June in Wyoming was not EXACTLY working but it was a WORKSHOP. It was done as my effort to make my WORK better. My work was attending a Tony Stromberg equine photography workshop at Absaroka Ranch near Dubois, Wyoming, east of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Tony is a master of equine fine art photography and to study under him was a great privilege. To make this blog complete I have to talk about all the players. The players being…..THE HORSES of course. 30 of them to be exact. The STAFF at Absaroka Ranch. I did not get everyone’s photo, I feel bad about that. AND the WORKERS in the workshop. I’ll start by introducing you to SOME of the horses. Every evening we got to photograph the horses charging out of their day time pen to freedom on hundreds of acres of high desert mountains on the ranch.
In this photo I recognize BEN of course (the tri colored Paint closest in) because he is the leader of the bunch and I got to ride him one day. Everyday besides working at taking photo’s we got to ride too. To the right of Ben is Thor, a big draft cross bay gelding. To Thor’s right is Frosty. Everyone liked riding Frosty.Another favorite horse of everybody’s was Porter. Being big, white, beautiful and sweet helped. Here is Dave, Absaroka Ranch’s head dude trail boss, giving Porter some loving. Porter got plenty of loving.Porter loving Lindsey. You will see more of Lindsey and the rest of the staff in the next part of this blog to come this week. And more of Porter too.What did I tell you. Here he is in the lead, Porter that is. What more could a equine photographer ask for? The white horse next to Porter was Noah. I got to ride Noah too, although he did not run like this I can tell you that! Can’t remember horse # 3. If someone reading knows tell us.
This workshop was a lot of work because besides photographing and editing nonstop all day be had to get up at the break of dawn. Tough work. Although catching rainbows……and the sunrise was not so bad. Here is Kristy Batie, one of many talented photographers at the workshop, having fun….I mean working. Here I am working. Could this horse have made it any easier for me? One minute I was hiking up the mountain wondering were all the horses were. Then as I reached a level spot I stopped to catch my breath and heard something behind me. I spun around and saw this drop dead gorgeous horse named Ace standing in front of me and I promptly fell on my ass. Which was a good thing as I had my long lenses on and on the ground as far away as I could be was the only way I would be able to catch him in my viewfinder. Photograph courtesy of Kristy Batie. Thanks Kristy for working so hard to catch me as well at the sunrise and horses.Here is Ace posing for me. Thanks for stopping by handsome, gracing me in all your glory.Ace does not know how beautiful he looks with the scenery behind him. He only cares about looking for his buddies up on the mountain somewhere. He just happened to run into me so to speak. As you can see he is checking me out and the big black gadget pointing at him. I think he is saying “she is interesting but she is not who I am looking for.” Here are two more photographers, Debra and Rickie, working for me. Tough job huh? Here are more of the human players. Wish I got more photo’s but anyway here they are. Far away……From left Bob Betts (Absaroka Ranch owner), Tara Arrowood, Rickie Swink, Tony Stromberg (our leader :)) Sevim Perry and Kristie Batie. Every morning our work was to trudge up the mountain at sunrise, stake out a hiding place and wait for the horses to come flying past us like the wind down the mountain. Sometimes they came flying down the mountain like wind and sometimes like this….kind of flying I should say.A few times the horses tricked by us taking a different route down the mountain than WE PLANNED. From a photographers point of view walking down the mountain IN THE SHADE does not have as dramatic effect as horses running in the rising sun. But the horses did not seem to care.They still look cool though don’t they? I love the way horses follow each other. They follow each other like this in captivity and in the wild. There is a quote that goes……”Any landscape looks better with a horse in it.” I think you could say that about this shot.Once the horses got to the bottom of the mountain and into the ranch pens we got up close and personal with our photography. They got pretty nosey around us.And the morning sun was making them sleepy. Yawn, yawn. Everybody has a buddy.
Tara found a buddy. It is called the buddy system in horse thinking. Horses need buddies. They are very loyal to their buddies.Recognize this red horse? Yup that is Ace with his buddy Shadow. Speaking of buddies, Ace and Shadow are part of “The Fabulous Four” I don’t remember the whole story around the Fab Four but I do remember how bonded the four of them are. Even when they are in with a herd of 30. What I observed here is horses in domesticated situations form bands like in the wild, even though things are not quite the same. Here are The Fabulous Four in all their glory. Shadow, Ace, Oscar and July. I THINK the golden Palomino is July. Anyway the point is these four STAY TOGETHER.Here they are again, Shadow in the lead this time.Here I caught three of them snoozing together. July is near by, not in the frame.
Here they are up on the mountain in their natural environment. You get the picture. If they have any say in it they will STAY TOGETHER.Before WE humans got breakfast we got to shoot the horses coming out of a shoot. You had to be ready to shoot fast like Judy here.
Photographing horses eating is challenging. But Tara kept working at it. Sevim got cell reception out in that field….and good news.One moment I was looking out at the horses grazing and it seemed like seconds later……they were racing past me and I’d better get my settings right because this is as beautiful as it gets.Or maybe this is more beautiful.Thor just wanted to make it back to the barn. Beauty was not on his mind. Just getting enough it eat and sticking with his buddies.Photographing such magnificence whirling by is pretty thrilling, as you can tell by the look on Ruth’s face.
And by the look on Sevim’s face this afternoon I think she is pretty thrilled about what she is caught on her Canon 7D. The best part of the day is checking what you have got…..in terms of shots. A smile like this proves good.
Stay tuned for Working in Wyoming: Part 2 Coming this week.