The Creative Process



Most photographers today realize that unless you are doing photo journalism the image that comes out of camera and the image you have in mind are far from each other. If you are a photographer like me who wants to create fine art photography  the camera is just the start. Something like an artist first pencil of the rough image, or a writers first few sentences this is not the final product but just the beginning.

With all the digital tools we have to create it is no wonder we are seeing some amazing digital art and photography all over the web. When I first started down the photography road and just learning to get comfortable with my camera I remember looking at those amazing images and saying "yes but they are not real they were photoshopped" like photoshopped meant that the photographer did not have to have the camera skills to take the photograph but opted to just do something with it in Photoshop. As I learned and grew I realized this is far from the truth.

You have to be an accomplished photographer to get a great image, even if it is just the starting part. You need to know what subject your subject is, where to place the subject in the photograph, how to direct the viewer to the subject, get great exposure and focus and do this all under great light which is really like your paint. A photographer with experience hopes you will linger in the photograph and connect as they did to the subject. What comes out of the camera is only the start to achieving this goal.

Sometimes however in the case of this photograph, I had no idea what I wanted to do with this image. I just knew that when I saw this mare and foal I loved the close connection they had. There were many distractions in the background but I  was focusing on them. In fact when I uploaded this image I passed it by several times due to all the distractions, and just wrote it off as a lesson in moving to avoid distractions and  get a better angle. I did not delete it, but it was going to live in my archives as a lesson learned for quiet a while.

But it kept haunting me because of the eye of the mare and the connection she had with her foal, Something told me it was worth looking at again. Then it dawned on me that if I play with it maybe I could use the digital tools I have to make something create something.

Here is where I started and the different things I tried before getting to the final image at the top

After trial and error of this photograph I had finally created something I really loved. It started as just a photograph, but it would not leave me alone and ended up to be an art piece I loved so much I made the investment to have it framed and is now hanging proudly on my wall. It also taught me to look at photography a bit different. Look for the art, look at my subject more and know there could be a hidden gem in there. I do not always have to take the perfect photograph when it comes to background and distractions but I do have to make sure the exposure is correct, the focus is right and the subject is placed where I need it to be. But the bigger lesson is to slow down and listen to what my subject wants to say. Then it is my job to create and tell that story.

This image will be available for purchase on my website


The Brabant, A Horse For the Working Man

Brabant At Work I am an equine photographer and one of my favorite breeds is the Brabant draught horse. This horse is tall and massive and made for work, yet has the most docile attitude of any breed of horse I have ever been around. Good thing with the size of their feet and body they could easily be the boss.

I live half of my life in Belgium with my husband who is from here (long story I will get into in later posts) but since I have been here I have taken thousands of photographs of these horses. I am  always looking for the next event or gathering of the men that are trying to keep the tradition of working with horses alive. I seen them plow fields, log in the woods, pull caravans, fish in the ocean, cut hay, and just be the babysitter in the family. Pound for pound you get your moneys worth with these gentle giants.

Recently my husband read me an article in the local paper ( I would have read it myself but it is in dutch) the article stated how the government is subsidizing the farmers who are breeding these horses because their popularity is falling off and they want to preserve this original Belgium breed. They are paying 125 euros  for each foal born. The numbers are dropping today I suspect because of modern life. Computers are a lot cheaper to feed.

This is the governments way of hoping to keep the breed from becoming extinct or low numbers as they did when they shipped many off to the US after the war.

The Brabant comes in a variety of colors from sorrel, bay, blue and red roan, their feet are feathered with long hair, that can cause them problems here in all the moisture and sand.  They use to dock their tails but now they have passed a law against it. Some of the old farmers do not agree, but that is another post.

I ride my bike around our small village and know where every Brabant horse is in the area lives and have taken many photos of them at some time or another.

Photographing horses is a passion I have since I have moved from my passion to owning and showing them.  But I must admit the Brabant along with the Ardennes breed has become my favorites to photograph. I love these horses, and hope to have one in my back pasture one day. That's if  I ever quit traveling.

Women have a DNA to love horses.

Women & Horses Have you ever noticed that where ever you find a horse you will usually find many women? The Kentucky derby is a very popular event and the women love to attend it as much as the men but for completely different reasons. They are not interested in the betting and competition, they just love being around the beauty of the horse.

Yes the cowboy was popular in the west, but that is because of the rough and tumble lifestyle that was required back in that time. There is a DNA factor going on here.  The "horse loving" DNA in women is similar to the "sport" DNA in men. Men love to watch, attend, and participate in sports of some kind or another. It brings out the masculine part of them that wants to conquer something. Horses bring out the DNA of gentle beauty to women. The horse is one of the most beautiful animals on this earth because of the elegant way they move and strong muscles that define their bodies. Women are attracted to the gentle masculine part of the horse.

We start out loving them in fairy tales, then when we are old enough want to ride them, and if the gene is really strong we seek to own our own horse. We love caring for them and often time will put them first in our life. It is a similar gene to taking care of children but it goes deeper than that. Women have a special relationship with their horse. We possess a quiet understanding of them and what they need and in return just their presence makes us feel safe.

So if you are wondering why women usually dominate the sport where a horse is involved, it is because our DNA for the horse is stronger than the need to compete which why during competition women are usually thinking of the horse rather than the prize. The horse is not an animal that can handle conflict or force, it is their nature to run from threatening situations. Women understand this and seem to nurture this part of the horse's nature. This is why women can get so much more out of a horse than most men.

I have seen a few men that can really contact to a horse and understand that bold masculine power is not going to get them anywhere. I also happen to be married to one of these such men. He understands horses and knows just how to take the time to get through to them. I am not sure why there are just a handful of men like this, but it is a rare quality.

But generally women and horse have a deep connection that makes them perfect match and it all has to do with the DNA women carry for the of "love of horses"