Friday, October 23, 2009

Equine Heritage Exhibit

Pure Bred Horses Wanted

To be a part of a unique exhibit that will preserve the history of “Alberta’s Equines for future generations

Equine Heritage Exhibit

Exhibit Outline;

The equine Heritage project will explore the richness and diversity of horses in the most ambitious photographic exhibit ever commissioned by the Provincial Archives Museum.

The photography of award winning Equine photographer Linda Finstad will. Showcase over 40 breeds, their origins and enduring contribution to Canadian culture.

Horses were not native to Alberta, this exhibit will tell the story of how and why they came here and the important role they played both in the past and in today’s culture.

This comprehensive collection of photographs and records will ensure that today’s

Horses of Alberta have a place in history.

Why create such an Exhibit?

It was well documented by early photographers;

The important part horses played in the development of Canada - Heavy Horses worked on farms and in the logging industry , quarter horses herded cattle across the prairies, Mules carried packs and a variety of breeds were used as riding horses and to pull horse drawn buggies and carriages, Horses were the most popular form of transport. a valuable commodity to be bought and sold (like cars) they went hunting and carried pioneers on long trips. No one can deny that horse were an important part of our culture.

Over the last hundred years a lot has changed in our society and so has the role of the horse.

However horses are our inheritance and they still play a very important part in our culture.

Their roles have changed dramatically. They no longer have such hard work to carry out and the breeds have changed and evolved to suit their new tasks.

Horses have not only survived modernisation they are still a very important part of Canadian culture. According to a study conducted in 2003 by the Alberta Horse Industry - there were 17,224 pure bred horses , which revealed there are more horses in Alberta then anywhere else in Canada.

Today’s most popular breed in Alberta is the Quarter horse, the Arabian and thoroughbred are in second and third place - paint was listed fourth and the Canadian warmblood came in fifth .

40 breeds in all were recorded to make up Alberta’s equine population.

I wonder how that number compares to the horse population of 100 years ago?

I am sure there is a much greater diversity of breeds and certainly they have proven to be more versatile than ever imagined by the early settlers. This is a chance to not only showcase but also preserve in history how adaptable and talented the horse is as he excels at a variety of different disciplines.

This unique and historical exhibit will document where the horse is today, what he looks like and his role in society. Because who knows what he will look like 100 years from now.

This will be a comprehensive study of all the breeds in Alberta and their modern day uses, using photography and journalism in an easy to follow then and now style.

How to participate;

If you can answer YES to any of the following questions

  • A resident of Alberta
  • Own or breed horses
  • use horses to earn a living - ie.

    (sale, training, farming, tourism, exhibitions, competitions, racing, rodeo etc.

  • Own horses that 100 years ago had a very different job than they do today. i.e. ponies that would have been used in the coal mines years ago - now have a much better life as pony club ponies

  • Know the history of your horses and want their blood lines to be preserved for future generations.

We really want to hear from you!

Please e-mail Linda Finstad at and request your info pack

There is no cost to participate!

If you meet the mandate set by the Provincial Archive Museum for this project

Linda Finstad will contact you to arrange a Photo Shoot at your location and convenience.

The photo session will include;

o Classic conformation shots so comparisons can be made of how the breed has changed over the last hundred years (if it has)

o Action / Working shots - of your horses doing whatever tasks you keep them for.

o Liberty shots in open pasture or natural settings

o Horses with the owner / breeder - please be prepared to be in the picture - this is very important, after all you are the reason these horses are here in Alberta.

o Any other special interest pertaining to the breed - You know your horses better than anyone else and we are open to your suggestions and input on how to best represent your breed.

Information will be collected in the form of submitted questionnaires and recorded interviews

Photo Shoots will be conducted from April to October

Commencing April 2009 and hopefully completing the project by 2011

You can track the progress of this exhibit by visiting - click on Heritage

Wildlife Photography by Linda Finstad

My Big Adventure  

 I always dreamed of being a photographer for National Geographic, dashing off to exotic locations to capture stunning images of the wildlife.

But opportunities like that are few and far between. Especially for a middle aged English woman. So when I heard about a ranch in Montana that guaranteed to show you wild animals, I was dizzy with excitement.

Perhaps my dream could come true after all - all be it a little modified.

 So armed with a bag of butties and some bug spray I set of to Montana on my big adventure.

I was assigned a guide who assured me he would steer me in the direction of the wild canines and felines in the area.  He certainly made good on his promise.

Stalking wild animals is not for sleepy heads. We set off just before dawn, he knew of a place where a small pack of wolves usually gather early morning – if you wait till it starts to get warm they have usually found a nice shady place to snooze, and in this game if you snooze you loose. True to his word there they were, two males and a female so we quietly crept up on this intimate little group as they played in a clearing by the stream.

On the way back he took me to a very secret place where a fox had delivered two cubs a couple of weeks earlier. Mamma fox was patrolling the den site as her tiny cubs explored a few feet in front of the den – a very special moment. The fox knew we were there but she wouldn’t leave her cubs so we only stayed a few moments. It was not our intention to disturb or intrude.

