Washington Island 2014

A couple of weeks ago, Sofie and I headed to Washington Island for our annual weekend getaway with Bella and Charm. To sum it up, it was amazing. We had 3 nights and the most of 4 days to relax and explore.
Here are some of the highlights…

• We hiked Rock Island the first day and walked/jogged the 5 mile trail, of course exploring the shore or whatever else caught our eyes along the way.

• What made this trip extra special was that some friends who frequent the island were there with their horses. Because of this, we were able to explore off the road and really see the land.

• We rode about 24 miles total on the road, in the water, through fields, meadows and along the shore. We also happened on trails through the woods with ferns and even hidden sand dunes in the middle of the island.

• We went to the annual Death’s Door BBQ Competition. We rode the horses there and tied them to trees while we sampled some delicious food. Then, we rode over to Main Street and got a couple of beers horseback.

• We picked about 6 pounds of wild blackberries. After eating our fill, I was able to bring home enough to make blackberry jam to enjoy in the months to come.

• When it comes to bugs, there are only butterflies and dragonflies on the Island, or so it seemed.

• The most frequently asked question of the weekend was, “Do year hear that?” To which the other would respond “I hear nothing.”

• We ate a lot of good food and drank some good drinks.

• We enjoyed our traditional Black Velvet at the Fiddler’s Green.

• The horses behaved like old pros. They were patient, went through anything and everything we asked them to and did not tire (except for some ouchy feet on the hard road). Charm in particular was totally in her element. She was happy and forward.

• I ended up selling my saddle on the Island. I’ve had it for sale since February and now it’s gone! Who could have guessed that would have happened?

• One night we laid out a blanket around midnight and looked at the stars all while enjoying some gourmet popcorn.

• The weather was perfect. Low 70s, mostly overcast but not dreary. Ideal when you’re riding all day!

• We had this ridiculous giant white truck for the weekend. The thing was so loud people would make comments about it to us … oops. We named it “Great White” for the weekend. Totally redneck.

• We had no schedule!

• And lastly, we became experts on Snoants and Cincolizards. I will tell you all about them sometime…

Till next year!

Here are some of the pictures that sum it all up…

IMG_7998-0.JPG

IMG_7997-0.JPG

IMG_7999-0.JPG

IMG_7995-0.JPG

IMG_7994-0.JPG

IMG_7991-0.JPG

IMG_7993-0.JPG

IMG_7992-0.JPG

IMG_7990-0.JPG

IMG_7711-0.JPG

IMG_7989-0.JPG

IMG_7712-0.JPG

IMG_7679.JPG

IMG_7649-0.JPG

IMG_7642-0.JPG

IMG_8003.JPG

IMG_8004.JPG

IMG_8002.JPG

IMG_8001.JPG

IMG_8007.JPG

IMG_8008.JPG

Advertisements

Early Mornings

20130822-093047.jpg

I have had a few early mornings at the barn lately and that has allowed me to capture some beautiful pictures of the horses in the pasture. These were just taken with my iPhone, but I like how they look.

Last Saturday, my friend Sofie and I loaded up the horses and headed off to the local trail for a morning ride. Upon arriving at the trail, I noticed that Charm had some bruising on her left front heel bulbs. I had ridden her earlier in the week through some fields and noticed that she just wasn’t as peppy as usual, but I just chalked it up to her being lazy.

Well now I noticed the bruising. We rode anyway, took it easy, but I realized afterward I probably shouldn’t have ridden her.

When I got back from the short trail ride I asked Tracey and also Randy and Shirley to take a look (thanks guys!), and they agreed it was bruised but there didn’t appear to be any signs that an abscess was forming.

I headed out again on Tuesday and Charm was still a little sore on it, but Shirley and I agreed that it looked much better than it did over the weekend.

Charm had the week off from giving lessons and this morning when I checked on her, she seems to be back to her old self! She had a bounce in her step and her pep back. I couldn’t see any sign of bruising anymore, thank goodness!

You see, there is a weekend of trail riding ahead of us and I want to make sure Charm is up for it! She will be wearing bell boots just to make sure she doesn’t bruise them again.

Wish us luck! I will have PLENTY of pictures to share.

20130822-093105.jpg

Golden Hour

DSC_3342

DSC_3308

DSC_3330

DSC_3348

I usually shoot my pictures in manual mode but for these I used Aperture Priority and my trusty 50mm F1.8 lens. Since at times I was shooting into the setting sun, then away, sometimes in the middle, I adjusted my exposure by changing the exposure compensation. I knew I may not be quick enough to make all the necessary adjustments. After all, horses move a lot and I had to be looking for the right moment to capture.

