Monday, September 6, 2010


There just aren't enough hours in the day. No sooner had I come back from holiday, but there were various local agricultural shows to go to. So, not having sorted through all the holiday shots, now I have dozens of horses to sort through. One of my favourite animals as we have two of them (and no time to ride).
Digital cameras are great, but... Yes, you don't have the cost of film or the wait while sending them off to have them returned cut in the wrong places, or not fixed properly, or using dirty developer, or even someone else's film - yes all of those have happened to me! The downside is, that in one day I took 170 photos (of that about 10 are usable) - that's great, but they all have to be sorted and stored.
Anyway, we managed to combine a draft horse show with an agricultural show all in one day. I won't bore you with the tractors, but here are the horses:
These first two are Breton draft horses, a mare and a foal. They are nearly always chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail. The breed originated in Brittany, but this show was in the centre of France. They are probably the most popular breed in France.
The next two are Ardennes or Ardennais. They are generally roan in colour, or sometimes bay. The tail of the first one was plaited with yellow red and green braid, and had these flowers added - a nice touch! The second is a roan foal which was trotting to catch up with it's mother in the show ring.
Lastly a Percheron, another French breed, colours ranging from light grey to black. I haven't got round to the Percheron foals yet.

In the afternoon, there was a western riding competition at the other show, and I was rather pleased with this - having to shoot through barriers with a hand held zoom lens. This is apparently called calf cutting (no calves were cut in the taking of this photo), which means separating one calf from a group and trying to get it into a pen. Not many people managed it (two, I think). The rider is cropped out, to avoid the necessity for a model release, but I still think it captures the essence of the event.

I do remember someone saying once that photography is easier than art, but at least with art you don't have to worry about: focus, depth of field, shutter speed/movement, what's in the background (especially bright red beer tents!), or if the pose is right. If you draw or paint, you can have your subject in the pose you want, when and where you want. Hmmm, maybe I'll take up painting again :)

As a compromise, I've since made another print from that photo, and with various filters, made it look more like a watercolour sketch. I think it works better like this, but who knows - beauty is in the eye of the beholder.