We Simplify The Technical!

Nature photographer Scott Wilson shares insights and tips

for capturing the energy and raw beauty of wild horses.

*Please scroll to the bottom of the post for more images from our guest.*

Episode 177

Photographing Wild Horses
with Scott Wilson


The Draw

  • Semi-accessible, large wild animals.
  • Wild, raw energy that you can’t get from domesticated horses.
  • Diverse range of ages, sizes, colors and patterns.
  • Unique experiences every time.
    – Winter gives a crisp landscape and frost on the horses.
     – Spring is the time for foaling and fighting.  Males fight for the rights to the females in testosterone-filled, high-energy events.
     – Summer is quieter but bands of horses don’t stray far from water sources.
     – Fall brings the blooming of sage and rabbit brush adding yellow blooms to the landscape.

The Approach

Sand Wash Basin, CO

  • Horses can be difficult to locate within the 160,000 acres of the basin; you may only see the tips of ears poking over a rise.
  • Be alert, use binoculars.
  • Develop a familiarity with the landscape.
  • The most active times of the day are just after sunrise until about 11 am and late afternoon until sunset.
  • Horses gravitate to certain areas in different parts of the year due to water availability.
  • Respect the animals by staying at least 100’ away and using a longer lens.
    – Getting closer creates tension within the group and alters their behavior.

Safety in Wild Spaces

  • Traversing the dirt roads that run through the basin but can become extremely treacherous with just a little rain.
  • Be sure to download an offline version of maps to your phone as cellular signals are spotty to none.
  • Take precautions and let people know where you are (going to be) and when.


  • Be alert and respectful of the animals.
  • Do NOT try to tempt the animals with food, don’t interfere, and keep your distance.
  • Keep your compositions tight on the horses, but give your subjects room to breathe, especially in front.
  • Be aware of your environment, this is not a day in the park.
  • Don’t forget the landscapes! Think of the horses as you would trees.  Position them in the environment to create the composition you want.
  • Pay attention to the interplay of the sky with elements of the landscape.
  • Enjoy the time you spend in this environment with these majestic animals!

Finding Scott





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Scott Wilson UP3 - Swords Drawn
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