Meet Zoe, Laura and their wonderful horse, Blue - more affectionately known as Pickle! I met Zoe at the yard where a past client of mine, Kari, kept her horse. Sadly, due to ongoing problems, Zoe had to make the difficult decision to put Blue to sleep, but asked me to come and take some lovely photographs before they had to do so.
We only had a short window to get the photographs taken and Becky Bunce came to my rescue and was able to drive us both there and help out on the shoot. My car was in the garage and needed something done to the power steering. I knew we couldn't postpone Blue's shoot so thank you Becky, I really appreciate the help at short notice!
Zoe said from just one meeting with me at the yard she works at, she knew that I was the person she wanted to come and photograph Blue for her, and his sharer, Blue. She said that he could be very shy around new people and that I was so calm, patient and quiet around horses that she knew we'd get along! It always means so much when people say that to me, I take great pride in being patient and making everyone feel as relaxed as possible; even more so when a shoot means as much as it did in this situation.
It's always a privilege when people are put in awful circumstances at having to say good bye to their best friend, that they allow me to spend a few special hours with them, capturing those memories to treasure. However Zoe and Laura made sure that the shoot was positive, sharing plenty of funny stories about Blue and we all did have a great time!
On the day of the shoot it was blisteringly hot! We made sure to stick to the shaded areas for not only the best photographs, but also to keep everyone as cool as possible. Being around midday, the sun was really harsh, which creates some really strange, and not overly pretty shadows across faces and bodies, which is why I prefer the shade. People often look at me strangely when I say that, as they've been praying that it'll be sunny on the day of their shoot! The sun plays havoc with shadows as I mentioned, but also causes a lot of squinting!
The shoot began in Blue's stable, for black background photographs, of course! I love photographing greys on a black background, they always look so striking! Zoe had asked in particular if I could take some really close up, detailed shots of Blue. When editing the images, I couldn't resist adding this quote, which I think absolutely perfectly fits the situation they've found themselves in.
Laura has loaned Blue for about 4 years now, in this time she's enjoyed riding him, but more recently as this has become too much for him, she's spent the time working with him on the ground, teaching him tricks! It was so much fun capturing the two of them together, Blue constantly waiting for the next command, even throwing his own tricks in now and again.
I think we definitely captured his character during this shoot! Pickle, as he's often called (which did get confusing when I was first chatting to Zoe about the shoot!) certainly lived up to his nick name and was often caught "smiling" for the camera! We found a lovely little area under the canopy of trees along the drive way for our first location.
Laura and Zoe were so great to be around, it felt like I'd known them for so much longer! Zoe has a very infectious laugh and we had great fun! They had a running joke about having a can of beer whenever they met up with Blue, so it seemed fitting to incorporate this in to a couple of shots, upon Zoe's request!
Blue is super photogenic, with his long mane he had a certain Andalusian look about him. With Becky's excellent bucket shaking and distraction techniques, we kept his attention throughout. He looks so handsome in the photographs! Blue was also super chilled which made the whole atmosphere so lovely, it's not often we can stand there, so relaxed with a "loose" horse (there were plenty of us on standby with treats if he did decide to have a little wander, but this was done in a safe environment and the situation well assessed!) and get such great results!
We had a little walk down to a lovely field - by now the shadows were starting to lengthen, providing us with some lovely dappled light under the trees. Zoe and Laura enjoyed taking it in turns, sitting with Blue, hugging him, and giving him plenty of kisses; whilst we were all still chatting away!
Before we knew it, we were slowly coming to the end of the afternoon. We finished up by turning Blue out in the field with his friends and we were all looking forward to a nice cool drink! Thank you so much Zoe for inviting me down! It was lovely to meet you Laura and of course Blue. I wish I was meeting you all in better circumstances but I am so honored that you chose me to come and capture those moments with Blue, for you to look back on. He was such a lovely boy and I'm so gutted that you had to say goodbye to him so soon. Thank you all again.