Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - The Third Foal Crop - The Photo Shoot

Part One of the Baby Boomer Series

The Third Foal Crop Part 1

For me, photo shoots with Arabian horses have always been chaotic things. It's not really as much to do with the horses as it has to do with the weather, the lighting and the photographer. A photo shoot just isn't one of those things you can schedule on a calendar for 9 am in the morning and expect it to go off as planned.

If it rains, you can forget it if you've planned on shooting outside. (And everyone wants to shoot outside because the background is more desirable.) If it's raining at the photographer's house, he's not even going to leave until he's sure it's not raining at the shoot site. That can set the whole thing back his commute time which in the case of Jeff Little is a couple of hours. So rain is definitely public enemy number one when it comes to a photo session.

Then there's always location. Just because you have this great background over here doesn't mean that it will work if the sun is out. Shadows are another big enemy in a photo session. Another problem with location is containing the horse.

Certainly Arabian horses are at their most beautiful when they are trotting that floating trot of theirs with tails over their backs and nostrils flared. Getting this accomplished and still keeping within the structure the photographer needs takes some skill and manpower. For this particular shoot, I'm not sure we really had either.

Even though I had tried to speak to the trainer, Eric Krichten, about the logistics, I don't think he really understood what it entailed from the creative perspective. He just thought the yard should work great without really thinking about the what it would take to contain the horses in relationship to the camera.

Jeff LIttle had done many photo shoots at this location over the years. Eric was convinced that it would all go just fine, Jeff would know what to do. I should have known right there we were in trouble. I know from working with Jeff in the past, he can only shoot with the camera what the horse gives him. It's up to the people controlling the horse to get those shoots set up. Our options were limited.

On this particular day, we started off late because it was raining at the photographer's house. The weather forecast called for more of the same. Yet at the training facility, it was dry as a bone, overcast, but dry. It took a little persuading to convince Jeff Little that the weather would hold.

Once he had arrived we talked about locations. I knew immediately I'd be lucky if I got the kind of pictures I was looking for. With the horses are bathed and clipped, it was worth it to give it a try but I worried from the start I was just throwing money away.

We started off with one of the training horses. Once I had the horse prepared Eric took the horse out onto the lawn. They were going to do stand-up halter shots while I worked on getting a foal ready to go.

The first one I started with was Scandalous Rhythm. I'd already had pictures taken of his mother a couple or years before so I only needed shots of him. We were going to turn him out into the presentation ring and keep the mare right outside.

As I lead the red colt out of the barn, Eric shouted "What's with his face?" I remember being started by the question, "What was he talking about?" I looked over a Rhythm to see a large bump a little off center just down from his right eye. My heart sank as I placed my hand on ta lump the size of a goose egg. There was definitely heat.

After checking the colt over thoroughly, we decided to go ahead and take pictures. Later in the day the vet would come to see if we could figure out what had happened to him. But in the meantime, I turned him loose in the ring.

We had trouble keeping the colt moving away from his mother. The usually confident Rhythm was just not his usual self. Looking back I can see the worry in his eyes but strangely enough you can't see the injury unless you really know what you're looking for.

To be continued..............

The Photo Shoot - Part 2

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  1. Fantastic pictures! And what a beautiful colt.

  2. Taking pictures of horses, now that is a talent (That is why I do video:-)! I had an intern with me from Japan and I took him to the barn and the track and had him film horses. I told him if he can follow them and sequence the shots, he can film anything.

  3. Photographing horses is the most difficult, I think.

    However, I'll say for all the inconvenience you have some absolutely spectacular photographs.

    Of course, MiKael, you have spectacular looking horses!
    That helps.

  4. You dont have to tell me about the difficulties of photographing horses. Great shots but they dont give me the goosebumps that the ones of little Image did, and I mean that seriously, and that was before I learned of the tragedy, the hairs stood up on my arms when I looked at that one picture of him. I just knew there was something special about him and it shone through in those pictures which gave you a wonderful tribute to him.



  5. molly, thank you, Rhythm really is a special horse. These pictures did not do him justice.

    photogchic, taking video of horses is an equal talent if you ask me. I think that you are right though, if someone can do a great job of shooting horses, they can probably shoot anything.

    strawberry lane, thank you, I am fortunate to have some beautiful horses but catching them on film can be difficult.

    lori, I know you understand how difficult it is to capture horses. We were lucky to capture Image as we did. The pictures really showed what was so special about him.

    Each of these foals had a look to them that was just as special, unfortunately we didn't catch it on film. While the pictures were beautiful they just didn't show that extra spark that these horses have. It takes a good eye, a lotta luck, and experienced help that know how to work the horses right for these kinds of shots.