Somehow I overlooked this gem when doing my first edit of Wednesday’s horse expedition. It’s so easy to fail to recognize a quality shot when sorting through a batch. I always like to go back a day or two later and take another look. Often times I find a really nice image I missed before. This image and the shot with the two plovers in the foreground and the horse out-of-focus in the background rate as a couple of my favorite images from the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve ever! Look at the image and then I’ll talk about why I like it so much.
There are a lot of reasons I like this image. First look at the dark stallion in the foreground, the main subject. He simply emotes attitude. He’s alert, watchful and ever so handsome. When most of us imagine “wild horse” this is what we envision. Plus the low point of view provided from my shooting position in the kayak adds some stature to this big, muscular fellow. Hie’s in your face from this perspective.
Next notice the balance. The two feeding mares in the background provide balance to the stallion in front. Most of us are most comfortable with a scene when it’s balanced… there’s something on both sides of the frame. But there’s more than physical balance here. The front horse is alert, on guard… he creates a bit of tension, of drama. Conversely, the mares in the background have their heads down feeding. They’re relaxed, comfortable, peaceful. I think there’s a nice helping of emotional balance here as well.
Finally this photo does a wonderful job, I think, at showing the environment in which these majestic animals live. The water of the sound, the spartina grass, even a distant island with low lying bushes. It’s pretty much all there. The light coming in from behind and to the left is perfect for showing detail… the animals muscles, the textures of the grass and in the animal’s mane. The exposure is correct, the depth of field pleasing. Then there’s also the matter of diminsion, the stallion establishes a foreground layer, the mares a mid-ground layer, with the island in the back setting a distant background. Simply put, everything came together at the right time.