Category Archives: Photo Contest

2014 MWM Photo Contest Finalists!


2014 Morgan Horse Photo Contest Winner

The winning photographs in the Merriewold Morgans 2014 International Morgan Horse Photo Contest have been selected.  Congratulations to the 4 Finalists and the 8 Honorable Mention Winners  it was difficult making the final choices with so many high quality photographs.   A huge Thank You to all the photographers and Morgan lovers who took the time to enter their beautiful photos.

This has been a record-breaking year for our contest!  164 photos were entered,  about double the number in previous years.  Entries came from 6 countries including: Germany Australia, Canada, Sweden and the UK.  From the USA, 31 states participated!

Because of the large response, we decided to increase the number of winning entries by adding a fourth finalist and 2 additional photos in the honorable mention category.  And still there were so many excellent photos that our judges, Entera and Casey McBride would have liked to select.

Each year the quality and interest in our Morgan Photo Contest just gets bigger and better.  If you entered but didn’t win a prize, keep working on your photo skills, keep taking more shots and perhaps take a photography course.   And please enter again next year!

The Winners

Come Fly With Me, by Paola Anderson

First Place:  Come Fly with Me,  by Paola Anderson

Judges comments, “This photo is not only visually pleasing, well composed and technically strong, but it also is inspiring and tells the tale of a boy and his friend on a magical adventure.  This photo could be the cover image for a story similar to Peter Pan.   Congratulations, Paola on a wonderful photo!”

New Kid on the Block, by Vali Suddarth

Second Place:   New Kid on the Block, by  Vali Suddarth

Judges comments,  “This photo has interesting composition, dramatic theme and shows the beauty and character of the Morgan horse all in a natural, pastoral setting.  Well done!”

Peekaboo, by Tina DeLullo

Third Place:  Peekaboo, by  Tina DeLullo

Judges comments,  “A serene portrait that is artistic, creative, and also technically and compositionally well done.   But most importantly, it gives the viewer a sense of the character and beauty of the Morgan Horse. Congratulations Tina!”


I Love My Ball, by Corrie MacMurchy

Fourth Place:  I love my Ball, by  Corrie MacMurchy

Judges comments,  “Fun,  Funny, Endearing!  This photo makes you smile. And isn’t that what our Morgans do?  Make us smile every day. The judges wanted to give this photo a special prize for humor!   Wonderful Photo!”

In no particular order, the Honorable Mention winners are:

Focused On A New Beginning, by Jackie Dannenberg;  Love at First Sight, by Stephanie Tanner; Oh The View, by Dana Crossland; Beach Fun, by Robin McGrath; Wanna Share, by Michele Meijer; Stallions Poco and Calypso, by Danny Collins; Sunset, by Klaus-Peter Henkel and Diego. Morgan-3, by Jennifer Judkins.

Focused On A New Beginning, by Jackie Dannenberg     Love at First Sight, by Stephanie Tanner

Oh The View, by Dana Crossland     Beach Fun, by Robin McGrath

Wanna Share, by Michele Meijer     Stallions Poco and Calypso, by Danny Collins

Sunset, by Klaus-Peter Henkel     Diego. Morgan-3, by Jennifer Judkins

Bj. deCastro has written an article exclusively for the Merriewold Morgans Annual Photo Contest called, “12 Tips on how to get that Award-Winning photo of your horse” for the aspiring photographers.

Click here to see all the 2014 photo entries.

That brings us to the end this year’s contest.   We look forward to another year and our 6th annual contest in 2015!  See you all then!  And keep taking those photos of your Morgans!



12 Tips on how to get that Award-Winning photo of your horse

Photographing your horseIn this wonderful age of technology, you no longer need fancy camera equipment to get that Award-Winning photo of your horse.  The camera on your smartphone, some time in practicing and a little luck in being camera-in-hand at the right moment will do it.   Start with 100 pics each session and you should have 1 spectacular one.  As you practice, you will end up with 2 good ones, then 3 and so on.

