These are the best of the fifty or so iPhone photos I took during my week with the Eagle Performing Arts Center Summer Dance Intensive. The other series, taken with the Canon 50d, can be viewed HERE. After finishing up my card on the 50d, I was not tired of watching, although I was exhausted in every other way, and felt that I'd been dancing myself instead of recieving a lesson in the meaning of "core strength." At that point I took out the iPhone, and everyone gave me funny looks. Why would anyone be using an iPhone when they had just taken four hours worth of photos with such a beauty of a "real" camera. Nevertheless, several of the best photos of that day came from this group as well as one of my all-time favorite portraits -- that of the girl waiting seen below.
The apps used for these photos varied. On the very hi-con black and whites, such as the one below, I used the rich black and white option on "Old Camera." As I've pointed out before, Old Camera is moody, not just in its evocative photos, but by nature since so many of them don't turn out at all. It is also slow in processing and can only be used as a camera app--not to add effects to those already taken. Most of these I brightened in PhotoFX.
The color photos used either a combination of Snapseed, which had just come out for the iPhone with PhotoFX or SimplyHDR along with Snapseed, and/or Pixlromatic. Most, especially the color, went through quite a few iterations before I arrived at the look I wanted.
The most interesting thing about processing these photographs over the last month, has been a renewed understanding of the power of shape and form in making a photograph work. Ballet photos, if nothing else, are strong on these elements, and the challenge lay in not taking away from line and form in post-production.
As I've talked to people recently about the adoption of wild horses, almost all have said, "Can those be trained?" The younger of the horses from one to four years are just as trainable as any horse that has been hanging out in the back forty without being handled. Any horse left to itself would need the same kind of gentling and early training as a horse adopted from a wild herd. How do you start a colt? Those attending the Filer Adoption Day got a great demonstration of gentling techniques.
This is the youngster my brother adopted -- coming home soon
On Friday and Saturday the ninth and tenth of September, 2011, thirty members of the Saylor Creek Wild Horse Herd made the trip to Filer for an adoption day, held along with training clinics at the Twin Falls County Fairgrounds. These were younger animals and many were very young a year ago when their habitat burned in its entirety. The young horses are preferred by some because they have been handled for most of their short lives.
Training and gentling clinics were held several times on both days. Conducted by Mario Johnson, a noted Idaho horse trainer who specializes in starting colts, each clinic featured a horse that had not previously been introduced to handling or tack. Johnson's quiet and unhurried demeanor and broad range of techniques made for an intriguing afternoon. We got there late in the day and slipped onto the bleachers, trying not to distract the colt. Johnson was working with a young palomino. They'd been at it for only about a half hour, but already the colt was warming up to the trainer.
The palomino, his bronze coat dark with sweat, stood in a relaxed manner, while Johnson talked to the audience of potential wild horse owners and explained what he was doing and what he would try next. As he worked, he also outlined other possible procedures that would work well for those taking their own animal home to a similar round pen for gentling and early training.
During the first half hour the year-old colt got used to being in the round pen and the presence of the trainer. The rope and tack were introduced, and we watched the delicate back and forth give and take between horse and trainer. Repeatedly Johnson told us to avoid pushing the horse and to stop whatever step you are working on before the animal becomes too anxious. At the 30 minute mark, the young palomino was getting ready to step forward, toward Johnson for the first time, rather than away from him.
By the end of the hour Johnson had begun to bring his hands to the face of the colt, slowly and with a sure confidence that instilled that same relaxed attitude in the animal. We all leaned forward for those last minutes, wondering if we would see man and horse come together. Would the colt allow Johnson to actually pet him, rub his ears, scratch his forehead. It was a long way to come in a little over an hour, and no one would be surprised if that last step had to come on different day.
In the end, however, as the children played in the shade beneath the bleachers and the day's heat began to fade, it happened. The touch of the trainer had become almost a pleasure and Johnson was able to use both hands on the colt's head. This was a pretty interesting process to watch, and we made the trek over to find Johnson's DVD, with high hopes that we might learn a few of his skills.
These colors look super saturated, but with the sun on their coats, especially the red penny ponies were really vivid, and I kept turning down the saturation here!
When the Spanish Conquistadors stepped onto this continent they brought with them disease and destruction on a scale difficult to imagine today. They also brought with them a species that had not been seen in the Americas since the end of the Pleistocene--the horse. By the late 1600's the horse had become a portable, renuable treasure beyond price to the indigenous peoples of the West. Those who had walked for thousands of years, could now ride, burdens were shared, and the vast distances of the American west could now be covered facilating trade, hunting, and war. Naturally, as has always been true, of humans and horses, a spiritual and loving bond developed as well, making horse-breeding as important to these cultures as it had been, and continues to be in the Old World. As the Spanish pushed northward, they were entirely unable to curtail the lightning raids of these precious livestock by tribes such as the Comanche and the Apache.
The mustangs up for adoption on Friday at the Bureau of Land Management facilities in Boise, are descendents of those herds, and of other domesticated horses released or abandoned during times of hardship for farmers and ranchers, such as during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Because the animals are descendents from domesticated herds and not, theoretically, "wild," their presence continues to raise fierce debate among management specialist, ranchers, horse fanciers, and the general public. Mustang herds tend to remain stable when a healthy predator population exists, but today with range land shrinking and subject to other claims, populations expand until food is scarce enough to cause starvation conditions, or when wildfires like the one at Sailor Creek last year eat up their habitat.
Periodically the BLM rounds up and feeds groups of wild horses that are at risk or that have become a nuisance factor. The animals are tested, given a freeze mark, tagged and fed before being put up at general auction a few times a year. A healthy breeding population is maintained by returning a few into the wild. The group we were looking at on Friday were displaced by the SaylOr Creek fire last August. Their entire home range burned and so a rescue emergency gathered took place to make sure the animals didn't starve. It has taken these many months to allow regrowth on the range. After the dangers of this fire season have passed, selected groups will be re-released.
Natural selection and a little help from the BLM produces a handsome group of animals. In the dust and the August heat on Friday, I was impressed by the percentage of unquestionably gorgeous mares and geldings up for sale. From dappled greys in high silver, to pintos and paints, to roans, buckskins, draft descendants, inky blacks, chestnuts, bays, and palominos -- nearly all boasting the luxurious manes and tails that make wild mustangs so romantic and photogenic. I fell in love with a few, and very nearly came home with a sterling silver gelding--a steal of a deal at 75 dollars a head, and only 25 dollars for the second animal.
The horses have become used to people in their six monthes at the holding facility, but are not broken. When one is confronted by the horse of one's dreams, it is easy to forget the kind of expense and time committment such an adoption involves,. Hay for a winter here in Idaho is running around 500 dollars, and vet bills add up fast, even with horses as healthy as these. Contrary to popular belief, mustangs can be broken and trained like any other young horse, but unless you know what you are doing, this involves considerable expense as well.
Strangely, I found the freeze marks beautiful in themselves, like a wild and windswept elven code that did not detract from the animal's looks.
Great people, who love horses, were here to pick up their new friends.
Yes, I know a lot of people hate these. But, what can I say....I like them. There is the eternal sadness of motion and time moving so slowly and with great power at that liminal place where land meets the sea. To me, the blurs have the feel of that weeping for the passing, and passing, and passing...
all along the watchtowers
Signal at Tide
a little light focus
less than nothing