And then they may have a difficult search later, but that one search when they all came together and everything just kind of moved. And they were like, yes, yes, yes, yes. And they walked out and you can see... I love to see the joy on the dog's face. And the handler's like, yeah, I think we did okay. But they don't know. They don't know. They leave that search area. And they're like, I guess we did okay. Felt pretty good. All right, we're good with this. The dog is just like, nailed it. They love those. The dog is just like, yeah, I got this. I think the dog definitely knows when they've gotten everything on what they've left close behind.


Marcella Winslow:

So that's one of them, it's when you see those moments and those stick with me. And I look for that when I'm trialing. When I look back at Grace and go, "Do I call finish? Or are you still working stuff? Is there somewhere else we need to go?" You know, I look for those moments. I think those are pretty powerful. Also the moments when the dog's like, they got to know they have to leave the search and the dog's like, but, but, but, but, but I'm not done yet and I want to stay and finish this right here, and your heart is breaking because you know, the humans are like, listen, Mom said no, Mom called it it wasn't the right call. You got to go. And the dog's like, but, but there's odors still right here.


Marcella Winslow:

It is right there and we've got to move on get on with the game, next dog's waiting on line. And I'm like, oh, break my heart, just let him get the hide, just come on. Just let him get it. I've seen those moments. I think the one that is the most powerful for me, it was heartbreaking but it was super powerful. And I take this into every trial with me, is this handler thought they missed a hide. They went and they found both hides, they thought they were doing terrible and they might have had a terrible search right before they did this particular search. And they've may have been having a terrible day just overall.


Marcella Winslow:

I don't know. But they hit that search. They found the two hides. But when she left, the handler was defeated and the dog walked out like he had been defeated. And I'm like, you know what? Your dog went and worked its butt off in that search. You need to come out of that search with the happiest... Like you're just dog rocket no matter, because you don't get NW3, we don't know. We don't know if we've found everything or whatever, but you come out of that search and you tell that dog how wonderful he was and how great they did. And you give him that extra cookie because they went in there and they did something for you. You guys came in and worked as a team regardless of what you did.


Marcella Winslow:

And so I always try and keep, no matter what happens in a search, that when we leave we're happy and we're playing and we're going to go back and get more cookies. And we're going to just... I just praise them up and down to the car regardless of what they did in the search, it doesn't matter. That's us. That's not them.


Dianna L. Santos:

Exactly.


Marcella Winslow:

So that little face of that little dog walking out because it was running down the leash, we say it comes down the leash. It was her emotions were coming down that leash into that dog, and the dog was like, I guess I did terrible. I did a terrible thing, I don't know what I did wrong. And you could just see it in his little shoulders and his little body.


Marcella Winslow:

It was, it was so heartbreaking. I was like, oh my gosh, that's not how you come out of his search, no matter how it happened. And I felt bad for the dog. I felt bad for the handler for whatever she was going through. But I felt bad for the dog because he didn't know what he did wrong. He thought he did everything. Right. And actually he did do everything right in that search, which was crazy. I'm like you nailed that search, buddy, you nailed it. If I could speak dog I'd tell you how good you did.


Dianna L. Santos:

And that's a really good reminder for people that we need to always make sure that we're showing our dogs, that they did amazing because whether or not, however, the search may have gone, they did do amazing. They went in there and they did something only can do. You and I can't do this. None of us can do it.


Marcella Winslow:

Put a blindfold on and go find the hot dog. Lots of luck. Use your nose to find that thing.


Dianna L. Santos:

Exactly. So I think that it's really helpful for people... because it's one thing for me to pontificate about these things. I can go on and on about it, but for people to hear someone like yourself, that again has been doing this so long and seeing it through this very particular lens, but be like yeah, please make sure that you're taking care of your dogs and showing them that they did a really great job. That's really good advice. So thank you. It's good reminders for people. So is there any information that you wanted to share about your business for anyone who may be on the west coast and may be trialing in scent work about how they may be able to figure out what trials you're shooting or any information about your website you wanted to share?


Marcella Winslow:

Well, I'm on Facebook, so it's pawprintz.pics is my website. And I think you can find me on Facebook with pawprintz.pics or Paw Printz. Go like my page because that's how you're going to find out. I don't usually post where I'm at, but that's actually a good idea. But I do post when the photos have been up, if I've been at a trial I post it on Facebook. I try to email people. Mostly you're going to find me through my Facebook page. Of course, I go through the other venues that they di nose work on to post and let them know. But if you like my page, you're going to get the writing. So it's paw printz.pics with a Z.


Dianna L. Santos:

Okay, perfect. And we'll make sure that we have links for those as well in our podcast replay page as well as our website. So I want to thank you very much. It was just so much fun to talk with you and to share this perspective with people. Again, please, if you guys go to a trial, you need to get the photographs. The videos are very good, but you want, and you need to get these photographs. And if you are fortunate enough to have photographs from Marcella, they are awesome. I lost my boy in 2019 and I look at his photos all of the time, because they're all I have and they mean the world to me. So truly from me to you, thank you because they help my heart mend a little bit. So thank you so much.


Marcella Winslow:

That's what I say. When it's all said and done what have we got? We got our memories and we got our photos.


Dianna L. Santos:

As you can see, Marcella is a fantastic person to have involved within the scent work community. And again, I can that her photographs are absolutely phenomenal and I cherish the ones I have of my boy Valor that I lost in 2019. And I look at them regularly.


Dianna L. Santos:

So whether it's going to be working directly with Marcella at one of the trials that she's shooting, or if you happen to work with another photographer or a videographer who is at a trial, please make sure that you are supporting these professionals. Order the photographs, order the videos, you're going to cherish those memories later. But as Marcella pointed out in this episode, you can also use it as far as helping with your training, those photographs, as well as the videos can be very, very helpful. I urge everyone to check out Marcella Paw Printz business, we'll have links for that business page on our podcast episode page, both on Facebook and on our website.


Dianna L. Santos:

We also want to hear from you. Is there another individual of business that you would like us to speak to as far as how it is that they're giving back to the scent work community as a whole? We want to really build these individuals and businesses up. Times can be really stressful and dark, but we want to make sure that we're shining light on those who are helping all of us have a better time with our dogs. So if you have a suggestion by all means, feel free to contact me and I'll be more than happy to schedule an interview with them. Thanks much for listening. Happy training. We look forward to seeing you soon.