Meet Rohan. He’s a five year old with the habits and personality of a teenager who’s cheeky, doesn’t always listen, is cute and knows it.
Today I had the opportunity to take photos of two very beautiful horses. My goal was to familiarize myself with them, figure out which lens to use and where the best photo ops would be before the big shoot.
Those of you that know me know that I have been mainly shooting action shots of motorcycles and mountain bikes over the last few years. I knew I had a lot to learn when I took on this challenge and I can safely say that horses are NOT bikes and behave in a very unpredictable way. As beautiful and majestic as they are they definitely have a mind of their own and that needs to be respected and understood.
My knowledge of horses is limited but I do know not to stand behind one. As such, I opted to use my long lens with Rohan because he has lots of energy and I felt safer working from a distance. Just another reason why I am doing this shoot in stages – to help me become more familiar with these animals.
Now I’m not one to get scared easily but I will admit that my flight versus fight instinct started to kick in when Rohan decided to pick up his speed running faster and faster in the ring. Candice was in the middle which is where I probably should have been but instead I was close to the wall and, thank goodness, close to the door. Seeing, and hearing a 1500+ pound horse run straight towards me at close to full gallop is very impressive…and scary. It was then that I decided that I would not be using my wide angle lens with this guy. I’ve put myself very close to the action many times with roaring bikes and felt safe (knock on wood) but this was different. Bikes don’t think. Horses do.
Candice eventually put Rohan back in his stall and came back out with Laird. The senior of the group and at 15 years old he had a ‘been there, done that’ attitude. What a difference. With Laird I could feel comfortable working with a shorter lens.
He wasn’t expected to show for the camera today so hadn’t cleaned himself up but no matter…he was still quite a stoic horse and with his laid back attitude a treat to work with.
Having said this, I am very much looking forward to working again with both horses in a more formal setting with lights. Rohan will be more of a challenge but this is why I plan on taking my time with this shoot to both familiarise myself and for the horses to figure out that this thing behind a big camera is actually a person and won’t bite at all.