Merriewold would like to express our thanks to everyone that participated in this year’s contest.Â The event is always great fun for us and the number of entries grows every year!Â We had 189 this year – up from 164 in 2014. Â Participants were from 5 countries – USA, Canada, Australia, Germany and Sweden, and Â 31 states.
This year’s Judge, Susan Derr Drake, took the time to write a few comments for each of the top four winning images.
AND THE WINNERS ARE….
(click on images to enlarge)
First Place:Â Rain Koko’s Gigolo
by Claudia Kunne
“The photographic excellence of Rain Koko’s Gigolo also captures the Morgan horse’s classic characteristics of a compact, muscular but refined build with a long and well-muscled croup, laid back shoulders with a well-arched neck and expressive head. This photo was taken at that perfect moment in time when the stunning animated motion was stopped in focus and the horse seems to look right through you as the nostrils take in all that you are. The backlighting of the mane, tail and body give texture and shape to their inherent beauty. Wow!”
Second Place:Â Colours of Australia
by Michele Meijer
“In stride with natural animation, in natureâ€™s picturesque setting, with a rainbow of colors throughout, while capturing the bold beauty of the Morgan horse, puts this photo at the top of the list. You can feel their strength, elastic freedom and the essence of versatility to do anything for which the Morgan is famous.Â Compositionally, the strong â€˜Golden Ratioâ€™ really works combined with the sharp focus of the subject. Stunning!”
Third Place:Â Big Ridge Lippitt Robin by Alex Whitfield
“A wonderful quality of the Morgan horse is itâ€™s ability to connect lovingly to people, as seen in this very powerful photo.Â The horse emotionally and physically touches the heart center while the young one provides the space to soak up all that the horse has to offer. The knowing eye patiently waits for whatever may come next.Â Perhaps this is the ultimate joy and why we engage with them.Â Love!”
Fourth Place:Â Man Meeting Morgans by Monica Hammond
“Compositionally our eyes softly and continuously move circularly within the photo as though spiraling to a deeper connection between the three with each round. Trust, curiosity and reaching out to engage with each other, so classic of the Morgan horse, exudes from all three. The man kneeling below eye level reflects the trust back to the horses, especially the one feeling safe enough to stay down. The black and white aspect enhances the serenity felt.Â Awwâ€¦some!”
(click on image for Gallery view and photographer’s name)
“It was such an honor to view this yearâ€™s 189 beautiful photos.Â Each and every photo has a unique quality gifting the observer.Â Thank you to Merriewold for providing the opportunity to share such beautiful and heart touching moments of the Morgan horse for us all.”
~Â Susan Derr Drake
We would also like to share some Tips from the Judge:
1.Â Â Get a dust-proof, weather-proof, kick-proof camera case and keep your camera with you and shoot, shoot, shoot.
2.Â Â When photographing horses that you want to reduce distortion because ofÂ Â their large size;Â Â you can take the photo from as far away as possible andÂ Â zoom in with the longest lens.Â You can also photograph them from the Â¾ toÂ full side position rather than straight in front.Â Or, you may want that unusualÂ Â artistic shot from the front or back with great distortion to emphasize aÂ Â particular trait.Â Be creative and try many possibilities.
3.Â Notice your foregrounds and backgrounds.Â Move so that the backgroundÂ Â Â does not distract from the subject (like a pole out of a head) or move so thatÂ Â the background frames the subject (like trees on either side) or so that theÂ Â roads, fences or rivers lead to the subject.
4.Â The eyes are the windows to the soul.Â Make sure they are in the light and areÂ in focus for a more expressive photo.
5.Â Timing is everything.Â The position of legs, ears, tail and head can make aÂ goodphoto great.
6.Â Â Allow your feelings to guide you to the perfect place, composition, and timingÂ of clicking the shutter.Â Â When you press the button you feel â€˜thatâ€™s it!â€™.Â Â YouÂ know it is the shot before you even look at it.Â Â And be ok with shooting hundreds of photos to get the â€˜oneâ€™.Â Their contrast contributes to your richer appreciation of the â€˜oneâ€™.Â Â Have fun!
To view all the Photos from the 2015 Merriewold Morgans International Morgan Horse Photo Contest, Â CLICK HERE
Another contest comes to an end, Â congratulationsÂ not only to the winners but to everyone that participated! Â Until next year, Â keep those cameras out and clicking, Â Happy Photo Shooting!