Assisting, Watching And Learning With Stuart Vesty
WOW people…..I really don't know where to start. I have just spent the last two days watching, learning and assisting Stuart Vesty while he photographed the beautiful Arabian horses at a couple of Victoria's biggest Arabian studs. Future Farms and Syrah!
If you don't know who Stuart Vesty is, google him. He is one of the best equine and more specifically Arabian photographers in the world. He has been in Australia working for a bit and I got the opportunity to not only meet him, but watch him work and even got to assist with a few of the shoots, and pick his brain on all things 'horse photography' as well.
I have seen the most stunningly amazing Arabian horses from beautiful mares with foals, to the most awesome stallions.
My day yesterday started out ok. I left home at 5.30am to beat the traffic and headed for Romsey, near where Future Farms are located. All was fine and I was arriving early until I stupidly took a wrong turn, just one road before where I was meant to be, and ended up on this track that, after several mm of rain from overnight, had me sliding all over the place. It was super scary stuff people. I kid you not! I slid sideways several times traveling at less than walking pace with my car(landcruiser) in 4×4. Even when I was stationary, I slid to the side of the road and hit the bank. I travelled maybe a k or 2 as I was not going to let some bloody road stand between me and Stuart vesty, then realized that I was in the shit, severely. I managed to stop without daring to touch the brakes and rang hubby, NO FREAKIN ANSWER! so I panicked for a bit as there were no houses in sight, on this track that was 3 inches of slush on top of a hard base that had me totally out of control. SO…….I did what any foxy lady would do in this situation, I turned the car around (10 point turn up the bank and onto a long grassy area) said to myself 'Suck it up princess, you are on your own' and I drove my ass off and got out of there! The whole process took me an hour 🙁 F#%*K ME!
So I arrived at Future Farms a little worse for wear, an hour later than I had planned and my poor cruiser, that I had spent 2 hours the day before washing so I looked all professional and stuff, was barely recognizable as burgundy!
I was welcomed at Future Farms which was great cause I was a total stranger and really, just an onlooker. They were lovely. 10.30am and I met Stuart Vesty with a smile and a handshake, I was finally meeting one of the finest equine photographers in the world! OMFG!
It was raining so the shoot location was inside the indoor arena. They set up round bales of hay along one end, stacked three high to the roof nearly. Beautiful horses were preened and polished and oiled and brought out onto the arena one at a time. Posey shots first, then set loose to really strut their stuff. It was awesome. Stallions were teased with mares to bring out their lusty attitude that showed them off beautifully as they were photographed, then, with the mares back in the stables, another stallion was brought in to bring out the aggression. It was an incredible display of absolute raw beauty and power. Goose bump stuff to watch.
It was fantastic to watch Stuart work, he was friendly and professional and definitely worthy of his 'best in the world' status.
Today I was at Syrah Arabians, thankfully I had a much less dramatic drive over there after staying with family nearby for the night. Today, instead of rain, it was fog! thick like pea soup fog!
But it made for awesome photography. The light was soft and subtle, the backdrop of the driveway arched in trees all around was great and the horses were beautiful. Stuart shot on the driveway for the posey shots, then loose in one of the many paddocks to show their freestyle in action. They even put one of the mares in a huge paddock with a herd of about 12 other mares to run wild. It was awesome to see a herd of Arabians gallop across a huge grassy paddock in the mist, and the noise was so cool.
Not quiet as many to shoot today, but just as lovely. we went down into a nearby neighbour's paddock that had big old gums which were a great 'Aussie' backdrop. We also discovered that a small herd of stampeding cows makes the best thing to get the horses right up on their toes.
The shoot was finished at lunch time, so it was time I politely said my goodbyes with thank you cards, boxes of chocolates and a warm hug from Stuart. I left feeling elated that I had met this great man and seen so many beautiful horses. I was not able to photograph myself, for obvious reasons, but I did manage to get one or two shots of Stuart and I before I left, just so I could prove that this had not just been a dream!