Snowy gallop

I caught these horses galloping through the snow in near blizzard conditions. Autofocus wouldn’t work because of the heavy snow so I had to resort to manual focus and did the best I could in a snow storm with fairly fast moving subjects.

Specific Feedback Requested

Any and all feedback is appreciated.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Sony A7r iii
ISO 400, 1/500s, f/7, 100-400 mm lens @ 195mm
Capture One
Processed the image mostly to land on the right side of the histogram. I blurred & faded out the background trees and willows to get separation between the horses and background. I tried different levels adjustments to control contrast on the horses and settled on this. I also tried B&W, but liked the somewhat desaturated color version better.


Remember when manual focus was all we had? lol

Nice job overall with this. I think there’s enough crispness to the horses themselves and the snow. Maybe a bit too blurry in the trees, but that’s individual taste. The muted colors look good here. Adds to the rugged outdoors quality and the harsh conditions.

This looks great, Kelly. You’ve got the horses decently sharp with lots of blowing snow and tall trees behind placed perfectly.

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This looks really good, Kelly. The horses look plenty sharp, great feeling of motion and an excellent winter scene. :+1:

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Beautiful capture! Must have been awesome to be there in person! It’s like a fine art painting. I love all of the different colors and patterns of the horses. It’s like no 2 are alike. Kind of mimicking the variety of distinctly different snowflakes falling and blowing all around them! Even though we can’t see the individual snowflakes, the horses step in to convey that well known fact in a beautifully artistic way.

Thanks everyone for the kind words. I wondered if I overdid the blurry trees. Thanks @Kris_Smith for pointing that out. I agree and will bring some sharpness back in to the tall trees especially.

I’m pleased you decided to leave the colour. It’s just beautiful. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. You’ve certainly captured at least a thousand words. It’s cold, with horses moving knee deep in the snow with manes and tails flowing. An exciting minute or two before they galloped off.

The subtle colors work well. It’s a great scene. I actually wonder how the background would look without the extra blurring, as my imagination makes me feel like it might not even be necessary (the tones of the trees being more important than defined edges in providing the separation).

Thanks @Max_Waugh for the advice. I removed the blur on the trees and dropped the tone down just a bit for separation as you suggested. It improves the scene a bunch in my opinion. It brings character back to the trees and and you can see the background snow better which compliments the rest of the photo. Here is the rework.


Love the rework, Kelly!

Yeah, I think the reworked version looks just fine!

I don’t think you need total sharpness as the slight softness shows motion from both the horses and the storm which makes this so painterly. I think it’s perfect as is. I love the muted colors and near white out conditions. Terrific capture considering you were manually focusing. Well done.

This is a beautiful image of a spectacular moment. I prefer the second image. A terrific show with great dynamics. I like the panorama frame.
The muted colors are great, so I think it is the right decision to keep this in color instead of B&W.