Bill Mellett Photography

Using my own life's experiences as the canvas for my work.

Horse and Rider

One of the things that I enjoy so much about photography is that the camera gives me license to see sides of people’s lives that I never would have otherwise. My job as the photographer is not just to make pretty pictures but to try and capture the essence of someone and to tell a story with images. They pay me to visually present them in photographs.

I knew almost nothing about horses and the people that ride and care for them until recently when I did my first horse and rider shoot. I really didn’t appreciate the relationship that the horse people have with their horses. In my mind, the subject of the photos was the rider and the horse was there as a prop. I could not have been more wrong. It is horse AND rider together as partners. They are both equally important in their own ways.

It is absolutely not like photographing someone next to a lamppost. The lamppost just happens to be there and does not have feelings. It just is what it is, end of story. The horse very much has a mood, just like the rider and a feeling that is important and comes across in the images. If the horse is uncomfortable or agitated or worried then you can see it in the eyes and ears and posture. The horse and the rider have a connection that has to be respected and appreciated.

We got really lucky with the weather. I prepared by getting my subjects ready right during the best part of the light in the evening. We had just come off of a long spat of oppressively hot North Texas summer temperatures. This night was warm but, not too much so. The wind was also happily calm that evening in late July. The sky was also very clear. So, everything was falling in place for a good shoot.

It went off well. We squeezed a lot posed shots in including a wardrobe change from dress to jeans and shirt and from bareback to saddled. I don’t know if the sun sets quicker towards the end of the summer or if it just seems that way when you are trying to compose a scene and click away like a mad man but, I felt like my window of opportunity was really small and it was all over in a lot less time than I would have liked.

At the end of the session, I let Alyssa run Bailey around and I just shot them having fun. I think that both of them really liked the opportunity to stretch their legs out. I think that these were probably some of the best images from the shoot. It happens a lot that the best shots come when you just catch people doing what they love to do best. I count Bailey as a people, too.