Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring in the Bluegrass

I spent yesterday with Shirley McQuillan touring some farms for this fall's EPNet workshop. Shirley is an equine chiropractor and works on some of the area's most well known thoroughbred farms on a daily basis. Seeing some of these state of the art facilities was a real privelege. I wish we could have had better weather but unfortunately it rained most of the day and I did not do much shooting. I am excited about the upcoming workshop and the promise of some incredible photo opportunities!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Orleans

I had several fun and relaxing days in New Orleans visiting my daughter Shelby. She is an excellent tour guide! On Sunday we went to see the parade of Indians, a festival of feathers, drums and people. We also took a trip on the ferry over to Algiers and on Monday I spent some time at the Audubon zoo. You can see more of my zoo pix on my facebook page. Needless to say we also spent some time enjoying the cuisine of New Orleans!
Yesterday I travelled north on the Natchez Trace and spent the night in Northwest Alabama. This morning I will head to Lexington, Kentucky. Today it is cooler and raining but I have to admit it is a welcome change from the heat and humidity!

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Workshop Photos

The second group was treated to some great locations and more warm, sunny weather. Hard to imagine cold weather in other parts of the country when you are here!
Our first stop was Shangri La Lusitanos in Citra. We were treated to being able to photograph some horses that love to play and dance and show off for the cameras and some incredibly accomodating farm owners, thanks to Robert and Carolyn Crum and their trainer Whitney and friend Holly for their gracious hospitality.
Later that day we went to the INSPO training facility to photograph dressage horses as well as a Friesian at liberty. We spent some time photographing our riders, Amber and Alex from new perspectives, angles and focal lengths to expand our creativity.
Early the next morning we visited Vinery Stables, a thoroughbred training facility. This state of the art stable is a sensory overload of photo opportunities, friendly exercise riders and young thoroughbreds ready to run. Being able to photograph here is a real privelege! This faciltiy also has the first underwater treadmill and our group was able to photograph some horses being exercised here.
As if our group had not already been treated to enough horse eye candy we finished the workshop with an afternoon visit to the Live Oak CDI. We were able to see many of the world's top four in hand carriage teams competing in dressage with the Chester Weber team finishing out the day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Workshop Photos

Our first workshop session finished up yesterday so I have a few minutes to write and share photos. We had a small group of photographers attend this session and it was intensive few days of shooting and discussions. It is always so enjoyable to meet people you have chatted with on oline and get to know them on a personal level.
We spent all day Saturday travelling to farms in the Ocala and Williston, Florida area. The weather cooperated and it was warm, sunny and breezy.
Our first stop was at Carole Fletcher's Singing Saddle Ranch. Carole presented her Peruvian Paso stallion, a most cooperative and photogenic horse. Magnifico stood patiently as our group took his portrait in front of the azaleas and seemed to enjoy all the attention! She also put him through his paces of bowing, Spanish walk, stepping up on a pedestal and laying down and then turned him loose so we could get some liberty photos. You can read more about Carole and Magnifico here.
After a lovely lunch at the Ivy House in Williston we travelled on to Beauty's Haven Equine Rescue and spent time getting to know the volunteers and equine residents at this special place. The work that is being done here to help horses is truly inspirational. We were able to watch and photograph as a holistic vet treated a pony mare with spinal injuries with acupuncture and a farrier working on horse's hooves.
Our final shoot of the day was at Leah McFarlin's Welsh pony farm. Her cremello stallion and group of four mares did not disappoint our group as they romped around a field and posed under the live oaks resplendent in Spanish Moss. These ponies are so full of fun and energy and their curious personalities soon got the best fo them and they were making friends with the photographers. The late afternoon light coming through the moss helped us capture the essence of this part of the world. To top off a wonderful day Leah dressed herself up and presented her stallion Ollie in harness. Here is a great small pony with loads of attitude and he really seemed to enjoy the attention from our group!
On Sunday we spent the morning at Fox View Farm, an Arabian show facility owned by Alex Longares. The light was perfect in the paddocks and we were treated to photo ops with several gorgeous Arabians running free. We also were lucky enough to photograph a mare and foal who seemed to know exactly where and how to pose for us! It was the perfect final shoot leaving our participants with many thousands of photos to browse through, new skills to work on and many great memories.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Roadside Sighting

I just wanted to share a photo of this adorable little donkey foal we spotted along the side of the road today. We did some final scouting for locations today and will spend the next two days shooting. The weather is quite warm here, I am surely not used to these temps and will need to remember to drink plenty of water!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shackleford Banks and Carrot Island Pony Sightings

This morning I found someone to ferry me out to the Shackleford Banks from Harker's Island. The sky was a little foreboding and the water choppy but we did see a few ponies on the banks. How these horses survive on what are literally shifting sand banks is a mystery to me. But there are about 125 ponies that inhabit Shackleford Banks, having been there since the 1600's. We sighted one lone pony on a small sand bar contentedly grazing. My guide informed me that the ponies swim out to the different sand bars to graze, and many of the crossings are shallow enough to walk. Even more amazing to me was that one of these islands was inhabited for many years until a series of hurricanes and subsequent flooding forced people to move off. Many of the dwellings were moved to neighboring islands where they can be seen today.
From Harker's Island I walked on the waterfront of Beaufort where you can see Carrot Island across the inlet. I could see a group of 8 ponies from this vantage point.
Spring has definitely sprung in this part of the world with temperatures reaching 90!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Virginia to Ocrakoke and Beaufort

I was up early this morning and was treated to a beautiful sunrise in Chincoteague. No ponies to see but lots of geese, ducks and other waterfowl.

In cape Hatteras I caught the ferry to Ocracoke Island. I was disappointed to find the only ponies on Ocracoke fenced in a bare lot. The village of Ocracoke is lovely and I would think a great getaway during the winter months. I will attach a photo of the lighthouse there. I caught the last ferry of the day to Cedar Island. As I drove onto the main land I was treated to a full moon rising over the ocean and a sun set over the marshes. This is a beautiful part of the world and I highly recommend visiting this time of year to avoid the crowds.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The start of my road trip!

Today I started a road trip I have been planning all winter. I will be gone for about three weeks and will cover many miles. The plan is to travel down the easternmost route of the outerbanks of the east coast in the hopes of seeing some wild ponies, then on to Ocala to run two workshops featuring my friend and photographer extroardinaire Gabriele Boiselle, then on to New Orleans to visit my daughter Shelby.
I left home about 10 am in rain and temps of about 35 degrees. I travelled down along the Delaware Water Gap and saw some spectacular scenery, as well as bald eagles and hawks. Somewhere in Pennsylvania the rain gave way to sun and blue sky and the temperature steadily climbed into the 60's. Traffic was light and I made good time.

I stopped on the northern Maryland end of Assategue Island and saw some ponies. As you can see these ponies are tame and spend a lot of time grazing in the camp sites. One pony stuck its head in the car looking for handouts! One young pony is still quite furry in his winter coat!
I arrived in Chincoteague at sunset and was disappointed that the gate into the refuge was down, so no tour around the wild life loop for me. I will be up early so I can spend some time in the refuge before I head further south.

I have a room at the Assateague Inn for the night and have my window open to enjoy the island breezes and listen to the geese.

I will try to update the blog every day but I'm not making any promises!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More Bella Pix

Here are a few more winter pix of the lovely Bella.

Hopefully soon I will be photographing her in her summer coat in the daisies and buttercups, I am sure spring will be here sometime soon!