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Stormchild Oct 01
I can almost hear him breathing and see his nostrils twitch. Handsome horse
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scotia Oct 01
Thank you so much! It's wonderful when people feel what I feel :)

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Sep, 2018
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WINSTON



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Awards

Won Staff FavoriteSeptember, 2018

Peer Award

Peer Award
Absolute Masterpiece
+20
Top Choice
Superb Composition
All Star
Magnificent Capture
Outstanding Creativity
Genius
Virtuoso
Superior Skill

Top Class TM

Top 10 class week 1

Categories


Behind The Lens

Location
Wow! I'm so pleased WINSTON was selected by the Judges! This was actually a really tricky location to shoot in & although Winston was beautifully mannered, the venue was very busy - a large livery yard with lots of people (& horses) coming & going. Additionally, the farrier & vet arrived to see different horses on the same day & each becomes far more interesting than my lens!
Time
Since I only shoot in natural light & live in Scotland, all of my photoshoots are timed by available light. I love the late afternoons / early evenings where the light begins to fade - it suits my dramatic style.
Lighting
In the relatively short time I've been taking photographs, I've become synonymous with dramatic black backgrounds. I shoot purely on location - so to achieve this, I deliberately underexpose virtually all of my images. While this means my edits take more time - I prefer working this way (so far!). It gives me greater control over the final result than I might have otherwise.
Equipment
I'm still working with my one camera & kit lens! (Canon EOS70D & 18-200mm) I've never used a tripod & although I do own a wee hotshoe ring light, its rarely seen the light. I'm very minimal in my approach!
Inspiration
Black horses on black backgrounds are notoriously hard. I find the difficulty is in harnessing light before its absorbed by their coats. I particularly like working with older horses since everything I do is about expression & they have such wisdom. My goal is to engage, enthuse & get *that one shot* their owners will treasure.
Editing
Yes. Since I always underexpose, I reclaim the light digitally. Typically I open the RAW & will make slight adjustments in black / white contrast before opening. After that I'll play by visual - I work in Photoshop (mine is legacy at CS6!). I'm always very careful not to delete a horses's age - its what makes them unique - but, I'll soften a scar & brighten an eye. I use masked Levels Adjustment layers to lift catch lights & highlights - I'll also use colour balance adjustment to remove colour casts & for black horses I'll try (where appropriate) to give a blue-black sheen.
In my camera bag
I have my camera & one lens - that's it! For equestrian photoshoots I bring a small "rattle box" - I find a packet of TicTacs works really well! :D
Feedback
Oooh - tough question! Ok, I'd suggest visting ahead of the photoshoot where possible & just watch the way the yard functions. Is it a busy place or quiet? Is there space for you to cordon off somewhere that the light will work for your style? Enlisting multiple helpers is wonderful for me, since I'm my only shooter. I try really hard to engage with staff & other owners on each yard / venue I visit - that in itself can be hard if you're not naturally outgoing! Its tough to rock up at a place & say "Hi guys! I'm here to photograph xyz - would be great if you could direct me to / help me with" - etc. Many horses are used to just one handler / owner & they can play up - sending the owner away & having the horse handled by someone else often helps! There's nothing wrong in saying to an owner "I'd really like to capture your horses' natural expression & he won't give me that while you're here"... Ultimately owners should want the best possible results from their photoshoot, so most are happy to be advised - but, you need to be BOLD!

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