Learn contrast and optical balance with the review of "Horsing Around"

Review by Matej Tandara

"Horsing Around" by Jan Abernethy

"This image was taken a while ago while on a drive. I saw one horse on the hill, got out of the car and took a few photos. The longer I waited another horse came over the hill, then another, until there were five horses on the ridge. Two boys, as you can see. The hill was on an angle so image taken as it was seen. I liked the darkness in the foreground but wanted a bit more darkness in the sky, so recently edited it in Silver FX. I cropped to 16x9. Taken on Olympus 40x150 ISO320 1/2500 f8."

This photo is stunning in many ways but what makes it really stand out is the contrast. Not only did the photographer perfectly execute the horses silhouettes against the cloudy sky but they also captured contrast between the subjects.

Horses are known for being fast and dynamic creatures yet in this image they are standing still and almost look frozen add to this, the clouds which are usually slowly floating around look very dynamic too.

Dramatic Post Processing

Being a good photographer means being skilled both with the camera and with editing software, the latter helping to portray the feeling you had while taking the shot.

In this photo the editing has such a dramatic impact on the viewer that it captures their attention for a long time as if they were standing there, looking at the majestic horses on the hill, in all their power and glory.

Making This Photo Even Better

One thing that could be improved on this image is the optical balance. Since the left side is where the horses and the details in the clouds are, the right side feels incomplete and uninteresting. It would be much better if it was cropped in such a way that focuses almost all of the attention to the left side. Also, since the hill is completely black without any details, it would be better to crop this too. These adjustments would make the photo more interesting and make the hill seem bigger, giving the horses even more attention.

Suggested cropping example

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