“Allow the power to flow through you. Don’t try to capture it. You wish only to borrow it.” G.G. Collins
“Start by asking the question ‘Why’. This is because behind the question ‘Why’ there lies answers to your question.” D.S. Mashego
My good friend Alena Shminke who is also a therapist was trying to cheer me up this morning and wrote: “I think animals are basically happy because they just live in their bodies and that’s all. And btw, they don’t read Nietzsche.”
Since she lives in Estonia I thought it might be easier to talk to an animal face to face and see what he had to say. I met a woman who was feeding chickens and goats cookies and lasagna, which I thought was completely normal.
Al wasn’t interested, possibly because he was on a Keto diet so he came up to chat. Not knowing exactly what to say I asked: what is enlightenment? And he replied, when hungry, eat. When tired, sleep.
Knowing that this was the truth, I thanked him and asked, then what? He told me to come back at the golden hour, use a wider aperture, low ISO and get the color right which pissed me off. So I shot him.
When you think about photographing horses, you probably picture a naked woman riding an Arabian stallion on a sandy beach at sunset. It’s a good plan if you can manage to put it all together, but until then you may want to practice locally.
Living in Pennsylvania it’s easier to find horses than it is to find good lobster and they all love to pose. If you have trouble finding horses where you live consider going to a riding stable or school.
Tip 1: They usually have crud in their eyes. You don’t have to point this out to them but see if you can find one that has less. Another option is to get further away and avoid head shots.
Tip 2: As soon as it gets really hot they’re often covered with flies. While this may not seem like a big deal it really does take away from the beautiful animal that you’re trying to capture.
Tip 3: Horses are very friendly and will come up to you to see what you want. Despite the warnings, I always pet them and have never had my fingers bitten off. Your results may vary.
Tip 4: Consider converting to black and white. Unless you’re lucky enough to capture the perfect light, choose one of the many ways to do this then lie like a professional. Tell everyone how color is distracting, that black and white forces you to focus on the image, and that you were going for that aesthetic, artistic look.
Tip 5: This is the big one: you want to get a good composition, an interesting pose and ideally something in the background. Most horses have very little to do during the day so they just sort of stand there, which is good because you’ll have plenty of time to think about the shot.
Finally, don’t ask them why the long face, I’ve never met once that thinks that’s funny.
“We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.” Wendell Berry, The Gift of Good Land