End-o-day girls

21 02 2011

That ol’ sun was on its eveningly trek when I started floating out of the basin, happy, exhausted, grin plastered across my face … I had looked some for Kreacher’s band because I had seen them at the base of Filly Peak from the corral hill the day before, and I was sure they were in the area, maybe on the backside of Filly, where they were the day I spotted them with Corona reunited.

My absolute first rule of visiting the basin is “no agenda.” I learned very early on that I can’t go out with an agenda of seeing so-and-so or such-and-such or even getting to such-a-place … because something WILL come up and change whatever “plans” I made. For better (mostly) or “worse” (rarely), the best thing you can do is go with an open mind and open plans to ENJOY. Enjoy whatever comes up or along, enjoy whoever appears for a visit. When I first arrived, I spotted Chrome’s out on corral hill, right at the top where the trail comes up, and I thought, “I’ll have another quick look here, then I’ll zoom over there and hike up and have a visit with those ponies.” And then I spotted backs – Hollywood’s back, Kestrel’s and Winona’s backs (though I didn’t know it right then) – and that zoom-around never happened. Luckily for me.

(My second rule – which fuzzes a little depending on the actual situation – is DO NOT DEFY THE DAMP. I know people think I’m paranoid, but I’ve been stuck in the basin just once (and it wasn’t even wet), and I plan (!) to keep it that way.)

Having no agenda, no plan, no expectations, results in true enjoyment, I think. (Though I will say that, even with no expectation of what would or might happen Wednesday, I was rather disappointed … which I’m sure contributed to Thursday’s WOW visit!) It has worked for me, in any case.

And so, when I was slowing dragging myself out of the basin for the drive home, not wanting to leave, reflecting on the day, the horses, the visits, the light, the wind like the breath of life, the struggle against the mud, the euphoria … when I saw Kreach up at the bend, I just had to stop a minute. When I wasn’t looking, there they were.

Corona had just “spooked” at something on the ground and hopped straight up and sideways. I wish I’d caught her in mid-hop! Don’t you love that exquisite halo of light?

Here, Corona and Kootenai have found a little depression with a patch of snow still lingering. Corona is not a careful enjoyer of snow …

She had just finished nipping at Kootenai in a most unladylike way – which Koot took perfectly in stride. I just couldn’t get over that divine light on their fuzzy coats.

Just a sliver of light still slipping through a dip in the rimrock …

So adorable with just a bit of snow-froth still on her lower lip …

Raven in last light

It goes so quickly, that light … but there’s still a whisper of it remaining … Corona seems to be checking out mama’s belly, but what she’s really doing is pressing mama’s willingness to let her nurse – which is nil, according to mama, who continued on after Kreacher in the next moment.

Basic rule: Follow the horses’ lead – live in “the moment.” Those moments, however fleeting, are gorgeous.


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8 responses

21 02 2011
Linda Horn

Corona looks like a Spirit Horse out of a dream! I always wonder what spooks horses when they’re on their own. Too cold for snakes. When I rode, I always dreaded coming across a “horse eating Kleenex”!

21 02 2011
Karen Schmiede

C orona and Raven both look beautiful in the fading light. Kind of other-worldly.

21 02 2011
Linda

The lighting was perfect. What a gift as you were just getting ready to give up.

21 02 2011
TJ

Linda H – Ha! It might have been a shadow or some bit of snow … who knows?

Karen – That light was just gorgeous at the end of the day …

Linda – A gift, indeed. I hadn’t given up on seeing more horses, necessarily … I was just on my way out – heading home – at the end of the day and got so lucky – a gift – spotting them on the way!

22 02 2011
Nicole Vinson

On facebook i always see posts about mustangs in Oregon and they are stunning!! Almost like the colrado ones hehe! But anyways i was wondering if you knew anyone who would have a blog or anyone who would know someone who did?? I just love there looks and they seem to have lots for adoption in holding pens so any info would be awesome!!!

Cant wait for spring to see all the little ones be born again!

22 02 2011
Sarai W

Hey!! I love reading your blog. Just wondered what type of camera you use to shoot with? I am an aspiring photographer, but I just wondered which one you use.
-great photos!

22 02 2011
Lynn Bauer and Kathy Pariso

We LOVE the LOVE with each and every photo – it shows! You know how much we totally connect with these guys, gals and young’uns! We’ve noticed a definite change in the way you present the photos (long lens and cropping, yes?). GREAT JOB, especially with the lighting! You know, the one thing that we think separates your blog photos from others is that you photograph them as they ACTUALLY live and then, can describe the “live story” behind what you’ve seen. Not many folks can do that. You have to really KNOW them and actually PAY attention to them – sometimes without snapping the photo…
Wonderful, as always, TJ! 🙂

23 02 2011
TJ

Nicole – I’d love to see someone chime in who has experience with the Oregon mustangs. I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook, too … maybe the best thing to do would be to contact those people?

Sarai – Thank you for visiting! I use a Canon 40D (because my 50D started having weird problems) and a Canon 100-400mm IS lens. If you’re just starting out, you can purchase less expensive equipment that will also do a great job (and you can buy equipment that costs a whole lot more!). If you have horses or are photographing friends’ horses, try to use a lens that’s at least 100mm. Horses are big, but a longer lens will portray them without distortion like a wide-angle lens will do. Try also to use a camera that has no shutter lag – horses move too fast to wait on your camera! Good luck!

Lynn and Kathy – Thanks! The horses have taught me much about themselves, light and shadow, behavior, composition, movement, color – amazing! I think my style of photographing them *has* changed … like our interactions have changed. I started as a “documenter,” and now I’m more of an admirer, I guess! Looking for more artistic ways to portray them and not *just* documentary. And their reactions to me has necessarily changed how I photograph them. I wouldn’t change a thing!

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