it is the result of a year of preparation, research, reflection and hard work in the field. It is also the center piece of my collection since this project was born with the dream of this capture. All the other photographs are just a journey to this piece that was already precisely drawn in my mind. A black horse in the snow, perfectly in profile, in full race, frozen in the air at the perfect moment… Millions of very detailed snowflakes which form a carpet of diamonds in front of him and which explode under the weight of these hooves.
While this description may seem straightforward, and horses have been over-photographed, I have not found any photos that take this idea to the limit that can be printed in super-large format.
THE CENTERPIECE OF THE COLLECTION
First, using a large zoom would have made the aspect of proximity and positioning easier, but large zooms do not let in enough light to meet the challenges mentioned above. So I had to use a fixed lens. What challenges did these bring me? When we can't zoom in, we're the ones who have to move around, in 2 feet of snow it's very physically demanding. And when the horse runs into the clear zone, it's over, you can't zoom in and keep shooting. It was off again for a walk in the deep snow to join the horses, in the hope that they would run to the right place. So that drastically reduces the number of tries to get THE photo. It should also be mentioned that once the horses have run in one place, the soft crystal clear carpet that I want in front of the horse is all wrecked. My photo must therefore be taken in a place where the horse is running for the first time...
Second, I don't use burst mode on my camera. Some would say it was torture, and for this photo ... yes it was. But just as I don't see the point in drag racing with an automatic car, I don't see the point in letting the camera do all the work. The digital age is already making life easier for photographers on many levels ... Each of my shots is the result of a click, a moment in the middle of the action that I deemed worth sharing. I take much more pride in the images I capture by respecting this rule that I have imposed on myself.
The lack of a zoom also meant that I had to be close to the running horses when I was captured. Which was yet another challenge I had to juggle. My dream photo was taken from a very low angle lying on the ground, and I was not ready to give up this last aspect to achieve "Perfection" ... How to provoke their race while lying on the ground close to them, ready to capture the fraction of a second that has obsessed me for weeks?
It took me 8 hours in the field over 3 days, alone with these magnificent beasts to understand their behavior and gain their trust. After hours of cold, failed trials, fatigue and a moment of reflection, I came to the conclusion that I had to change my method and attitude. My insecurity and fear of failure drove me to take multiple photos for the rare and short occasion when the horses were racing in the right place. Probably in the hope of having a better chance of succeeding. But now I had to trust myself more… rather than having a few good shots for their rare races, I had to focus on one take: The perfect shot. So it was with this in mind that at the seventh hour in the field, I went all in :
Briskly approach them, then rush in their direction to make them run. I kept running towards them to gain as much proximity as possible. Having defeated the enemy between my two ears, luck smiled on me ...
The prettiest horse in the group making his way at the head of the galloping herd took, as I hoped, a new path. The soft crystalline carpet of luminous flakes emerging in front of its trajectory is thus intact. As I continued my race towards the galloping horses, I realized that absolutely all the planets were going to align very quickly, so I plunged face down on the ground to capture the scene from the best possible angle. Framing, Focus, half a second of patience… and with a simple index finger movement I had just captured a thousandth of a second… of perfection on earth.
Finally I understood why I was so obsessed with this picture and why I felt so much inspiration for this collection. I have worked with dozens of other species of animals that I admire; lion, elephants, bears… but I have never found myself as much as in the horse. Despite its size, this animal is quite timid by nature, it needs to be reassured, it must look straight ahead so as not to be distracted by anything that might frighten it. But a galloping blow is another creature, a true symphony for the eyes. Goodbye to fears, goodbye to doubts… At full speed, nothing stops him, no obstacle seems too big. Although it has no wings, it flies. Although he has no sword, he conquers. It was in that mystical state, freed from its own weaknesses that a horse told me...
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