Utah Great Basin Desert/Onaqui HMA: Quiet Time

Feeling the wind.

I'm still trying to figure out how I want to photograph horses. It's not about the technical aspects of the photography but the art of it, the story I want to tell. Spending four days on the Onaqui HMA gave me a clue to the direction I wanted to head. Is it the quiet moments? Is it the ferociousness of battling stallions? Is how light plays on the coats of horses and alights them in a myriad of reflected colors? Is it their quiet dignity or the sometimes hilarious interactions that I'm seeking to immortalize?  I haven't answered these questions yet.

I know I must document the lives of these amazing beings. I fear for their freedom. I fear that we are doing ourselves such a disservice to our heritage and country in the way we mismanage our caretaking responsibilities toward these horses. The good news this week was that the plans in Oregon to conduct experimental sterilization research on mares have been cancelled. The bad news this week is that the BLM may have lost its mind. Now 44,000 horses held in BLM holding facilites are now being recommended for euthanization in a misguided attempt to get more money for the BLM from the federal government. We look at mustangs as a symbol of freedom and independence. They are part of our shared cultural history. We name cars and sports teams after them. We admire their beauty, strength, and spirit. Yet we take everything we admire about them away, and are now playing financial Russian roulette with their lives. It is time that a humane and reasonable, scientifically sound and financially sensible plan be made for the management of all wild horses, those still free and those in holding facilities. Speak out, be civil, and demand some sense be brought to bare on this issue: whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov.

Below are some of the more quiet, poignant moments I witnessed this past spring. Enjoy.
You can view more photos on Instagram @pjkaszas.

Various bands spread out across the valley floor.

Nap time

A very good looking family group. The one-eared palomino stallion is very distinctive. He lost the ear in a fight with another stallion.

Someone wants Mom to get up so they can nurse.

The "main" Onaqui herd. The color of this grass I found difficult in certain lights when photographing horses of certain colors. It added a weird color cast I wasn't happy with.

Mother and daughter. Their relatively new stallion in the background.

Same yearling filly as above. Yes, she has a heart on the left side of her chest.

Boys being boys. The two bachelor stallions on the left I really liked. Their coloring is spectacular as their personalities.

This stallion really likes his gray mares. I tried over and over to get a photo showing off the glowing gold coloration but just as he struck the perfect pose he started to pee and that was just too much Photoshop for me to get rid of.

Bachelors and friends. The stallion in the rear I found striking. Watch my instagram (@pjkaszas) account for him.

Old Man (aka Gandalf). An old and magnificent bachelor stallion. You can't miss him and that mane.