Thursday, March 29, 2012

Horse Portraits in Seattle :: Lynn & Faith

When I was 4 years old my mom decided it was time for me (and her) to learn how to ride a horse. So off we skipped to the horse barn to groom the horses, tickle their ears, saddle 'em up and jump over 'fences.' When I was 12 I decided it was time for me to hop off the horse and tie on some ballet shoes. My mother, on the other hand, galloping around in circles, was living the dream! To this day, she spends hours at the barn every week with all of her two & four legged friends.

When I was in Seattle a few weeks ago, my mom suggested a photo shoot at her barn {Phoenix Farm}. At first I was hesitant, thinking "I'm not sure I'd find photographing horses all that inspiring." But then my wise mother re-proposed the idea from a new angle. 
"What you love about wedding photography is that you get to capture relationships between people, right?"


"Well, these women at the barn have very deep relationships with these horses. They visit them everyday, care for them when they're sick, celebrate their birthdays together and pamper them like children. Photographing the horses alone may not inspire you but shooting them with their people is right up your street."
So embracing my role as a 'relationship photographer', I hauled my lenses to the barn and photographed 3 beautiful horses with the women they love. Today I have the honour of sharing with you my favourite shots of the first couple: Lynn & Faith (Faith is the slightly large one of the pair with black hair & big ears).
Most horses are really sociable and they all live together in one big barn. For some reason, Faith prefers rockin' solo. I'll admit her stall did remind me slightly of the solitary isolation wing at a prison (not speaking from personal experience here lol). Walking away from the big barn full of neighing horses we approached a second smaller (and quieter) blue barn. 

Sliding her barn door open, the light from outside poured in just barely exposing her silhouette. Seeing such a powerful black creature buried in the shadows of her voluntary darkness was slightly intimidating and very dramatic (like this sentence lol). "Is she going to bite my hand off?" I thought, "Don't be ridiculous, Chamonix. Just because she really likes black that doesn't mean she's evil." :P
When Faith's mom (Lynn) showed up, the big black persona seemed to melt away and Faith's 'cuter' side started to show. 
Once Faith & Lynn had said 'Good Morning' to each other, we headed to the big barn to make Faith all puurdy and ready to ride! 
We had a great time making funny faces at the camera!

While Lynn was brushing Faith, I had fun with my 100mm Macro Lens which normally lets me get nice and close to wedding rings but at the barn... it made it possible for me to take this photo:

Check out those eyes — gorgeous, right!
Then it was time to ride....

I asked Lynn to run Faith straight at me and then veer away at the last minute. What a min-rush! From the ground...a horse catering up to your face is BIG! I couldn't tame my jumpy reflexes which kept making me flinch. It was especially challenging because I was looking through my 70-200mm lens (aka super zoom lens) which meant "Things through this lens may appear closer than they actually are!)." My  nervous system was screaming at me..telling me I was about to get run over.

Faith was sooo graceful! Lynn asked Faith to walk sideways — crossing one leg over the other. Apparently, this is quite a tricky task so feel free to be impressed. :P
Lessons, learned from my first shoot with horses? Um....I flipping love it!!!! Mom was right — there's a massive relationship here. I adored photographing Faith because her glossy coat of black hair caught the light and reflected back to me in a way that people's skin never does. And her massive eyes, her horseshoes, all of her tack (the saddle, bridal etc...) — it all sparkled with the light! Especially when I turned the photos into sepia tones — this look sprinkled in a touch more drama & reminds me of vintage cowboy portraits :P Goodness gracious she's beautiful!!

Take a bow, Faith!

That's all from me for now. More pictures of relationships between people (and horses!) coming later this week!

PS: While I was captivated by black beauty there was a cheeky little side-story taking place....

Once upon a day at the barn there was a feline named Rusty. (Narrator: What a pretty kitty :D)
"Why hello there pretty kitty," says Joe, the most hyper dog you've ever met in your life.

"Um...I don't think so." says Rusty, "See ya!"

"Not so fast little kitty," barked Joe under his breath. Little did he know that CCTV was switched on & he'd been caught red handed in the heat of the chase!

The Adventures of Rusty & Joe: To be continued...