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Last night I got the pictures I've dreamed of ever since I got my horse, Sabre, 28 years ago. And it was more or less an accident.
Whenever I'd tried to snap him he would fidget, look the other way or just drop his head and eat. I swore he knew what I was doing and was just being a cuss. I managed to get a couple of shots with a head collar, by tying him to something high so he couldn't reach the ground and graze, but I never got the images that truly portrayed him. Until last night ...
I set off down the field to put his rug back on for the night, and took my camera, planning to get some river and sky shots, as the sun went down. As I passed his field on the way down to the river he glanced up from the far side but not seeing the all-important yellow bucket of food he dropped his head back down and continued grazing.
I'd not done any planning and the light was disappointing (the last time I took pictures down there it was probably June so what did I expect?). Feeling frustrated, my thoughts turned to alternative locations. As I walked back up the track I decided to try movie shots of Sabre. I put my kit down, set up my camera resting on a fence post and then realised I couldn't remember what happens next. I don't usually do movies with my SLR, but had shot some recently with my Powershot.
As I contemplated my camera I saw the old fella's head come up out of the corner of my eye. He was spooked. He could see something at the far end of his field but couldn't make out what. He glanced from side to side and then he started moving towards me, but at an angle. He was up on his toes, fully alert, curious but ready to run. I just kept hitting the shutter release. There was no time to think about what I was doing I just had to hope. Eventually he was trotting along the far hedge with his head up, his tummy tucked in and his tail held high - looking amazing despite his age.
I now have half a dozen shots that, whilst not technically perfect, and not even sharp, are an absolute joy after all these years. He'll be 31 in May and has lived far longer than I ever expected when I got him as a 3 year old. I'm still riding him and he is still in good health but the years aren't getting any less and he won't be around for ever. Now I've got some fantastic images to remember him by.
I'll post a few when I get a chance to tidy them up a bit. The laptop with Lightroom on is at the menders and I've not been very successful with DPP and various free tools. I like what ephotozine member Cor does with layers and I think I might have a couple of candidate shots to while away a few evenings ...