Shea Evans: Red Rock Hounds
Every fall and winter, the members of the Red Rock Hounds get on their horses, bring in their hounds, and ride through hundreds of acres of open land. While traditional clubs go out to kill foxes, the Red Rock Hounds are a no-kill club, and their hunt is mostly chasing coyotes. They dress in traditional English hunting garb, and end the hunt with a home-cooked meal. This year, photographer Shea Evans was invited to spend two days with the club, following their chase and photographing their story.
Shea’s traditional focus in photography is food, but the editor of Edible Reno Tahoe, the publication running the story, felt that Shea’s talent in visual storytelling still made him the right photographer for the job. And Shea was thrilled at the opportunity to document such a wild, fun event, with such a fascinating group of people.
You try as a photographer doing a profile to be a fly on the wall, to be impartial and uninvolved, but this crowd was too inclusive, too infectious to not join in with the fun.
The grounds the Red Rock Hounds cover is 640 acres, but the surrounding area is almost 2 million acres of open land. Shea says this means it is one of the largest hunting areas in the world, and he had a chase of his own trying to photograph the hunters in action.
One challenge was simply keeping up. With so many people and so much activity it was a bit overwhelming to focus on what I needed to get the story told. Luckily the club provided us with a driver and follow car, so we were out in the open desert following the riders as they followed the hounds.
Shea got to learn a lot about the group over the course of the two shooting days. He got some horse grooming tips and riding techniques, and he learned that the more experienced members wear red coats, while the less experienced wear black.
Each day’s hunt ended with some comfort food for both the riders and Shea. Shea says that the project overall dovetails nicely with the work he’s already done, as the big finale is the feast and the rest of the work supports and leads to that conclusion.
Shea’s images have been met with extremely positive review, with people really excited about the beautiful story he was able to capture.
I wouldn’t say I relearned this, but it was something that was reinforced again and again, and that is to be present in the moment. It takes so much awareness to arrive at the shot where everything comes together, when this person’s arm is just so, and that dog is running in just that direction, and the horses eyes are open. And the flipside is being aware enough to react to that in a split second when you see all of those elements come together.
To view more of Shea’s work, visit sheaevans.com.