I recently had the the opportunity to spend the day documenting/photographing Stand In Balance (Equine Assisted Therapy and Equine Assisted Learning). It was an inspirational and very peaceful day. I can't even put into words how beautiful the ranch is. As you drive up to the property you get a new lease on life, a fresh breath of air and an escape to nature. It really is a powerful experience to visit this gorgeous place. I had the honor of documenting all the details and the actual work with the horses. Amazing! What is Equine Assisted Therapy? Best explained on their site, click here. Fom the Stand In Balance website "Working with horses is an experiential, holistic (hands on, mind, body, spirit) form of learning that helps participants increase self-awareness, work through emotional blocks, and gain powerful tools for change - no matter what you are going through now, or are trying to work through from the past. It's about getting "you" back." This photo shoot was a practice in patience, calmness and reflection. You certainly can't "make" a horse pose for a photo :-). Ha. You really have to ground yourself, find your confidence and then approach this grand, graceful, HUGE being. Be present and patient, waiting for the moments to happen. Photo tip I learned from my Dad about horses, he told me before my first shoot with horses back in 2010 that "the horses ears need to be pointing forward in order to have a great photo, otherwise they can appear not so smart". Ha. (see behind scenes video from that shoot in 2010 here, Dad supplied the lessons, Mom filmed). Great tip from my Dad. And it is so true. Just that little detail makes all the difference in the world. Capturing a horse at their "right" angle shows off their majestic, powerful, intelligent beauty. Waiting for those perfect moments when comfort and curiosity collide to create the perfect photo. I really think it's the same when working with people. You can't make people pose any more than you can make a horse pose. Well, you can try and make someone pose, but you'll end up with a stiff, rigid, not so great photo, "ears back", tentative, not good. It's really about getting to know your subject and having the patience to build a real relationship so those beautiful moments can happen. Just letting beings be. Letting them show you who they are, respecting them and capturing their beauty.
Enjoy some of my favorites from the day. And for sure, hurry and check out Stand In Balance...
Location: wherever you are