OK… I advise you to sit down. Well, OK, you probably are.
I have definitely been checking off things on my list of goals to accomplish this year, and although some of them failed, like Andy, for the most part, I’d go so far as to say I’m doing pretty darned well this year with doing all the things I had wanted to do, saving for the things I want to save for, and I am definitely getting in the practice photography in overwhelming heaps and loads.
It seems like everything happens all at once, and this weekend was one of the busiest weekends of the year, with back-to-back-to-back events. In the week before, I did some general practice photograph with my macro attachments, and I got a new lens.
This update is going to be long and picture heavy, so let me start back at the ‘ginning.
With Andy having been sent back to his selling party, I was very disappointed. Although I do feel like I can train another pony to drive, and I am sad to see Andy gone, as he had a lot of good qualities, I did have to make the decisions I feel best for me, and I stand by my choices. Although I had hoped to train him, sell him, and use that sale to help fund my truck, I ended up instead taking what I had left and buying a new lens, (which totally blew my truck fund to smithereens, but I remain undeterred mind you).
I wanted something with a longer reach for photographing wildlife… so meet my all new Sigma 150-500mm 5-6.3 lens. It’s not a “high end” lens, it’s just longer, and the price was a lot bigger, too, lol!
Both of these shots were the first day I went out with the lens, and both were taken at 500mm.
This photo was of the same black bird, in the same location, with my 300mm lens, from about the same distance.
I still need to spend more quality time with my new lens, but I did just get it not long after the holiday.
Also not long after the holiday, I got up close and personal with a Falcon, and no, it wasn’t at the zoo.
In fact, on my way home from the barn, which I happened to leave a little early that evening because I did not drive all 3 horses. Poor Jesse, he keeps getting skimmed over. How odd that I don’t drive the 3 I have all in one night, yet I want a 4th to train, right? LOL!
Anyway, on the way home, I noticed a large raptor on the side of the road. I couldn’t tell as I drove by, if it was a hawk or what, but it was rather odd that it was just standing there on the shoulder and not moving, so I pulled over and investigated. When I walked up to it and it didn’t flinch, I realized it was injured. Badly. So I went back to the Jeep, grabbed a spare T-shirt I just happened to have, and..
… because what else do you do when you find a falcon on the side of the road? Catch it and bring it home (under a T-shirt, and stick it in a cat carrier). I called a local bird rehab facility and brought it over there. They identified the falcon as a large adult female Cooper falcon and it was severely injured. It had exposed bones in its wing, a broke beak, and it’s right eye was bleeding. I sure hope it lived, but it was definitely in deep shock and critical condition when I took her to them.
Not even a full week later, I was out driving Jesse along that same stretch of road and had an interesting encounter with a none-too-happy snapping turtle in the middle of the road. Just picture me, using my driving whip, trying to “herd” the mean turtle that’s trying to rip the whip out of my hand, while holding Jesse, in the middle of the street. Thank goodness there was no traffic at all that morning, but what an adventure that was. I did manage to get Mr. Mean Turtle off to the reeds along the shoulder. Turtles do not herd.
That weekend and all of last week zipped by all too quickly for my taste, but it led me to this weekend, and all kind of photographic adventures.
This I took in my garden with my macro attachment. I need more practice with that macro lens, too, but I need to find suitable small things to take!
Then, the next evening, I went to a fair and rodeo about an hour away and had a blast….
There was a show there featuring a trick performing lion, white Bengal tiger, and a liger. Lovely cats! I love big cats. It would be a dream of mine to handle or even work with big cats.
As the evening rolled on, the rodeo began, and it presented a whole new type of photographic challenge.
Fun times! It was extremely difficult getting the photos to come out at that time of night, with action, and very little ambient light. It was the first time I’ve ever had to bump my ISO up as far as it would go. What a challenge!
After the rodeo, I spent some time taking photos of the fair rides, and playing with long exposures! I LOVED practicing on the bright neon lights of the rides – certainly not often that I get a chance like that either!
The following morning, I really wanted to get out and see some Grand Prix level dressage at a show venue about an hour away as well. Yes, I did a whole lot of driving this weekend.
Dressage is just lovely, and dressage horses are truly amazing. Especially at the Grand Prix level. Really it was a wonderful treat on a beautiful day to go out and take these photos. And then, I headed to the barn and drove Chewbacca and Luke.
Here’s another little before and after shot comparison too. Not long after I first got the camera (a gift from my dad for a birthday), which I think was maybe in 2007, I went out to that same facility and took some dressage show photos.
So, my “before” image was from then, and I was so thrilled with that head shot. I thought it was the bestest greatest most awesome equine photo evah! I proudly presented it to my photography club, posted it online, and even entered it into the County Fair that year. I was saddened that it only won 4th place, and that the people in my photography club did not care for it. I simply did not understand what the faults were that they were seeing in the image, telling me words like “dark”, “soft”, “loss of detail”.
Well the “after” image is from Saturday’s show. Slight improvement, yes? And yet still, plenty of room for improvement at that. I would like less shadowing under the horse’s eye, but it’s a crisper, brighter image the clarity is worlds apart. I highly doubt it’s the same horse, but who knows.
And my photographic adventures do not end there! Sunday morning I was up pre-dawn’s crack (that would be 4am) to drive 2+ hours to another driving event. I “enlisted” to volunteer, and had the camera handy too.
On the way up, I pulled over to the roadside to take this image across a cornfield
Not one of the best images ever, but I do like it…. and the fact that I was conscious enough to take it at just after 5am is amazing.
Just a couple photos from the driving event to share…
Next up will be a jumper Grand Prix next weekend, and possibly a horse show with Jesse at the County Fair… so stay tuned!