Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Letter From “The Queen of England”

For the past two years I have been working on a huge project

“The Equine Heritage Exhibit”

The purpose of this project was to create a permanent record of all the breeds of horses in Alberta.

It was entrusted to me – to locate – photograph and document as many as possible over two years. My original list had 40 different breeds, however by the end of the project I had photographed 60 different breeds of horses that are actively being bred here in Alberta, plus documented over 25 different disciplines outlining how Albertan’s enjoy their horses. This was an incredible journey for me personally, I met some amazing horsemen and women and photographed an array of fabulous horses.

For those who don’t know me – I was born and raised in rural England, so I knew the Queen was an avid horsewoman and as a frequent visitor to Alberta – Canada, I thought she may be interested in this project. So I sent her a letter.

I couldn’t believe it when 8 weeks later I got a reply

This is what she wrote:

Dear Mrs. Finstad

The queen wishes me to write to thank you for your letter and the present of the DVD “The Horses of Alberta” which you sent.

Her Majesty was interested to learn that you undertook to photograph the enormous variety of horses that are being bred in Alberta and that this record will eventually be held in the Provincial Archive Museum.

It was kind of you to send The Queen the DVD of this project and Her Majesty is grateful for this thoughtful gesture.

I am to thank you once again fro writing as you did, and your loyalty good wishes are greatly appreciated by The Queen.

Yours Sincerely

And it was signed - by her lady in waiting.

I was thrilled - especially knowing how many letters and parcels must be delivered to Buckingham palace every day.

So of you ever come over to my house, and have to visit the washroom, you will be able to read my letter from the Queen whilst sitting on the throne.

To learn more about the Equine heritage exhibit and see the pictures of “The Horses of Alberta” please visit

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Secret life of a show photographer

The Secret life of a Show photographer

Linda Finstad – Owner of A Sharper Image - Photography

It comes up a lot. Usually when I’m standing in line for another hot dog (staple diet of a show photographer)

Or when there’s a slow time during the day when I’m not taking pictures.

“So you’re the official show photographer?”

“Yes sir, I am, and I absolutely love it.”

“Well I don’t doubt it. You’re doing a great job out there. It must be great to Work only one day a week!”

There seems to be a lot of misconceptions regarding what horse show photographers actually do all week.

It’s perfectly understandable, after all, the only time most people see us working is at the show.

So I thought I would reveal to you what most self respecting show photographers really do besides take pictures every weekend.

Hopefully it will give some insight into what goes on behind the scenes after we leave the show.

The Reality is

Not the glam, high paying “Part time” job you would imagine, just like all the competitors after show its back to the office - we spend lots of time in front of the computer working on both the images and the business.

And not even a tiny time slot for “Partying like a Rock Star”

The hours are long – there are no benefits – paid holidays or retirement plan.

You are constantly under pressure to capture “The Shot” and recalculate your camera settings as the light conditions change throughout the day.

At the end of the day I am usually sun burnt - bug bitten - smelly and exhausted.

But I wouldn’t change it for the World – Nothing turns my crank quite like the sight of a beautiful horse.

And the thrill of capturing that moment of perfection in a dressage test as the horse rounds and softens and everything goes just perfectly.

To see the fruits of my labor please visit