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.
It seems to me like the last places where you could feel truly remote and hidden from the outside world remain these mountain valleys that are only accessible by actually going up trough the water and wet rock. The sun only shines on small parts of them because of the steep cliffs and so a perfect fantasy eerie atmosphere is created. This is even more so in the evening when the light falls fast and you have to get back to the outside world before the darkness. I remember being careful not to slip on the rocks and lifting my eyes just for a second and seeing the beautiful light and reflections of the warm light shining just for a couple of moments in the dark cold valley.
I was fortunate enough to have the time to capture this image, and it truly reflects the feelings of awe that I had when seeing such great beauty. I then rushed back to the outside world with the darkness behind me engulfing everything, the only light I saw being the hazy reflection of the autumn sky in the cold water. It’s a feeling that stayed with me.
I’ve always found interesting how different people see different things in a photo. Some look at the photo above and see a man walking out of a forest, some see the man entering the forest, a person with imagination could say that this is an apparition of a ghost in a surreal forest. A sad person could say that the man in the picture is walking sadly at sunset. An insecure person could say that it’s a photo of a man lost in the woods. A single image can be interpreted differently by different people.
The way we perceive reality differs, so our interpretation of art differs too. I think art is the interpretation of reality through the mind of the artist. But the result is also subject to interpretation. So everybody takes from art what they need at a certain moment in time and space.
I’ve seen the setting sun shining trough the rain this evening, and I remembered about this photo. Sometimes the most interesting moments and unplanned. I was returning after a journey I made to photograph a cave (more on cave photography in the future I hope), and the day didn’t turn so well. It started raining, I had a long drive and the rain was just pouring down and it was really tiring to keep driving.
I decided to pull over to rest and see the landscape. I got off from the car and only took a few steps and the sun started shining trough the clouds and back-lighting the rain drops. I ran around like crazy trying to find something nice to highlight this beautiful phenomenon and found a tree on the meadow.
I had my 90mm lens with me, and it prove to be enough to frame this shot. I used a wide aperture (f2.8) to be able to have a fast shutter speed (1/200) to “freeze” the raindrops. Seeing them backlit by the sun always seems special to me even when I am just observing and I don’t have my camera with me, so I am really glad that I got this shot. It really seems magical to me.