"Never work with children or animals" is a phrase much quoted in all forms of creative media, and did cross my mind when discussing the idea of photographing my friend's daughter on her pony.
Allan Wright is a superb landscape photographer, and fellow member of the Galloway Photographic Collective. A little over a month ago we'd been chatting about the shift in direction of my photography from intense head shots to narrative-driven, staged images, and Daisy the pony had found her way into our conversation.
When Allan talked to his daughter, Amber, about it, she suggested the idea of riding bareback in a white dress - something for when the weather turned a bit warmer - and dryer. We then explored the woods near his house and Allan pointed out they would be carpeted in bluebells within a few weeks.
A bonnie wee lass on a pony in a bluebell wood, with a low evening sun spilling through the fresh green leaves of the trees - what's not to love?
Arrangements were made.
Well, only loosely. In Scotland, the weather is not to be relied on.
About 3 weeks ago, the sun came out late in the afternoon. I phoned Allan, but it was too short a notice.
A week later conditions were ideal, but Amber had other arrangements she didn't want to cancel.
The following Tuesday the weather was perfect, and it looked like it was going to be the only day of the week where the sun was going to be out. Except that Amber had exams on Wednesday, was stressed out about them and was completely committed to revising.
My hopes faded. My intention had been to try and get the photo before the Spring Fling Open Studio event so I could display it as part of a collection of images highlighting my work. If I didn't get it now, then it would be a couple of weeks before we could attempt it again, by which time the bluebells would have gone and the leaves on the trees would be darker and thicker. It wouldn't be the same.
Allan said he thought the sun would return later in the week, even though the BBC weather site predicted rain. However, it turned out Allan was right. Decades of photographing a wide array of landscapes seems to have given him a more highly attuned sense of weather patterns, so on Thursday we were able to do the photo shoot after all.
In the end, the most difficult part was deciding which image I was going to choose to print up large to display on my wall over the Spring Fling weekend.
Below are a couple of images from the shoot. Click through to the album on my Facebook page to see more: