There's a definite bit of irony in the fact that the ladies in my life are—at best—reluctant muses and none more so than our Jamie Rae. This made for some challenging photo shoots because Jamie is an otherwise perfect choice to work into my equine photography because she is an extremely skilled horse wrangler. Jamie was tapped to assist in many of our photo shoots but was always much happier off camera than as a model.
None the less, we could occasionally persuade her (okay brow beat her) into being in the shot as well. This photo shoot in the Finger Lakes region of New York in September of 2009 is the ultimate example. Jamie was passing through NY and I definitely wanted to take advantage of her visit to get some photos of her and one of her favorite horses, Dasha! When we started this session we never intended to have Jamie and Dasha actually in the creek. But that's where being "flexibly focused" can result in a great shot. In an area like this creek, the light is constantly changing, the creek itself is deeper in some sections, and the foliage along the sides is widely varied. So it took at bit of time and LOTS of other shots before we found the composition we wanted!
Above you see Jamie's usual take on any of our schemes that involved her having her picture taken! The fact that Kath convinced her to wear a skirt to a horse photo shoot let one that had this much color was pretty much a miracle.
As usual, Kath was in several capacities. Art director/photo stylist as well as "equine expressionist". For those of you that might not be familiar with the term "equine expressionist" that's the person responsible for directing the horses's focus and attention. Since a horse by nature is inclined to continually scan their area for threats, the equine expressionist must know exactly how much stimuli to provide and when in order to get the job done. Dasha was—of course— a rock star! Her impeccable manners a result of being handled and trained properly from the day she was born AND also from inheriting some impressive DNA from her mama—Queen Dee.
When I say Dasha was a "rock star" it's because Dasha is very well trained to "stay put" unless given specific permission to move, meaning that for these shots Jamie was able to turn her back while Kath was behind me and to my right doing the "ear expressionist" thing! The photos shown below were taken with one of my old Canon cameras (the Canon 20D), no flash, only ambient lighting.
The image above—shot in a vertical format—was pretty close to what I was looking for. The horseman (and "Dad") in me loves the look exchanged between the Dasha and Jamie. But the photo shown below is the one that ended up being the "money shot" for the day.
In this photo we got it all, including Jamie's new Celtic triskele tatoo!
All done for the day, tortuous photo session over, Jamie and Dasha head out of the creek. Which is the moment that Jamie discovers "creek critters" are down there as well!