I have some exciting news that I wanted to share with you. Tim Jr. and I went to the Shawnee Creek area a little before sunrise on the fourth of July because we knew the weather conditions should be good for some early morning fog.
I am photographing and telling the story of the wild horses of Shannon County because the connection between nature, wildlife, and man is understood but increasingly pushed to the background in our technology-driven society.
I know that people protect what they love and in our increasingly busy and technology-driven world, it would be easy for these wild horses to be pushed to the background and forgotten.
By conserving and protecting natural resources and wildlife, we are promoting biodiversity, and it is this biodiversity that directly contributes to the sustainability of all life on the planet.
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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.
EARLY MORNING WITH THE WILD HORSES
The early morning mist amplifies the ethereal nature of the wild horses, so I wanted to be there before first light in case the conditions were ideal.
There are four herds of wild horses that roam the ancient and rugged Ozarks landscape in Shannon County, Missouri. You can learn more about the wild horses on my wild horse information page.
The new foal brings the Shawnee Creek herd up to ten at this time. Recently, there were 13 in this herd before a capture event in the late spring by the Missouri Wild Horse League. Some of the horses are captured and then adopted to loving owners when the herds exceed the agreed-upon numbers according to the law that was established to protect them in 1996.
I couldn't stop smiling watching this new foal frolic about in the morning fog and mist. I was not able to determine the gender of the foal, but I hope to confirm this very soon, and I will let you know.
BABY HORSE LINGO
Did you know that baby horses are called foals? If you are a horse lover, then of course you do, but many people are not up to date on all of the horse lingo.
Just like human babies, a horse foal can either be a male (colt) or a female (filly). When a mare (adult female horse) has a new baby, she is said to have "foaled." Some people refer to foals as "sucklings" once they are able to stand and nurse.
As the new foal gets to be 4 to 6 months old, they start separating from their mother. This weaning process can be different for various foals, but people often refer to the foal as a "weanling" once this occurs.
Once the baby horse is one year old, it is referred to as a "yearling," and when they are over 18 months old, they are sometimes referred to as "long yearlings." And, when the horse turns two years old, they are referred to by their adult names, mares or stallions.
A DIFFERENT APPROACH
You may have noticed that my two photographs of the foal are black and white? I don't use modern digital cameras to photograph and tell the story of the wild horses. I use classic black and white film because color photographs created with modern digital cameras recreate what you might see in nature, and while I can appreciate those images, it isn't suitable for my creative vision. I am doing something bold and different.
Black and white film allows me to take a step away from reality by removing color and enabling you to connect with the horses in a unique way that is centered on feeling and emotion. I want you to feel what I feel when I am with the wild horses.
Directly converting color digital images into black and white does not duplicate the feeling and emotion of black and white film images. For that reason, I am going against the grain of modern digital photography, and I am using classic black and white film to tell the story of the wild horses of Shannon County, Missouri.
I know you will love these new black and white prints when you get them in your hands.
I am in the process of making some new prints of the foal, and I will share those with you when they are ready next week.
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.
HISTORY OF THE WILD HORSES OF SHANNON COUNTY MISSOURI
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.
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.