“October 4th, 2017 – Together with my travel companions Andree-Anne and Sabrina, we arrived late in the evening to our next location, Centre D’Attelage Équin-Star.
I met the owners of this lovely place, Sébastien Boutin and Sophie Moore, last winter when I came to photograph their KWPNs for a first time. We had been following the weather forecasts, temperature changes, and photographic conditions at the shoot location, and decided to take a chance at photographing the horses at sunrise.
A big drop in the temperature through the night allowed for the creation of fog to gather around the surrounding pouds, just as I had hoped for. Right after 7:00 am, the sun rose above the wall of forest beyond the paddocks, which provided the most beautiful backlighting, and the perfectly exposed background. We walked with our model, a young stallion, to chosen field where we noticed a large flock of wild ducks casually gathered in the grass. At that moment, I already had my desired image in my head!
I knew we would have only one chance to capture the image I had pictured in my mind. The ducks would only take off once, and I knew they wouldn’t be likely to return again after that. We had but one chance to get the young stallion to run an exact path through the paddock. With animals, of course (especially wildlife), you can never predict and plan out exactly what they will do in any given situation, all you can do is have hope and try your best to orchestrate things to go a certain way.
When the stallion first took off, he trotted lazily across the field, not seeming to notice the flock of birds so close to him. He just casually went past, and of course, they all flew off. While I managed to get some nice photos as he was trotting next to the ducks, “nice” was simply not enough for me.
One of my personal downfalls (although sometimes an advantage when it comes to my work) is that I always expect things to be as perfect as possible.
Luck was certainly on my side that day, because to my surprise, the ducks quickly returned back to their original spot in the field, as if they knew our work to create the perfect image was not yet complete. At the same moment, our equine model circled the field and decided to remind us that he is a young and virile stallion who loves to show off and release a bit more energy. As he galloped around, he seemed to take pleasure in showing off for the camera, asserting his strength and power as he playfully veered towards the ducks. As they took to the air to escape the stallion’s pursuit, I realized that this beautiful moment was happening more perfectly than I ever could have expected!
Through observations and experience, we could see the potential that the weather and the light offered us that morning, but it was the unpredictable behavior of our equine model and a flock of wild ducks that ultimately resulted in me getting this “lucky shot”. I was just blessed to be in right place and right moment, with a camera in my hand!”
Katarzyna Okrzesik-Mikołajek: website / instagram / 500px