‘Cruden Farm’ Equine Photography Masterclass 2022

‘Cruden Farm’ Equine Photography Masterclass 2022

As you can imagine, in the lead up to any workshop, or photo session, there is a lot…A LOT of weather watching going on. While I’m definitely not a ‘fair weather rider’, I’m always concerned about the conditions from a safety and enjoyment point of view for my horses, models and clients. Now if there are just a few showers forecast, I’ll be like… ‘Hmm that looks ok, we can shelter while the shower passes over’ and job done. However, if there are strong winds. thunder, lightening, hail and rain forecast, I tend to err on the side of caution and re-schedule. 

Having an opportunity to photograph at Cruden Farm was incredible. It was home to the late Dame Elisabeth Murdoch and her husband Keith, who bought it for his new bride as a wedding gift in 1928. It’s steeped in history and has a wonderful story, you can read it here. Dame Elisabeth loved the gardens and adored her horses, having the stables built during the depression to support local men who were out of work at the time.

When my friend Ruth visited earlier this year and told me all about it, well I just had to try and do a masterclass here. I booked the venue months earlier, of course not knowing what the weather would be like on the day, but sometimes you just have to wing it! There also wasn’t alot of provision to re-schedule as their calendar is fairly full. So when the weather forecast 10 days before our booked date looked ominous….I started to stress…alot! 

Thankfully I had booked the farm from late morning, initially giving me and the team time to get there and not have to rush. To get Athena unloaded and settled in, with my clients arriving at 1pm. Sadly the weather forecast had other ideas and the front that was forecast, was coming just after lunch.

So it was decided that I would start the maserclass early, in the tiny hope that we would at least get some great shots down by the lake and on the driveways at the front of the house, before the rain/hail/thunder and lightening hit us.

That proved to be a good call and we actually all stayed dry, right up until the very end. How Lucky were we!

We started down by the post and rail fence. Playing with leading lines, camera settings and letting Sara and Athena, our two beautiful models, dressed to suit the period and the grandeur, settle into it.

The light was soft and pretty and although it was a tad windy, we were quiet shelterd. Blossom trees and a rustic old fence add to the backdrop as well as the lake and beautiful house. It looked like somthing out of a picture book.

We then headed around to the front of the house to photograph on the main driveway, and use the grand columns of the house as a backdrop. On the way a beautiful opportunity arose as Sara and Athena walked past the stables, so an impromptu shoot was had…It was glorious. The light and the old buildings just made for some beautiful photography and we all took advantage of it.

While working around the front of the main house, playing with symetry and lines, we also played on the long tree-lined driveway, where Athena decided to show us her ‘Aires above the ground’ manouvers in an athletic display of enthusiasm. While I was busy talking and missed capturing the excitment, there were others who got lucky and have the whole sequence in perfect video and a series of stills. 


It was really windy out the front of the house, which is what encouraged Athenas little performance, so we decided to head back to the lake where it was more sheltered. The flowers display was beautiful as was the lkae itself, so many special moments were captured.

By this time the clouds were building and It was time to head up the the shelter of the stables in case we got caught out. The stone work and architecture is stunning and it was such a privelege to take photos with a horse in there!

Our special masterclass ended just as the thuder was rolling in and the rain started! I can begine to tell you how relieved I was that we made it through to the end and stayed dry.

Massive shout out and special thanks to my models Sara and Athena, both of whom were exceptional. To Athena’s owner Belinda for coming out in lousy conditions with a baby and a horse and making it work. Thank you! To my crew Ruth and Katie for helping out and capturing most of the behind the scenes for me. Thanks also to my wonderful clients who did an amazing job and took the most stunning photos, thanks for being there and sharing Cruden Farm with me. ♥

Now to prepare for the next big one…Bright Festival of Photography in October…bring it on!

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