Beauty & The Beast
Ok, so I know it’s a little cliche, but when I got the opportunity to shoot a beautiful model with a white horse, I just leapt at it This is a set of images from my second day in Portugal with Raphaella and Bink; It’s a pure ambient light set, shot out in the middle of a field, reasonably early in the morning, so the sun wasn’t too high in the sky and the light wasn’t too contrasty.
Using my 70-200mm, which was pretty much glued to the camera the whole weekend, we just moved over to a shaded area in the field, where some dappled light was starting to break through as the sun was rising above the trees. And it was this back light, lighting up Raphs hair and the horses mane that I fell in love with. Once positioned it was a simple case of point and click… photography is REALLY hard To be fair though, the hardest part of the shot was to come afterwards in post processing.
As you can see from this out take, the horse was actually wearing a halter, which whilst necessary, did detract from the image. So with a lot of time, effort and Heineken, I set about removing the halter in Photoshop. Horse hair is a bitch by the way All in all, after about 2~3 hours and a few test prints, to check the results, I ended up with something that looks pretty good. For the out take above, given the position of the rein across Raphs body, it would have been just too much effort to try and remove it. Coupled with the fact the light hadn’t quite caught her hair at this moment, I decided to just quickly tone the image and keep it as a memorable out take – no other adjustments were applied.
An Exercise In B&W
For shits and giggles, I also tried to process a B&W version of one of the images, using a very different conversion process to anything I’ve done before. Using self intersecting luminosity masks, I really targeted specific tonal regions to bring out a bit of punch and contrast in the image. There was also the 2~3 hour effort in cloning out the halter and rein. I’m not sure it works as well in this image though Technically it clones out fine, but I feel her hands are perhaps left a little floating without the rein to hold or halter to touch But I still like the image
Have You Spotted It?
For the eagle eye amongst you, yes the horse is actually a pony and yes, Raphaella is kneeling down to make the pony appear larger We weren’t quite getting the effect we wanted when Raphaella was towering above the pony. It’s at times like this that great models are worth their weight in gold – there was no qualms or issues, no debate or reasoning required, Raph just got on with it, putting herself somewhat at risk of being hurt by the “wild stallion”. It all worked out well in the end though