This might possibly be one of the best times I’ve had photographing anything. Of course some of the other photos from Iceland might be more impactful or “epic” looking, but I had so much fun on this afternoon. I might go back to Iceland just to cuddle the little paint pony in the very last photo.
A lot of you don’t know me from my earlier life in Kentucky, but horses are a huge part of who I am, and sadly I’ve had to go different directions with my life, reasons including finances and major allergies. From the time I was big enough to walk, until I was about 20 years old I was always on the back of a horse. In Illinois and Kentucky (I claim both as “where I’m from”) I competed in hunter/ jumpers, dressage, and 3 day eventing. And when I wasn’t actually riding I was working on a farm, grooming, teaching kids’ lessons, and cleaning tack. My horse Archie, who I rode in my later high school years, is still living out his days as a crabby old pasture-potato at my mom’s house in central Kentucky. I often talk to my husband about the possibility of having horses again at some point, and I’m sure he’s tired of hearing it. It will happen one day! Mark my words!
When Corwin and his wife Nicole, the main photographer and model at this workshop, quietly chatted about possibly being able to set up a shoot with these horses, I overheard and tried not to get too excited. I was being realistic that it might not happen, because convincing a farm owner to allow 9 photographers and 5 nude models to shoot with their horses is not the easiest task. But our redheaded model (the “Icelandic Selkie on IG) spoke with the owner quite a bit and was able to set it up! The weather was incredible in the upper 50’s, no rain, and very un-Iceland-like, so we lucked out on all fronts. The owner and her son were so incredibly sweet and hospitable and ready to help us with anything they could. Farm: Lækjarhus Farm Holidays
As we were shooting, I have to admit it was tough to not be a “know it all” and tell the models not to sit on the horses’ kidneys, be careful with their heels, etc. But I kept my mouth shut and focused on what I was there for…. to create some amazing photos. Instead of letting my type-A personality take over I worked on moving myself into the best positions for the best photo composition. Of course I had to ask for a few poses, but otherwise, I just took it all in and enjoyed myself. Well… let’s be real, I asked for a ton of poses. Also, these are totally ponies, not full size horses. …ok, I’m done, I promise. 😉
The first model in this set of photos, Lillias Right, showed up with her hair loosely braided, and it made the most lovely waves. I shouted at her “Oh my god! You look like Lady Godiva! I hope you use the white horse!”. She screamed excitedly back at me “Oh my god yes!! That’s what I want too!!”. Well, its safe to say she embodied this look in glorious fashion. I’ve actually thought about printing the first black and white image to hang in my house. The other models were also so brave and did so well. I was surprised to hear they had all shot with horses in the past! They all stayed very still and calm, and tried to keep their horses in place as best they could. The chestnut (orange-ish brown) pony was 26 years old and the sweetest thing. He was happy to just be there and do anything the girls asked.
After our amazing shoot, of course myself, my friend Julie, and the other younger female photographer in the group ran over to cuddle the ponies watching at the fence. I immediately fell in love with the paint (multicolored) pony, and had a hard time leaving him. I have about 50 photos of me petting his nose. Check out my Instagram story highlites for “Travels” to see some of the behind the scenes!
Stay tuned for two, yes TWO, more blog posts with photos from this Iceland trip. Next up will be icebergs, but I will make you wait for the very last set, because they are on an amazing backdrop unique to Iceland.
Workshop: Arctic Nude with Corwin Prescott
Models: Lillias Right, SayHelloJess, Icelandic Selkie, Nicole Vaunt, Alice X