Saturday, January 29, 2011

Group Lesson - BFF Style

Kathy, on Amadeus, riding by the "Gang"
OK, so it's not your normal, everyday type of group lesson - it's a special one that only riders at Blue Fountain Farm can enjoy.   It's a group lesson with an added geriatric contingent of three - Radar, Rhea and Lil Beaver!  Most of you know of our great old four-legged folks here at the ranch, and have followed their antics with me over the years.   Rhea, the Lipizzan mare, is in her mid thirties, Lil Beaver, the POA, is over 40 (and on a diet I might add), and Radar, the thoroughbred, is 27.  Here's the story of why they shared a lesson with Pat and Kathy on Amadeus and Elliot.

These three normally love to go out back to a grassy pasture during the day, but recently Rhea has had a heck of a time getting back up from her daily naps when it's the least bit slippery or muddy out there.  So, lately we've taken to putting them in the arena for their naps.  And nap they do!

Retirement's not so tough

Ahhhhh!  Bliss!!

Well, they were so comfortable yesterday morning, lazing in the great sunshine (60 degrees, woo hoo!), that I hated to disturb them when it came time to start my lessons.  I figured, what the heck?  What are they going to do anyway - run, chase and kick the horses that are in the arena for the lesson?  Not these ol' farts.  So, I told Pat and Kathy to bring their horses on in.  It didn't disturb the "kids" at all. 

Pat and Elliot check out the Sleeping Beauties

Rhea soaking it up

All was well for about 20 minutes (the nappers had already been down for about 20 minutes before that - they can take loooong naps). The Beav, who usually stands guard, decided that Amadeus was a little too close to his woman, and she (being the Cougar that she is) was checking him out as well.  So, The Beav needed to let Amadeus know who was boss - you see, no one has ever told Beaver that he's not as big as everyone else! 

Rhea waking from her nap and noticing the young, tall, dark handsome guy

Beav, on his way to take care of matters

He and Amadeus had a meeting of the minds..........

We need to see eye to eye about this!

I may be small, but I'm the boss!!

And Beav made his point perfectly clear.  With that, however, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and the oldsters lost their privileges for the day.  Off they went back to their stalls.

I keep saying it, but someday I will be writing a book about these remarkable oldsters, especially Rhea and Beaver, who are totally inseparable (they share living accommodations), and who add so much to my life here on the ranch.  Oh yes, the bell around Rhea's neck is because Beav is getting more and  more blind, and he gets really worried if he can't see her (hard to miss 16.2H of white, you'd think, but.......).  He can, however, hear  a peppermint wrapper from a mile away, so the bell keeps him from stressing.

Note:  Remember that you can always click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo, and do sign up with "Feedburner" at the top of the page to get email notifications of new blogs as they are posted.  Also, as you've no doubt seen, I've joined the facebook age to advertise my photography business, so be sure to check that out as well!   

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Meet "Herbert"

Or possibly "Her-bertha"??  We'll call him Herbert for now.  He's a Great Blue Heron who has decided to take up residence here at Blue Fountain Farm.  He spends a lot of time standing around - in the driveway, in the pasture, near the pond, wherever - and he doesn't seem to be terribly afraid of humans, or their cars.  I wondered about this lack of fear, then I "googled" Blue Herons - this guy's a juvenile - hence the casual 'tude.  He'll get more color on his head, and longer breast feathers as he matures.  I had also wondered why in the world he was hanging out in the pastures - no frogs or fish there - but the article about herons said that they eat gophers, squirrels, bugs, whatever they can get.

I've seen Herbert out and about for the last month or so, but never with my camera in hand.  The other day I looked out my office window, and there he was, so I grabbed my camera.  Well, wouldn't you know, I had the "wrong" lens on - the 24-105 zoom, and try as I might, I just couldn't get close enough to get the shots I wanted.

First glimpse

I kept following him, but he kept the same distance between us.  If I slowed down, so did he....if I sped up, so did he.....if I stopped...... so did he.

He sees me now!

He gives me a look with his right eye.....

then he gives me a look with his left eye

I finally gave up for that day, knowing that he would be back sooner or later.  And, come back he did.  THis time I was able to use the big guns lens - the 100 - 400 zoom!  He decided to hang out by the pond right next to the house..... but he was trying to look like the cat tails behind him .........

"If I stand reeeaaaaly still, no one can see me - right??"

He finally got to doing regular bird things - looking for fisn in the pond...........

I know there are fish in here, but the pond is really deep.

And just generally being a cool bird......

After awhile he decided to cruise away and join the killdeer....

I hope he stays around long enough for me to see him in his adult plumage!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gregg Albracht Photo Workshop at Blue Fountain Farm!

"The Messenger" by Gregg Albracht

It's official - Gregg Albracht will be coming here from Santa Fe in May (May 6, 7 and 8)to conduct one of his intensive weekend photo workshops!  As many of you know, I have gone to several of Gregg's workshops in Santa Fe over the past few years, and it is a great honor that he has decided to add a California visit to his busy schedule.  The primary focus will be on equine photography, but he is always open to what the participants are interested in, so - you never know!  

"Horses in a Dream" by Gregg

With the many and varied horses we have here at the ranch, and the beautiful scenery as well, we will be able to do a lot of the "shooting" right here on the property.  But, I  have already begun to scout out several other wonderful locations - all with beautiful horses -  to add to our possibilities of getting that "one" shot we all strive for. 

