Challenges

February 01, 2017  •  1 Comment

Hi everyone!

First of all, I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to take my customer satisfaction survey. After going over the results I'm able to see where I might be falling behind and therefore improve services. There was also a very positive response to the idea of a loyalty card service (When you buy X amount of digital copies, you get one free). I did some research into this, and have decided to set myself the challenge of designing the software myself, so the loyalty card will be an exciting new feature at a later date this year. I know it will be a long road, but I look forward to the test of learning a new skill.

Now this month has been quiet in regard to shows, that's something that isn't always talked about, the occasional lulls in the workload that you will inevitably experience as a photographer, especially when you are running a relatively young business, like myself. But I used this extra time to develop my skills as a business woman, taking notes through webinars and articles. I was able to get my year planned out a little more, deciding how I was going to improve my business (Because that's one thing we can't forget, you can have all the talent in the world, but if you're useless at running things like a business, you will ultimately either stay in one place forever, or fail). I've thoroughly enjoyed building my knowledge and knowing that there's so much more out there for me to learn. I've found that the key to my own happiness tends to be growth, and I like to do that through learning and taking on different challenges.

This month has also given me the chance to get back to where my love of photography really began to blossom; on the hunting field. There's something about the atmosphere that really inspires a creative view of the world. I love the test that comes with the attempts to capture that perfect hound images, eyes staring down the lens, focused, filling the frame. It's a photo that I still dream of. The glorious array of obscure angles to capture something which most people would ignore, giving a new insight into what might appear rather average to the untrained eye.
I often start the day with a degree of tension, questioning "Will I be in the right place, at the right time?" "Will I miss that once in a lifetime shot?" ""Will I be standing at that whopping great hedge when the field comes sailing over?" I am usually very stressed, but this helps to drive me onwards to the perfect shot.

I've had two days out following hounds with camera in tow this month. The first day felt a little disappointing for me, I failed to capture the field over a good rail, and during the who of the day, felt that I wasn't quite firing on all cylinders as far as creative expression was concerned. However, upon arriving home, I emptied my small hoard of images into Lightroom, and at the end of processing I was pleasantly surprised. The work I had produced was rather appealing, I even captured one very lucky shot of our huntsman and hounds against a heavy afternoon sky. I had just pulled up alongside a fence, upon spotting hounds trotting behind their huntsman along a track, I grabbed my camera from the passenger seat, threw open the car door, stood on my door frame, using the car roof as support, and began shooting. I always like to say that hunting photography is 70% luck!

My second day out was in attendance of the North Shropshire and Tanatside joint meet. It was wonderful to see so many out, both mounted and on foot, showing their support for the two hunts. After a sociable meet, the field moved off in a flurry of activity, heading up over some rails and hedges, I was unfortunate in my lack of preparation that I didn't get ahead of them, however I did manage to catch them over a stiff set of rails as hounds set out on their trail.
The day wore on, facing the usual challenges of trying to get into the right place at the right time (With the added difficulty of trying to navigate through twice the number of our usual footies). Fortunately, I had remembered from previous seasons a gate which they often jumped, so was able to get ahead of the crowds. I placed myself at this gate and waited patiently (If not a little nervously too!) After a few minutes of waiting, our whip appeared and before he hopped off, I offered to open the gate for him. Not long after, just as I began to close (Read: wrestle) the gate, our huntsman called out for me to let him through, as he rode past he pointed out the field would be jumping above me. In disbelief I questioned where, for the only thing I could see was a rather large hedge, nearing 6 feet high. He confirmed that this was indeed what they would be tackling before riding to his hounds.
I stood, waiting giddily as the field ambled their way towards a gate to get to this monster hedge. I watched as our field master shortened his reins, sat deep into the saddle and moved into a forward canter. I glanced between lens and reality, assessing where he and the rest of the field would jump, trying to decide if it would be open season or follow the leader, fortunately it was the latter. One after another, they leapt over in different styles, some bold, some quiet, some aggressive, and others just prayed. By the time it was finished with, there wasn't much left of this once tall hedge, but it had claimed no victims either.
Now that I had caught them over something decent, I felt that I could finally relax and begin to enjoy the day. It wasn't so much of a creative day as had been my last outing, but it was just as enjoyable. We continued on until 4pm, until hounds began to hack home, where I left them to begin processing the best part of 400 images, I knew riders would be eager to see their exploits from the day.

A brave Albrighton Hunt follower boldly tackles a large hedge

 

Although it has been a quiet month as far as shows have been concerned, I feel that I have made a positive step forward to shaping my career as a photographer and hope that I will be able to keep this growth moving forward throughout the coming months. Obviously it will be trickier when I have lots of shows to cover, but even just a few hours of learning through the week can make a difference.

Here's to a fabulous February of creation and stretching upwards. See you all soon!

Emma :)

 

 


Comments

1.Jack Creed(non-registered)
What a fantastic read, wonderfully written too. Great chance to catch a glimpse in the mind of a creative, I look forward to the next one.
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