Photo Essay: Old Dominion Hounds (November 27, 2010)

This photo essay is posted at KLM Images.

Twist & turn


The eye of the viewer can be guided by actual lines in an image, or by implied ones.

These two riders are stacked up on a slanted hillside watching hunting in the lower field.  Your eye naturally follows them down starting at the rump of the near horse and then reversing at the lower one.  It’s possible the horses are standing still, but the placement of the legs and movement of the tails creates doubt, so you follow the potential movement left and then right, instead of just left along the hillside and out, as you might if the far rider were absent.

Arrested motion

Arrested motion creates implicit lines of force.  In the image of folks handing out a stirrup cup, most of the people face away from the viewer and admire the lovely view, but the woman on the right advancing purposefully off screen and just completing her twist away from her companion (from whom she got the used glasses) pulls our gaze away from the static background and carries it along with her out of the frame.

Hounds in motion

It’s always a pleasure to get a good view of hounds taking a fence.  At this meet we were treated to a long series of nice shots.  When there are several such shots and you like many of them, the trick is not to bore your viewers.  Here are some of the variations.

Horse and hound together

We start with the visiting huntsman taking the coop followed closely by one bold hound.

The next shot shows three different styles of springing from the jump to follow the huntsman.

The launch

Finally, we see the river starting over the cliff as a waterfall and flowing along the ground.

Cataract spilling over the top

Flowing river

Better vs best

Here are three pairs of shots which lend themselves to the question of which is the better in each pair.  Your mileage may vary – my husband disagrees with me about each pair.

All lined up

First we have these hounds running through a gate (and over a coop).  In the first shot, the horizontal and diagonal lines of the fence gate act like a “swoosh” to give a push to their forward momentum.  The second shot is amusing, but doesn’t have that concentrated energy.

A moment later


In the next pair, we have the visiting huntsman with his pack against a lovely backdrop.  The bottom one is a lovely panorama and I’m glad I captured it, but I prefer the concentrated impact of the first one.  The eye rests on the dense center.


In the final pair, we revisit the old problem of the scale of mountains.

On this beautiful day the sky went from background to subject.  The cattle work well enough on the left to give some sense to the size of the mountain, but on the right we suddenly move from the immensity of a mountain to the much greater immensity of the sky.  It doesn’t diminish the mountain, in my view, but it reminds us to lift our gaze higher than the hills.

Cattle and trees for mid-ground scale

Clouds put the mountain in its place

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