MY WILD HORSE PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is which photo gear I use to create my wild horse fine art prints.
My equipment is very simple in an age where gear and equipment are on overdrive: one camera, one lens, and two films.
I love that my analog film gear continues to be a workhorse for my style of photography in our digital era.
For my color images with the F6, I use Kodak Portra 800 film rated at EI 640 or EI 500. I develop this C-41 color negative film in my darkroom using Tetenal Colortec C-41 development chemicals.
My fine art prints are optically made using my Beseler enlargers with the Heiland LED cold light system.
To document the herds and create digital photos for the website, I use a Nikon D500. I have two lenses that I use with this camera that cover a huge focal range from 100mm to 750mm. I use the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 E FL ED VR and the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR lenses. Because the D500 is a crop sensor, my effective focal lengths using these two lenses start at 100mm and go to 750mm.
To challenge myself, I have been trying to use my Linhof Master Technika 4x5 field camera to photograph the wild horses.
I have a 270mm lens with a custom cam that allows me to use the rangefinder function on the camera.
This gives me at least a little bit of hope that I can react fast enough to photograph the fast-moving wild horses successfully.
I have about 20 successful exposures so far, but nothing I want to print yet.
I keep making modifications to my field setup and then try again. At some point, I believe I will be able to capture some images that I know are possible.
I have standardized on Ilford HP5 film for black and white prints because I can rate it at EI 400 or EI 800 and still get quality exposures. I develop the film in either D-76 1:1 or HC-100 Dilution B (1:31).
For color prints, I use 4x5 Kodak Portra 400, and I find that I can rate it between EI 200 and EI 800 depending on available light and get good results.
HISTORY OF THE WILD HORSES OF MISSOURI
Shannon County is home to a beautiful herd of wild horses. It is located in Southeast Missouri in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways on public land about 130 miles from Springfield and 150 miles from St. Louis.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a river system and the only place in the state where wild horses still roam free. It hasn't been an easy path for the wild horses over the last 100 years, and it would be foolish to think current conditions couldn't change and put the horses back in danger again.
During the 1980s, the National Park Service announced a plan to remove the wild horses, and people were outraged.
In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court denied a final appeal to protect the horses and gave the National Park Service the right to remove the horses from federal land.
The national park service started removing the wild horses in a profoundly upsetting way to residents and horse lovers around the country. The people of Shannon County and horse lovers around the country rallied together, and the Wild Horse League of Missouri was formed.
Luckily, by 1996 the Wild Horse League of Missouri, which formed in 1992 to save the wild horses, received help from the people of Shannon County, Congressman Bill Emerson, Senators Kit Bond, and John Ashcroft.
Their tireless efforts paid off, and President Clinton signed a bill into law on October 3, 1996, to make the wild horses of Shannon County a permanent part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
Now, people worldwide visit Shannon County in hopes of seeing these majestic wild horses.
The Missouri Wild Horse League works with the National Park Service to capture some of the horses when the herd exceeds 50. The captured horses are taken into care and evaluated before being adopted by loving families for permanent homes.
It is important to remember that these horses are wild. When looking for them, be sure not to approach them or attempt to feed them. It is essential to keep these animals wild and free and for you to be safe. The horses are big, strong, and unpredictable and for your safety, keep a safe distance of 100 yards or more between you and the horses.