Are you wondering how Horse photos and ballet go together?
I wondered the very same thing a few years ago when I was invited to a photography workshop near my home in Arizona. Horse photos and ballet? The workshop was held at The Flying E Dude Ranch in Wickenburg and presented by artists Bobbie Goodrich and Susan Burns. Since I make my home in Prescott Arizona, the Wickenburg opportunity was practically in my backyard. I was familiar with Bobbie’s abstract fine art horse photography and her skills with Nik filters. At that time I was eager to learn how to take my photos to a more creative level with the use of digital filters, creating a more painterly abstract look.
The Flying E Guest Ranch
The Flying E Ranch in Wickenburg was established in 1946 by Lee Eyerly. Mr. Eyerly fashioned the Flying E brand with its distinctive wings to reflect his surname and his love for flying. The certified brand is still owned and used by the ranch today. In 1952 the ranch changed ownership to a California couple, The Wellicks. After they had both passed on, the ranch changed ownership again in 2004. The ranch is still a small bed and breakfast style vacation, although you are served three meals a day if you desire. Guests are offered a variety of adventures, primarily they can go horseback riding out into the Arizona desert. There’s an inviting swimming pool in the center courtyard for guests to enjoy, there’s tennis, hiking, bird watching, and more. Of course, it is located in the hot desert of Arizona, so the summer months are not a big seller. However, in 2015 it was named the “Best Winter Dude Ranch” by Duderanch.com. I had my own room and enjoyed a bit of rest and relaxation in between our photo shoots.
The Ballet comes to town.
The Flying E was simultaneously hosting the American Ballet AZ Fall Intensive. “This one-week residency at the Flying E Ranch in Wickenburg, AZ is an intensive experience for intermediate and advanced ballet students. The unique location allows students to engage daily with renowned artists while they are guests at the ranch – all lodging, meals and special guest ranch activities are included. We start our week with a family cook-out! The week
concluded with a free, informal public presentation Center Stage at the Del E. Webb Center but unfortunately I had to head home before the performance.”
Bobbie had arranged for us to observe and photograph the rehearsals and training sessions. I have to admit, I’m not much of a ballet aficionado but it was interesting to photograph the strong elegant choreographed moves of these talented dancers. The grace and flow was similar to the grace and ease of the movement of a horse. I guess horse photo and ballet are not all that strange a mix after all.
Each morning and each evening we walked down to the large corral and photographed the herd of horses. The Flying E location reveals a beautiful desert landscaped background. I was only there for 72 hours but the sunsets were magnificent, golden and orange colors and the horses provided wonderful silhouettes. From that photo shoot I created two best sellers, “Horse Mountain” and “Half Way Home” found in my “Horse Gallery”.
We gathered one or two afternoons for computer training to learn Nik filter techniques from Bobbie. She was able to demonstrate several filters and took us through steps to implement them into our photographs. There were several other photographers in attendance and I was able to learn a great deal from their sharing and ideas as well.
Recently, I received a custom order for a large canvas of “Half Way Home”. Stay tuned for that story later this week.
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at Arts Prescott Gallery, AND NOW Sedona’s Village Gallery in Arizona.