When Erica, Nabria, and I met to head out to Carriage House to shoot their senior pictures in Hugo we were running a little behind schedule. I knew that in order for me to get the shots that I needed we had to be at the ranch right before the Golden Hour. This particular moment is when the sun is beautifully setting in the West and it delivers a sun kissed glow into the sky. The way it hits my clients’ faces is miraculous and is often the look I go for. What can I say, I am a sucker for gorgeous lighting!
The girls and I talked briefly about maybe finding another last minute location so that we could catch the lighting closer to the cities. Erica quietly opposed this idea. I could not at that moment figure out what she was feeling, but I knew she really wanted to go to the horse ranch. After a bit of convincing and a stop at the gas station to prepare for the forty-five minute drive, Nabria gave in. I am so glad she did!
We arrived at Carriage House right on time. I cannot express to you the energy I felt from these two young ladies as they walked closer to the horse barn. They were in aw. Erica's face lit up, Nabria let go….and they were in love. The horses had already made their way into their hearts and I was going to catch all of that affection through my lens.
My friend Suzanne was gracious enough to let us use her horses Kitty and Martini for the photo shoot. As they girls walked with the horses, I could tell that these animals were doing something special…they were giving Nabria and Erica an experience. Kitty and Martini were reminding these young ladies about what they love…horses. Erica went on to tell us that she had been in 4H and Nabria in her quiet way let us know through her smile that she was in her element around these two huge gorgeous creatures. It was nothing short of perfection.
Suzanne led us to a small pasture where Martini and Kitty could run and play and follow us around. When I do equestrian photography I can never be sure what I will get from the horses, which is the excitement that I love when I work with them. Nabria and Erica were naturals with the horses, never timid or scared, they allowed the horses to be themselves, as the horses did with them.
At one point in the shoot, the sun was just getting ready to set over the beautiful landscape and I asked Erica to sit in the middle of the pasture. We hadn’t planned what would happen next! Kitty and Martini walked right up to Erica, and I could see Suzanne not far from me just waiting to step in and grab the horses. Then, the sweetest thing happened, it was like they knew at that exact moment that they were there for me to photograph and that Erica needed them. Martini came over first, maybe being the baby, possibly because she was so silly that day, but she didn’t stay around for long. Kitty decided to come over and stand directly above Erica, and sweet Erica, with her admiration and trust already built with Kitty, didn’t flinch at all. I knew I had about five seconds to get my shot, and I did. The relationship that Kitty and Erica had established is clearly shown in this photo.
I am able to see and pick up on things that maybe others would not pay as much attention to. Those moments when everything is right, everyone is content, and there is no past or future, only present. That is my gift.
I hope whole-heartedly that Nabria and Erica continue to work with horses. I will forever be amazed at the connection that they made with Kitty and Martini, and I am grateful that I was there to capture it all.
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