Category Archives: Travel

Trainer to the Stars (Equine Stars that is)

L O O K ….. PhyllisBurchettPhoto has a new BLOG Post and it’s all about us and her trip to New York!

In March I had the pleasure of heading to New York to photograph for Cari Swanson at Windrock Farm. My friend Suzanne joined me so we spent a day in the city being tourists before heading to Amenia to visit Cari. The last time I visited New York City was right after 9/11 St. Paul’s Chapel and Trinity Church was still adorned with flowers, cards and momentos to the fallen.

After September 11, 2001, St. Paul’s became the site of an extraordinary, round-the-clock relief ministry to rescue and recovery workers for nine months. Though the World Trade Center buildings collapsed just across the street, there was no damage to St. Paul’s, earning it the nickname “the little chapel that stood.”

After our brief visit to the big city we took the train up to Wassaic, New York where Cari picked us up and took us to her farm. What a beautiful drive, rolling hills and gorgeous countryside. 

Cari and part of her “tribe”. Five Icelandic Sheepdogs Storm, Loki, Röskur, Rune and Freyja

I met Cari years ago when she was working on a movie set that was filming at the Burge Plantation in Mansfield, Georgia.  Thanks to Facebook we’ve stayed in contact and when the opportunity arose I jumped at the chance to head to New York to work with Cari and her horses.  Cari Swanson is the owner of  Swanson Productions. They provide specialty horses for film, television and commercials including carriages and wranglers as well as instruction. Cari is a Horse trainer, Riding Instructor, Producer and Author.
Visit her website at http://cariswanson.com/

I wanted to shoot horses in the snow and boy did I get to! We had some gorgeous models that gladly showed their stuff for us under gorgeous blue skies the first day.

Paint Mares, Lily and Dreamer

Listo and Merlin, Lusitano Stallion and Gelding

                                                                   

The light was stunning, “Novelisto” owned by Ashley Slack Waller.

These two images were taken back to back but with the help of Photoshop we can make them look warm or cool. Which one do you like better?

I took lots and lots of images. Horses rearing and horses being goofy. All total the first day I think I shot over 2500 frames.

Lisa Oberman sent some of her beautiful custom tack for us to use. El Sueño Español check it out on Facebook.

This is the gorgeous Morgan Stallion, Rosevale Leggo owned by A Horse Drawn Affair.

We did portrait work with Blaze and Bond for promotional use too. These guys are veterans in the film business.

We even brought horses in the house!

Always trying to be creative, what can I do different with rearing horses? Cari had this great Carousel horse in her house so why not put it in a composite with Listo!

Cari is amazing with her horses, they respect her and respond to everything she asks willingly. Thank you Cari, we enjoyed our time at Windrock Farm and can’t wait to come back!

The horse knows….
He knows if you know….
He also knows if you don’t know.
~ Ray Hunt

Stay tuned plans are being discussed for a workshop at Cari’s farm for 2018.

On our way back to the city we stopped in Hudson, New York to photograph the Dr. Oliver Bronson House. This hidden gem is a challenge to be able to visit due to limited hours —- but if you love architecture and historic preservation, you won’t want to miss the experience. The house is centered around a grand spiral staircase that winds it’s way through the center of the house.

Well that was our world wind of a weekend of fabulous photographic opportunities, wonderful fellowship, yummy food and meeting new friends.

Thanks to all who made this trip possible!

 

 

 

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Happy New 2015!

 

The soul can not think without a picture.  ~ Aristotle

I think like Aristotle! That is definitely a stretch but I do need something to help me visualize ideas. I guess that’s why I love sites like Pinterest, where you can pin ideas to a board to use later.

You can follow me  at https://www.pinterest.com/skipitidoda/ I’d love to see you there and I will try to follow you back!

BACK BUTTON FOCUS

Occasionally I will let someone borrow my camera to take a quick picture.

When I tell them that I use Back Button Focusing, they want to know more. So I thought I’d do a quick review to answer that question.

What is back button focusing?

It’s a very simple thing that might change the clarity of your images forever.

When you auto-focus with your DSLR default settings, here is how it basically works: you press your shutter half way to auto-focus, and when your focus is OK you press your shutter a second time to take the picture. There is an alternative to this focusing method: you can decide that another button (the famous BBF, or “back button focusing”) will handle your focus.

In short: Rear focus involves focusing by pushing a button on the top right back of the camera (rather than by pushing the shutter button).

Why would you do that?

Simply because it separates your focusing from your shutter. Instead of asking your index finger to deal with two different things one after the other, you give it one single task (pressing the shutter at the perfect moment) while your thumb will deal with focusing.

Making the change from the shutter button to rear focus requires a big commitment and takes lots of getting used to; it takes a bit of retraining of the brain and the thumb to get used to rear focusing.

If you mainly photograph landscape or still life, it’s very likely that BBF won’t change your life. On the other hand, if you are a portrait photographer, and if your model is potentially moving fast BBF is probably going to be your best friend.

