Halflingers are one of the most beautiful breeds of draft horses. Their long blond manes combined with their chestnut coats makes for a striking horse. Famed for their gentle nature, halflingers were bred as small, but reliable draft horses in Austria during the late 1800’s. Their small stature comes from their lineage of Tyrolean ponies. They are quite common in the Alps of Austria and Northern Italy.
Bob Buck, a resident of Middleboro, raises halflingers. He graciously allowed me to photograph his team as he plowed his vegetable garden on a hot day in May. These two halflingers were the oldest in Buck’s stable. They worked up quite a sweat plowing through the rich emerald fields of spring.
To create this image, I wanted to show nothing of the modern world. This meant carefully including only the horses and the trees in the background. I made sure to keep an eye out for other objects from the farm that would give the scene away. In the original version of this image I accidentally included Bob’s shoe and the lower part of his leg covered in blue jeans. This was too modern for what I had envisioned, so I cropped the image even tighter.
Having the background of the green grasses and trees was not an accident. Once I had spotted this area on the farm, I asked Bob to turn his halflingers by that spot again and again. He obliged for about a dozen turns. This gave me plenty of opportunities to refine my images and wait for the perfect moment. Working with people and animals requires patience and sometimes with the right models, they will work with you to create an even better image.
This image shows Massachusetts as it once was. I am fascinated with history and what life may have looked like in days gone by. Imagine how an old farm might have looked in 1776 or 1660… By carefully including only elements that may have been seen in the past, I have created an image that represents my imagination of history. Can you imagine a hot spring day, with vibrant green grass and aspen leaves being backlit by golden sunlight? A farmer with two beautiful, hardworking horses headed down a lane of freshly plowed earth, drives off into the distance. No cars, telephone poles, cell phones or modern signs of life. Just a man with his team…
This Month’s Tip: Don’t be afraid to create or even recreate a scene. Sometimes you can get a second opportunity at that once in a lifetime image. If the moment passes and you weren’t ready, see if you can arrange the elements of the image to try again. In this case, I knew what I wanted and I directed Bob towards a particular spot on his farm again and again… It was definitely worth it!