Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Day in the Life of an Arabian Horse Breeder Photo Shoot - The Second Weekend

Part 1

I have to admit that after the first day with Johnny Johnston photographing pictures of Arabian horses, I debated about whether I really wanted to subject myself to another weekend trying to get pictures of more of my horses. I kept going back and forth between the quality of the pictures and what I needed to put up with to get them.

As much as I've liked (and enjoyed) some of the pictures that have been taken at my annual open house by my son-in-law, none of them has matched the quality of those pictures taken by professional photographers. Then there is the fact that many of the pictures I like that he's taken are not really the kind of pictures people want to see when looking at a horse to buy. The odds said I needed to go with the pro and that's what finally pushed me to go back for more time with Johnny Johnston.

I originally was scheduled to take 2 Arabian horses. Then Rachel decided she wanted pictures take with Hope and I really wanted pictures of all 3 of my stallions. By the second weekend, pictures of Dandy and Rachel had been added to the list. That meant I had 4 more horses to get photographed. It was going to be a long day.

Friday we bathed horses again and Rachel got Dandy show clipped. Of course, by the time Saturday rolled around the weather forcasts had changed. The skies were heavy with black clouds and rain was threatening and the photoshoot was rescheduled tentatively for Sunday and Monday. My stance on getting pictures done by a pro was wavering with the weather. The thought of having to bathe all those horses again, despite the fact that Rachel did most of them, might just tip me over the edge.

But Sunday morning the skies were still overcast but predications were for burn off by noon. Since overcast skies are what had stopped Johnny Johnston from finishing up the horses the last weekend, I wasn't sure whether we would be starting on time or not. Since I hadn't heard otherwise, we headed off for our scheduled time at 8 am.

We loaded up the last two stallions and headed off to Creekwood Farms. When we first pulled in Johnny Johnston wasn't even there yet and I was beginning to think that the photo shoot had again been cancelled. However, it wasn't long and he pulled in and began unloading his equipment. He would be ready when we were.

I really wanted pictures of me riding Legs. I have a picture that was taken a few years ago when Legs was in training with someone who shall remain nameless. That picture is absolutely breathtaking except for that trainer on my horse's back. I will never use that picture on my website or anywhere else that might promote that trainer in any way. My goal was to get a picture like that of me riding my horse. I even showed Johnny Johnston the picture so he would know what I had in mind.

My big question was what to wear. I really didn't want to get dressed up in my show clothes to ride my horse in someone's pasture. Not that it's not a nice pasture, but it's not the show ring. The guys always seem to just wear their blue jeans, a shirt and their cowboy hat and that seems to be fine for them but the women always wear show clothes. Me, I've always been something of a rebel so I went with the jeans, a western style shirt and my cowboy hat. My friends said I would regret it.

I've done lots of photoshoots.....some at my place and some at place that I worked. I've seen others ride horses at some of those shoots but I've never ridden a horse for a shoot before and I've never really thought about what it takes to get those kinds of shots.

I just figured I'd get on my horse and ride. Getting the horse's ears forward would be the problem of the person on the ground. I'd never really thought about what I might do that would interfer with where the horse's ears would turn. Let's just say this was a learning experience...........

For one, clucking is a big, big NO NO..................and that's to put it lightly. I'm sure you can imagine by the description of Johnny Johnston in my previous posts what he thought about me clucking. But I must admit, I can totally see his point. The problem is clucking is just so darn automatic for me. If I want my horse to round up, I not only put my legs on him........I cluck. And being the good boy he is............he listens to me..........that means his ears are not forward.

Don't ask me how many times my clucking blew Johnny Johnston's pictures. I don't have a clue and I probably don't really want to know. Between that and the fact that my horse has seen about every gimmick that a photographer can think of to get ears, getting my Arabian stallion to "wear his ears" was quite a trip.

Johnny Johnston finally resorted to laying the "bear" costume down on the ground with me riding the horse straight towards it. That was all well and good. The Arabian horse wore his ears all right but about the time he reached that thing he wheeled around and headed for parts unknown..........

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

Second Weekend - Part 2

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  1. That's a great shot! Yeah, I can understand why clucking would be a bad thing and I probably would have done the same thing.

  2. Wow it sure sounds like this session was way bettter than the first. Poor Legs I bet he thought he was going to be eaten alive!!!!!

    I have a mirror for posed shots which sometimes works but you have to be really careful when you first show it to the horse, they are either interested and prick their ears and stretch their necks (QH & Paints)or they are terrified and do what Legs did LOL

    Looking forward to the next instalment. Take care of yourself.


  3. I just looked through the dozen or so pictures we (we all took pictures of each other at standstill or moving shots) took last week, and in only one picture both of Dandy's ears are straight forward. The rest of the pictures, his ears were all over the place lol. Either 1 or both ears were pointed back, or in between, like half forward and half way back, pointing to the side. So this definitely has me chuckling.

  4. oh, as a photographer, I've been waiting for this series to continue. Thanks! And that first proof looks great. Once it's cropped and balanced it will be lovely. Bet you have a lot of gorgeous shots to choose from. And, btw, I think the jeans outfit looks just right.

  5. Can't wait to hear how the rest went!!

  6. Love the jeans outfit, it's perfect. I think the picture looks great and his ears are very nicely pointed forward. A bear costume, oh my the poor horse, can't imagine what he thought about that.