Monthly Archives: October 2010
Always one to relish a challenge, I certainly found one today. This is Annie, or most of Annie. She did everything she could to turn away from the camera and all 18+ hands of her flinched and flickered when my finger so much as caressed the shutter button. She has a cute butt, that I can confirm. What a scaredy-cat.
|The opening gate at Pompano Beach race track, Florida|
|Front row seats|
|Get set, GO.|
What a night. The 5 hour trek from Tampa was worth it. Driving along I was paranoid about investing rapidly reducing time into shoots that might not result in much. But here I was genuinely surprised. All but the red carpet was laid out, and upon arrival in Pompano I was whisked by a pair of lovely “Johns” to where the action is at. The stalls, the sandy track, even a hummer awaited. I didn’t deserve such treatment I’m sure, but they were wonderfully hospitable and gracious all the while, and an ‘access all areas’ attitude was granted. The only pre-requisite was that I don’t use my flash. Ok. So, gritty pictures are my product, but really they are my gift. Movement, action, energy, power…. the record, I have learned, with these standardbreds, is a 1 minute, 46 second mile…..now that’s about 36 miles an hour, and serious.
Now I sit with zombies in downtown Miami. Surreal.
Today was magical. We debated cancelling the shoot – temperatures had dropped, clouds had settled in and it was dark, dark, dark. Unanimously we all raised our hands in favour of heading out to the ranch. Well…boy am I glad we did. For I fell in love, with a 5 year old cowboy, named Sterlin. His brother (8 year old Trey) was also a catch. What gentlemen. It was the moment when I turned to Trey to ask who just drove the truck up, whilst his Dad was busy chasing horses, and he turned and said “I did”. When I asked him what age he started driving, he turned to me and said, with a dead straight face as though it was the most normal thing in the world, “I guess I started from when I was born, been doing it all my life”. Wow – eyes opened. These boys are dudes. We sat on red, red rocks high above the dusty plains, and watched as their Dad rallied the horses through the ravines……and we all took pictures.
|Grant Mitchell, sunset at San Cristobal Ranch, New Mexico|
|At the watering hole, San Cristobal Ranch, NM|
80,000 acres of land on this ranch – a good thing we had the help of the cowboys to help us round up the horses; their only guidelines? Stay by the bushes, and watch out for rattle snakes! Yikes.
Things were against us – an electrical storm had our hairs (literally) standing on end. Then came the rain and away went the light. But with high ISOs, variable settings, fantastic cowboys and a little bit of luck, we got the goods. I am almost drooling over the large folder of raw material I have now got to play with.
Trailing after a herd of quarter horses being rallied by cowboys, with an electrical storm overhead, rain thrashing, horses biting, thundering hooves, dirt flying…a memory that will last longer than the red, red New Mexico soil now ingrained into my booties.
|Bridge over (untroubled) water|
|Tees, Cleveland Bay|
Getting up pre-dawn is invariably a challenge at the moment, but when I reached my destination on this morning, guided confidently by my GPS, I spotted the all too familiar outline of ‘horse’ on hillside, blurred by dawn mists, and butterflies all of a sudden flit about in my gut. Seriously, it’s an amazing feeling. So this guy was great, he stood, tranquil and intrigued by the view.
What a total treat. Not only do I get to watch these guys in action but I get to ride with them (not in the show, much to my disappointment!). A wonderful collection of wonderfully spirited people and horses. Behind the scenes was fun, laughter and passion for what they do, and in front of the camera their poses and performances and obvious skill and horsemanship was totally apparent. Gudmar and his lovely wife Gigja are true experts in what they do…. anyone interested in Icelandics should meet them. Next stop for me, Iceland. I visualise snowy shoots with frosty whiskers and moonlit evenings and northern lights…..
| I’m a Marwari and I am from India……I’m inviting Astrid to go and take pictures of all my pretty relatives there!
Look who I met! Hanging out with my Icelandic crew in the barns, I so happened to discover that the majestic Marwaris were stabled next door. Well, wouldn’t you know….so, another invitation to Punjab, India. I can’t wait to see these guys in their home country. I will save the excitement for now, as I’m far too overstimulated with excitement, new breeds, beautiful horses, picture opportunities….it’s so incredible it’s overwhelming.
With love from me in Kentucky.
|Baby curly – I’m only a week old!|
|Hopa and baby (bum)|
|Baby coat. Am I a lamb?|
|Sunset with Mum.|
First shoot in Kentucky, I get to spend the evening with a new breed to me; the curlies. What a treat. Shawn Tucker and her family welcomed into their home, a barn high in the hills of Kentucky, home to a lovely small herd of curlies. Not particularly curly right now, but Hopa and her newborn foal were just what I needed that night. A little bit of nature, a little bit of nurture. I love curlies.
|After the rains. Shoulda gone by boat!|
|Isolated Banker horse hanging out in the dunes|
Thanks to Jay at Corolla Outback adventures, we managed to track down a few lonely ponies in the dunes. The lakes, more like. Jay commented that he’d never seen as much water without a hurricane….it was quite incredible what we drove through and even more incredible that we managed to find some ponies.