Photographing The Shannon County Wild Horses Using B&W Film & The Nikon F6

May 02, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

I first learned about the wild horses of Shannon County, Missouri back in 2010 when I was looking for land in the Ozarks.  I ultimately purchased some land in 2015 and now I follow the horses on a weekly basis and I am telling their unique story using black and white film.  

When I say that I follow and study the wild horses, I really mean that I follow and track them several times per week to watch them and learn everything I can about them. 

I document the herd size, each individual member of the herd, and anything else that is noteworthy such as their behaviors, interactions, and trends around their migrations to different areas.  I really enjoy learning about their behaviors and their communications amongst one another.

I made a radical decision this year and started photographing the wild horses with my Nikon F6 and 35mm black and white film.  Yes, you heard me correct.  I am using black and white film to photograph these wild horses and not the latest digital gear.  I have previously shared this story, but the short of it is that I treated my wildlife photography as a hobby for many years while my core focus was creating large format silver gelatin botanical prints.  Then one day I decided to try photographing the wild horses of Shannon County with a roll of Tri-X loaded in my F5 and I was hooked.  The images portrayed the emotion and drama that I was feeling all along but seemed to be missing in the digital images. 

Tim Layton Holding "New Life" Wild Horses of Missouri B&W Silver Gelatin PrintTim Layton Holding "New Life" Wild Horses of Missouri B&W Silver Gelatin Print If you love horses, join my Free Wild Horse Journal where I bring you behind the scenes in my darkroom and studio and provide my latest updates and special offers.  Current members are automatically entered for a chance to win one of my wild horse fine art gallery prints every month.  

Join me and other horse lovers from around the world in my Wild Horses of North America Facebook Group.  I share behind the scenes photos and videos in the group that you won't see anywhere else.

I am starting to do Live Video Broadcasts from my new studio and darkroom while I am working and making prints and even doing live art shows too.  I will be making my big 30x40 and 40x50 silver gelatin wild horse prints and also platinum and palladium too.  You can connect with me live on my new YouTube Channel, and in the Darkroom Underground Facebook Group, and the Wild Horses of North America Facebook Group.

FILM CAMERAS & FILM CHOICE

I typically use my Nikon F6 with one of my longer prime telephoto lenses (600mm F4, 500mm F5.6, 300mm F2.8), or one of the zooms (e.g. 80-400mm, 200-500mm) along with either Tri-X or HP5.  I use Tri-X when I want a higher contrast image and HP5 when I want something lower contrast. 

I develop both films in Kodak D-76 1:1.  If I need a second camera, I will either use my Nikon F100 (smaller) or the F5 (bigger and faster) depending on the specific need.  

By using black and white film, I have the option of making handmade silver gelatin prints in the darkroom or scanning the negatives for a variety of other output choices ranging from pigment inkjet prints to using the digitized film images in books, on websites, etc.  I personally feel that my film-based images have a unique ability to communicate the unspoken emotion of these majestic wild horses.  

 SHANNON COUNTY MISSOURI

Shannon County Missouri is a rural area in the Ozark Mountains that is home to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the countries first national parks protected riverway. 

The wild horses have been roaming the rugged landscape of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways for about 100 years now.  Shannon County is a favorite destination for nature lovers from around the country because of the clean and pristine rivers and unspoiled nature.  

The wild horses of Shannon County is a compelling story that has captured my attention and my heart.  I just started a Wild Horses of Missouri digital magazine where I tell the ongoing story of these wild horses and share their beauty with you. 

Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim Layton I invest a lot of time following them and learning everything I can about their behaviors, interactions within the herds, and how they live on a daily basis.  The interactions between them are fascinating to me and I am learning how to read their body language as well as understand their verbal sounds and queues that they use to communicate with each other.  I have a lot to learn, but I am excited to know more and continue to grow and learn. 

There are a total of four herds that freely roam an area of over 100 square miles, so I have a lot of ground to cover to remain connected with them.  Some of the Ozark's terrain is very rugged and often times mother nature doesn't allow access because of flooding and other events. 

The four herds are known as: Shawnee Creek, Broadfoot, Round Spring, and Rocky Creek.  These names come from the geographic areas the four herds tend to roam.  The general public knows about these four areas but as a local, I have invested the time, money, and effort to discover about a dozen different places where the wild horses frequent.  For photographers and people that want a personalized tour, I offer that as a service.  Some of the unknown and remote locations require a lifted 4WD truck to reach because of the rugged landscape and the frequent flooding from the creeks and rivers.  

WILD HORSES OF SHANNON COUNTY OVERVIEW

For the last 100 years, a heard of wild horses have been roaming the ancient and rugged landscape of the Ozarks in Shannon County. During the 1980s the National Park Service announced a plan to remove the wild horses. 

In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court denied a final appeal and gave the National Park Service the right to remove the horses from federal land at their discretion.

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, and 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.

The Missouri Wild Horse League works with the National Park Service to manage the horses.  

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 important to keep these animals wild and free.  

I hope that you continue to follow along as I study and share the stories of these magnificent wild horses.  

-Tim Layton

Tim Layton Washing Wild Horse Large Format Silver Gelatin Print

I offer Free Art Consultations to help you figure out the best size and details for any piece of artwork that I create.

You can contact me and share a couple of dates, times, and your best phone number and then I will confirm a date and time for our meeting. I can do Facetime video or Zoom meetings, if you would like to share your space with me as we work through designing your new artwork together.

Free Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim LaytonFree Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim Layton

Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.com Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.com Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.com Wild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.comWild Horses of Missouri Fine Art Prints by Tim Layton www.timlaytonwildhorses.com Troublemaker - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim LaytonTroublemaker - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim Layton Princess Warrior - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim LaytonPrincess Warrior - Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim Layton

HISTORY OF THE WILD HORSES OF SHANNON COUNTY MISSOURI

8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton Shannon County is home to an extraordinary herd of wild horses that very few people know about. Hidden away in Southeast Missouri in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways on public land about 130 miles from Springfield and 150 miles from St. Louis, 4 herds of wild horses roam the beautiful and rugged landscape. 

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 at their discretion.  

The national park service started the process of removing the wild horses in a way that was profoundly upsetting to local 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.

Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim Layton 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, and 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 from around the world visit Shannon County Missouri 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 the maximum agreed upon limit of 50 horses.  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 own safety as well as theirs, keep a safe distance of 100 yards or more between you and the horses. 

 

Free Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim LaytonFree Wild Horse Behind The Scenes Art Updates by Tim Layton


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