FMP Experimental Shoot 3 – New Forest Ponies

Summary of Outcomes:


 

Best Outcomes:


 

Installation Experiment:

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Using PowerPoint, I created a rough mock-up of a basic formation, using four images. This allowed me to crop my images, and resize them to achieve the correct proportions. However, within the final installation, since the pieces will transparent I aim to use some overlaying to add depth and details, which I will need to experiment with in advance of creating the final product.

Furthermore, the use of only four images made the image altogether quite dull, which indicates that my final outcome will require a substantial amount of components in order to create a more substantial impact. This may also be beneficial in reducing the stark contrast of perspective within my photos, as a wide variety of portraits and macro shots will be used to create one image and may not be entirely harmonious.

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FMP Experimental Shoot 2 – New Forest Ponies

During my first shoot in the Forest, I had gradually tested the boundaries in which the ponies felt comfortable with me, and deciphered how close I felt I could be before they were threatened by my presence. Due to spending much of the shoot a distance away, I decided to return to the same part of the Forest (name unknown) in order to try and capture more successful outcomes.


 

Summary of Outcomes:


 

Best Outcomes:

After experimenting with creating a vignette and liking the outcomes, I decided to experiment using the same technique but increasing the brightness, rather than reducing it. The effect created was an overexposed border around a well photographed subject, and did not have a positive impact on the overall photograph like the vignette, as the surroundings became quite harsh and bright, detracting from the horse.

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As a development on the effect of lightening the surroundings, I decided to attempt to create a mist around the horse. Whilst this may have created an interesting effect, my own outcome was poor and therefore the experiment was deemed a failure.

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FMP Experimental Shoot 1 – New Forest Ponies

For my experimental shoots, I decided to plan a long weekend visit to the New Forest. The picturesque environment is home to over 3000 free-roaming equines, as well as donkeys, cattle and boars. This provided a variety of subject matter within the realms of equines, since they cover a wide range of types and colours, as well as offering an ideal setting, lending itself well to indefectible backgrounds.

For this shoot I was equipped with my Nikon D7100, with my 70-300mm Sigma lens for optimal zoom abilities. With suggestions to remain a lengthy distance from the equines for safety reasons, it was imperative that I be able to capture close up portraits and macro shots from a distance.


 

Summary of Outcomes:


 

Best Outcomes:

For these outcomes, I experimented with using techniques that I have found effective within my research, with examples found in Catherine Dashwood and Lindsay Robertson’s work, using Photoshop. To do so, I first subtly sharpened the images (and straightened the first image, balancing the mare). Following this, I reduced the saturation using the ‘vibrance’ tool, and then used the burn tool to softly darken the edges. This, however, caused those areas to appear highly saturated, and so I edited the vibrance again before saving.

In order to create a neater, more prominent vignette, I then experimented with using the marquee tool, with a feather strength of 200. I inverted this, then reduced the brightness and increased contrast. These effects, matched with the reduction of vibrance, create a soft and natural feel to the photograph, and while the model did not offer a pose allowing for better composition, I feel that this outcome is particularly striking after post-production editing.


New Forest Research – The Forest & Livestock

In preparation for my trip to the New Forest, where I will be producing a selection of my equine and experimental shoots, I have decided to focus a research piece on the Forest and it’s inhabitants.

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Most notably, my trip is due to take place from the 26th-29th May 2017, which falls within the release bracket for stallions into the Forest. The date set for the release this year was the 15th May, with all stalllions to be removed by the 19th June. Fifteen animals have been released for breeding, spanning across a wide variety of Forest sections. This allows a large number of mares to be covered without conflict between the stallions. Furthermore, with the trip scheduled in the Spring, the equine gestation period of eleven months also indicates a likelihood of youngstock from last year’s breeding season. These factors pose added risk when exploring the Forest, since the horses are excitable and protective. Whilst I consider myself to be well-versed in equine body language, I have not experienced working with semi-feral horses previous to this, so I am wary that I may not achieve a large number of successful outcomes.


Stallions Released 2017 (Name – Location):
Lucky Lane Warrior – Busketts
Cameron Luck of the Irish – Acres Down
Halestorm Branston Pickle – Hilltop
Sandhole Whispering Grass – Penn Common
Portmore Thunder Cloud – Wilverley
Sway Scrumpy Jack – Setley
Brookshill Brumby – East Boldre
Woodfidley Top Gun – Balmer Lawn
Haywards Impressionist – Backley
Knavesash Gold Fever – Withybeds
Skywalker – Ogdens
Lovelyhill Hendrix – Linford
Bakeburn Benny – Wootton
Bull Hill Major – Stoney Cross
Limekiln Brigadier – Matley/Ipley

Visitors of the Forest are encouraged to remain a reasonable distance from any animals, due to safety reasons, as they are, whilst owned, left to live ‘wild’. Therefore, most of the livestock may have feral tendencies and react negatively to human interaction. However, communications with a series of locals indicate that certain areas of the Forest are frequented by humans more than others, which implies that the livestock within the section are accustomed to humans venturing into their territory, and are more tolerant. One of these sections is called Appletree Court, located in Lyndhurst, and is the most local part in relation to where I will be staying. My research above also indicates that this year no stallions have been released here.

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Although the horses and other livestock are allowed to roam and live freely, agisters monitor the Forest to ensure the safety of the animals. This includes helping injured animals, due to road incidents among other causes, and humane destruction of an animal where necessary. It is well known that within the Forest, the animals have right of way. Despite being regulated to the concept of cars due to ongoing traffic, the animals have a complete disregard to the dangers of cars, and so drivers must be vigilant to ensure the safety of equines and cattle. Additionally, the agisters ensure that the owners, the commoners, of the livestock roaming on the Forest are meeting welfare requirements, and also maintain and construct stock pounds for use in the pony round ups, which it is also their duty to arrange.

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The round ups, also named ‘The New Forest Drift’, occur in the Summer and Autumn, and in these periods every equine is placed into one of the several pounds. These occur to remove foals for weaning, and to health-check the animals on the Forest. If an animal does not appear to be healthy, the owner of the equine will be required to remove it until the animal reaches a satisfactory state in which to be released onto the Forest again. Animals who have not been previously branded will also receive this at this period, with their commoners’ unique letter. Finally, the tails are cut into distinctive shapes which indicate which part of the Forest they belong in.

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