These are Exmoor ponies, the oldest breed of native pony in the United Kingdom. Free to roam and graze on the moors, they can be difficult to track down. So I was pleased to find these young adults when I crossed Exmoor one January morning.
Left by their owners to fend for themselves, they’re wary of strangers. Approaching with caution, I managed to get within 15 metres, then used a 90mm lens for this picture.
The great thing about winter sunshine is that it’s never directly overhead. There’s no need to wake up at dawn to capture dramatic light. Arriving on the moors around 10 o’clock, I waited for the mist and rain to clear. And when I took this photo, just before midday, a backlit shot was still possible.
The lens I used was collapsible and made by Leica in the 1950s. Like many old lenses, it struggles when taking pictures directly into the sun. But if flare is what you want, look for an uncoated lens, for example the Jupiter brand from Russia. They were notorious for causing flare, even when they were new.
The main challenge with flare is controlling it. By trial and error you can get better at predicting your results, but there’s no magic formula. With digital cameras, at least you have instant feedback.
Do you like flare in photographs? If you’d like to share your opinion, offer tips or advice, I look forward to hearing from you.