The following day we headed off into the mountains in search of big cats. We were on the trail of a mountain lion by 5.30am and quietly watched a young male as he warmed himself in the early morning sun, standing proud overlooking the valley on a lichen covered rock. A sight I will never forget. Thrilled to have captured such an elusive predator of the mountains I thought we were done for the day but to my surprise on our way down the mountain we came upon a bob cat – much smaller than the mountain lion but just as beautiful in his own way. We watched silently as he checked out a small outcrop of rocks until he found a comfortable place to relax in the sunshine.

On our way back to the ranch the guide pointed to a hollow rock and told me to get my camera ready – and to my surprise a raccoon popped his head out of the hollow, allowing me to take some seriously cute pictures.

On my Third day at the ranch we were setting off to find the grizzly bear – until now I had not been worried about meeting the wild animals but remembering how much further down I am on the food chain to the grizzly - I have to admit I am feeling a little nervous.

We seemed to hike for ever through the wet grass and under gloomy overcast skies, until we came till we came to a clearing in the trees where a small stream ran through. There we sat hidden in the undergrowth and waited. Our patience was rewarded as a young grizzly came to drink from the stream and forage for food. I was so enthralled as I watched and clicked away with my camera time seemed to stand still.  I begged my guide to take me back to the fox den on the way home for a second glance of the cubs. They were so cute I wanted to try and photograph them one more time but when we got there the den was empty perhaps we had disturbed her and she had moved her cubs. Disappointed we started for home and just out of the corner of my eye I spotted something moving near an old tree stump and to my delight she had hidden her cubs inside. Mama Fox was nowhere to be seen but the cheeky little cubs kept poking their heads out to look for her. Providing me with the some adorable shots.

I really expected my final day at the ranch to be a day of rest I couldn’t imagine there were any more animals but to my surprise the guide had saved a little treat for last. He knew where to find a Canadian Lynx. He said there were a few in the area but they are very shy and blend into their environment really well so are hard to spot. This guide was amazing; he not only knew the area extremely well but he also understood the habits and behavior patterns of the animals that made it their home. Without him I would have been photographing butterflies and wild flowers in the meadow, not a shy elusive and exquisitely beautiful Canadian lynx on the edge of a meadow that was surrounded by aspen trees, we found her hunting around the base of a tree. I clicked away before she spotted us and darted off into the undergrowth.

 My adventure had drawn to a close but armed with some fantastic shots and memories I will never forget I vow to return.

to see all the pictures please visit and click on "Wildlife"

 Maybe I will never be on staff as a photographer for National Geographic but my experience with these wild animals has changed me forever.

 My wish is that the photographs inspire you to appreciate and value these beautiful animals. Only then will they be guaranteed a future.


How I got started by Linda FInstad

From Absolutely no idea to Apeturely Fabulous


A new year’s resolution that changed my life

 My name is Linda Finstad - I am a middle aged English woman.

 Every year for as long as I can remember I made the same “To Do List” of New Years Resolutions, that would make me slimmer, fitter even a nicer person. Every year for as long as I can remember I had to re make those very same resolutions come Jan 1st.

 Then on my 45th birthday I had a light bulb moment.

Instead of lamenting that I was middle aged and gravity was doing a fine number on my looks, I thought “What if I live to be 90 – I am only half way through my life.

Wow I may have another 45 years to complete any task I set my mind to.

Now I didn’t want to follow the pattern of the last 20 or so years, after all those weight loss, and exercise resolutions obviously don’t work.

So it was time for something completely different.

 I decided to become a Professional Photographer

A worthy goal to be sure 

I don’t know whether it’s a cultural thing, but typically middle aged English women rarely think of going back to school, they think of joining the women’s institute or volunteering at the local hospital.

 Which made my new Years Resolution to go back to school to learn a new profession extremely shocking to my friends and family.

They thought this one would end up like those of years gone by 

Failed and forgotten by February.

They were sure that the sheer volume of stuff to learn to create professional images would overwhelm me and cause me to quit and take up knitting instead.

 They were truly shocked when I enrolled for classes at Metro collage, and even more shocked by my genuine enthusiasm to learn everything I possibly could about digital photography, creative lighting and composition.

After completing all the courses available I was still hungry for more knowledge and information so I enrolled with an on-line photography school - and completed another 100 lessons on advanced lighting and commercial photography.

 You really can teach an old dog new tricks - by the end of the year I was ready to launch my new business – A Sharper Image - Commercial Photography

Launch date - Jan 2006 – exactly one year post New Years resolution

My target market was small to medium businesses that needed sharp, creative images of their products that they could use in brochures/ advertising and on the internet.

 Over the course of my first year I have shot everything from food to fashion, lots of art and some architecture, Along with a slight diversion from the original plan I attended Equine events where I photographed the competitors, which lead to Farm shoots where families and their animals would gather at some ones farm for outdoor photo sessions with their horses, dogs and cats. This was great fun for everyone - especially me.

My work has even been published in a number of magazines.

 This was a New Years Resolution that truly changed my life

 P.S. At the end of my first year I am also fitter and slimmer, due to all the extra activity - what a bonus. 

The reason I am sharing my story is to inspire other women like myself, to dream big and don’t allow stereotyping to hold you back. 

But this was only the beginning of what has been and hopefully continuing to be a Great adventure.

To see more examples of my work please visit