Here are some tips that I have learned in my 18+ years of studio work that you can practice with:

1.  Consider your composition and place your subject ‘off-center’.  It is often said that an artist spends more time planning where they want the viewer’s eye to travel – than actually painting.  It’s the same with photography.  This careful thought into the composition (where items/subjects rest in the real estate of your picture) determines if the viewer’s eye is going to hang out for awhile and be entertained…or if it’s going to see 1 point of interest and leave.

Placing your subject slightly off-center with enticing paths in the background for the eyes to follow will keep the viewer looking at your image.  Try colorful objects, figures, fences, roads, horizons, mountaintops, tree-lines, shorelines, footsteps in the sand, etc.   Then bring the eye back to your main subject.  Look at a pic now and pay attention to where your eye ball moves.  See what I mean?

2.  Thanks to the Delete button, we have lots of new creative powers.  Use the ‘action’ or ‘sports’ multi-shutter setting on your camera.  Then pick the best one and delete the rest.  This is wonderful for getting that perfect leg position or the best wind-blown mane.  Even with still shots, if the horse flinches, you should have a good one before or after the flinch.

3.  The subject should be at least 75% of the image and the background 25% for head, shoulders or body shots.  For Scenic shots, the horse should be at least 25% of the image.

4.  The best times to shoot are in the late afternoon when the shadows are long.  Or early in the morning when the light is brightest and warmest in color and the shadows are still long.  Never shoot at high noon.  The 2D camera will have no contrast to work with and your images will be flat.

5.   Subject in the sun.  You in the shade.  This will prevent any light from hitting the lens and causing distortions, blurring and faulty colors.

6.  Windy days can make dramatic shots.  The flowing mane and landscaping will bring ‘action’ to still subjects.

7.  Notice the color of the background.  White horse/grey barn…not good.  White horse/green trees..beautiful contrast.  Sometimes just taking a step or twisting left or right will change your background from crappy to gorgeous!

8.  Ears forward for portrait shots.  Use a treat or a reactionary command if needed.

9.  No posing – you or the horse.  When the brain sees a pic, it knows the body isn’t there, so the emotion is one of voyeurism or being a ‘peeping Tom’.  Making up a story is it’s first reaction, so it knows how to file and prioritize the data the eyes are logging.  If the subjects are posed, then the brain tells the eyes to move on…there is no story here that I can create.

10.  Don’t over-filter…either pre-shot or post-shot.  Pre-shot is with your camera settings/apps and Post-shot is with your editing software/apps.  It’s obvious and unattractive.  Just take a new shot.

11.  An intimate subject/moment calls for intimate framing.  Don’t be afraid to pull the viewer in by zooming in a little bit more.  On the other hand…

12.  Is it micro-photo art or did you zoom in a bit too much?  There is no expression in the eyeball itself.  If you are fascinated by the mirror images that reflect in your horses eye when you get really close, then you WILL need the special micro lenses and equipment that make that image work.  Close-up portraiture needs the horses natural means of communicating emotion to  create that story for the viewer – i.e., head tilt, eye lids, ear postions, mouth/lip/tongue movements, clear focus and lighting.  And/or an intimate moment with another subject or object – like a wind-blown piece of mane, a leafy branch, a worn and story-filled bridle, etc.

Mute your phone and go create!  Your horse will love the attention and your brain will love the exercise.

Bj. deCastro


2014 Merriewold Morgans International Photo Contest

2014 International Morgan Horse Photo Contest StartsGrab your cameras!   Search through your photos!  Join in the fun and win great prizes!  Merriewold Morgans is having our 5th Annual Photo Contest celebrating the Magnificent Morgan Horse.  Entry is FREE and will be judged by equine photographer, Casey McBride and  fine artist and life-long equestian, Entera.

Work will be judged on the following criteria:
  • Effectiveness in conveying the beauty or unique character of the Morgan horse
  • Artistic creativity (Unique vision in perspective, action or feeling in the photograph.)
  • Natural theme (We are not looking for conformation shots.)

All entries will be displayed at the Merriewold Gallery.  Prizes will be awarded for the top three images. *You can view all the entries in the Photo Contest Album any time during the contest.


Merriewold MorgansAll prizes are donated by Merriewold Morgans.

1st Place Prize is a large coffee table photo book,  EQUINE BEAUTY, A Study of Horses, by Raphael Macek.

