Friday, December 3, 2010

Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide

Carol Walker of Living Images and the author of the multi-award winning Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses recently handed me her newest book, “Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers” and asked me what I thought.

Well, to be honest, the only real talent I’ve discovered I have with respect to photography is an uncanny knack of taking great shots of my thumb! So, as you might imagine, a world-class photographer like Carol asking me for MY feedback about her new book came as a bit of a shock.

It got worse too - but let me not jump ahead of the story here…

So as always, the first thing that reaches out and riveted me was Carol’s unbelievably gorgeous photos. Stunning show horses, overflowing manes and tales, glistening coats, big, beautiful eyes, arching necks, gaits, stances, running, rearing, domestic horses, wild horses, you name it, she made sure to cover it all.

But unlike your average coffee table book, which may or may not capture the magnificence and spirit Carol’s horse photography is renown for, there’s actually a purpose behind these photos and suddenly, I realized why I WAS the perfect person to get feedback from about this book – but I’ll get back to that shortly as well.

The second thing that stirred me, once I could take my eyes off the photos, was the way she introduced the book. It was immediately apparent that she just absolutely loved horses, all horses, any kind of horse and this love had grown out of a working knowledge and understanding of these unique and special beings who are so inspirational to so many.

It was the following quote that touched me deepest and in my opinion, epitomized the essence of the book:

Why photograph horses? Because they fill my heart. Capturing them on film or digital allows me a way to express that relationship. It also gives me a way to show their spirit, their joy in life, and their beauty so that others can see it too.”

To simplify it even further, it was her explanation of how photography is a tool to express: The Relationship Between….

Anyone who has developed a relationship with an animal knows exactly what she is saying here. As you spend time together, you learn about all their little quirks (and they, yours!), their likes and dislikes, crazy antics and definitive character. They make you laugh, uplift your heart, cause you to melt like butter when they strike that certain pose that is uniquely them and yes, even teach you a lot about yourself and the world around you. Let me also add as testimony to the power of the horse, those who have chosen equine companions and spent the time to develop a loving relationship with them are some of the most profoundly affected people I know!

Simply put, that is the purpose behind Carol’s book; to show and share her relationship with equines and by extension, to help all of us formally condemned to a world of thumb shots to grasp the art and basic techniques for immortalizing the best of our companions and our relationships with them.

“Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Lovers” is amazingly simple, helpful, easy to understand, not overly technical and covered a wide range of topics. Through comparison photos, she shows what to do and what not to do, what to look for and how to adapt to situations such as unflattering environments, proper angles, lighting, backgrounds, horse color, how to bring out the best and what to avoid to prevent highlighting the worst.

Which leads me to how things got worse from my thumb blocked world.

I have to confess, twice I found myself looking at photos and thinking, “Wow, what a cool shot. I really like the way it…..” only to discover, it was a photo of what NOT to do! Oops!

After the initial embarrassment was over, I couldn’t help but think, “That was really clever.” Why? Because she included photos of what might qualify to the untrained eye as a “good photo”. Then she clearly and simply explains why it failed to bring out the best of the subject and suddenly, I could see! Imagine that!

That’s why I was the perfect person to have review this book and must say, it’s a great book. Not just because of the non-stop pages of vividly dynamic breath taking horse photos, but because it opened up a world of possibilities and offered easy to grasp tools that anybody can immediately use.

Truly, this is a gift given from Carol to us; a gift of a lifetime of expertise, experience and knowledge generously shared and simply given to those who love horses.

For those who just might find themselves wanting to learn how to capture their companions and inspirations through photographs that hone in on what the heart sees, I would highly recommend “Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers”, as you just can’t help but come away feeling inspired and confident that the world of framing “all things equine” is now within reach.

For those who might be interested, there’s also a variety of outstanding special packages now being offered on her previous multi-award winning book, "Wild Hoofbeats: America's Vanishing Wild Horses" that include The Cloud Foundation’s new 2011 Wild Hoofbeats Calendar showcasing the McCullough Peak wild horses as well as Screensavers, DVDs, Slideshows and lots of other cool wild horse stuff.
2011 Calendar
The Cloud Foundation


Unknown said...

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im training wild horses on the otherside of the world

please follow my blog

Photography Book said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)