Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Equine Photography

I am getting very excited to shoot some wild horses!  Photos, that is... no need for PETA to get their feathers all ruffled up here!  My better half has turned me on to an organization that specializes in equine photography.  It should be no suprise; it seems like there's an organization to promote just about any type of photography.  

Their website is, and they have some fun looking workshops coming up.  In May, they are presenting their "8th Annual EPNet Spring Workshop: Colorado Cowboys and Great American Horse Drive" in Craig, Colorado.  The workshop will provide an opportunity to photograph the "Great American Horse Drive" which features approximately 800 horses.  It is the largest horse drive in the country, covering a 60 mile route to the home ranch over two days.  There will also be opportunities to set up photo shoots with working cowboys, portfolio reviews and guest speakers.  Also reps from Nikon will be there with equipment for the attendees to try out.  Hmmm... think long fast glass... 

I know Lucy would love to go if we can swing it.  If not, we could always go find the wild Mustang herds on our own (I know where they are...).  In the meantime here's one of the images that I shot at the barn on Monday while Gracie and Lucy were spending quality time together...


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Style 'N Grace Needs a Bath!

I wanted to introduce you to the largest member of our family, but you'll have to excuse her hygiene.  She always has a long face, but she's very happy.  She weighs in right at a thousand pounds, but she definitely does not have a weight problem.  She is a little hairy, though.  Her name is "Style N' Grace", "Gracie" for short, and she's a registered Paint.  She's our twelve year old, and she acts very much like a teenager.  She's even interested in the "boys" at the barn.  She can be a handful at times... but always in a good way.  At least we don't have to get expensive haircuts or clothes for her!  

Lucy and Amber, ride or work with Gracie at least 5 out of 7 days every week.  They both have an amazing bond with her.  And, with the warm weather, we went out to the barn late Monday afternoon, to let her run around a little.  She is shedding like you read about.  And, for all of her "Style N' Grace", it sure seems like she has a thing for mud!  She has been way overdue for a bath, which Amber gave her today.  I'll have to shoot a few more images of her now that she's clean, but I'm sure she had a good roll in the mud after we left today.  

Some of you know that I grew up with horses (not that I actually rode them or anything), but I don't think I ever appreciated them and what they can do for your spirits until we got Gracie.  She's pretty amazing!

Lucy has an amazing connection with Gracie!

Our 12 year old is getting ready for spring soccer!  Seriously!  They're putting together some games with players on horseback.  Sounds like a blast!    

Update Wednesday evening:  Little less mud!  Gracie had a bath yesterday, but we still had to clean mud off of her tonight.  She sure runs purdy... mud or no mud!

Note: We're waiting on news of a new foal at the barn!  Buttercup has gone past 320 days and won't fit through normal doors any longer.  Everyone thought she'd deliver a foal last week, so it could happen at any time.  I will post a few images as soon as the new one arrives!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Old Town Arvada HDRs

With two daughters taking high school photography classes, I get lots of requests to help out with assignments.  I think the most successful photographers constantly try to challenge themselves.  I heard an interview with Parker Pfister where he talked about giving himself a new assignment or theme on a regular basis and he goes out and tries to capture images based on that theme.  It reminded me of the old days back in high school (yes, we shot black and white, but color film did exist that long ago...), when the teacher would assign something like "texture" or "hands" in an attempt to spark creativity on our part.  I think I've gotten away from that.  It's easy to go out and just shoot sports or something, but to try to come up with a unique composition is challenging and fun.  It makes you think.  The more you can learn from actual experiences, the more creative you can get with projects in the future, and that will always be a good thing!

Having said all that; that's not exactly what I did here, but close.  Amber needed help with a depth of field assignment yesterday afternoon, so we headed out to old town for the rich photo potential that exists down there.  I brought along my wide angle lens only; in hindsight, I should have brought my tripod as well.  I decided that it might be fun to play with HDR a little, so I started shooting 7 exposure shots of various scenes at 6 frames per second, and managed to come up with these images.  I merged the exposures in Photomatix Pro to create the HDRs and tweaked them a little in Lightroom.

All together, I shot about 150 images, before Amber announced that she was ready to go.  It was quick and dirty and fun.  These are far from perfect, but I do know what I can do to make them better, and I have filed away some new ideas for next time when I don't have a 15 year old daughter tagging along...