Meet Jacintha and her 9 year old gelding, Blacky. Jacintha saw some photographs I’d taken recently at her yard for Chloe, as well as Angie who belongs to the same riding club. We already had a few ideas as to where we’d head first for the photographs – a beautiful avenue of trees that I’d photographed at a few weeks before with Chloe.
Before we left the yard we headed up to the indoor school to take photographs with the black background effect. Many people often say their horse is too dark for the effect to work – I promise you this isn’t the case! I adjust my camera settings accordingly to each horse and the light conditions. In fact, some of my favourite black background images have been of dark bay and black horses!
It was a beautiful sunny day and you certainly couldn’t ask for better scenery! I absolutely love my drive across the hills in Oxfordshire. The roads are relatively straight and you can see right across to Didcot and across to the Ridgeway. Particularly, at the time of year, this area looks beautiful with the bright yellow patchwork fields of rapeseed crop.
Jacintha was really looking forward to her shoot and had given Blacky a really good groom the night before. Blacky is an ex-race horse that jumped over hurdles, including with Sir AP! Jacintha has only had him a few months but during this time they’ve explored a lot of their local (and exceptional!) bridleways as well as enjoying some jumping. She said Blacky feels so well at the moment and has really grown in to himself and become a very confident, relaxed horse. Hopefully this summer Blacky and Jacintha will get to ride on the beach too!
I also wanted to mention the thought that Jacintha had put in to her shoot. She said Blacky is normally ridden in a grackle bridle but she wondered how this would look in the photographs. Whilst some people don't want to change the horses tack around, I really think that a plain cavesson noseband (with or without a flash) looks best for the photographs. It looks so much simpler and doesn't distract from the horses face.
As we walked up the track towards the woods we had a good chat about Blacky as well as other random topics we got on too! We walked a little way to try and find some bluebells; we didn’t find many but the walk settled Blacky down a little who was feeling quite fresh! Additionally, we came across some lovely locations, including a log to sit on and a quiet country lane for them to walk up and down.
The sun was particularly harsh during the shoot so I made sure we kept to the shade as much as possible to avoid having too many shadows across the pair of them. The avenue of trees I mentioned above provided us with some shaded areas to work in, including in the rapeseed crop.
I often hear a lot of people, including photographers saying they avoid working in the crop out of respect to the farmer. We were very careful during this part of the shoot to ensure we only stuck to the very edges, often with me crouching down (and a little photoshop magic) so it looked as though they were surrounded by the flowers; when in fact they were stood on the path next to it. Additionally, when they were right amongst the flowers, Blacky only ever walked through the tracks left by the tractor as well as in a natural break in between the crop.
We then found somewhere for Jacintha to get on for some bareback shots. This seemed to settle Blacky a little more having the reassurance of someone on his back. I absolutely love how these images turned out – the combination of a horse and rider who really have a connection and the beautiful, varied scenery – I couldn’t really ask for more! (Except maybe the sun being a little less harsh haha!)
Thank you so much Jacintha for having me, it was lovely to meet you both! I hope you love the images as much as I do! My favourites, particularly the black and white images in the field and under the trees! And of course a massive thank you to Chloe and Angie recommending me to you. I know you’ve already been doing a fantastic job of sharing my website with your family and friends too, which I appreciate greatly!