Wild Ponies on the Beach (Maryland)

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Last year during my summer driving trip along the Atlantic coast of the United States, I stumbled upon a very unique place, one I had never heard of before, the Assateague State Park in Maryland.

The park is located on an island that is 60km long and less than 1km wide. The island is separated from the mainland by the narrow and shallow Chincoteague Bay.

During our stay in the park, we had a unique opportunity to camp on the beach and spent hours bodysurfing in the massive waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

What was even more fascinating was to find that the island is populated by wild ponies. I am not kidding. We saw them everywhere—on the beach and even on the campground near the swampy islands of Chincoteague Bay. They even tried to stick their heads in our tent in their ongoing search for food.

There is no single version that everyone agrees on when it comes to the origin of the wild ponies on Assateague Island. But the version I am more inclined to believe is that domesticated horses were somehow trapped on the island over 100 years ago. Since there are no large predators on the island, the horses flourished.

I took the featured photo on the western shore of the island that faces the mainland.


During our trip along the Atlantic Coast, I put my new Fujifilm equipment to the test. For the duration of the trip, it was humid with a lot of rainy days and an excess of sand. I was happy to have the weather sealed camera and lens combination, which performed admirably in less than ideal conditions.

Camera: Fujifilm XT2
Lens: Fujinon 18-135mm
Focal Length: 135mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority (A)
ISO: 200
Aperture: F7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/220s
Tripod: handheld

Editing & Processing

It was a single RAW processing workflow.

Lightroom (90%)

I kept the original aspect ratio (3 x 2) but I cropped the image slightly to improve the composition (The Crop Overlay Tool).

Next, I used Kodachrome preset from my new Travel Pro Kit Collection as the base for Lightroom Rapid Editing. Then I used TOOLKIT to boost the Contrast and the Clarity.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Kodachrome (9, 17, 25, 33)

Photoshop (10%)

In Photoshop, I applied the selective contrast to the foreground area and reduced noise across the entire frame.

Plugins: DeNoise (noise reduction), Topaz Detail (local contrast boost).

Total time: 10min

  • Anne Forbes says:

    Victor, I am wondering why you had noise at ISO 200 in broad daylight? I have not had that problem with my Fujis

    • Viktor Elizarov says:

      On Fuji X-T2 the base ISO os 200 not 100

  • Bill Benson says:

    Very nice image. I know you use DeNoise and Topaz Detail with most of your post processing. I downloaded some add-ons by Nik Collection by DxO. Have you ever used these? I like a couple of them and they were free. How important to your workflow and getting that final image is DeNoise and Topaz Detail, especially DeNoise? For instance, Lightroom has some ability to remove noise, although when you add that to some photos it decreases the sharpness some. Anyway, that’s what I’ve noticed.

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