Horses and Icons of the Wild West in Winter 2018 Trip Report

By Darrell Gulin on Mar 05, 2018

This winter’s Horses & Icons of the Wild West trip at the Hideout in Shell, Wyoming—what I’ve always just called the Cowboy Horse Shoot—was my last tour with Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris. Retiring on such a high note was bittersweet, and will be remembered for a very long time by the images that were taken and the pleasant company that was shared!
 
There were so many highlights on this trip! Many can be seen in the attached slide show. Here are just a few of my favorite take-aways from the week:
On our second day of the trip, when the ground was frosty and the temperature was minus-8 degrees, we shot the horses as they were crossing a river—capturing the steam rising off their flanks. We photographed a herd of 70-plus horses running in fresh snow. As the sun was setting we captured images of cowboys and cowgirls silhouetted against that magic evening light. And, not least, there is the memory of almost getting our Suburban stuck in the deep snow, but luckily turning it around as my passengers—who had bailed out on me!—cheered.
 
Those highlights were just a part of it. What made this trip a success:
The people. From the Photo Safaris office staff, to the ranch cooks and the wonderful food they prepared, to the wranglers—especially because I have worked with so many of them over the years, and, finally, to all of the participants who melded seamlessly into such a great group. What a way to end my final tour!
 
The week was a time for learning, for correcting photographic mistakes, and for just having fun. On most days I took at least a couple of thousand images, as the action never stopped while we were out in the field. This took at least two back-ups, two TB hard drives, and flash cards of 64 to 128 GB.
 
A few photographic notes:
Capturing a horse and rider in just the right moment was done with the motor drive on high and with final editing back home. Using high shutter speeds in the range of 500 to over 1/1000th to stop the action. Using predictive auto focus, except when taking a portrait. Remembering that the histogram is your friend and will help you to get the right exposure. In the snow that was usually plus-1 compensation with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
 
Next year, the trip will be led by Jeff Vanuga and will be in very capable hands. Jeff has done many shoots at the Hideout both with me and on his own.
 
A last word in closing:
I have led workshops and tours with many companies for over 30 years. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris is, bar none, the very best. Thank you, Joe, for taking me on so many years ago. Traveling the world doing what I love—teaching and photography—has been such a joy.