Horses and Icons in Winter 2017 Trip Report

By Darrell Gulin on Mar 15, 2017

The 2017 Horses & Icons in Winter photo safari will be remembered as The Year with the Most Snow Ever!  I have been leading the winter shoot at the Hideout Ranch in Shell, Wyoming, for nearly 10 years now and I always cross my fingers that we will have a covering of fresh, new white snow on the open meadows, alpine forests and painted hills.  Well, this year I certainly got my wish—the most snow ever.  It began to snow on the second day of the shoot.  And it did not stop snowing for three days.  We had horses running in knee-deep snow, magical snow that was light as a feather.  It was fantastic!
I set up more photo shoots with the horses running in the snow than ever before.  Each night, I edited up to 1,500 images—just as much a highlight for me as the day’s shoot. Because of the large amount of snow it was a challenge for the ranch’s wranglers to get the horses to some of our usual shooting locations, but we found several new settings with deep snow—all untracked for that pristine look.
The entire snowy action I shot handheld and 90% of that I took with the new Canon 100-400 Mark II image stabilized lens.  I found that on overcast days the evaluative metering on the snow was at +1 in order to get the needed whites and the proper exposure to the cowboys, cowgirls, and horses.  With the fast action a shutter speed of 1/500th or greater was needed.  You can see the results in the accompanying slide show.
Next year I will lead my last Horses & Icons in Winter shoot as I will be retiring from Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris.  But, oh, what a trip we had this year!  What a high note for my penultimate photo shoot at such a wonderful ranch with such great settings and subjects.  Join me in January 2018 for my final adventure at the Hideout.