The previous post, Horsin’ Around, did not mention the presence of a second horse in the pasture (the horse on the right). I soon perceived that the horse on the left was the Alpha horse — that is, the boss. But the horse on the right was not without some spunk of his own. If I had to assign some pretend dialog to this moment, it would go something like this:
Horse on the LEFT: Hey, man! I’m the pretty one here. Your ugly old mug is gonna break that camera!
Horse on the RIGHT: I refuse to dignify that remark.
Horse on the LEFT: Listen, I’m the best thing that ever happened to this old farm, and don’t you forget it!
Horse on the RIGHT: I tell you, if that lady wasn’t pointing a camera at us right now, I’d show your pretty little face a thing or two, Mr. Braggadocious!
Horse on the LEFT: Oh, lighten up, bro! You’re so serious!
Horse on the RIGHT: Serious! Your breath is what’s serious! (cough, cough) But I don’t know which is worse — your breath or that seriously toothy grin!
The plan was to jump out of my truck with camera in hand, photograph the horse peacefully grazing in the sunlit pasture, and then move on to the next inviting scene. Simple, right? Well, yes and no.
It’s actually the second time I’ve attempted such an equine mission and have failed to achieve my photographic goals. It doesn’t seem to matter how quiet and stealthy I am. One moment the horse is grazing in the middle of the pasture, seemingly oblivious to the world around him. The next instant, his ears prick up, and his head lifts in my direction. A human being! Immediately, he starts walking toward me.
As he moves my way, I resign myself to losing the shot I had envisioned — at least for today. Does he think I have food on me? Or does he simply want human companionship?
And then it becomes crystal clear what’s going through his mind. He sees my camera and wants to be sure I capture his best side!
OK, then, big fellow! Say “Cheese!”
When you look at a scene, how are you looking at it? Do you only see what is visible? Or do you also see what you’re feeling — what’s not visible?
The above photo is not exactly what existed the evening I photographed this lovely scene. That is, the contrast was lower; and the saturation was not as vivid. The horse also was not as “perfect” as he appears here. And while I did not fabricate the light or its angle, I did enhance it; and I strengthened the shadows.
Because I wanted to reproduce what I felt while photographing this scene, I’ve taken the liberty of greatly enhancing and retouching the photo.
So I’ve made this image what it literally was not, and yet what it was to me, emotionally. Strictly speaking, I could not submit this image for editorial purposes, precisely because I have modified it beyond acceptable editorial guidelines.
If, however, your goal is to speak from your heart with your photography, then you may feel free to “manipulate” your images accordingly. You just need to understand when you cross the line from editorial into personal expression — and how that may affect the use of your photos.