Monday, June 22, 2015

Fiery Solstice Sunset, Cleveland Flats

Spent a fun evening with what seemed like a couple hundred other photographers at the Solstice Shoot in the Flats on Friday. Many thanks to Dale Kincaid for organizing the shoot and to Cool Photo Ops (Cool Photo Ops and Creative Challenges) for promoting it.

The skies were pretty glum when I arrived at 7 - gruesome Northcoast grey - and as sunset approached, the sun plopped behind a thick bank of clouds, crushing any hopes for lovely color. However, it's Cleveland and you know what they say about the weather - start packing up your tripod, and - BAM! - magic:

The clouds shredded, and the sky took fire. If you look close, you can see a bit of blur as the distant railroad bridge lowers for a train.

Tiniest sliver of a moon above the Shoreway Bridge.

The Detroit-Superior Bridge, also know as the Veterans Memorial Bridge, looking like wedding cake.

This fountain is lit with a couple of different colors in the evening. Faintly lit in the background is an old railroad lift bridge. If you want to see moving bridges, the Flat is the place to go. There's even a bright red swing bridge.

Fabulous cloud formations and reflections.

Terminal Tower illuminated in blue. I think the old warm lights looked better, but they were having fun with the light show.

I fled before the Indians game ended (If you've been in an Indians traffic jam, you know why). They must have done something fabulous, because there were fireworks over the stadium. There is nothing like driving down Huron, desperately searching the construction madness for the 77 South ramp as the sky explodes over your head. And knowing your camera is safely stowed in the back of the car, well out of reach...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kentucky Horse Farms: Mamas and Babies, Part 2

Lots fewer photos from our second farm - mid-afternoon light is pretty bad for photography. This was a much bigger farm. The horses all looked fat and sassy, but weren't as glowingly groomed as the first farm. Looked like a mixed group of breeds - Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, paints. Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses don't come in paint, so at least three breeds and maybe more. The farm has over three hundred horses and is a pretty busy place. Maintenance guys were everywhere, mowing and trimming and fixing things, plus a bunch of folks working in the barns.

The mares and foals were turned out in larger groups and there was a little more interaction, but the mare still kept the foals apart from one another. It's interesting to watch the hierarchy in herds.

Wish we could have stayed another couple of days and shot early and late with better light (and cooler temperatures). The nice thing about photo tours is that we get to shoot at interesting places that normally aren't accessible. The not-as-good-thing is that you take what you get in shooting conditions because of the limited time at the location.

Kentucky Horse Farms: Mamas and Babies, Part 1

Mark Perry set up the Kentucky Horse Farms trip in May so we would have plenty of foals to photograph. Our first stop of the day had two babies. One was very busy snoozing most of the morning. The other more than made up for his sleepy buddy - running, kicking, making faces, and annoying his mother.

Fair warning, this post has a lot of photos - who wants to leave out even one cute baby photo? More family photos from the second farm we visited will be up shortly.

Yes, I am alert, intelligent, and a future racing champion:

Or possibly a flop-eared mule?

Break time:

Back to harassing mom:

 Where's my buddy?

So tired, it's easier to snack laying down.

And then a quick nap...

The snoozing baby.

Keeping an eye on Mom.

Classic mom-n-foal pose.

Looking for his friend. The mares would not let these two get close to each other. Every attempt was met with laid back ears, bared teeth and maternal squealing.

All this standing up and nursing is a lot of work - time for another nap.

Next, more mamas and babies from the second farm we visited.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Kentucky Horse Farms: Equestrian Paradise

In mid-May, I was fortunate to attend a photo tour of two Kentucky horse farms conducted by Mark Perry of NPEG. Both farms are in the idyllic countryside just outside of Lexington. Our early morning destination can only be described as an equestrian paradise. Perfectly manicured landscaping, beautiful residences, immaculately groomed horses, right down to freshly dressed hooves - less a working farm, more a bucolic ideal.

This first set of photos includes the homes and barns, as well as some of the landscapes.

The barns are all stone with oak and iron doors and stalls. Every one I looked in was pristine - almost as though only dream horses lived there.

This is the brood mare barn:

Every barn had a cupola for ventilation. And good looks.

No bit of hay, random tack, mucky footprints, just a broom, waiting to be called back into service.

Even the stall locks are pretty. Also, horse-proof.

Sturdy oak and iron doors, the most elegant barn doors I've ever seen.

Looking out of the brood mare barn into lovely green pasture.

Looking up into the cupola. There's netting up there, possibly to keep pigeons or bats out of the barn.

The event barn. We weren't permitted to shoot in there, by the request of the trainer. Lovely rolling countryside.

Gorgeous setting.

Hardy geraniums, blooming madly.

The owner's residence. In the foreground is a brick traffic circle. All the lane are paved, pretty unusual for farm roads.

View from the traffic circle, with another residence in the distance, as well as a small lake, turf track, and a spacious gazebo.

Next post: Mamas and babies

Sunday, May 31, 2015

31 Days of Flowers, Final Edition

And, it's peonies, of course. Some are much battered by the storms over the last couple of days, but still beautiful.

'Angel Cheeks', looking very much worse for the wear.

The buds are holding up better - can't wait to see these tomorrow. The second one below is 'Festiva Maxima', the top one may be, too. The last one is 'Felix Crouse'.

Sad to see this project end - it's been fun watching the spring blossoms come and go.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

31 Days of Flowers: Dame's Rocket

From this morning at Indigo Lake in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Another pretty plant that turns out to be an invasive. It's native to Europe and Asia and crowds out native wildflowers here. So sad, because it's such sure sign of summer.

And did you know that you have to pry yourself out of bed at 4 am to catch a late May sunrise? Yup. Ain't enough coffee...

Friday, May 29, 2015

31 Days of Flowers: Hardy Geraniums

Hardy geraniums in Kentucky. We were at a really lovely horse farm with one of my photography groups and this was taken toward the end of the morning shoot. Little bubbles of pink and purple dancing against the green.

These were right across the farm lane from the owners' residence, surrounding a little overlook for the lake. Most elegant farm I've ever seen - a dream of what a horse farm should be.