This is why BBF is very often used by sports, equine or wildlife photographers. Don’t forget that to get a crisp image with a fast moving subject you also need a high shutter speed in order to freeze motion, at least 1/500s or higher depending on the speed of your subject.

Another interest of BBF is that it locks your focus. If you press your thumb on your back button and release it, your focus won’t change until you press the button again. This will allow you to focus and then recompose a picture.

You need to change a custom function or two to set up rear focus. With most systems you set up rear focus via the camera’s menu, please consult your camera’s user manual or even do a web search on “Back Button Focusing” for your camera model. Depending on your camera, you will use the AF-ON button for Canon users and the AF-L button for Nikon users.

Both these images would have been very difficult to capture sharp focus without Back Button Focusing.

Try it and see if you like BBF but remember that it takes a while to get used to!

We still have two slots left for our Alaska Bear Tour in June….send me a message if you would like more information. http://phyllisburchettphoto.net/alaska-tour-2015/

My 2014 Iceland Equine Tour is full, thank you to everyone who has signed up! We are going to have a fabulous trip! If you are interested in joining me in 2016 send me a message.

My Spring Workshop Date has been announced it is May 23, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia:

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Nevada….Old Friends, New Friends

Beautiful, Friesian Stallion Xander

I just recently returned home from a fabulous trip to Reno, Nevada. I had planned a trip in October to photograph the beautiful Equine Breeds of Poland but due to other committments beyond my control had to cancel. Then Tamara Gooch posted her new trip “The Horses That Dreams Are Made Of” and it fit into my schedule perfectly so I couldn’t say no. I called an old friend of mine in California who needed a retreat to see if she would like to come with and she excitedly accepted. I knew it would be a wonderful trip when Dene decided to join me as I hadn’t seen her since Photoshop World in Vegas two years ago.

We decided to come in a couple days early to head over to Lake Tahoe to do some hiking and landscape photography. I had seen gorgeous images of Eagle Falls and wanted to be sure we stopped to visit.  However, due to the severe drought that the west has been in AND October being the driest month there was not but a trickle going over the falls. We did get to see bears (my second favorite thing to photograph) and enjoyed ourselves hiking, eating and visiting Virginia City.

Feeding on small insects in downed trees.

Sunset over Lake Tahoe

Be sure to stop in to see Stinky and Bernadeen if you ever go! Like many cities and towns in the state, Virginia City was a mining boomtown; it appeared virtually overnight as a result of the Comstock Lode silver strike of 1859. At its peak, Virginia City had a population of over 15,000 residents and was called the richest city in America. It’s a wonderful old west town and a must see if you are in the area.

Bernadeen and her owner Stinky are a must see!

Then it was time to head back to Reno and meet up with the group and our leader, Tamara Gooch. It was going to be a wonderful 3 days of shooting models, Friesians and Andalusians and I could not wait to get started. Our first shoot was with Ashley Morgan Rhodes, Pablo Gonzales and their gorgeous horses. Ashley was a beautiful model and has such a wonderful connection with her horses….Xander, her Friesian Stallion and Thor, her Andalusian Stallion. The backdrop for our shoot was Washoe Lake with views of the Sierra Nevada, Carson and Virginia Mountain Ranges. The water levels were quite low but it made for gorgeous images with the dunes.

Dark Angel and Xander

Dream shoot at the lake!

The Horses that Dreams are made of!

 

The next day we headed toward South Lake Tahoe with Ashley and Pablo for a different background with fall color and more mountains. Then we finished the day at a local facility where we were able to get some liberty shots of both horses. Pablo delighted us with his Charro outfit on Thor.

Ashley and that beautiful RED Dress with Xander

What a beautiful connection they have!

Thor is trained to rear on command.

Thor and Pablo show off the Mexican Charro

Pablo

Our final day was spent at Maddi’s Friesians with lots of babies, beautiful stallions and great hospitality.

Simply Gorgeous!

How awesome to ride these beautiful horses!

Running Free!

So cute, so curious!

It was a fabulous trip to be with my old friend and to meet new ones as well. I love photography not only from the creative aspect but for all the truly, phenomenal people I have met. Our band of sister photographers and fellow horse lovers will forever be connected….Tamara, Leah, Bree, Judy, Debby, Bobbie R., Bobbi M., Dannette, Nancy, Ashley and of course, Dene. Thank you all….you were a joy to spend my time with in Nevada!

Good friends

SIDE NOTE, BE SURE TO READ:

I’ve had some questions about how I created this image of Ashley and Thor, so stay tuned for my next blog post on how to!

Ashely and Thor with Overlay

 

Be sure to check out the 2014 Inner Reflections Engagement Calendar, it’s full of stunning images. I’m honored to have two showcased in the month of April. You can purchase the calendar here: http://bookstore.yogananda-srf.org/c27/Inner-Reflections-2015-Engagement-Calendar-p631.html or on Amazon.
I have so much to be grateful for, thank you for following me and I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!!!

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