Meet “Elle’s Bells”, a Buttermilk Dun Mustang, and Connie Beard from Extreme Exposures Photography
I was 9 years old when I got my first camera. It was a silly looking 110 Kodak. I shot everything. Then my parents moved to a cute little horse ranch and I acquired my first horse when I was 11. My love for both photography AND horses, quickly grew with me as I showed and raised horses.
In high school, I enrolled in a dark room film processing class. My first homework assignment was to photograph something I loved. Naturally, I rushed home to photograph the ranch stallion, Dusty. His markings were so rare. I wanted to capture his grace and beauty in the photo. I was so excited to take the film back to school, to develop what I had just created. As the photo gradually started to paint itself on the paper, my heart was skipping beats. It was magical. I made that! I stunned everyone in the class.
Shortly after learning the benefits of combining horses and photography, I knew I needed to pursue that dream, someday. I needed to find a good job in order to buy the kind of equipment professionals need to use. So I sold horse insurance for a while, then I settled with a job working for the government. It was when I was between jobs, that I started to pursue my equine related photography dream.
I realized that I had NO professional photos of myself with my horses. From this, I developed my business plan and started researching how to start making the dream a reality. I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy my photos of their loved ones. I wanted to offer affordable photos; Lots of photos, of people WITH their horses. I wanted to capture the relationship between horse and human. Hit life with a little bit of a candid approach.
My first event, I shot horseback, while the trail riders at the Springwood ranch in Thorp, Washington, came in for a meal. It was a huge hit! I sold photos to 3/4 of the hundred-some-odd people there. I also got my first invitation to shoot a performance play day at the local saddle club. Each show led to another show, and another; Then another.
It snowballed into a nearly full time job in addition to my “other” job which also was sending me to college. Aka, My REAL job. As I battled shooting every weekend of show season, plus my day job all week, I got burned out. My marriage was in shambles, I was too busy to follow my own direction. I had lost vision of where I was headed. So I took a job in Japan, so I could clear my head.
It was then that I woke up, I felt like my life had just begun. It was so beautiful there, so surreal. I took many photos, documenting my adventures there. I found myself. When I came home after many months abroad, I literally changed EVERYTHING about my life. I knew what I wanted and I couldn’t reach it for so many years, but now. Now, I had the opportunity.
Then my house was robbed and all of my photography gear was stolen. My passion in a bag. My smile factory was gone, just like that. It took me years to slowly re-establish myself under a new name. A name hardly anyone knew. But I was persistent. I redesigned everything and reopened my doors to business last year. I still continue to ride and shoot.
Elle joined my life 2 years ago, when I convinced my mom to rehome her. She was so sad looking when we got her. We swooped her up and gave her a reason to live. She will stay with my mom while in training. I feel so privileged to shoot her and have her in my life, she really is a beauty. She is the model for many of my business ads. In ways, she kind of reminds me of Dusty. Funny how life happens isn’t it? What is meant to be, will always find a way. Make everyday a success! Only difference, is now I’ll have the photos to prove it.
Together, we make art!
“A picture may be worth a thousand bucks, but the right picture, is PRICELESS!”
Connie Beard, owner, sole proprietor
Extreme Exposures Photography