Nastja Pungračič, horse photographer

Articles, October 2, 2013

“I like their beauty when you release them into pasture and I like listening to their hooves echoing as they start galloping … I don’t know where this love is coming from, since nobody in my family ever dealt with horses, but I do feel an incredible passion for these animals,” is how Nastja Pungračič gets all emotional when she starts talking about horses. With her it happens all the time, since horses won over her heart at a very young age.

 

Nastja Pungračič in action. She uses the Canon 7D, a 70-200 lens, 2.8, and a 16-35 wide-angle lens, 2.8. “Given the fact that I am covering sporting events, my equipment must be reliable and above all, fast,” she says.

Nastja Pungračič in action. She uses the Canon 7D, a 70-200 lens, 2.8, and a 16-35 wide-angle lens, 2.8. “Given the fact that I am covering sporting events, my equipment must be reliable and above all, fast,” she says.

 

Nastja Pungračič comes from Ptuj, Slovenia. She fell in love with the Primorska region when she was studying in Sežana. She currently lives in Koper with her boyfriend and is about to graduate from Photography at the Sežana college.

Miss. Pungračič has a very high opinion about her school: “The school has given me a lot, not just in terms of photography. It also changed my view of the world. When I enrolled, I didn’t know much about photography or equipment. If I only remember what kind of a portfolio I brought with me … But even my early photographs show that I had some sense of composition. You need to have at least some talent if you want to become a professional photographer.”

 

A group photo of mares was taken in Lipica during a show jumping competition as the mares were returning to the barn. “I knelt down near the fence and I photographed them. They almost ran me over,” Nastja recalls. With this photograph she participated in the Moja Slovenija contest and it was selected for an exhibition in the Jakopič outdoor gallery in Ljubljana.

A group photo of mares was taken in Lipica during a show jumping competition as the mares were returning to the barn. “I knelt down near the fence and I photographed them. They almost ran me over,” Nastja recalls. With this photograph she participated in the Moja Slovenija contest and it was selected for an exhibition in the Jakopič outdoor gallery in Ljubljana.

 

Nastja also learned the basics of design at the Sežana college and can now create her own logo, business cards, calendars, and other promotional materials. She can also design books and websites. She also set up her own web site where she publishes her photographs for sale, as well as reports and interviews from major equestrian competitions she is covering throughout Europe. Above all, she wants to work with one of the world’s famous magazine for horse lovers. In Slovenia, she is establishing herself as a horse sales catalogue photographer.

 

It took a while before they arranged a photo shoot with Manca at the Ugar estate, but in the end they really chose a perfect day, remembers Nastja: “Freshly fallen snow was still intact and the lighting was just right. It's nice to photograph someone who is truly connected with the horses.”

It took a while before they arranged a photo shoot with Manca at the Ugar estate, but in the end they really chose a perfect day, remembers Nastja: “Freshly fallen snow was still intact and the lighting was just right. It’s nice to photograph someone who is truly connected with the horses.”

 

She recently attended a one-week workshop with a famous horse photographer Christiane Slawik in Tuscany. “The workshop was limited to twelve participants, so it was a great honor for me to even be accepted by Christiane. I want to work with the world’s best horse photographers and I want to cover the biggest equestrian competitions. I can learn the most this way,” said Nastja, who would once like to photograph at the Olympics. “I am highly interested in the equestrian sport, so I want to follow the best competitors,” she adds.

 

Emmelie Scholtens, one of the best young horse riders in the world during a competition in the Netherlands. “To catch a really good pose, you must remain fully focused at all times. This is why I am mentally and physically exhausted after shooting major competitions,” Nastja admits.

Emmelie Scholtens, one of the best young horse riders in the world during a competition in the Netherlands. “To catch a really good pose, you must remain fully focused at all times. This is why I am mentally and physically exhausted after shooting major competitions,” Nastja admits.

 

Her ambitious plans also include a book through which she will teach people how to photograph horses. She will write the book in English, since she wants to sell it worldwide, but it will also be translated in Slovene. In spite her young age she believes she has enough knowledge about this subject, since she started photographing horses at the age of eleven. “In all these years I have accumulated a wealth of experience that I want to share with young future photographers who are interested in horse photography. With my book I will also be addressing the more experienced photographers who are already photographing horses or the book might encourage them to do so,” says Nastja.