The setting sun gave me a good opportunity to mess around with some some silhouettes. Also, the golden tones, and soft reflections in the eyes.

Lately, I’ve been putting more thought into my pictures. I don’t want to just take a good picture, I want to capture a feeling, and evoke an emotion from the reader. I want the picture to be visually stimulating, so I am being a little more picky when I take each photo. I hope this will help me become a better photographer.

Perspective with my 50mm

BannerDolce

It was a beautiful day at the barn today. Kinda cold, but sunny. Plus when I’m at the barn I don’t feel cold because my mind is usually on the horses.

Taking pictures of the herd this time of year can prove to be challenging. Well, they are either standing in one place snoozing, or eating. Basically there’s not much moving going on.

bannerClosed BannerOpen

But I did catch Lex during his afternoon nap. As I approached, he reluctantly lifted his head and gave me this quizzical look.. or is he annoyed? Or maybe embarrassed because he slept too long and the snow melted to his mane?

Lex

This is Banner. He’s the guy in charge. And he’s wearing the new and trendy snow moustache.

BannerFence

Back to the picture taking…

This time of year is a good time to practice out-of-the-box perspectives. Since there isn’t much excitement and running around you have to get somewhat creative. I can tell you, I was literally laying on the ground to get some of these shots.

Why? Because the background usually isn’t that pretty. Usually there is some horse poop or a building. So I tried my best to show the sky in most of these shots. Because the sky was really pretty today.

PeachDolce

All these images were captured with my 50mm lens. I just love that lens. You have to get one if you’re interested in picture taking.

Schatzie

Doesn’t Schatzi look like a teddy bear? Look at her cute ears!

I enjoyed taking these pictures today.. thanks for having a look at them 🙂

Picturesque Ponies

I made my escape to the barn today. It was just gorgeous out! Here are some pictures that I captured with my trusty 50mm f/1.8 lens. You just can’t go wrong!

(click the picture for best quality)

I just love, love, love this lens for taking portraits. It works so well and I can easily achieve the effect that I want while shooting in manual mode. The paint horse above is so fun to photograph. He just poses.. makes it easy for me!

And now for something different. Here are a couple I processed for fun. What do you think?

I kinda like the old time feel of this picture and the brightness (it was bright out). Plus it’s my horse 😉

This one I wanted to accentuate the contours of the neck and create almost a silhouette type feel without going the black and white extreme. I think it makes an interesting photo, sometimes color can be distracting.

Here’s another one I just had to add… a good picture day!

Just Break it Down

I experienced a great learning moment with Charm today.

Today started when she was hard to catch, well not really hard.. She just didn’t walk to me like she normally does and actually turned to go the other way! Eventually she followed me up to the barn. Once we got in the arena she decided to play the same game and walk away… Hmm. So I asked her to move a bit until we restored our connection.

After things were clicking, I snapped on the 45′ line and we played around with transitions and draw. Then I made long reins and we did a little driving. She did great, although because I get out of breath so easily, it was mostly waking and then trotting circles around me.

Now I’m just getting to the cool part…

After that, I took off the halter to see if her attitude had changed about being with me. Would she decide to walk off and do her own thing again? She did great and we had some good liberty going.

One thing I’ve always struggled with.. Well struggle probably isn’t the right word. Let’s say ‘asked for but haven’t gotten’ is close range circling at the trot without drawing Charm in from way outside the arena. It’s always very much on her terms when she offers it. And I respect that. I can’t make her do it after all.

I’ve been able to get close range circling at the walk.. Asking her to go around me without a lead rope to guide her. But, if I ask for a trot, it’s too much for her and she’ll leave me. I couldn’t ever figure out why or what I was doing that was sending her away and what caused too much pressure.

Today, I really thought about it and tried a different approach.. It all just kinda happened! I sat on a barrel and asked her to circle me at the walk. She did great. Then instead of asking for a trot, I broke it down simply and just asked for a faster walk. It wasn’t the best circle, but I didn’t loose her. After going between a fast and slow walk, I directed a little more energy to her outside hind leg and she started into this beautiful slow jog. She then circled me while I was still seated on the barrel 4 or 5 times with wonderful rhythm, flexion and relaxation until I asked her to stop in front of me. At that point I shoved all the treats I had waiting in my pocket in her mouth and just let her relax and soak in the moment. It was awesome!! Our session ended there.

What I learned?
It’s so much more simple than we make it out to be.
I need to break things down more and go slow.
I was communicating clearly to her. She knew what I wanted and acted like a partner!

Now I just hope we can build on this and start doing some really cool things. Yay for progress and learning!