Amanda Smith Wyoming photographer captures horses in the mist. She is the publisher of Open Range Magazine and the Bird Central newspaper, an award winning Associated Press newspaper formerly known as The Glenrock Bird, prooudly published by Dignified Designs and Shooting Stars Photography
Once upon a misty morning, my husband and I ventured out onto the back property of our ranch in Wyoming, where a reservoir had filled up completely from the the night’s previous rain shower. The coolness of the morning combined by the warmth of the night, and moisture from the much needed rain, created a mystic ambience, to an already gorgeous morning. And this photographer was ready to capture something amazing.
Grabbing my camera at o’ early thirty, out we trekked. Off in the distance we could hear the soft nickering of our four horses coming down off the sage covered hill above the reservoir. It was a sight that moved both of us completely, and our creative juices began to flow. Quickly my husband took off his red t-shirt and moved towards the inquisitive and slow moving animals that once worked these very lands as cattle movers. Placing his shirt around the neck of Whip, his quarter horse, he gently walked him over to the island that sits just adjacent to the reservoir. The other three horses; Josh, Beggar and Blackie, all lumbered along behind Whip, lining up in sequence behind their faithful leader. It was as if each of them knew we were about to create a masterpiece, and in the early, beautifully diffused, sunlit light of this softly fog layered morning, we did just that.
With a quick removal of his t-shirt and a snap of the red material in the air, with no other sounds to be heard, all four horses moved into action running full speed ahead across the sand covered island. With Whip in the lead and all four horses heads held high, it was a sight to behold that absolutely took our breath away. Across the island Whip ran, farther and farther away from the other horses, who, as if knowing, slowed down their speed while watching the beauty of the chocolate and marshmallow colored majestic being that is Whip.
I knelt down while simultaneously pulling my camera up to my eye in one fluid movement, and as I looked through the lens, following the majestic movements of this incredible animal, I felt that familiar emotion in my heart. A wild beating as though someone had plunged a needle of adrenalin deep within me. SNAP! One shot… SNAP! two shots… my breathing quickened as this beautiful animal made his way towards the edge of the reservoir and SNAP! I felt it… that “Knowing I just got the shot” feeling that only a photographer who shoots from the heart, can experience.
Hoofbeats drowning off into the distance of the sage prairie he ran on, Whip continued on his race towards the horizon, head high and black mane and tail whipping in the lightly misted, morning breeze. Josh, Beggar, and Blackie following lightly behind as though they too, were aware that a masterpiece had just been created.
Mystical Beauty © 2013
by Amanda Smith, Professional Photographer, Wyoming
All rights reserved.
I photographed this incredible and surreal scene with my Nikon D700 using a Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens set at an ISO of 200, a range of 70mm zoom, 0 exposure (I just left it alone) at f7.1 and 1/200 of a second. It was the perfect setting to capture this incredible moment. I didn’t want a lot of light to come in, as I really wanted to still be able to capture the details of the scenery through the mist. So even though the morning was dimly lit and the light was diffused by the fog, I went with 1/200 of a second so that I could let less light in, and chose f7.1 to allow enough time for light to enter my lens while still maintaining a good amount of clarity (sharpness) in my image. I do think I could have gained a bit more clarity (sharpness) had I set the f stop to 11 and the timing of light entering my lens at 1/100 of a second … F11 would have allowed an even sharper image. But I was concerned about my shutter at 1/100 of a second being open too long to cease the movement of Whip as he ran across the sand (I could be wrong, its just my experience and my humble opinion, not any unwarranted advice.)
I think the final creation turned out excellent and the only thing I would have changed was to have been much closer (about another 25 yards closer) and backed off the zoom some, which would have allowed a bit more sharpness to the image once I blew it up to 20×16. Either way it was a great shot, and studying the settings afterwards, and comparing them to what I could have done, was a great way for me to better understand a unique setting such as this dimly lit and diffused, early morning sunlight combined with a fairly dense fog.
And that my friend, is the key to becoming a better photographer. So let today’s banter remind you that this is a great way for you to “study” what masterpiece you’ve just created, and understand exactly why it worked. Doing so will ensure you are always at the ready no matter what setting you find yourself shooting in. Consequently, as it turned out, had we waited another 15 minutes we would never have been able to create this shot the way we did. And there hasn’t been a foggy morning since. And in this part of Wyoming, foggy mornings are few and far between. And therein lies the lesson that I learned this morning, always be ready because time runs out, and it runs out faster than you think. And as the old adage for me goes, a really good photographer can’t recreate a really great shot, that was missed.
Happy Shooting and GOD BLESS!
Professional Photographer, Wyoming
Shooting for Christ, Focusing on God ©
Amanda Smith Western Photographic Artist