 

Nastja photographed a black galloping horse with her friend Sanja in Ptuj. “I wanted to photograph a horse with the sun shining on him from behind in the so-called contra light. The horse was raising dust galloping which outlined its silhouette even better,” says Nastja pleased.

Nastja photographed a black galloping horse with her friend Sanja in Ptuj. “I wanted to photograph a horse with the sun shining on him from behind in the so-called contra light. The horse was raising dust galloping which outlined its silhouette even better,” says Nastja pleased.

 

“I enrolled in the equestrian club, and every time I went riding, I brought my camera with me,” is how Nastja recalls her very beginnings. As she focused more on dressage trainings her camera was set aside for a while only to be picked up again after her studies forced her to give up the riding. “Overnight, I decided to buy a new camera and start shooting again,” she recalls. Since horses became her way of life, this was the only way to ensure that she was spending as much time around them as possible.

 

“My best photo; composition wise it really succeeded” Nastja believes. A coordinated step of the horse and the rider was caught in Austria, at the licensing of mares.

“My best photo; composition wise it really succeeded” Nastja believes. A coordinated step of the horse and the rider was caught in Austria, at the licensing of mares.

 

She wants to continue her riding career in the future. “I want to have my on horses and train with them,” says Nastja, but even then she wouldn’t put her camera away.

 

From a competition in the Netherlands. “It is important that you catch the horse and the rider in the best position and at the best moment,” says Nastja.

From a competition in the Netherlands. “It is important that you catch the horse and the rider in the best position and at the best moment,” says Nastja.

 

Young mares on pasture. The photograph was taken with the Lipizzan breeder Janez Peternel in Gorenjska, when Nastja went with him one morning to feed the mares and was completely taken over by the wonderful morning light.

Young mares on pasture. The photograph was taken with the Lipizzan breeder Janez Peternel in Gorenjska, when Nastja went with him one morning to feed the mares and was completely taken over by the wonderful morning light.

 

A moment of relaxation between the rider, the horse and the caretaker.

A moment of relaxation between the rider, the horse and the caretaker.

 

Detail of a Lipizzaner on pasture

Detail of a Lipizzaner on pasture

 

“The eyes say it all,” said Nastja about the portrait of a mare from the Society for Helping Horses in Orova vas near Polzela. The Society provides shelter for horses which were the ill-treated by their owners. Nastja helps the Society by photographing horses and the photos are then sold at auction.

“The eyes say it all,” said Nastja about the portrait of a mare from the Society for Helping Horses in Orova vas near Polzela. The Society provides shelter for horses which were the ill-treated by their owners. Nastja helps the Society by photographing horses and the photos are then sold at auction.

 

Jumping Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The photo was created with a wide-angle lens during a show jumping competition.

Jumping Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The photo was created with a wide-angle lens during a show jumping competition.

 

The show Konjenikova pot in the European Capital of Culture, Maribor. “Even when you’re under pressure, good photos can be taken. I only had one night to photograph the show, the lighting was really bad, but I still did what I could,” recalls Nastja, who likes this photo a lot because the horse looked straight into the lens.

The show Konjenikova pot in the European Capital of Culture, Maribor. “Even when you’re under pressure, good photos can be taken. I only had one night to photograph the show, the lighting was really bad, but I still did what I could,” recalls Nastja, who likes this photo a lot because the horse looked straight into the camera.

 

A German rider Isabell Werth in a dressage competition at the World Dressage Masters in Germany.

A German rider Isabell Werth in a dressage competition at the World Dressage Masters in Germany.

 

Smile and the whole world smiles with you

Smile and the whole world smiles with you

 

“Horses can sense that I adore them,” is how Nastja explains this horse-kiss

“Horses can sense that I adore them,” is how Nastja explains this horse-kiss

 

 

ALJA TASI

Photography: NASTJA PUNGRAČIČhttp://photography.leanhigh.com

Translation into English: ROK SPROGAR, http://www.leanhigh.com/

 

Leave a Reply