A word that I have come to better understand over the last year.
One that I have always liked to say I had, but sometimes would lose with little notice.
However, when searching for an interesting photo I could watch paint dry to get the image I was hoping for.
Early last week I was out looking for weather features in the Hartford area. I had often driven past the Ebony Horsewomen stables in the North End near Kenney Park but each time I stopped there were no programs going on. Tuesday afternoon was a different story.
When I first arrived I notice Marissa Elish, 17, and Angie Womack, 15, walking out to the fenced in area where the horses graze. The afternoon light was just getting low on the horizon and back lit this situation perfectly. I noticed a set of stairs directly in front of where the girls were head so I climbed to the top to get a nice overhead view of the scene. I was pleased with the first image I captured but wanted to spend some time with the students that frequent the place.
Walking around the grounds I came upon Damian Deberry, 9, leading Strawberry, to the barn under the watchful eye of Shayde Breedlove. There are plenty of farm animals on hand to keep an eye on you, like…
I was drawn to this image because of the vertical lines of the buildings, now I just had to wait for someone to walk between the two. Thank you Deka Lane who walked Sankofa back to the barn after giving dressage riding lessons. Lane has been at the Ebony Horsewomen program for about 10 years and is a master senior counselor. (It did take about 5 minutes for this to happen but I knew that the next riding lessons were happening at 4:30 so I took up my position at about 4:20)
Trudian Finnikin, 17, pets Hansome to keep him calm while he gets a grooming Tuesday afternoon. Finnikin has been with the Ebony Horsewomen program in Hartford for two years. I didn’t want to overexpose this image since I really like the rim-light effect on Hansome.
Moving 90 degrees from the previous photo I used the direct sunlight on Hansome to get this portrait of him eating his feed. I exposed for the highlights to capture rich detail and let the background fade to black.
When I entered the riding ring a was struck by the sliver of daylight created by the barn door being left open. When sixteen year old Naiomi Gurahoo walked Carter over to a step stool for mounting, she moved into the beam of light, and for a moment turned her head towards the door. Exposing for the highlights in this image allowed the background once again fade to black.
The first thing I do when arriving at a location is to look at the available light. Is there any natural light coming in the room or am I locked into using the light source of the room, in this case – fluorescent. Next I decide where I want to stand to compose the shot I’m hoping happens. Watching as the kids rode the horses around the ring it was evident that unless someone rode near the center of the ring I was not going to get anything worth while. When Tyrell Spence, 14, tried his hand riding Strawberry, a pony at the Ebony Horsewomen program, I knew I might come away with the image I envisioned. Strawberry, despite her size, is a very strong willed pony and if you don’t control her with some authority, she’ll show you who’s boss. On the second pass around the ring the two rode into the sunlight and turned towards me, I took about five frames in the sequence. Rick Hartford, our photo editor (this month – our staff rotates on a monthly basis), and I chose this photo. He pushed to get it on the cover of the Connecticut section but there was a photo with a story already laid out so it landed on B3.
I used a Nikon D300 body with a 17-55/2.8 lens set at 35mm. Shutter set at 1/500th, ISO 400, aperture 2.8.
Pro Tip: Sometimes on assignment you don’t have the luxury of waiting for the perfect photo to happen, but when you do, take advantage of it. If I had called it quits after arriving at the stables and capturing the first photo in the blog, I never would have stumbled upon the last one.