José Castiel Equine Photography & Videography




About Me


My journey with horses began as a funny accident almost twenty years ago. While a graduate student in central Florida, I needed to find a hobby to help me relax and take me outdoors and away, however briefly, from my studies and the computer. Always having a great interest and appreciation of the visual arts, I took up still photography on a suggestion from a close family friend who had been an amateur photographer for some time.

With animals being a popular genre of photography, and Florida being the winter horse capital of the entire east coast, I decided to visit one of the many local horse shows in my area and try my hand at photographing horses in action. I didn't know quite what to expect because I had grown up in New York City and never had any interest in riding horses.

At the end of the day, before leaving the show grounds, I was approached by a lady who apparently saw me shooting pictures throughout the showgrounds, and thought I was some sort of professional photographer. She told me that she needed a videographer to videotape dressage lessons during a weekend-long clinic at her boarding stable, and asked how much I would charge to do it.

After first scratching my head and asking her to please explain to me what exactly dressage was, I made her an offer which she readily accepted, and my journey with horses began at that moment. Then my only experience with a video camera was using one to document the goings on of my young toddler nephew. One clinic at her farm thankfully lead to another and soon my level of experience and expertise with the video camera grew enough that it permitted me to approach other farms offering clinics by other instructors more prominent in the dressage world.

Soon after, I discovered why my first client was somewhat desperate in obtaining a videographer for her clinics. Many of the dressage riders in her clinics were beginning in the sport, and I didn't realize what a great tool my videos were until a few of them would approach me now and then and tell me what a great learning aid it was to have feedback of their rides. Although still not an equestrian myself, this gave me great job satisfaction and hooked me permanently to this new career.

Even bigger opportunities opened up for me in the world of show jumping, as some of the biggest names in the sport also held clinics in the off season near where I lived in Florida. After just a few short years, I had videotaped clinics for such huge names in the sport as multiple Olympians Michael Matz, Anne Kursinski, and Margie Goldstein-Engle. In the dressage world, I have also filmed clinics for such big names as Conrad Schumacher, Anne Gribbons, Gunnar Ostergaard, Terri Coote, Gary Rockwell, Joan Humphrey, Lynda Alicki, and Bill Woods.

The photographic side of my work, thankfully burgeoned as much as the video side. Many riders I had met at clinics needed fine portraitures of themselves with their horses. Although less lucrative at first, I enjoyed still photography more than videography because there was much more of an artistic element to still photography.

In still photography you have the freedom to tailor the pose and background that will make each unique individual horse look it's best. Next for me came opportunities in equine sports, action, and event photography, and my career in equine photography slowly began to snowball.

Later, I decided to move to north Texas since the more central location of the state in the country made travel much easier and afforded the ability to work many new and different equestrian venues.

Now some years later, I've never looked back to leaving Florida as I've been blessed with many opportunities to attend and photograph many of the most spectacular and interesting equestrian events and people in the entire USA and now Canada. Although still not much of a rider myself yet, I've felt the need to give back and share what many great things I have seen in the horse world with more experienced life-long equestrians who have not had the luxury to travel the entire country as I have.

I have recently begun a coffee-table style photography book project spotlighting all the most spectacular equestrian sports, events, and people I have photographed over the years. My book will be completed and published in the near future. Please check back now and then for more information. Also please have a look at the Portfolio section of this website, as many of the photos that will be in my book are there also. In the meantime, my journey with horses continues. Enjoy.


© 2001-2009 José Castiel

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