A Creative Reset
During April, I decided to take a friend up on the invitation to join her on a trip out to watch the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury College. As of late, I was starting to feel a little bogged down with competition photography, that my work was no longer exciting enough, that I wasn't having any new ideas, struggling to see a new angle, to produce the work that makes me proud. During periods like this, I like to take a day out to a horse related event, it can be anything, from racing, to dressage, to hunting, whatever crops up, and I like to have my camera on my hip, with no pressure but just to shoot what comes to mind. There's no need for me to get any particular shot, no pressure to rush home and have photos online for clients in X amount of hours, and no guilt associated with going to be when I'm tired, even if I haven't even looked at the images on my XQD (XQD cards are high powered memory cards, used particularly in cameras that have big processors and need to process information at a high speed). Sometimes working as a full time events photographer can be mentally draining, so having a little refresher and taking the pressure off can really help me let loose and find my groove again when it comes to artistic photography,which in turn helps to improve my every day work.
After warming up, for however long it might take, I start to look a little deeper into what's going on, beginning to hone in on some more interesting shots, a few close up's of details, like rider's hands, boots, veins on a horse's neck, plaits, whatever I find aesthetic enough to catch my eye. I let my mind relax into painting a scene, because photography is far more than just snapping a few pretty photos. I mean, it's nice to take something that looks pretty, but photography is about noticing the things that most people wouldn't pick up on and making them interesting, sometimes we are trying to tell a story, other times to make our viewer feel an emotion, sometimes to give a sense of atmosphere, or even a new perspective, photography is art. It begins in the photographer's mind's eye, we tweak our settings to best capture this vision, shoot, sometimes several times for the best chance, and then proceed to paint our images in post processing (In my case, Adobe Lightroom) where our initial vision finally begins to come alive. Sometimes, at this point, we are surprised, as this vision can change and we can create something entirely different from what we imagined. That is the joy of this medium, the scope in which we can create.For example, I never initially imagined this image below in black and white, but during processing, it's what worked to make this originally quite average photo far more exciting.
Although I love artistic photography I will always want to photograph shows as well, capturing those special moments for riders and their horses, seeing the smiles on their faces when I've gotten it right and caught a special moment, it fills me with pride. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a rider happy because I've been able to immortalize a special point in time for them.
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