Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ponies on a winter's afternoon

Click here to view the entire image at 1000 pixels wide.

On the road to Victor Harbour (South Australia) you'll pass many horse properties and not a few breeders. One of the most interesting and unusual sights is the dales ponies grazing in paddocks along the highway -- small, incredibly hardy ponies which are at home in the merciless winters of the northern hemisphere. Their winter coats grow in shaggy, to protect them from cold, wind, frost and snow ... although in Australia they won't have to endure much of that! This picture was oddly difficult to capture. The lighting conditions were deeply overcast on this winter's day, and the raw image was flat, murky, absolutely colorless. To get this result, I've used software to "tweak" the brightness and contrast, resaturate the color, and also sharpen the overall frame. To get good results on the darker pony, technically, I've tweaked the contrast too far: notice that the face of the white pony, and the rock, are actually burned out. To render this image fully "publication quality," I'd need to go in and correct those areas, adding color and detail from the original (flat!) image. But it's still a very nice picture as it stands, so -- here it is. Photo by Jade, 2006.

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