A truly remarkable breed of horse lives along the coast of North Carolina. Often claimed to be the oldest population of wild horses in America, these stout little equines have managed to survive here, despite all odds, in the face of the very worse of Poseidon’s unbridled wrath, for some 500 years. More so than any other wild horse in the Americas, they are the product of their environment, of the ribbons of sand they eke out a living upon, of the winds, and hurricanes, and tides, and waves, and sand, and salt.
Officially, these horses are known as the Banker horse – as in the Outer Banks, which is the collective name for the islands that they live upon – and are the descends of the colonial Spanish horse, washed upon these shores as survivors of shipwrecks and failed attempts at colonization long before England managed to plant roots in the New World. Time and landscape have worked tirelessly to shape and sculpt these horses into who they are today.
Physical Difficulty: Moderate. We will be working from boats part of the time, with the possibility of hiking through sand, water that can be as deep as your waist, and even some mud (albeit very shallow mud with a sandy bottom). Participants should be able to walk up to 1 mile with their equipment. This does not mean that we will walk up to a mile, but the physical ability to do so is important. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us. This is not an extremely demanding workshop, but there is some physical exertion over the course of the day. Don’t let the water, sand, and mud part deter you. The main consideration is the ability to hike up to a mile with equipment on flat, but uneven, surfaces.
- Day 1: Travel to Beaufort. Dinner meet and great + discussion on logistics
- Day 2-4: photograph on the islands
- Day 5: Depart for home
Lodging: Not included. We highly recommend the Beaufort Inn, or the Inlet Inn. Many other options exist a short distance away.
Beaufort Inn: (800)-726-0321
Inlet Inn: (252) 728-3600
Participants: This workshop is limited to a maximum of 5 participants
What to Expect
- This workshop will be focused on mastering the creative and visionary aspects of wild horse photography
- 2 sessions per day on the islands photographing wild horses. 6 sessions in total.
- Access to a private online forum specifically for this workshop
- A review and critique of images throughout the workshop
- One on One sessions during the middle of the day to review and discuss your photography
Who this Trip is for
- This photography workshop is quite unlike just about anything else being offered on photography wild horses or wildlife in general. This workshop is specifically for photographers who want to learn how to see and think creatively. This workshop is designed to give you the tools necessary to take your photography to a whole new level. This workshop will help you begin to move away from documentary photography and dive into the world of fine art.
Are we working from boats?
Absolutely! A 24′ Carolina Skiff will be our primary mode of transportation on this workshop. As the wild horses we will be working with eek out their living on isolated islands, boats are our only means of accessing them. The boat that we will be working from is specifically designed for the waters that we will be traversing. Though boats will be our means of transportation, we will be doing most of our photography out of the boat either in shallow water or on the islands with the horses.
How do I protect my gear
Protecting your valuable camera gear on this workshop a top priority at all time. With that said however, doing so is much easier than you might think. The biggest concern comes from when we are traveling to the islands. Wind and waves can work together to send spray over the bow of the boat. This does not happen often but it is a possibility. By no means is this dangerous for us and its really just par for the course when it comes to using boats. If your gear happens to be laying out unprotected however, it may get wet.
In order to safeguard against this, we require that all participants bring what is called a “dry bag” for storing their camera equipment in while on the boat. Your camera bags will be safe as we do have places to store them. There are many photographic opportunities that can arise while we are in the boat. From sea turtles to dolphins, from birds in flight, to horses suddenly running through the shallows – the last thing you want is to have your primary camera body and telephoto lens stored in your camera bag and inaccessible while an unexpected and fleeting photo op occurs.
The dry bag that you purchase must be large enough to hold your camera and telephoto lens attached while being able to still roll down the top of the bag at least 3 times before snapping it shut. A dry bag that is too big can be cumbersome and allow for your gear to roll around inside of it. A bag that is too small will not allow for the top to roll down enough times to ensure waterproofing.
