Four Winds Photography's Blog

February 24, 2010

My New Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — Four Winds Photography @ 10:57 AM

So I have my new blog!  I am going to be publishing about equine photography here.  My specialty is equine sports but I intend, from time to time, to touch on such things as shooting halter horses, shooting in low light arenas, and portraiture.  Shooting in low light arena’s will be one of the first blogs as several people have asked that I write on this.

The very first one will be on equipment needed for equine photography.

I hope you will comment on what you want to see here.  More importantly, as I blog,  I hope others will chime in with comments and suggestions.  I have been doing this for 3 odd decades and have met some really exceptional equine togs online.  And, of course, have made some good friendships live over the years.  Those of you that I am referring to, I hope you will contribute.

So how am I qualified to write a blog about equine photography you might ask.  Did I mention that I have been doing this for 3 decades?  Even some one as dense as me ought to learn something after that long!

I developed an interest in photography  about the time of the bicentennial.  For those of you too young to understand that is 1976.  I started with a Pentax SLR (single lens reflex).  Shortly after that I switched to a Canon system.  During this time my wife, Barb, and I were training horses for the public.  It was only natural that I would combine my new interest in photography with horses.

It wasn’t long after starting my equine photography business, then called “Equine Images”, that I switched to a medium format system.  I used a Mamiya 645.  I made the switch to digital about four years ago.   More about equipment in the next post.

So that’s the photography part.  What about the horse part?  I mentioned that Barb and I trained horses.  Horses have always been a major part of our lives and continue to be.  We have produced many high point horses in the Quarter Horse Association of Nebraska and the Central Plains Reining Horse Association (CPRHA).  In 2008 I was the Champion Non Pro in the CPRHA.  I am both a NRHA approved judge and an AQHA Special event judge.

Enough of the bragging.   Please, please post here the topics you would like to see covered over the next weeks and months.  Here’s what’s planned for the next few weeks.  My intent is publish 1 blog per week over the next few months.  But that is very subject to change depending on my shooting and travel schedule.  So have patience.   Next up: Equipment.  Here’s the menu for the next few weeks.

  1. Equipment Part One. Cameras
  2. Equipment Part Deaux.  Lenses
  3. Equipment Part Three. Lighting
  4. Horse Photography Basics
  5. Outdoor Sports Shooting
  6. Indoor (low light) Shooting
  7. Equine Portraiture (Halter Horses)

I can’t stress enough.  If there is something you want to see covered, post it.  So here we go after the jump next week: Equipment.



  1. I listened to your advice about the 100mm F/2.0 and what a difference amazing. You are always a big help and I thank you, keep up the good work.

    Comment by Ian — February 25, 2010 @ 5:14 PM

  2. As for a topic I would like to see is the need for Bokeh in equine photos. I purchased the 100 mm F/2 immediately after your recommendation and the results are perfect. My one question is on my focus points I was using only the center and it was hit or miss on being focused. I was having the problem mostly on the jumps that were almost straight at me with only a slight angle. So I figure it was because as the horse jumped and his hoofs went above my focus point it blurred out his face and rider. What I did was switched it to have all the focus points on and was getting better results but I feel like I am missing that punch from not having any Bokeh. With a Non IS what is the best approach to get consistent bokeh. I have a 50D. Thanks.

    Comment by Ian (Worried Man) — February 25, 2010 @ 5:29 PM

  3. Finally someone to post this kind of blog! I’m an amateur photographer and I’m always looking for advice on equipment and such for photographing horses. Since I ride and show a lot, I have plenty of opportunities for good photography! I also have a Canon(xsi)but my budget for lenses is quite low since all my money goes to horses! I’m looking forward to your blog!

    Comment by mkp — February 25, 2010 @ 7:56 PM

  4. Congratulations on starting your new blog! This will be a good one; I just feel it in my bones.

    I’ve got a covered arena cutting to shoot on the 27th (in a few days). The nice (and different) thing is that the arena owner was willing to work with me to get the judge’s stand (where I’ll mount my lights) close enough so the lights will reach.

    So far, if everything goes as planned, this will be the first covered arena where I anticipate everything to work out well. The other covered arena shots had their issues.. and were NOT fun to shoot at all!

    Also, this will be my first show with laptop and printer in tow. I don’t know if I’ll be able to print shots from the same day’s show, but I’ve got all of the previous years’ shows available.

    Anyway, I’m looking foreward to watching your blog grow.. and absorbing as much knowledge as possible.

