Equine Extravaganza Creative Photography Masterclass – March 2021
EPIC is the only word that comes to mind to truly describe the fabulous weekend we got to have back in early March. After years of dreaming about it, making plans and taking bookings, only to have it all come to a SCREAMING- FLIPING- HALT thanks to a nasty little global pandemic, it felt SO good to finally see it happen!
Our group of ten fabulous ladies, who patiently stuck around with me while Covid19 caused havoc throughout 2020, met at the rental house in Torquay on the 12th March. It was like a big family reunion, after spending 12 months on regular zoom calls to stay motivated and support each other. The joy that we felt that day was immense!
None of it would be possible without my amazing models and their horses, to whom I am so grateful. And my crew, dear friend and mentor Ruth and my brother in law Greg, both of which were invaluable!
Friday afternoon began with a warm official welcome and quick get-to-know-you refresher as well as handing out the goodie bags. Dinner arrived at 4pm which consisted of a yummy grazing platter, finger food and sweets. It was delicious! We had all our lunches and dinners for the whole weekend catered for by Annies Provedore – Barwon Heads. The food was brilliant. Catered to all our dietary needs and was tasty and delicious. Yum!!!
At 5pm we pilled onto our private bus, driven by my brother in law Greg, and headed off to the beach. Models and horses were there to greet us, as was a beautiful evening with warm air, not a breath of wind, sea mist for miles and one hell of a sunset! We were all buzzing with excitement at what was in front of us all. Beautiful horses, amazing models and the most superb light one coould ask for. Seriously, Im not kidding. It was INCREDIBLE!
A black Friesian mare. A beautiful Warlander. An Overo paint horse. All gorgeous and sparkling in the sunset. Shiny wet sand made for great reflections and gentle waves created the music to our ears. It was truly beautiful. Working with people like Kate, Emma and Hayden who love their horses and enjoy playing dress-up for photos is such a privilege. These guys took everything in their stride and looked amazing against that perfect sky.
Three hours later we piled onto the bus to head back to the house, elated, exhausted, but dying to look at the photos we had just captured. Day number 1 was huge hit…but how would tommorow go with rain forecast???
Saturday morning, up early, breaky devoured and all on the bus for Barwon Park Mansion. A little breezy, but not too bad with a cold weather front on it's way. The mansion makes for a most impressive backdrop with its grand facade, sweeping lawn and old stables. Pair that with two beautiful Andalusian mares and two models in period costume who greet us on arrival and you have the makings of a film set. We sauntered around and did some posing under the trees while the light was strong and then to the front of the mansion to play on the lawn. It's important to move around and take advantage of such a great location. Seeking out the light and finding the best position for horse and rider. Playing with symetry and leading lines as well as distance and its effect on depth of field. Also learning that careful positioning of your subject can hide a multitude of sins sometimes, such as a rather awkward looking monument thingy in the middle of the front lawn, which Im sure had some significant meaning, but ruined a beautiful shot of the facade from a distance.
Our models Sharryn and Hayden did a fantastic job! Sharryn had worked wonders getting her lovely buckskin mare Panda (Majestic Pandora) used to being ridden side-saddle. Not to mention her costume that she made to look the part at this wonderful location. Attention to detail is important and it shows in the photos by how amazing they looked.
We finished our morning at the mansion in the stables and old coach building just as the wind picked up and the rain appeared to be heading our way quickly. A great opportunity to play with creating a black background in-camera using the doorway to the carriage shed and then into the stables themselves to take advantage of the rustic tones, beautiful light and great features of a bygone era.
As we piled back on the bus and waved goodbye to the mansion, the rain started. We arrived back at the house just in time before it poured…all afternoon! Thankfully we were planning on spending the afternoon indoors editing, so it didn't bother us too much, that it was raining and the night workshop for that evening, was at the Geelong Equestrian Centre, so we would be undercover. The afternoon quietly came and went, as did lucnh and dinner and soon it was time to hop back on the bus for our nightime extravaganza. Bizzarrely enough the rain stopped just as it was time to leave, so we all mangaed to stay dry and completely miss the major dumping that fell.
Saturday night and we are off to Geelong Equestrian Centre we went…with a quick stop at the local servo, as I had forgotten the gas lighter to ignite the smoke bombs…DILL! Im actually grateful as that was the ONLY thing I did forget for the whole weekend, not bad in my opinion!
On arrival at the indoor, it was a dash to set up lighting with all hands on deck, and get everyone positioned with tripods while our beautiful Arabian Stallion 'Imprezza' was getting ready.
Out he danced, with a flurry of dust kicked up as he entered the arena. Lightly pirouetting off the end of his lead as we waited for him to enter the light. What follwed was a fantastic show of mist, colour and fancy, with ten eager ladies capturing every moment! To top off our evening under lights once Imprezza had finished his show, beautiful Andalusian mare Majestic Pandora and her owner Sharryn danced the Garrocha while bathed in glorious colour. Garrocha is a traditional spanish method of working cattle using a long wooden pole. Its absolutely beautiful to watch and takes great skill to perfect.
It was a most EPIC evening and while everyone was pushed out of their comfort zones, it's clear to see by the beautiful images that were taken, that is was a huge success for all.
Sunday morning rolls around and a group of slightly sleepy but keen-as-mustard ladies boards the bus for one last on-location workshop. We head off pre-dawn, to the beautiful GlenGwin Welsh pony stud, about 30mins away, to photograph a paddock full of ponies as the sun comes up. It's hard to know what it feels like to stand in the middle of around 30 curious ponies, but I can tell you its's a pretty awesome feeling! Mist across the paddock, the first frost on the ground and fluffy, wide eyed ponies make for some pretty amazing imagery. Throw in a stunning sunrise and you have nothing short of an EPIC morning! I think even Greg could have taken home the little mini Stallion lol!
Glenda, our lovely stud owner, had a nice warm cuppa awaiting us at the house, before we headed back home for a late breaky. It was the perfect way to end an incredible line up of on-location workshops and we were all buzzing with how the weekend had gone. Only one more workshop left…the editing, to bring it all together.
Sunday afternoon was time to bring out the magic in our photos. To sort through and choose our favs..which were numerous. A couple of the girls made a great little audio visual using eveyone images that we got to watch together over dinner on Sunday night. The models were invited to join us and there was much laughing, wine, yummy food and story-sharing. Hayden, who has been working on circus performing for some time, wowed us with his fire show. A fitting end to what was a truly EPIC weekend. I will be buzzing in post masterclass bliss for months.
Grab a cuppa and check out the fabulous behind-the-scenes video created by Ruth Burleigh Photography of our incredible weekend!