Photography Friday: Black Background Photos Behind the scenes

Black background images are all the rage right now, and it’s easy to see why. So simple in their essence, they are a study of the horse as a form with an extra dash of drama.Any photographer worth their salt will tell you that the best way to do these images is in camera, and I completely agree. They mostly require a center aisle that allows light to be blocked in such a way that you achieve a distinctive difference between light and dark (shadow and well, not shadowed). Even better if either the aisle then is a very long one, or has doors at the opposite end that prevents light from seeping into the background. This is less commonly available, so is a nice-to-have rather than a necessary component.

So at the risk of ruining the magic, here are a couple examples of what I see in-camera versus the final product.

In this photo, and the image below, you can see a frequent participant in my photoshoots: a giant blue squeaky toy. Sometimes the horses could care less when something so bright and blue and loud is seemingly dying beneath their nose. Other times, you get what I call the dragon pose, where the horse elongates and arches his neck and there becomes a definite spark to their overall expression. That, as Cinderella demonstrates below, is my favorite way to show off these horses as the athletes they are.

As you can see, there is a variance in how much editing a particular shot will require. My job when I show up to do one of these images is to utilize the given environment to the best of my ability, then consider the horse/model’s best features and how to pose them and show them off. Then, it’s about reading the light, making the right decisions for settings on my camera, and spending time in post-processing (I use both lightroom and photoshop) to create the final image.

And there you have it folks! A peek behind the curtain on the ever-popular black background photo! Happy Friday all!

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Photography Friday: Christine and Kadet

Christine is a very special friend of mine, and also a huge part of this blog in that she has probably taken a good percentage of the media, particularly sales horse media, that you see on this site.

In return for the countless (because if we’re counting, it’s probably more than 20) hours driving to horse shows or seeing prospective horses, as well as being chief ear wrangler for my photography projects, I was keen to do a photo session with her and her horse Kadet.

Kadet is a special guy himself, a spritely soul turning 19 this year. He is retired from the highest levels of showjumping and now enjoys the good life of trail riding and light work with Christine. When he’s not galloping around his spacious paddock, Kadet’s other skill is proving himself to be the miracle horse. Despite breaking his coffin bone, getting cast in his stall, and fracturing a bone in his leg (all separate occasions), he’s bounced back every time and is the picture of health today.

So many thanks to Christine for her continuous support and friendship! Happy Friday to everyone!

Photography Friday: Austin and Vincent

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What’s better than getting to shoot a beautiful young lady and her trusty steed? Doing it twice! I was so thrilled when Austin and family reached out to me to come back to their farm to capture moments with their new horse, Vincent. I said hello to Flash, who is now enjoying teaching another young rider the ropes, and quickly got to admiring all the fall foliage.fb_dsc4823

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Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Photography Friday: Smitty Sneak Peak

I have a little secret to share!

A couple weeks ago, I made the impulsive decision to have some photos made of Smitty and I. Because who needs to do things like pack the day before a show when instead you can get all gussied up? But after seeing the work of Studio in the Stable, I was sold.

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PC: Studio in the Stable

To say I am thrilled with this image is an understatement- and I can’t wait to see the rest!

Happy Friday, y’all!

Photography Friday: Ashley and Sarita

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Ashley is a bright and beautiful senior getting ready to take on the world. After getting to watch her ride her beautiful Dutch Warmblood mare, Sarita, I got to know her and her mother a little better, and was enchanted when they asked me to photograph the pair for Ashley’s senior photos. We had so much fun on our photoshoot and literally took pictures until the light was gone!

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Happy Friday all, and have a great weekend!

Photography Friday: Flynn

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A friend of mine, after retiring her young OTTB gelding unexpectedly, got herself the most adorable young Connemara X TB gelding. When we first met we bonded over German Shepherds and Connemara crosses, and so I always felt like she was living the dream with her acquisition of Flynn.

Well recently, in a strange turn of events, her OTTB has just as unexpectedly come out of retirement. So baby Flynn needs a new job and a new home, and thus we scheduled a conformation photoshoot with a few fun pics of the pair of them in the mix.

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If you are interested, or know someone who might be interested in what is an incredible eventing or hunter prospect, check out Flynn’s video and leave a comment. I’ll hook you up with how to get more information.

 

Photography Friday: Wild Horses

As previously mentioned, last week I spent half a day with an old dressage friend, who now works as Herd Manager for a herd of wild horses in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She took me through the sand dunes of the wildlife preserve, showing me the various herds and pointing out “singles” (often loner bachelors) while I did my very best impersonation of safari-style wildlife photographer. Though I intend to write a more in-depth post about the experience, I want to share some of my favorite images from the day.

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The stallion of this band just had the most groovy forelock, don’t you think?

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Many thanks to C, for taking the time to answer my questions and trek through the deep sand so I could get these shots. Happy Friday everyone!

Photography Friday: Tryon International Equestrian Center

While visiting Tryon for Foster’s surgery, it was an absolute must-do to go visit the fancypants new International Equestrian Center. I’ve heard so much about this place over the last year and pretty much every equestrian that visits it compares it to some version of horsey Disneyland. So, with camera in tow, I got the grand tour and later came back to watch an actual show in progress.

It started by checking out the barns and the special horse paths, that as you can see are fenced off and flanked by human and motor-vehicle pathways. Along the horse paths were also shaded overhands with fans and misters for those hot Carolina days.fb_DSC8618

Then we made our way over to the rings typically used for the Hunter competitions, and I puzzled over the pink-toned footing that is supposedly magic due to it’s shock-absorbing qualities. It has even been thought to have prevented at least one broken neck from a serious fall earlier in the year.

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Hunter's show arena

Hunter’s show arena

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We slowly made our way towards the now-famous (at least in this area) George Morris arena, complete with jumbo-tron, astroturf, and again, more fancy footing.

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Warmup for the George Morris arena

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Jumper in the 1.40 meter class

Jumper in the 1.40 meter class

Then we roamed over the Roger’s diner for a bite, a delightful little vintage spot where you can get breakfast any time and the price is just right.

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And to wrap up we admired Bellissimo’s stunning imported carousel, and the front entrance with the ever moving grazing horse statue.

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Our photographic tour does not include, of course, the simply vast scale of all the barns and proposed arenas that exist and are currently under construction, nor the quaint temporary-living cabins for competitors and the stunning cottages by the river for long-term rentals. I have no doubt that the next time I visit it all will look completely different, and I definitely want to add this to my list of competition venues for 2016!

Have a happy weekend and a wonderful Labor Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography Friday: Foster Edition

It’s very rare that I get a chance to photograph my own horse, since said creature typically doesn’t like to stand unassisted at a photographable distance, unless I want my picture to be of his nostrils. Or his tongue.

But with the impending surgery in my mind, I decided it was worth the trouble to get some proper portraits of him, you know… just in case.

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So with that somewhat melodramatic thought in the back of my mind I trimmed and braided, washed and show-sheened the bejeezus out of my horse (and put him in a certain somewhat-new bridle that I just adore) just like we were about to go down centerline.

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These just happen to be some of my favorites. They capture his intelligence and his sweet eye.

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They hint at his presence.

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And they manage to get a bit of his sense of humor in there as well.

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I just love this horse. And I can’t wait to get him home and spend even more days with him.

It's not Foster without a little bit of this...