    Comment by Donalyn — February 26, 2010 @ 12:17 AM

    • Donalyn,

      Good luck on your upcoming shoot. And we will absorb knowledge from you. I’ve seen your good work and hope you contribute to this project.

      Comment by Four Winds Photography — February 26, 2010 @ 1:11 AM

      • Ok.. the cutting is shot. .. all 12.5 hours of it. There were 145+ works… a big turn out. As of this writing, I’m about half way through processing the photos. You can see what I have here:

        I think this has to be my most successful covered arena event to date. .. There are still lessons to be learned though. .. one of which is to figure out how long it takes for the lights to fully recharge after each shot. (thank goodness for Lightroom!).

        Take a look at the interesting lighting during the Jr/Sr Youth class. .. the setting sun was shining directly into the work area from behind me.

        I’ll get back to descriptions, etc. later.. just thought I’d pop in to let you know how it went.

        Comment by Donalyn — March 1, 2010 @ 9:15 PM

  5. My friend and fellow photographer, Donalyn, sent me a link to your new blog. I look forward to following it.

    Thank you,

    Comment by Sharon — February 26, 2010 @ 3:49 PM

  6. This is a great idea, should see more of it.

    As for topics I would like to see you talk about what makes a great equine shot.
    But focus on composition, backgounds etc rather than the technical skills of shutter speed, exposure etc.
    Would make a good second topic after your “equipment” topic.


    Comment by dannog — February 28, 2010 @ 12:22 AM

  7. This is very cool! Thanks for the invite. My family breeds miniature horses and I started photographing them as a way to sell them. For promotional photos I relied on a professional photographer that was in very high demand all over the country and I often had a hard time getting on her schedule. So I started trying to improve my own photographs. Now my friends keep asking me to photograph their horses as well so I’m here to learn! Here are some photographs I took recently….

    Comment by Ginny Long — March 1, 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  8. Good work, it is useful to look at other peoples setups and experience. I am loking for lenses so will return to see more!
    Moira(2010) on Flickr

    Comment by Gill Langridge — March 5, 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  9. Hi and congrats on your blog. One of the problems that I have been running into from time to time is how to get a clear picture with multiple subjects (i.e. you want both the rider’s face and the entire horse to be in full, crisp focus). For some reason I can get one or the other, even when I switch my focus points around.

    Comment by Meaghan — March 9, 2010 @ 8:40 PM

  10. Hi! I love reading your blogs whenever I have time to actually sit down and do so! So helpful!

    I was wondering if you do any sort of “posed” shots at any of your events or only action? I just recently started the posed aspect and could use some tips.

    I shoot on a 12×20 backdrop (which appears I need larger), a 12×16 floor (astro-turf) again I think I need bigger. and an assortment of flower arrangements etc.

    I, at this time do not use lighting as I havent been around it for quite some time but want to get back to it, I dont know where to start though for a basic setup such as this at horse shows where lighting is decent but definitely could use some fill flash.

    Tips? Advice? Anything would be helpful!

    Thank you!

    Comment by Carri — June 24, 2010 @ 3:56 AM

    • So someone is actually reading this blog!? I was beginning to wonder and about ready to think about ending it.

      I do posed shots at almost every show I do. I think the show committee expects it and I always take a backdrop. I think 12×20 is plenty big enough. Mine is 12×18. I will start a new blog in a week or so with some pictures. My wife is always in charge of the flowers 😉

      When you say fill flash are you talking outdoors? I don’t use fill flash per se outdoors. Indoors I will use flash for main light on action shots. More about that soon. For my backdrop shots I use strobes and a couple modifiers.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Comment by Four Winds Photography — June 24, 2010 @ 1:25 PM

  11. I do read this blog and would be upset if you quit! You have been great guidance to my equine photography learning….if that makes sense. Like you, I have been around horses my whole life and this was just bound to happen.

    My 2nd photographer shot all the posed shots at our last show, first show for posed shots, and I wasnt thrilled with the outcome. I have gotten my action shots pretty down now and have been asked to expand since the other photographer who usually does posed shots hasnt been showing up to shows. Im always willing to tackle new challenges just wish I had more of a chance to practice before doing a large show july 1-4.

    Any tips at all will be so appreciated and used. Id love to be able to show you some of my work someday 🙂

    Im a young gun but have been working with leading photographers in IL since I was 15. None of them did equine photos and actually wont due to horse people being to picky as they would say. I love doing shows! and I also shoot quarter mile drag racing.

    Thanks again!

    Comment by Carri — June 26, 2010 @ 4:53 AM

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