Smoky Golden Hour Horse Portraits

This girl.  If I’ve ever had a muse, it might be her!

Erica was a student at Hanford High when I taught there.  Although she was not a student of mine, she was a student that most teachers knew because she was involved in lots of things, and a valedictorian, too.  I had the opportunity to take some of her senior portraits at Ray French Orchard during their cherry blossom time back in spring 2021, and they are some of my favorite images ever.  It was such a fun session, too!  I think we laughed the whole time!

Erica has been off to great things at Cal Poly, and was back home in Richland, WA this summer to participate in her last year of showing horses at the fair.  To celebrate her final year, and all her winnings both locally and at the state fair, she wanted to get some portraits with her horses Chilly and Smarty, their ribbons, and of course portraits of her too!

I’ve done 4 different projects now involving horses, and they have got to be some of my favorite sessions.  My third-grade self would be in disbelief that I got to meet this many horses!!  

First, we went down to the Franklin County Saddle Club, in Pasco, WA.  It had been a smoky couple of days here from distant wildfires, but the sun was actually starting to come back out, and it made for some gorgeous filtered light.  The Saddle Club was surprisingly photogenic, and I just love the dreamy way the light filtered through the trees.  We got portraits of Erica, her horses, and several different categories of ribbons, from both state and local events, and then we got some more relaxed-looking photos with the horses.  Erica is just gorgeous inside and out and working with her is always so much fun!  She lets me try new poses, trusts in the process, and has mastered the hair zhuzh!!  (YES, I had to google a bunch to figure out how to spell this word!!)

Next, we left the horses with Erica’s mom, and went down to the flower fields at Middleton Farms, in Pasco, WA.  The sun was starting to disappear as it set through the heavy smoke, but it made for sort of a moody end to the evening.  Erica and I had fun playing in the sunflower and zinnia fields!  Middleton Farms has done such a great job with these fields and they are a dream to photograph in!  I get to go back this week with two more families!

Erica, congratulations on a fantastic end to your fair career, and all your winnings!  Chilly, Smarty and you make such a great team, and it was a thrill to capture you all together.  I’m not sure how it’s possible to have so much fun at a session, but we do every time!  Good luck with your sophomore year, Erica!!

  1. Cherika says:

    Awe! These are GORGEOUS images of a Beautiful young lady!! That’s quite a few ribbons too! Great work to both of you!!

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