Sunday, February 7, 2010

Three Horses

Week 32

These three horses were walking in the snow near Rocky Mountain House, a historic trading post in Alberta. Things in threes look natural and appealing. Three is lucky in most cultures and I've always considered it my lucky number (I have a 3 in my name, there are three brothers, and it just seems things come in threes).

We normally think of, and present, a photo as a single entity. But things occur over time and in different locations. Often a story works better with more than one picture. And artists have done pictures in threes (or triptychs) for a very long time. Early altar paintings in churches were often done in triptchs. I've even used them before myself, like in this fireworks display taken on the Buddha's Birthday in Brisbane.

This triptych actually started as one photograph. It was cloudy and snowing when I took the picture. The sun is behind me but because of the clouds the light is soft and kind of flat. The camera is a Nikon D3 in aperture preferred mode set at f/8 with an exposure bias of +1 stop which gets the snow white (I bracketed the shot) and the camera chose 1/80 second. ISO is 200 - I might should have had it at 400 to get that extra sharpness but it isn't bad. The lens is an AF-S Nikkor 70-300 1:4.5-5.6 zoomed to 140mm. The key here is to expose a bit more here than what the meter says in order to get the snow right.

To make a triptych I divided the shot up into 3 layers, each one with a horse. I then resized the 3 layers a little smaller and moved them on the background to where I wanted them. I used layer effects to drop a shadow on the background and make them appear to float on it. Then I rendered some cloud effects on the background and darkened it so the layers with horses would pop a little more.

Idea based on Three of a Kind, pages 134-135 in the book 50 Photo Projects by Lee Frost.


  1. ..Frank !! Excellent! I see a real creative and good eye:-) FANTASTIC THE EVOLUTION OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK, Best, Ilona Manini...Switzerland,

  2. Thanks! I am putting a lot of effort into it so it is nice to get a compliment.