July 24, 2008


A whole herd of wild turkeys came to lounge and preen in Amy's front yard today. Amy is near Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and it has been storming off an on for the last two days. Today the sun came out for a while and so did the turkeys. I'm guessing they decided their feathers could use a little clothesline time and Amy's secluded and sunny front yard seemed to be the perfect place.

I was sitting just inside with many windows open and I heard the female turkeys doing their chirpy, soft, happy & content warble. I noticed after a few minutes that it wasn't stopping so I looked out the window and there they were. I grabbed the camera and changed lenses, then located a CF card and formatted it and headed out to the garage hoping they would still be there. They were. In fact, as long as I stayed in the garage they were just happy as turkeys in a spa to stick around and preen their feathers.
I've seen wild turkeys before but never so many in one place. I wasn't able to do an exact head count since many were milling around but I would guestimate easily 30-35. There were four or five mature males, about the same number of mature females and a whole slew of young 'uns. I ended up shooting them for almost an hour before they picked up and disappeared back into the forest in the back yard.

July 23, 2008

Colorado Horse Park 3 Day Event

The weather was perfect for the Colorado Horse Park 3 Day Event. No blazing heat, no hail, no rain, no dark and moody overcast skies. After a 1.5 year long hiatus from shooting eventing in Colorado I returned to shoot the 3 day event and horse Trials in May of 2008 as the official photographer. The show was managed by Jeffray Rying of Galisteo, New Mexico's, Goose Downs Farm with Deeda Randal being her right hand.

Long days, great weather, beautiful venue, superb horses and fine show management. What more could a horse photographer want? There were 4 dressage rings going all at once on Friday and 2 Stadium rings on Sunday requiring me to bring in one of my good friends, Amy Cody, to help me shoot all three days and cover everyone. Amazingly enough, and a true testament to fine show management, all the dressage and stadium rings finished within 1/2 hour of each other on their respective days. The Cross Country phase ran on Saturday from 7:30 am until a bit after 6pm with very close to zero delays. There was a minor snafu in the photographer's camp, however, like the complete shutdown of my main camera which forced the use of my back-up camera. I have always had back-up equipment with me but never had to use it before in all of the 10+ years I have been doing this. I sure am glad I have never gotten complacent about faithfully packing that mostly unused equipment around with me. Whew!

Together, Amy and I shot well over 6400 images in 3 days. That averages out to approximately 25 images per horse with the 260 horses that competed. Of course, there were lots of candids as well and after editing, right around 4,000 of the images were posted as proofs on the website. It took about 10 long days to go through them all, do minor post processing and cropping and then get them uploaded.

All in all, it was a great and fun long weekend. Thank you Jeffray for having me. Thank you Amy for being low-maintenance, experienced, and fun to work with hired help! Thank you, competitors, for making my job possible!

July 15, 2008

Pot Shots

I took my camera with me to the barn the other evening to snap off a few pot shots of my guys. The arab was much more interested in the greener weeds on the other side of the fence than in posing so I got some "bits 'n' pieces" images.

It was pretty windy so his mane was fun.

He often gets called a camel because he drinks like one (or not) on the trail. I am beginning to wonder if he also has an inner elephant. It seems to be starting to show through in his old age!

Arabian radar...... always attentive!

And for the grand finalé, Dopey, the mustang thing, showing off all his curves while rough-housing with Bisti.

July 3, 2008

St. Johns, AZ

Who would have ever thought there would be a rated horse trials in tiny St. Johns, AZ. With a population of 3,800, it is a rather small blip on the map, but it is the Southern Apache county seat. It has a nice airport and a super fairgrounds, which, of course, is one of the reasons there is an Area X rated horse trials there.

I love the smaller events like this one. Many of the competitors come a day early to ride and socialize. The overall feeling is just so laid back compared to a large event. It's friendly like a schooling show. The cross country course has been recently rebuilt by Gunther Hardt and Tom Angle and they both come out to the grounds several times before the event to spiff things up and add new jumps. Everyone in town is friendly and happy to see all competitors and fringe visitors which just adds to the relaxed state of the competition. Many of the locals even come out to volunteer!

Even though the event is in late June in Arizona, the location's high elevation keeps the temperatures down some. Well, some of us felt like 91 is an oven, but then those from the Phoenix area reminded us it could be a lot worse! Besides, it was cooler in St. Johns then it was back in my part of the desert in New Mexico. It's just that when I'm home in the summer, I'm IN the home with the a/c during the hottest parts of the day. A Cool Medics vest definitely serves one well in St. Johns with it's low humidity.

The summer evenings there are just divine. Balmy with a great color show. The sunset put on a great display of brilliance every night with just about every color the sky can hold. Like "stop you in your tracks and watch for a while" kind of color show. Best watched while gathered with friends and talking about the rides of the day.