Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Outer Banks, Wild Ponies and more

I started my trip by spending the night in Chincoteague, Virgina. This place instills a sense of peace in me and I always make the point to get up early to see the sunrise over the marshes. As always I was not disappointed! I capturd this scene with my new wide angle 17-30mm lens.

The following day I drove to Corolla, North Carolina to catch up with Corolla native and fellow photographer Jared Lloyd to photograph the wild ponies there. Seeing this small band of horses trying to survive with diminishing habitat, human encroachment and declining fertility and mortality rates makes me wonder how much longer we will be able to enjoy these hardy little horses on the outer banks. In addition to the ponies we enjoyed the birdlife which included squadrons of pelicans, nesting ospreys and the usual assortment of sea fowl, egrets and even the occasional turtle.

A few days later I took the ferry, accompanied by dolphins, to Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia and spent a day hiking around the island. I did see a few ponies grazing in the Dungeness Ruins but was more impressed by the spectacular trees on this island and the unspoiled and peaceful atmosphere. I hope to visit again soon!

Stay tuned as I continue my trip to Florida in search of some of the world's most beautiful horses to photograph along with some other subjects that catch my eye! I hope that you are seeing signs of spring in your part of the world.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Getting Sharp Images...Or Not!

One thing many horse photographers struggle with is getting their photos sharp.
Horses in action can be a real challenge to get sharp. Here are some common reasons your photos may not be sharp:
• Shutter Speed
For any kind of motion shooting set your camera to shutter priority and keep your shutter speed at 500 or faster.
• Camera Shake
When shooting horses with the long lenses it can be hard to keep the camera steady. I highly recommend using a monopod, this will increase your percentage of sharp photos.
• Aperture
Shooting at an aperture of 2.8 is great for some situations but your focus must be right on or you will have softness issues. The higher your depth of field the more will be in focus.
• Lens issues
Lenses will go soft or not focus properly when they have been banged around. Invest in the best lenses you can afford! Some consumer grade lenses are just not all that sharp.
• Focus Points
Make sure your camera is focusing on the right area. Read your manual and figure out how to use the focusing system for your camera. Many times photos will be "back focussed": your background will be in perfect focus, your subject is soft. This is usually due to the focus points not being where the subject is.

Now you know how to get a sharp photo (hopefully) it is also fun to play with slow shutter speeds and pan some action, or create motion blur...

This year I will be trying to post tips and tricks to my blog on a regular basis. I will also be offering private online/telephone/in person mentoring and portfolio review services to amateur and beginning pro photographers. If you are interested in this or have something you would like to see addressed feel free to drop me an email at

Friday, March 4, 2011

Winter Portraits

A few weeks ago I travelled to New Hampshire to meet up with some photographer friends for some fun in the snow, a sure cure for cabin fever!
It is always energizing to spend time with people who share my passion for horses and photography and our hostess provided us with some wonderful models. Go here to see the photos. Enjoy!