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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sometimes the story writes itself; other times we rely on a hunch or just make it up

     When I stopped to take photos of the white barn by the road (previous blog post), I looked to the left and noticed this horse showing heightened interest in something in the pasture. 

     There's an adage of basketball refereeing that I apply to photography: Look off the ball. Just as there may be a foul occurring away from the player who has the ball, there could well be a good photo to the left or right -- one you hadn't planned to shoot but was ripe for the pickin' (a legal pick, of course, to continue the basketball analogy).

     When I spotted the small stable to the left of the big white barn, my first thought was that the fog might create an interesting photo. What happened, though, was that the brown horse in the photos above was fixated on another horse (or horses) out in the field. At that point, I assumed he was restrained and the others were grazing freely. 

     "Hey," the brown horse said, "no fair! I want to play, too" (insert disgruntled whinnying noise here). 

     If you look at the second photo in the sequence there's a brown and white horse in the distance that I'd wager horse No. 1 wished he could go a-wanderin' with.

     Of course, I couldn't interview the horse, so I can only conjecture that this was what was motivating his elevated alertness. And at 6:30 in the morning, I wasn't about to ask the owner for her take on the situation.

     In my travels, I've noticed how much time horses spend foraging, staring lazily into the distance or sleeping while standing (a skill I've yet to master but someday hope to). They're fairly sedentary most of the time (things pick up a bit around Kentucky Derby time).

     So does it matter if the brown horse was actually fenced in? A scientist would say yes; a letter-of-the-law Bible thumper would say yes; a news reporter would join them. Actually, the Bible thumper might say it was God's plan for the horse to FEEL fenced in, but that's a topic for another day.


     Your creative blogger, your imaginative, freewheeling commuter, however, he or she could be just as comfortable going with a made-up version of the story -- in this case one based on a strong hunch.

     So I'd have to say the "Hey, I wanna play, too" scenario is not just plausible, but a convincing version of the truth. As they teach referees, step back, take in a broad field of vision, call what you see and, right or wrong, sell your call. I saw this horse very interested in what the other horse was doing. If I were the horse and felt the same way, wouldn't I gallop off and join him if I could?

     Case closed, horse fenced in. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. Since there's no instant replay in photo-blogging, all decisions of the referee are final.

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