Archive for October, 2010

Photo Essay: Blue Ridge Hunt (October 2, 2010)

The photo essay is posted at KLM Images.

Nature vs architecture

Fox in the midst of architecture

The front gates of the Blue Ridge Hunt kennels have two lovely metal fox silhouettes mounted on top.  The kennel building is nothing but straight lines, of course: bricks, bars, shingles, and all the other architectural elements, but we get just that bit of nature which gives it personality.  Whenever we look at the kennels there are hounds behind the bars (this is their home), but the foxes run free along the top of the gates.

Architecture surrounded by Nature

In a more natural context, these two does disturbed by the hunting activity retreat past the barn.  The barn is aligned with and echoes the nearby Blue Ridge mountain that ascends behind it, but is dwarfed by it as well.

Though the lighting is attractive on the gable end of the barn, our eyes are drawn to the moving deer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Photo Essay: Ashland Bassets (October 3, 2010)

The photo essay is posted at KLM Images.

Hounds at work

The most thrilling shots are those showing the hounds at work, and ideally their prey, too.  As the cubbing season draws to a close, that can mean tall autumn grasses and hidden action.  But it also means the subtle autumn colors and the last of the flowers.

Death from above, she hopes

Basset hounds sometimes seem to understand that they have short legs and seek high ground for advantage.

This particular hound is a photographic favorite of mine.  Before I knew her name (Jesse) I was calling her Autofocus because my camera found it so easy to focus on her.  Usually a hound is small and lost in a large background scene like this, but her coloring is so vivid as she stands on the Great Meadow course jump that the scene works. Read the rest of this entry »

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Photo Essay: Old Dominion Hounds (September 25, 2010)

The photo essay is posted at KLM Images.

The scale of mountains

It's a blue wall, but is it big?

One of the pleasures of living in the Piedmont area of Virginia is the constant presence of the Blue Ridge Mountain.  It’s not a high ridge in this part of Virginia, but it is unavoidable.  Though I see the ridge constantly in hunting situations, I find it a challenge to render well in photos.  Often it is in silhouette because of the time of day or just simply flattened by the lens and made insignificant.

It’s a cliché that a landscape can often benefit by objects in the foreground, either to serve as a point of interest or to provide scale.  In the second shot, I was standing lower than the stable, which was on raised ground.  Without the stable (and the fence) in the picture to provide perspective, it would not be clear that I was looking up at the mountain. Read the rest of this entry »

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Photo Essay: Thornton Hill Hounds (September 19, 2010)

The photo essay is posted at KLM Images.

Clarity vs liveliness

From the outside

Be aware of your own blinders — hard advice to follow.

I am prejudiced in favor of clarity, so I use fast shutter speeds to see the action.  Unfortunately, this results in some dim shots in early morning light.  I also have a somewhat deadly tendency to look for those classic static foxhunting shots that I’ve seen so often in the sporting literature.  However, just because the scene had to be stopped in order to paint it doesn’t mean I need to do the same thing with a camera.

The more control I get over my camera and ability to make it do what I want it to do, the less I benefit from accident and luck.

Well-lit vigorous action

My husband, nothing inhibited by my standards, shoved his point-and-shoot camera with slow shutter settings into the hound truck and rattled off some shots more or less blind.  Those wagging tails may be blurred and that first hound a bit, um, in your face, but I know which shot I like better.

Look for different approaches to your work — it’s too easy to get into a rut without noticing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Photo Essay: Blue Ridge Fall Races (September 18, 2010)

The photo essay is posted at KLM Images.

Event excitement vs photo excitement

The clock

Races of all kinds are exciting events.  There are crowds of people, outrageous hats, and colorful entertainments as well as all the action on the track.  When you consider that each race only takes a few minutes to run, and that typically a half-hour slot is allotted for that, you can see how essential the tailgate refreshments become.


Running and jumping horses are inherently photogenic.  It’s easy to just snap away and come back with a great many pleasant shots, but once the excitement of the event is past and I look them over with a more dispassionate eye, I find myself torn between showing as much of the race competition as possible (like a documentary) and concentrating on good shots that speak on their own, without the “I was there” excitement to boost their appeal.

There are many great body and leg poses that are lovely to look at, but this one of a rider casually heading out to the starting post struck me.  If you put a pin through the top of the saddle, the horse’s legs, tail, and head and the jockey’s body all radiate outward like the hands of a clock.  The balance of mass and alignment of spokes all conveyed a smoothness and control of motion. Read the rest of this entry »

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