We recommend an ultralight roll top dry bag for this workshop. These are actually the inexpensive bags on the market and are preferable to this trip due to the flimsy material that they are made from. Heavy duty dry bags will work fine, but they are more difficult to manipulate and take up much more space on the boat.
We like to use Outdoor Research’s Ultralight Dry Sack.
Is there special clothing that I need for this workshop?
Yes and no. You do not necessarily NEED special clothing, however we do highly recommend certain key articles that will significantly improve your experience on this workshop.
We will be working in and around water the entire time during this workshop. You will get wet to some degree. Clothing that is not designed to dry very quickly will become heavy, stretch, and will become a burden to you while we are working. For this reason, we highly recommend that you purchase quick dry clothing for this trip. The proper shorts / pants will dry within just a couple of minutes and allow you to concentrate on your photography and not your wardrobe.
This is very important. As we will be working in one of the most productive estuaries in North America, you will need shoes that will protect your feet from all manners of different types of offenses. The biggest issue that we face are of course oysters, but sea urchins, muscles, barnacles, and a grocery list of over species can be found living in the sand beneath the water. None of these animals are dangerous of course, its only that we need to protect our feet when working around them so that we do not inadvertently injure our feet.
Our recommendation is for closed toed sandals or dedicated water shoes – again with closed toes. Companies such as Keen and Teva make excellent options.
The recommended Keen’s can be found here:
What size telephoto lens do I need?
For this particular workshop, we highly recommend a telephoto lens that is at least 400mm. In addition to this requirement, a zoom lens that reaches this is ideal. Whether you use Nikon or Canon, there are many great options for this type of workshop.
If you are photographing with Nikon cameras, consider either the 200-400 or the 80-400 lens. In regards to the 80-400, the VRII version of this lens will be considerably better for this workshop as speed of focusing and sharpness issues have been resolved.
If you are using camera equipment, consider the 200-400 or the 100-400.
Third Party Lenses
There quite a few third party lenses that are also suitable for this workshop for which we recommend the Sigma 150-500. Sigma manufactures both Nikon and Canon versions of this lens.
Is lodging provided on this workshop?
Lodging is not provided for this workshop. We highly suggest obtaining lodging at the following:
- Beaufort Inn (252) 728-2600
- The Inlet Inn (252) 728-3600
What skill level is this workshop designed for?
This workshop is designed for intermediate to advanced photographers. Though photographers from all skill levels will benefit greatly from this workshop, those with a working knowledge of their cameras will gain the most out of it. Photography is both a left and a right brain experience. However, in order to full explore the creative aspects of photography, a solid understanding of the technical side of the craft is first needed.
If you are still learning the basics of photography such as exposure theory and how to read and understand histograms for instance then you will probably find the Technical Wild Horse Photography workshop to be of far greater value to you. The Technical workshop does go beyond the basics of photography but it does not dive so deeply into the more esoteric aspects of creative fine art.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding this or any other workshop that we offer. To the left, you will find a simple contact form in place to make this process as simple as possible for you. We realize however that sometimes these sorts of onsite forms are difficult to work with when more lengthy questions and comments are necessary. Therefore, below you will also find the appropriate email and phone number, that you can contact us with if you would prefer.
Fact: flights get canceled, airlines overbook, snow storms shut down airports, family members get sick, doctors occasionally deliver unexpected news. Life is what happens as we are busy making plans. John Lennon said that, and it’s about as true of a statement that can be made when it comes to travel.
The recent loss of power to Delta’s systems that led to the grounding and cancellation of thousands of flights drives home this point. With so many variables and possibilities out there that cannot be foreseen or planned for, we highly recommend purchasing trip insurance for this workshop. The costs are surprisingly low and well worth the small expense. Trip insurance gives you peace of mind and allows you to know that if one of those little inevitabilities in life happens to pop up, you will not lose your money spent on your workshop and flights.
CSA and Travel Guard are the two big ones out there. But you can get instant comparative quotes through www.insuremytrip.com