I was recently commissioned to shoot the Island of St Lucia for a British Tour operator, the client wanted images of the island looking it's sunniest and most beautiful, however mid June marks the beginning of the hurricane season in the Caribbean, sunny beaches and azure blue seas were replaced with a slate grey ocean and sea weed strewn sand. The day we arrived an enormous storm rolled in off the ocean making the Caribbean blue ocean look more like Worthing in October.
For three days solid we sat in the hotel waiting for the weather to break, we simply couldn't photograph anything in driving rain and howling winds. At one point the wind was so strong the palm tree on the beach in front of our hotel literally had its canopy blown away leaving a very sorry looking trunk sticking out of the sand.
On the very last day our fixer suggested we go and check out Cas En Bas beach at Cotton Bay, a secluded little beach at the very north of the island made famous by Amy Winehouse spending many weeks there as part of her rehab programme. She was photographed several times by the paparazzi riding the beach horses and relaxing in the sun.
It was on this beach, with only a few hours before our flight that we shot some of the best images of the trip. The rain finally stopped and the sun shone for a few moments, we were chatting with Marjorie, the owner of the beach bar on Cotton Bay listening to her stories of Amy and the weeks she spent with her, when her sons came pounding up the beach on 2 beautiful stallions. The horses were thundering up the beach at 30 odd miles per hour splashing through the surf, it was an amazing sight. The grey clouds and dark seas added to the beauty of the shots.
My favourite shot was the first frame I fired, the stallion is splashing at full speed towards us through the shallows, the bare back rider is guiding the horse as he is chased by 2 or 3 excited feral dogs that live on the beach. The scene just came out of nowhere, I simply wasn't prepared, wrong lens, wrong exposure, wrong sun position but it's just one of those situations the presents itself to you and you have to react fast, you've got to grab those opportunities