“If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself.” Diane Arbus
“Throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness you had thought could never be yours.” Dale Carnegie
Note: the phrase throw yourself into some work does not have to be taken literally.
“The courage it took to get out of bed each morning to face the same things over and over was enormous.” Charles Bukowski, You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense
After watching a very small goat fight a very large pig I got bored and walked over to this horse. He was all alone and as calm as a virgin who never told a lie. I started taking pictures but had trouble finding the right composition.
I was getting more and more frustrated and I guess he could see it in my eyes. Then he looked right at me and said: “Listen, slow the **** down, equanimity arises when we accept the way things are.”
It turns out he was right, not everything has to be the way I want it to be, even a photo of a horse that quotes Jack Kornfield. I did end up cutting off his nose a bit but definitely not to spite his face.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but thought about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is.” Eckhart Tolle
“To accept, really to accept a situation, is to think and feel with the whole of one’s being that, even if one had the faculty of modifying it, one would not do it, and would have no reason to do it.” The Supreme Doctrine, Hubert Benoit
“It’s not about the shoes, it’s what you do in them.” Michael Jordan
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.
“Horses are divine mirrors, reflecting back our inner emotional truth.” Allan J. Hamilton, Zen Mind, Zen Horse