1st Place PrizeBeautiful, artistic, dramatic and sumptuous are some of the words that come to mind looking at these magnificent images of the Horse.  The legendary and complex relationship between humans and horses is an enduring one.  The horse’s distinctive blend of grace and strength and it’s sleek beauty has long been analyzed, admired and represented in artistic form–whether through painting, sculpture or photography.  Raphael Macek’s inspiring images of equine majesty feature both close-ups and complete figures against the backdrops of artful landscapes.

2nd Place Prize is a Limited First Edition,  Collector’s Boxed Copy with Certificate of Authenticity of the book, America’s Own, A Celebration of America and It’s Horse.  

2nd Place PrizeThis book pays tribute to America’s first breed of horse, the Morgan, through 50 true stories of the Morgan’s amazing influence on the America we know today.   Through this combination of both famous and lesser-known anecdotes, you’ll experience and discover how the Morgan Horse shaped the development of the East Coast, took the horse racing world by storm, changed the course of history in the Civil War, settled the Western Frontier as the mount of the pioneer, connected the nation through the Pony Express, and so much more.

3rd Place Prize is a book, Photographing HORSES – How to Capture the Perfect Equine Image, by Lesli Groves.

3rd Place PrizeThis book is for people with an affinity for horses, regardless of their affinity for cameras.  Logically, they have the greatest appreciation for better horse pictures, even if they don’t have a clue how to take them.
Through the camera you develop a more discerning eye for horses.  You distinguish more in their individual conformation and the dynamics of their movement, their expressions and behavior.
Horse photography does not lend itself to a traditional “how-to” approach, except at the most elementary level.  It is not like paint-by-numbers.  We don’t all have the same expectations, nor are we working with predictable ingredients.  And that’s the beauty of it.  Our photos are unique images of unique individuals.

How to Enter:

Submit via email, by September 1, 2014, 1-3 of your images in the format stated below in the rules.

Submit to: (


  1. Amateurs only. (‘amateur’ means you do not get paid for your work.)
  2. Morgan horses only. (Horses can be at liberty or under saddle.)
  3. Photography only. No “graphics”, logos or Photoshop-type entries allowed. Minor adjustments such as light/contrast, cropping, etc., is allowed using your favorite graphics/image program.
  4. You may enter up to 3 images.  (Previous years 1st-3rd winning entries can not be resubmitted and are not eligible to win again.)
  5. Entries must be received by September 1, 2014.
  6. Email digital files only. No snailmail entries.
  7. Entries must be .jpg and a minimum of 400 pixels wide and a  maximum of 600 pixels wide at 72 dpi.
  8. Your full name, Country and the photo title must be included in email. Name your file with title of your photo. I.e., attachment file: myprettymorgan.jpg


  • April thru September 1, 2014: Entries received.
  • During the month of September: Judging.
  • October 2014: Winners announced in the Fall Newsletter issue. *Sign up for our Newsletter here!


  1. Subscription to our Newsletter is not required to enter.
  2. Merriewold Morgans, it’s partners or sponsors are not responsible for any copyright infringement concerning the entries submitted by you and posted on the website.
  3. Email submittal of your entries warrants and guarantees that you are the original creator and owner of each entry image.
  4. No monetary award will be afforded in lieu of prizes.
  5. By submitting your entry, you acknowledge and give consent for the display of said images on the website indefinitely and without monetary consideration. Consent also applies to any winning images that “may” be used in advertising campaigns; media promoting or reporting on the contest for this, or coming years.


Casey McBrideCasey McBride has been photographing horses of all types for the past 27 years. He started working for his grandfather, Jack Schatzberg, at the age of 13 working in the darkroom, getting ears up, win shots, shooting halter horses and traveling the nation.   In his early 20’s he was ready to start on his own and started Casey McBride Photography (   Since that time he averages 35,000 miles each horse show season traveling from the East to West Coast shooting all types and breeds of horses from Mini’s to Drafts, Morgan’s to Quarterhorse’s, and Saddlebred’s to Mules!  When he’s not in the middle of the Horse Show arena he lives in Phoenix Arizona with his beautiful daughter Hannah and his beloved Lab, Anni.


