White horses in the sea
White horses in the sea

The ultimate shoot in the Camargue

Photographing the white horses in the Camargue gets better and better!

I’ve been running photo workshops in the Camargue since 2011 and have lost count of the number of photos of horses I have. I still remember the exhilaration of my first shoot when the horses galloped across the marshland before dawn and settled in the calm water as the sun rose behind them. Every time I run a new workshop, I like to remember how that first shoot felt like and be aware that the group is feeling the same. The excitement is infectious and it remains as magical today as it did then.

I sometimes get asked if I get bored of photographing the same subjects again and again. To be honest, I thought I might but getting that perfect shot has become the ultimate challenge.That elusive shot when all the elements come together is what drives most photographers. The beauty of photographing the same subject on a regular basis is that you can strive for perfection and may well get it. Whether it be landscape or wildlife, the perfect shot is waiting to be taken. It’s just a matter of perseverance, patience and a lot of time.

Familiarity with a subject, the location and the light allows you to concentrate on getting every detail right. With landscape this is possible but animals have a tendency to move and this is unpredictable. To counter this I decided that working with a smaller number of horses made this easier. A herd of 20 horses is a great spectacle and good for video but not for stills.The reason is that it’s almost impossible to get separation with a large number. It’s a bit too messy for my liking. I prefer clean, simple images where the subject is the main focal point and the background isn’t distracting.

So, with this in mind, I organised a special shoot with 5 white horses only. The location was magnificent with a beach, a shallow lake and sand dunes. The horses were skilfully guided by 4 guardians for a period of 2 hours leading up to sunset. The horses looked like they were having a wonderful time running on the sand and didn’t show any signs of fatigue. We photographed them running through the lake which was very shallow and captured some perfect reflections;  we photographed them running backlit through the dunes with golden sand spraying up around them  and we photographed them running through the sea in both directions. It was a truly memorable experience, which resulted in a glorious portfolio of images and a lot of very happy photographers.

I shall make this a regular shoot from now on and plan to include this in my upcoming workshop this October 12th-15th.