“In this world of basic stereotyping, give a guy a big nose and some weird hair and he is capable of anything.” Frank Zappa
I got this software free with a photography magazine a couple of months ago and wanted to do a review of my initial impressions. I needed a new photo to use and since it was raining decided on a wet horse in bad light.
So after getting the newspaper and coffee I drove to the back of my local Aldi parking lot where the horses wait, contemplate the meaning of life and stare into space for a while.
A buggy soon pulled up just as it stopped raining and I said hello to two Amish girls, asked if I could take a few photos which they said was fine, and they told me their horse’s name is Firefly.
She’s hard to see because I shot wide but there is a woman walking towards me between the mirror on the right and the small tree. I said hello but was completely unprepared for a lecture on morality.
After standing there with her arms crossed and shaking her head for a while I looked at her and said: “What?” She mumbled a few things I couldn’t hear and I went back to trying to get a decent composition.
Then she said: “This is very disrespectful.” I told her that I had permission but she continued so I said: “Disrespectful to who, the horse?” This seemed to confuse her but finally she said: “It’s disrespectful to the whole culture.”
Now I was mad, my camera was acting up, it was starting to rain again and I had missed the decisive moment. I thought about fighting her but she was big and I wasn’t sure I could take her. Photo shoot ended.
ON1 Effects is fun to play with but in a way it’s a little like Photoshop. There are so many different effects and filters, each one customizable, that after a while you start to wonder if you should take up golf.
For this photo I used an effect called Automagic and one of the thousands of borders. I felt this would be a good one for Firefly to post on his social media and discuss ethics with his friends.
On my way home I wondered if Miss Manners was right, so I told the story to a girl at a convenience store who said the woman was stupid and arrogant. I would have used different words but okay.
Case closed, morality issue solved. Someone once said do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish opinions. Someone else said that opinions are like a wet horse in a parking lot, shoot first and ask questions later.
I was on my way home the other day and stopped by these horses that were very busy frolicking in the mud. I tried to get them to come close enough for a photo but they ignored me.
Then I remembered how I used to get my dog’s attention by asking her if she wanted to go for a ride in the car. So I stood by the fence and said: Wanna go for a ride? Nothing. Then I said: Wanna go for a ride in the car?
The white horse slowly walked over and looked at me like I was crazy. Then he turned to his friend and said: This guy ain’t from around here is he Bo? And Bo said: No Jack, he’s probably a New Yorker.
I figured it must have been my accent. Fuhgeddaboudit.
“I live in a very small house, but my windows look out on a very large world.” Confucius
“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
“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
“The horse. Here is nobility without conceit, friendship without envy, beauty without vanity. A willing servant, yet never a slave.” Ronald Duncan