A Frosty Morning With Becky And Oscar

INTRODUCTION

I first met Becky at a local equestrian event and have since photographed a number of times at Becky’s beautiful yard, Burlton Manor, where numerous equestrian events also take place. It is a Wonderfull traditional yard in an idyllic setting, nestled in the Shropshire countryside. We first discussed the concept of doing a frost photo shoot with Becky, and her lovely grey horse Oscar, in the autumn 2019, so we set about a plan.

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Unfortunately, making such a plan for frost (and snow for that matter) can be a little tricky, as we never know what the weather has in store for us, particularly in the winter. Because of this, scheduling frost shoots has become a matter of monitoring the weather forecast very closely, looking for that dip in temperature, crossing fingers and, in all honesty, hoping for the frost to come. It takes such specific conditions, a clear night often gives the best chance, an evening when there is some dampness in the air, but not too much… there are a lot of components which make up that perfect winter morning and guaranteeing all of them fall in to place is near impossible.

The forecast, the evening before Becky’s shoot, wasn’t actually a clear night. We had cloud cover, but wit the temperature dropping to -3 I was hopeful a frost would form.

PHOTO SHOOT STORY

At first light on the 19th November 2019, a blue haze could be seen on the ground, primarily reflecting the small amount of moonlight peeping through the clouds. In that instant, I knew the frost had come! over the following minutes, light rapidly filled the valley below my house, revealing the vast extent of the frost, almost as though the world had been sprinkled with icing sugar. In the garden, cobwebs had become the threads for frozen pearls, decorating the hedgerows and gateways. A thin frozen mist had also descended which truly added to the magic of that frosty morning.

At 7am, I set off for Burlton and what a beautiful drive it was; through the Shropshire countryside, where every field was dusted in powder and each village so idyllic, with chocolate box houses lining the roadside, their chimneys puffing smoke in to the cold sky. On my arrival at Burlton, I could instantly envisage the images I would take, and I was exited to get Started.

We began Becky’s photo shoot by her arena, where strands stinging nettles, left from the warmer summer months, remained. This was the first of many stunning backdrops, with the coarse textures from these dried artefacts contrasting with the fields and trees far in the distance, softened by the frozen mist. Becky’s outfit and her horse’s colour matched this backdrop beautifully, making the image truly feel united.

After taking photos here, we ventured in to the field adjacent to the arena. At this point, as small amount of sun peeped through the cloud cover, just illuminating Becky and Oscar. You can see in the distance, the freezing fog hugging the tree line of the field. We had a slight outfit change here, where Becky switched her jacket to a blue poncho, which complimented the change in sky beautifully.

After photographing in the field, there was another outfit change, which saw a different jacket and shoes, as well as the addition of a hat. The location we chose for this was outside the house, overlooking some fields to the south. This was when something amazing happened, something unexacting which couldn’t have possibly been planned… Becky’s boiler released steam through the flute on the side of the house, sending this amazing haze across in front of the camera. It was one of those moments perfectly planned and is definitely something I would use when doing photo shoots in the future.

After photographing next to the house, we moved to the treelined with the same outfit. Becky’s hat was perfect for this, as it matched the last of the autumn trees with its maroon and bronze colours. I love the connection between Becky and Oscar here, the way he nestles his head in her arms truly shows the relationship they have.

We then went to Becky’s yard, where we used the beautiful brickwork of the stable block as a backdrop. These images, I felt, worked particularly nicely in Black and white and I loved the texture brought to them from the bricks.

The final location we used was next to the lake. Here we used two outfits, simply through another jacket change. This was the location with most texture, as there was a lot of old foliage in the foreground. This certainly helped to add variety to Becky’s Images.

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