I finally made a date to go and take some photograph’s of the Salt River Wild Horses down near Mesa, Arizona in the Tonto National Forest. Friends had been encouraging me to come down and take some photo’s for almost a year now. Has it really been a year?! Wow! Where does the time go?
I was all set to do a few shoots: Friday evening sunset, Saturday sunrise, possibly Saturday sunset and then back to Prescott on Sunday. The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group was nice enough to connect me with a great guide that knew the area and the horses patterns of grazing, favorite watering holes etc. , which made my shoot a lot more rewarding.
Friday, sunset Wild Horses Photo shoot
I met my guide Kim, and we headed out. She showed me lots of great areas and let me know just what I would find as I got to my destination. Shooting down the river meant that I may see two herds or so feeding in the river. Shooting at the lake meant that I could get some shots of the horses coming out of the water as a herd. I had the opportunity to just photograph them in the foliage as well. I had lots of choices for sure!
I decided on the lake to start it all off. The horses were just grazing under the trees minding their own business as a herd. One baby, so far, in the herd as well as some mares and some stallions. Stallions fought -rearing up and biting and then wrestling to the ground and biting. The band’s lead Stallion moved the herd towards the desert and then towards the water. It was interesting to see the horses mingling with the visitors to the lake, something that became a necessity for the horses as their own reserve water supply dried up, Kim informed me. Not the most ideal situation for the horses for sure as it makes them anxious to navigate all of the kayaks and people. I felt the photographs came out well, with lots of action going on.
Saturday, sunrise Wild Horses Photo shoot
I chose the morning for my next wild horse photography session. I thought I would be able to get more locations in if I backtracked, so I started at the lake. It was interesting how quiet they were coming and going, I missed them twice. By mid morning I moved to the river locations to see if I could photograph another herd there. I was in luck! I had a band of about eight right in front of me along the river, with three more farther down on my left. The weather was beautiful and so I just stayed along the bank and took them in through my lens and through my own eyes. I sat with this herd quietly for 90 minutes. Snapping as they changed positions and lingered in and out of the water.
Finally, this band of horses decided it was time to move on. They moved across the Salt River to the bank where I was sitting, trotted past me to the trail over my shoulder and they were gone. I was mesmerized, but kept my finger to the shutter. It was a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to go back. I hope you enjoy the fine art prints of wild horses images I have so far!
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, in Arizona.