Gregg is a master photographer with over 41 years of experience in his profession.  Along the way, he has also developed a real feel for and knowledge of his equine friends.

Gregg and the mustang "Gringo" by Lesley

One of the nice things about Gregg's workshops is that he limits the number of participants in the group to allow for more individual help for each person.  The weekend is also a great time to get to know other people who are as passionate as you are about photography.  One of the interesting things to see is how many different ways we each have of viewing the same subject when we do critique sessions at the end of the day.

"You are so Beautiful" by Gregg

For more information about this workshop, and to sign up (there is a 10% discount if you sign up before March 1st!), go to Gregg's website.  Also, feel free to contact me with any questions.  Please don't be afraid to sign up for this workshop - as it says on Gregg's site, the only requirement to attend is to be an enthusiastic photographer, no matter your skill level.  We all need to start somewhere!

Gregg goin' down the Road by ??


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sunny California???

Naggiar Vineyard next door

Um, no?  We're having a real winter this year - 20 days of rain in December, and now our typical foggy and cold January.  A week ago I woke up to a 25 degree morning (yes in California), and as much as I wanted to snuggle back down into my polar fleece sheets, I knew there was a winter wonderland waiting outside for me to photograph.  Time is of the essence, not only to get the light right, but because I still need to ride horses and give lessons.  So, I went out and made some quick rounds, and here are some of the images I came up with, both on that brrrrrr cold day, and on some recent foggy days as well.  Remember that you can click on each image to see a larger version.

Jake very excited because mom is coming out of the house early!

Ice on the pond - this doesn't happen very often!

View from the back deck - Tristan surveying the morning

Close-up of Tristan's view

"Condo" by the pond

More of the vineyard at the end of the pasture aisle

It doesn't take one whack with the hammer to break the ice......... takes two so the horses can drink!

Even the pigeons were hunkered down!

Eerie barn aisle

Foggy dew collecting on Maverick's eyelashes

And steam coming off of him after a ride

Then a fun turnout in the fog - wheee!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Image

I just finished this image of "Tristan", a Lipizzan gelding who has resided here at Blue Fountain Farm for many years.  Tristan is a very dear horse - he's somewhere in his early twenties -  and a great friend to both his owner, Dick, and me.  Tristan's two favorite things in the world are peppermints, and curling up in the shavings under the manger in his stall to eat his hay in bed.

I need a name for this image - any ideas??  The person who comes up with the winning name will receive an 8 X 10 print for their efforts.

Get those creative juices flowing, and contact me with a great name!     

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An Affair to Remember.......


"Away" art affair in Santa Fe, that is.  I recently wrote about winning 2 awards in a photo contest I was brave enough to enter, and I just returned from my quick weekend in Santa Fe to take part in the reception and opening night of a month long showing of the winning images. What a weekend it was!   My image of "Tesoro" (second place) even made 2 Santa Fe papers (one shown below)!

Santa Fe Journal

But, first, let me back up a little.  The weekend wouldn't have been as mar-ve-lous as it was if I hadn't been joined by my friends - Leslie Anne, Katy and Cara.  We four did the town up right.....from boot buying in town .........

Vintage Boots at "Traders Collection"

Vintage Ladies in Vintage Boots??? Nah! shadow playing on Canyon Rd......

Cara, Katy and me on Canyon Rd

Katy doing "The Crane"

........and just generally goofing off........... 

Katy and Leslie Anne give a "2 thumbs up" to Santa Fe

Always the horse trainer!

In front of Gregg's photo "Ghost Horse" on Canyon Rd

The venue for the evening was Collected Works Bookstore - a bookstore, coffee shop, gallery - which kindly donated their time and space for the event.  Dorothy  and her daughter Mary, who own the store, were the most gracious of hosts, and I enjoyed getting to know them both.

On my way to the "Grand Reception"!

Dorothy welcoming the crowd

Leslie Anne and I showing off our brochures

The reception and showing of the winning works, along with the book signings by the judges, was joined by a sneak peek preview of a new documentary by filmmaker James Anaquad Kleinert - "Wild Horses and Renegades" - about the plight of the wild horses in America. 

James gave a little talk about the film, and he and I are looking into having him  show the film here in Grass Valley soon!  Check out his web site for more about him and his films.  We ladies were hoping that Viggo Mortensen would be at the reception, (he is featured in the film)  but..........alas!

James introduces his film

Jackie Fleming, who runs the non - profit Cimarron Sky Dog Horse Sanctuary - also talked about the plight of the mustangs in her state of New Mexico.

Jackie talks about the wild horses

When the evening was over, Gregg Albracht, Tony Stromberg (two of the three judges), Jackie and we ladies adjourned to La Fonda restaurant for a late meal and re-living of the evening, which, of course, was a smashing success!   

Gregg, Leslie Anne, me, Tony, Jackie, Cara and Katy

It's still hard for me to believe that I have images hanging in Santa Fe, but seeing is believing - and I was there in person!

I want to thank all of you who made it possible for me to make this trip (ya'll know who you are); I want to thank Gregg for taking his time to show us ladies all the best places in town - you're the best; and Jackie for doing such a great job of putting on her first photo contest; and I want to thank my friends Leslie Ann, Katy and Cara for making this trip the BEST EVER!!

Leslie Anne - this one's for you
(Double Dog Dare)!!!

The photos in this post were a compilation of images from the cameras of Lesley, Leslie Ann, Katy and Cara.
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