Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pantanal at Capulin

This post explores what happens when you go to strange places trying to avoid mud, plunk down your horse and shoot him, and then learn about various photo angles.

During the last week of May we were based out of La Junta, in southern Colorado.  Boy did it rain!!  It rained so much that the roads turned to gloop, and we were afraid for our car, that great traveling machine which had brought us so far, and upon whom so much depended.  Highways she can do, but mud-jeeping requires special skills not in her book.  Our hopes for previously-planned destinations all drowned in fear and slurry, and so we made up new ones.  I say we, but it was really my husband, who is very good at this sort of thing.  On the first day he proposed Capulin National Monument, and I, nothing loath, agreed.
Capulin is an extinct volcano just over the central southern border of the state.  I had never been there.  Sunny New Mexico!!  The mountain is visible from many miles away, standing alone like Amazing Blondel's The Altar of the Plains.  Typical of the travelling Youngs, once we were there we did not ascend the slope  (everybody else did).  We birded and hiked the lower slopes instead.  And out came Pantanal (Travis), who had never exited his box until now.
I am aware he is not shod.  But rocks make a good stand, a starting point of reference.  This sort of shooting is not aiming for the calibre of, say, Luckenbach Ranch.  For the moment I am inexplicably in favor of untacked horses.  The questions are rather whether to cut off part of the horse in the shot... how high or low to aim...
... pardon the horizon tilt (I thought I'd learnt  this lesson canoeing!!) ... or whether to include just the head.
Here he is in grass, sort of:
So just what angle do you go for?  More horizon...?
More horse?
Do you try for the ultimate close-up?  This picture has a weird charm of its own.  My skill, alas, was not up to having him in focus.  I guess that proves it wasn't PhotoShopped.
Here's a nice shot that could be telling a story:  Pan goes down the trail. 
It's always a challenge to scale the trail to the horse.  This case isn't so bad.  It's also the closest we come to seeing his near side, something I swear I wasn't aware of until much later.
Here I try to get everything: trail, horizon, horse.
Not bad.  Try for vertical format:
This shows the depth of the landscape.  Draw back a bit for even more horizontal spread:
 There is definitely a tendency to crop off part of him.  I think it's caused by the desire to show the landscape.  I'm not sure whether this is a flaw or not.
However, I am reasonably sure this is the best shot:
If you're ever in northern New Mexico, be sure to check out Capulin Mountain.  It is quite worth the trip.

Soon:  working on Fancy's Hackamore's mecate.


  1. Very cool, thank you for sharing! :) I cannot wait for all of my ponies to get here (next week). I'm hoping to be able to get some neat pictures of at least some of them while we are here. :)

  2. Some beautiful scenery there and with those big, fluffy clouds, very nice.