Monday, February 4, 2013

Horses love rim light

Of course what I mean literally is that I love to see horses rim-lit by low sunlight. I've mentioned that there are horses pastured on the outskirts of Raleigh, courtesy of NCSU and its veterinary program. When I'm en route around town in my car, if I know that I have any free time available to me, I try to be aware of the development of light and sky, cloud formations, etc. Where some people might be hoping for a sunny blue sky, I am more often watching for something more interesting.

Sunday was such a day, when it seemed there was at least a reasonable chance for a colorful sunset, and even more than that, the upper and lower level winds were sure to keep the clouds moving quickly, which meant the light would be changing rapidly. I noticed these things as I returned home with groceries. I quickly refrigerated the perishables and went out again, arriving at a likely area about a half hour before sunset, planning mostly to try some landscape or cityscape shots. When I saw that some horses were grazing within telephoto reach, I was glad that I'd packed my 100-400 mm lens along with more typical landscape optics. Here's a shot that conveys the proximity of pastoral hills, city traffic lights and buildings. Note how the light outlines the beautiful shape of the animal's neck, back, belly, legs, and tail. The white facial marking and "socks" make perfect highlights.

The golden light coming from behind showcases the color and texture of his tail, not to mention the burs and other detritus caught in it:

Two horses, two buildings, and three layers:

A twist:

When I saw what the sun did to the east window viewed through the north window, and the horses took these positions for a moment, I didn't hesitate. I move around quite a bit, but they move further and faster:

Equine exhalation:

This one makes me smile.

As the sky became really interesting, I ran for my pack and grabbed tripod and 24 mm TS-E, focusing my compositions on trees, clouds, and fences, allowing the horses to be just a part of the background.

I've posted the next shot at a larger size so that you can see the horses and houses in the distance.

I picked up the long zoom for another shot of a grazer, with the light taking on new character as the sun dropped below the ridge.

And a final shot of the sky, complete with jet contrails.


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