One thing that I really missed about the Army was the constant networking and photography chats (I was a Combat Cameraman). Last year, I had the opportunity to take part in the Equine Photography Retreat right before the world shut down. It was canceled last year, but Evelyn Szczepanek and Erica Hills decided to host a small gathering for interested photographers. Go back to my home state and make amazing connections and talk about my two favorite subjects? Hell yes! As always, it was an amazing experience.
Day one was spent photographing a pair of barrel racers, Blossom and Maryanna. Chris Dickinson was heading the shoot and he’s a man that speaks to my soul – get up close and personal to the action! I was able to do what I normally can’t and rolled all around in the dirt to get some amazing photos. After turning cans, Blossom and her kiddos posed for some of the most adorable family portraits that I have ever taken.
Day two started off with black backgrounds and learning how to shoot white backgrounds. Here are some of my favorite photos of Azimut (gray), Max (white background bay), and Baby C with Bash the puppy.
After that, we moved on to something that I had struggled with before – photographing in harsh daylight. While I’m now a lot more confident in shooting under those conditions, I still prefer the softness of shooting during the golden hour near sunrise and sunset. Here are Kathryn and Azimut and Ava (owner of Bay Winds Equestrian) and her heart horse Cam.
We ended the day with Katie, Fletcher, and Winston with the most magical light. There’s just something about catching Florida sunsets with spanish moss hanging from the trees!
I have absolutely fallen in love with photographing on the beach. On the third night, we photographed Angie, her two daughters Angelyn and Christiana and their two Andalusian mares Rhapsody and Sonata. It was like a fairytale shoot – everything was so magical!
I learned so much over those three days and made some amazing connections with my fellow photographers. There may or may not have been a moment when myself and another photographer went hiking on the day after the last shoot and got charged by an alligator because we got too close to his spot. Yikes!
I’m hoping the current world situation gets better by this time next year and we can enjoy EPR 2022 as much as we did EPR 2020. I can’t wait to return next year!