One of my top selling horse photos in the past few years is an image I call Ethereal. The image was taken on a photo shoot in Palm Desert, California. I was visiting my friend who got me started with horses many years ago. She invited me to her ranch to photograph her Arabian Gelding. My friend has multiple sclerosis and doesn’t get the opportunity to spend as much time with her horses anymore. It was difficult for me to watch her struggle to find the strength to even walk her horse to the arena. It was my intention to create a touching and emotional photograph that captured her connection to her horse. Unfortunately, this was one of those ranches filled with distracting backgrounds and “things” piled everywhere. I snapped away as she released him out to run in the arena. He was so expressive and powerful as he galloped in the dirt. He was snorting and kicking and creating quite a ruckus. After just a few minutes this gentle giant slowed down and turned back and walked over to his owner as calm as ever. It was such a peaceful and tender moment.
Cleaning up the horse photo.
I caught the expression I wanted. It wasn’t an action shot and it wasn’t the snorting power image that I originally thought I was going there for. Instead, it was that connection shot. My dear friend had introduced me to horses years ago and here she sat with tears streaming down her face as she watched her gelding run the arena. It’s been years since she rode but she can still enjoy the horse from the ground and still has the amazing talent to be quiet and just listen to the horse. This is exactly what she taught me so many years ago about relating to a horse.
After I returned home and loaded the images to my computer I began my editing process. I stared at this one image over and over to determine what to do with it. The horses expression sent chills up my spine. But what to do with all that distracting fencing and those trees in the background. First I tried blurring it out, then I thought I could just clone out the tree. I played and played with this photo until I finally decided to try erasing the background. During working with Photoshop, my erasing went a bit too far I thought, or did it? The results turned out to be just what I was feeling at the time. Just what we were all feeling at the time. The horse was still there, but all the other distractions of the world had faded away. All that was left was the deep connection. I stared at this edited photo for hours-reliving the experience. The definition of Ethereal is “extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world.”
I’ve received a lot of compliments on this photo I call Ethereal. It’s available in my horse collection gallery.