They were racing in circles as I stood there by the corral’s gray log rails viewing them through my camera lens. The horses were kicking up dust, rushing by me, and beautiful. I was thrilled to be at the Willow Creek Ranch at the Hole-in-the-Wall near Kaycee, Wyoming, at Adam Jahiel’s Photo Workshop photographing these splendid animals at this western ranch. I had my dependable Canon 60D tight in my hands and up to my eye so I could view, shoot, and capture images of these magnificent animals as they ran past me.
It was a dry, awe-inspiring, sunny, September morning in 2015. I was leaning on an old log corral to steady myself. The worn rails were silver-grey and weather cracked, but sturdy. The horses were racing in circles by me kicking up fine, red dust. The morning sidelight was contouring their bodies and exaggerating the delicate, powdery particles of dirt.
I “cheated” a little and had the camera set to shoot more than one shot as I pressed the shutter release button on my camera. Some people call it the “machine gun” approach, but my old camera wasn’t shooting that many continuous pictures. It was not a machine gun. I composed quickly and watched through the lens, then clicked as the horses ran by each round.
This was one of the most exciting and fun times I had ever had with my camera. I was actually living a dream I didn’t even know I had until it happened. I truly enjoy photographing horses, cowboys/cowgirls, dirt, dust, action, cows, more horses, sunlight, old barns and wooden rail corrals. Sounds, action, exhilaration, and anticipation happening each moment added to the experience.
Below is my favorite photograph from that morning. I think it illustrates what I felt. I used a high ISO of 400 to help capture action a little easier. The 1/500 second shutter speed was fast enough to freeze these critters’ actions in this confined space. An f/14 aperture made for a little more depth-of-field. The lens was a Canon 18-135 set at 38mm.
All in all I felt both lucky and charmed to have captured this scene. To this day, the sunshine, horses, cowboys and dust continue in my soul.
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