Entéra’s work is included in many national collections, both private and corporate, and is increasingly being sought out by astute collectors. She is an Artist Member of the internationally prestigious California Art Club, as well as a member of the Santa Barbara Sculptor’s Guild and Santa Barbara Art Association.  In addition to her fine arts, Entéra’s skill as a draftsman and portraitist has demonstrated itself in her amazing ability to draw cartoon portraits in a few minutes, and over the last 25 years she has entertained with her quick sketches at thousands of parties and events throughout the country, including dozens for celebrities.

Merriewold Morgans


Merriewold Morgans

10515 La Ranchita Lane
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Morgan Sport & Show Horses for the Competitive Owner and Rider.
Breeding Stock for the Quality Morgan Breeder.
Family and Pleasure Horses for the Morgan Enthusiast.



2013 MWM Photo Contest WINNERS!

2013winners-thumbThe top photos in our 2013 Morgan Horse Photo Contest have been selected.  Congratulations to the 3 Finalists and the 6 Honorable Mention Winners.  And a huge Thank You to everyone who took the time to enter their photos.  The only thing better that our Morgan horses…is the fun of photographing them!

Bob Langrish our esteemed judge and internationally renowned equestrian photographer, said that this year was particularly hard for him as there were so many great photos.   He was sorry that he could only select 9 photos and reluctantly had to edit out several to stay within that number.

We are gratified that each year the quality and interest in our Morgan Photo Contest just gets better and better.  So, if you entered but didn’t win a prize, keep working on your photo skills, keep taking more shots or perhaps take a photography course.   And please enter again next year!


1-Black_ Beautiful_ Baroque_For the second year in a row Michele Meijer of Crystanby Morgans in Australia has taken the first place,  This year with her photo, Black Beautiful Baroque.  Congratulations Michele!

Judges comments, “I like the strength of the horse, the sharpness, light/shadows and conformation (although it was not one of your strictures).  There is so much presence in this horse.” 


2-Rain Gigolos Vincent PriceClaudia Kunne of Germany took second place with her photo, Rain Gigolos Vincent Price.

Judges comments, “It is the sort of shot that I would take and it just captures the foal’s majestic character.”  Way to go Claudia!


3-How You Doin_MWIn third place from California is Linda Lanzoni’s photo,  How You Doin.  Congratulations Linda!

Judges Comments, “This is one fun shot which could be used on cards and calendars all over the world.”  



Bob had comments for the Honorable Mention photos, as well, “The other six – and I love the ‘eye’, are all good equestrian shots, which I would have been happy to have taken myself.  The eye is always a powerful picture and somehow, being black and white makes it more interesting and takes me back 40 years!  The action pictures speak for themselves, being there at the right time.   But the little grey trotting has been captured at exactly the right moment - that is the epitome of a dressage shot with a dark sky, which enhances the outline of the horse.  If it had been a white sky the picture would have been lost.”

In no particular order, the Honorable Mention winners are:
Looking into the Horses Soul, by Lexi Kasch; Crystandy Hrimfaxi by Rafael Sallis; Are You My Daddy, by Stephanie Tanner; Sonny Showing Off for Mom, by Debra I Smith; Boy Play, by Rafael Sallis and SHMH Contessa – our 2013 Filly, by Regina Reiter.

Looking into the Soul of a Horse Crystanby Hrimfaxi Are You My daddy Sonny Showing Off for Mom Boy Play SHMH Contessa - our 2013 filly


After judging the contest and reviewing all the photos, Bob had a few comments for the aspiring photographers:

“A comment on many of the other pictures, that could be helpful for the entrants another time is that the backgrounds are what make or break pictures and it is crucial to make sure that they are good, if at all possible.  Many of the really nice photos were not chosen for that reason.  The kitten and the horse is a very cute shot, which I kept in, but what a pity they didn’t move the green and yellow bucket from behind!”

Thank you Bob Langrish,  for your help with this contest and for your wonderful photographic work!

To View All the Photos in the 2013 Contest…CLICK HERE!

That brings us to the end this year’s contest.   We look forward to another year and our 5th annual contest in 2014!  See you all then!  And keep taking those photos of your Morgans!