I have been doing DSLR photography since 2007. I love it, and I like being able to express certain passions of mine through the medium of photography. I have experience shooting all kinds things, including: weddings, newborns, birthdays, parties, family portraits, funerals (yes, funerals), MMA events, school portraits, etc... But my biggest passion is wildlife, and my specialty--if I have one--is wild horses.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Good Friday in the desert

This is the old stallion that I've been calling "Gandolf." Every spring, when I get back out to the desert, I worry that I won't see him; I worry that he'll have lived out the last days of his life, as he is quite old. So, after not seeing him for my first 3 trips this spring, I was absolutely elated to see him yesterday. It was a glorious reunion. He and his companion horse--3 Socks--ran up to me, and posed for a few minutes, and gave me some great shots, which I appreciated. Mostly, I was just happy to see him. He seems to have fared pretty well over the winter. He looks good; healthy, and even a little spunky this spring. And he's got a new battle would. Check out that bite mark above his left nostril. That had to have hurt!!! I wish this horse many, many more glorious days as patriarch of the Onaqui herd.

The herd has 7 or 8 new colts so far, and still 1 or 2 mares looking pregnant. So we'll see. I fell in love with this new one. I'll admit, I wanted to cuddle her, and feel her soft fur. She's going to be a great-looking horse.

I have a few shots of this fight. These are 2 or 3-year old horses. They're not competing for females yet, but it won't be long. And this fight went on for probably 5 solid minutes. It's a little tricky to see from this angle, but I wanted to show you this behavior; they often fight from down on their front knees, in a kneeling position at times. I generally only see it in the younger males. The adult stallions really get after it, trying to inflict damage, and assert certain dominance over the others.

I think this black horse is probably a younger sibling to 3 Socks, as he also has 3 white socks, but a slightly different mark on his forehead.

What a show these two gave me!

The stallion on the right has been one of my favorites for a couple years running. I love his markings, and suspect he actually has a lot of mustang blood. His head is shaped a little differently from many of the horses out there. As well, his back is flatter; not as pronounced in the saddle. He's a tough horse, and this was the first time I'd seen another stallion challenging him.

I really love how this image turned out. I think this one will hang on my wall very soon.
We didn't have great light on this trip. It was quite cloudy, but we were happy not to get rained on, and the wind wasn't too bad; just enough to blow the dust a bit when the horses would stir it up. I love the dramatic effect it adds to an image.

After the fight is over, a parting gesture; "We'll meet again."

After a couple of hours shooting, it was time to go. I always like to back off and leave before the horses are actually ready for me to. It's give and take out there, and I want to maintain a respect for these horses. I don't want them to feel me pushing them. So I back off early, rather than overstaying my welcome. Just as I was loading things up in the car, this gorgeous paint stallion runs nearby, and takes a roll in the dust, before getting up and running up the hill to be with the rest of the herd.

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