Monday, August 18, 2008

A Day in the Life of an Arabian Horse Breeder Photo Shoot - More on Reflection

Part 1

With the frustrations because the Arabian horse would not stand still long enought foir Johnny Johnston to get good photos, we decided it was better to just turn the horse loose to see what we could get. That meant we would do Johnny's "little trick" of spooking the horse before we turned it loosed to "liven" it up and to tell the horse to stay away from the camera. The fence line was supposed to be the "safe" place for the horse.

While I understand the logic of this approach, I think it's hard to pull off. Again those people helping out are just following (or trying to follow) instructions without really understanding what the end result is supposed to be. I think it's hard to "teach" anything to the horse if you don't understand it first. And when it came to this technique, I sure didn't get "it" until after my horses had all been photographed.

So walking Reflection towards the camera so everyone on the line could make noise, probably didn't do much for Reflection but startle him a bit. At least he didn't get as jazzed up as Storm had done and run around like a lunatic........instead Reflection got cautious. The horse moved around carefully watching and listening trying to decide if he was safe or not.

I doubt that Johnny Johnston was prepared for a horse to react by getting quiet. It's not exactly what one would expect when deliberately trying to spook a horse. But the Reflection isn't just any old horse.............he moved along the fenceline slowly and diliberately studying those strange humans along the opposite fenceline clearly wondering what they were planning next.

It was during this part that I became aware that I didn't really understand what Johnny really wanted the horse to do. He didn't just want the horse turned and sent back the opposite direction moving down the fenceline. He had much more definite ideas of how the horse should move and what it took to get that look.

Reflection was really challenging this plan. The horse didn't respond to any stimimulus quite the way that Johnny expected. The more pressure that was applied the less we got from the horse. The only consistent thing about it was the horse was definitely looking at the camera as the source of his we had ears if he faced the camera and lost them if he was moving down the rail........but we sure didn't have much else.

But when the horse would stop and look back at the camera that was when he got me. The "looks" we got from the Arabian horse at that time literally gave me goosebumps. I heard Johnny Johnston comment that he had goosebumps too. Johnny Johnston who knew the great Khemosabi intimately looked at my horse snorting in the corner and called him "Khemosabi Incarnate" just like every other person who has know Khemosabi has said. There's just something about this horse that touches people. I was sure hoping that we had captured some of those looks. Johnny Johnston thought that Ruth Husband (the breeder of Khemosabi) would really love to see this horse.

I have to say that I'm really not impressed with the pictures that were taken on the rail. Most of them make it look like the horse has a short thick neck when he really has a beautiful long slender neck with fine throatlatch. But then in all honesty the horse didn't really give Johnny Johnston much to work with...........he was just too cautious.

It was the looks when the horse stopped on the rail and looked at us that I was anxious to see. But I knew that the camera angle was not the same view that I had. I didn't know if we would get the incredible pictures that I saw or if they would be something different. If there were any great shots, they would be in those pictures.

So what do you think....................

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

Blogger currently isn't letting me upload these pictures. I'm going to go ahead with the post and try to upload pictures later tonight. Booooooooooooo! Blogger!!

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  1. Uggghhhhh!! BAD Blogger...Baaadddddd Blogger!! Can't wait to see the pics! :)

  2. In the pics where he's stopped, standing, and just looking... Yeah, there's something there that makes you stare and stare and then stare some more. I wanna see more pics like that.

  3. Reflection is very handsome!

    I like 1, 2 and 3. 4 is dark and he blends into the background. 5 is nice, but makes his head look big. 3 is my favorite of these. I look for that "spark" in a horse's eye, as well as lighting that shows the fine points and coloring.

  4. The shots are nice but I can see you were dealing with a lot of hard shadows and dark patches in the trees behind him which sure doesnt help. It is also hard to see from such small proofs. The proof will be in the final cropping and editing and seeing them in 8x10 or 5x7 sizes. I like the third shot a lot but think he needs to do some shadow/highlight work and croppping on the fourth one, but again this size makes it hard. When I shoot I tend to crop in my lens (sometimes too tight), I see he allows a lot of space which will give him more options on the final photo.

    I have now decided that I wont take on shoots, of darker horses especially, after 10am or before 5pm because the light is the best before and after that, in between the shadows are just too hard, unless it is a bright overcast day, that is the best for even lighting, but you have to watch the backgrounds on the darker horses too.

    My 2 cents, I will be interested to see which ones you choose and would dearly love to see the final products after cropping and editing.

    A horses attention span is very short, and if you dont get what you want right at the beginning, it makes it nearly impossible to get anything useable. I dont know how many times I have done posed shots and always do three or up to 10 shots to make sure, and find that the first one is always the best.

    Hope you are keeping afloat, miss our chats.

  5. I think he looks great in the pictures that you uploaded. The rails shots look like he pushes well off of his hind end. That horse could have a nice dressage career. Want to send him to Ohio?? *wink*

  6. I like 1,2,3,5, they are all beautiful shots, and for the still picture I would say 3 is outstanding. It's going to be hard to pick the best shots, they all seem pretty good.

  7. I love how Reflection is a thinking horse!

    My favorite photo is the middle one.