Monday, August 31, 2009

Oregon's Mustangs

I am feeling a bit nostalgic after having another short but very productive visit to the wild herds in South Eastern Oregon. One of the herds I visit is scheduled for gathering by the BLM soon, so this may have been my last opportunity to see them in the wild. It leaves me aching and curious as to the new lives they may lead soon.

I am thankful that I was able to make this visit, and that I have been able to share them with a handful of select friends and my family. I know they are there for anyone to go out and find and photograph, but it makes my heart sing that I was involved in introducing them to a few that may have not have sought them out on their own.

Something happens when you are able to see and interact with them on their terms out in their wild territories. I know we feel as if we become ambassadors to the herds we meet. Something in us wants to keep them a secret to insure their wild nature, and something wants to share them with everyone we meet, because they are so fantastic. I hope my photographs can bring them to you to enjoy, yet keep them discreetly tucked away safe where they belong. I have only followed them for 2 years now, and already I feel such a great sense of responsibility towards them. I can only immagine how others feel that have followed herds for decades, and watched and recorded their progress.

The temptation is always there to exploit them for our own profit. I was recently asked about doing a workshop, taking people out to them for a fee to photograph them. It breaks my heart to think about people tromping all over, desensitizing them to humans, and possibly even endangering their well being. Although they are on public lands, available for anyone to research and go out and find, the task is not that easy. Something in me likes to remember I worked very hard for these images, and wants to keep it that way. I know anyone who photographs the mustangs feels this way. I could go on forever about the pros and cons of Madeline Pickens, her heart is in the right place, but never overlook the fact that she wants to make her millions on them also.

I know I am not the first to find them, I have shown others, and we are not the last to be with them either. I hope they are around for future generations to seek out and enjoy as they are. I know that a few of the South Steens herd will escape capture and continue to thrive, I find myself wondering which ones, and secretly hoping for a select few not to show up in the pens as I have grown quite fond and attached to them. I hope for the rest that they go on and find fantastic new lives.

I was heart broken to see a dun overo stallion I have followed in very poor shape, completely skin and bones, and not doing well. With a gathering on the horizon, this aged stallion may have a huge change coming his way, and I fear if he evades capture, that he may not survive the winter. When I found him this spring, he was strong and healthy, I wonder what has happened.

Here are a handful of photos I was able to take this trip from two distinct areas. Many of them you may find in the pens at the Burn/Hines BLM horse corrals available for adoption this winter and spring.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Recent works

As always, between work and trying to fit in some personal vacation, summer proves to be a busy time. Here's a couple of cool things I have worked on this week to share.

A mare and foal art portrait, I haven't decided what size and medium to print it on, but I will be offering prints for sale:

And an ad for a yearling paint colt for sale: