This photo of wild horses on a green meadow is one of my favorite spring images. It stuck trough the years and when I think about spring photos that I have in my portfolio this image always comes to my mind.
It’s taken some years ago in 2010. It was taking at the end of a day with no extraordinary conditions for photography when we were about to call it quits. We were following a herd of horses and didn’t have much luck getting close. The clouds were covering the sky and rain was approaching but as we got to a hilltop a ray of light from the setting sun started shining over the meadow and was casting beautiful long shadows of horses and trees. The silhouettes of the horses give a sense of the grand scale of the landscape. The soft light gave that fantasy landscape aesthetic that I always search for, a fine art aesthetic. I used a tele lens at 90 mm and a 1/320 shutter speed with f4,5 because I was shooting handheld due to the fact that the conditions were rapidly changing and didn’t have time to set up a tripod.
There are a lot of hidden valleys that are still unexplored near the place that I live. I often go trough these wild valleys in search of natural wonders and inspiration, and there isn’t a single time I come back without finding something really interesting and worth photographing. You can’t access these places with any kind of transportation, there isn’t any cell phone signal and even GPS signal because of the huge steep cliffs that border the various valleys, so these places feel really remote and wild. Because of this isolation, they have managed to remain pretty much uncharted. It is always a relief to explore such places.
This is a photo take on the same tour as the macro shot here. The river that shaped these rocks and formed beautiful steep gorges still flows today and has a permanent stream of water, so advancing is really difficult. There are also fallen trees and branches that are obstructing the way, not to mention the narrow path that someone exploring this place has to follow. I remember that the first time I was there I really wanted to go further and see new wonders awaiting me around the corner, but the water was just too high so I had to call it a day. I returned many times and every time I managed to go a bit further than the last time, finding some of the most giant caves and some of the most beautiful gorges I have ever seen. Sometimes it’s difficult to come back in one piece, and I have found myself stranded on narrow steep pieces of land because of the rain, but nothing beats the feeling of discovering new things even after years of exploration.
The photo above was taken on an autumn day, the leaves not quite fallen from the trees. The human figure you see is my brother, with whom I was in quite a few risky situations due to our desire to uncover the secrets of this valley. I needed a human silhouette so the viewer would get a feeling of the size of the cliffs, so I told him to go forward and used an ultra-wide angle lens to capture this shot. I used a f 11 aperture to have everything in focus, and the shortest shutter speed that the light and my lens allowed. This kind of photos are usually used for environmental campaigns and also – like many of my photos – for horror movies posters. I think it has something to do with the unknown, the mystery of such photos, because they give a sense that you don’t know what may come after the next corner. I really like this feeling too, so I will be taking and posting more images from this place in the future. The “hidden valley” series is always expanding.