Start of the Summer Fun

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As my horse show season winds down in the hot and humid south it is just getting under way in other parts of the country. I’m headed out to shoot shows in Colorado, California, Oregon, and Massachusetts over the next three months. The beauty of this is I get too see more of our beautiful country and its diverse landscapes. Our nation is so large it’s difficult to see with small road trips. So today I fly into Dorango, Colorado and will drive with fellow photographer Cristy Cumberworth to the Colorado Horse Park. A beautiful drive!

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Just a another horse show….

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After so many weeks of shooting horse shows, I was a bit burned out. The show was small, well run and laid back. Just what I needed to be honest. I was standing at a distance when I see this horse coming around the outside of the arena.. and I could envision this shot, so I got into position and waited for all the elements to appear in my lens… and there it was.

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Those little extras….

Often a client will order a wall portrait from an event where the backgrounds aren’t ideal. I offer these clients a background replacement. It’s often these details that can change a good shot into a dynamite portrait. Here’s one example of that.

From Good to Great

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Meet Jewel

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I drove up to the farm with a mixture of dread and anticipation in my heart. I was there to document the progress of a few survivors of a rescue of over 60 horses from a thoroughbred farm where they were starving to death, literally. Several groups stepped in to find temporary homes for these poor horses.  The Louisiana Horse Rescue Association was one of the groups and I offered to help.  I had not seen the horses in person yet and was dreading seeing these poor suffering creatures, knowing that many had perished even after they were picked up.  But there was also joy, as one of the mares was able to deliver a healthy, if small, foal just two days before.  This 40 pound filly was to be my subject today.

They led her out of the stall by her dams side , clad in a pink dog coat, as they were unable to locate a foal blanket small enough to fit her.  My heart was immediately smitten. This little girl was a pistol! Running around the  mare tossing her head, kicking up her heels. She came over to check me and that big camera out. Very bold and sure of herself for such a young foal and a miracle! She was the jewel hidden inside this tragedy.

So here she is, meet Jewel!

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World Dressage Masters

 

The World Dressage Masters returned to West Palm Beach Florida last week. Two with Louisiana roots were in the top 3 in the Grand Prix Special on Louisiana bred horses! Heather Blitz on Paragon, and Todd Flettrich on Otto. Both horses were born at Oak Hill Ranch in Folsom, Louisiana.I know Heather choose the stallion, the mare and was there to bring Paragon into the world. So exciting to see these talented riders living out their dream. Brought a lump to my throat. The venue was even better than last year’s, with the beautiful back lit screens and increased seating. Steffen Peters and Ravel won both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle again this year. I never tire of seeing this pair in the ring.  Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro of Great Britain were close on their hooves however, only a few tenths of a point separated the two.

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Inspiration

After the holidays and during the dank, rainy winter months I often fall into a slump. it usually takes something spectacular to get me moving again. Today I went in search of that something to awaken my creative inner being. I had an early morning appointment and a full afternoon, so the early afternoon was the perfect time to do so. It didn’t take me long to find the image that intrigued me. The expression and mood was already there, I just needed to showcase it. This is the result of my exploration.

Moment of Discovery

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Dogs and Cats

For those of you who live in mixed households, you know what a challenge a litter box can be. Dogs just LOVE litter box treats. When my daughter moved back home with her little Lucky, the 3 legged cat, I had four dogs sharing my living space, cats lived in the barn. We had to find a place to put Lucky’s litter box that the dogs couldn’t get to. My solution was to put a chain on the small bathroom door that is in the laundry room. That worked great for awhile… Lucky was a very small cat and the dogs couldn’t squeeze through the small opening. Then Lucky died unexpectedly and we were all very upset. Earlier that year  I had agreed to adopt a cat from a no kill shelter if a Manx came in. It was fate that one came in at that time! I brought home a full grown male tuxedo that we named Pancho. He was a big boy.

It didn’t take long to figure out the door chain had to be adjusted to accommodate his size. Then it didn’t take long for the dogs to figure out they could squeeze into the door and raid the cat food and the litter box. It was back to square one. I tried several solutions to no avail. It wouldn’t take the dogs long to find a way into what was being called the cat room by now. I thought of a pet door, but if it was large enough for Pancho, it was also large enough for the cocker spaniels. Over the holiday I bought a baby gate. It sort of worked but again it didn’t take the dogs long to learn that they could push on it till they knocked it down.  I found a couple of L brackets in the garage that would fit in the doorway with the gate and alas I think I finally have a solution. It’s the combination of the gate, L brackets, and chain!  The chain keeps the door from opening very much, the gate blocks direct access, and the brackets keep the gate in place. The dogs are very inventive, so we’ll see how long this last, but for now peace reigns in the cat room.

 

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Horses of Portugal

We finally cooled down from the summer swealter. It was a very hot July and August. Once it cooled down a tad, life got busy. There was Art in the Barn (which I’ll tell you more about later), horse shows, and farm shoots, so I haven’t had a chance to share more of my experiences in Portugal with you. However my Horses of Portugal calendar is now available to purchase. It would make a great gift for the horse lovers in your life. The photos were shot during the Lusitanos On Focus workshop last spring. It was so hard to decide which images to include in the calender. I felt I could make a dozen of them, there were so many beautiful horses and models.  The slideshow below gives a preview of the images included in the calendar. Horses of Portugal 2012 is available here.

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Aztec Ruins

I have long been fascinated by the ancient cultures of the Southwest, so I was thrilled to have the chance to visit the Aztec Ruins National Monument. I immediately felt this was a very special place. What a fascinating architecture.  Three foot thick walls and tightly woven ceilings, over 900 years old. What is left is  only the bottom floor of what had been 3 or 4 stories high… well it was amazing. The Great Kiva had been restored in the 1930’s, the park service no longer does restoration, but preservation only, so I was glad to be able to see both. It gave me a deeper appreciation of the knowledge of these people. If you’d like to know more about this sacred place visit the park website. http://www.nps.gov/azru/index.htm

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Fall Adventures

This is a very busy month for me. Besides the usual get the place ready for winter,  It’s also the time for those last of the year farm shoots and shows. I am on a show/ travel  adventure now. I was second shooter for Cristy Cumberworth at the High Prairie Horse Trials in Parker Colorado last weekend. They ordered PERFECT weather for this event! The highs in the low 80’s the low’s in the 50’s… no rain, no ice, just gorgeous blue skies and fall color. It was just a beautiful place to shoot. After the event we continued down to her home in northern New Mexico stopping along the way to have a busman’s errr photographers holiday? At any rate the fall color was peeking in the mountains and there was so much beautiful scenery I was in sensory overload. Hopefully the weather will continue to hold out for us to see some Indian ruins and the mass accession at the Balloon Fiesta tomorrow morning before I fly out.

Here are a few of the fun things I photographed so far.

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