The scene itself is quite amazing and dynamic shot is definitely worth a few points over the average, yet what really takes away from it is the framing; as the eye scans the picture, the first contrast element it finds it the horse, which stand bold and "frontal" in the shot. Only a at more accurate, second scan do we finally see the rider and the sand flying, thus makign the viewer understand what was really going on. Because of the cropping/framing, what should be the picture of a horse jumping (I assume?) turned out into a picture of a horse and of soem hidden guy behind it - while the idea was good, the technique brought it down a lot.
I really enjoy this shot, and I fell in love with it at first glance. Why? This image has all the hallmarks of what we expect to see in the work of Anders. Interesting crop, good balance and contrast, a few surprises - I'll go over these later.
I have seen several of the images from this event and many were longer shots where you see the jumping elements and more of the 'scenery' - a broader view, if you will. So here we are confronted with a compact, tight crop and it really works for me - nothing lost.
Like the other reviewer the horse grabs your eye, yes, but keep looking! What really struck me is the play between the 'softer' elements and what we can only imagine to be intense concentration of the jump.
Ok, let's dig in - notice first what I call the softer elements - the sheeps wool covered strap across the horses chest. Now look at the reign coming from the horses nose, looping down and up to the rider. Frida's soft shoulder and line of the arm. And finally the small sprig of wheat grass on the left.
There is no tension in these softer elements - but now think for a minute at what is going on here! Horse and rider are flying (at a high speed) over a log covered with straw - and we are subtly reminded of this by the spray of sand or water flying up from the horse's foreleg! Look also at the horse's nostrils, flaring as he brings in air to keep his muscles oxygenated. He's workin!
That tension created between action and softness is great.
Are we done? No way. How do we connect Frida and Herta? Take a close look at the mane - wow... the mane fuses horse and rider - they are one. A combined will focused on a jump.
Don't go away, there's more. I want you to look at two things now - the hats and the eyes. Let's take the eyes first - any Anders shot will always have eyes that speak volumes. All we see is one of Frida's eyes and one of the horses eyes. Are they one focused unit? Yes or yes? Do they have the same goal? Yes or yes?
Oh and I LOVE the little cap on the horse (it's almost comical) which mimics the rider's - more playful on the horse, but compositionally unifying - look once more now at the eyes and the caps - do you see anything else? Caps and eyes form a portrait that make the two into one. Now suddenly that is all you can see.
Thanks again Anders for a great shot - I can tell you there is a lot of thought that goes into any shot Anders posts up here.
Hi Anders. I like it. We have discussed preferences before, if this was my picture I would have cropped the picture more! Down to just the horse and rider and then titled it "Aye for an Eye" but that's using Scottish words!
Wow, I love how the cropping drew so much attention to the face of the rider, which oftentimes gets ignored in equestrian photography. I'm not sure if it's the juxtaposition of the dark mane against her light face, but it's hard to tear my eye away from the determination and thought that is expressed by her eyes and brow.