Thermal

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“The teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons, and the true teacher is the learner.” ~ Elbert Hubbard


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Lessons in riding, photography and life.  The child had a wonderful experience during her three weeks in the desert.  She did her job in moving the pony named Mickey along to his next adventure, she entered the jumper ring for the first time with great success on a horse named Heid-n-Seek; and, she got back together with her best friend, Charly, who, together went on to great things in the hunter ring.  I am not sure what she would say was the highlight of her time in the desert.  Possibly winning on Charly, maybe successfully completing her first jumper course, or, perhaps simply being in the same warm up ring with US Olympian, Rich Fellers and Flexible.

The photographer “borrowed” a lens for the second half of the adventure…  borrowedlens.com is my new favorite hangout.  I’m one of the lucky photographers that lives within 5 miles of this little golden nugget, allowing me on a moments notice to go in and grab whatever new and exciting piece of equipment I need or just want to have for a play date.

The shooting was phenomenal.  The desert landscape was extraordinary with the first weekend blasting us with winter like conditions.  This winter storm resulted in snowfall on the nearby San Jacinto Mountains which created breathtaking views from the jumper rings.  Down jackets and snow gear were required.  Two days later, the temps rose and out came the shorts and t-shirts.  The shooting was more interesting during the cold snap, as the hot desert sun (after about 9:30 a.m.) makes for not-so-pretty pictures.  Much of my success was either before 10:00 a.m. or as the sun was setting.  Afternoon breaks allowed for being a spectator watching the elite line up of international riders who were flocking to Thermal for the AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix.  Another story for another day.

I share with you some of my favorite shots from this last adventure.  The journey will take us in the coming months to elementary school graduation, a couple of garden shoots, a celebratory trip to Spain and horse shows around CA…all of this leading up to the child starting a new chapter as she enters middle school.   Wish me luck, Charly (if have a child who is 10, you get it).  ~ Peace!  J>

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ImageGoodbye Thermal ~

Catching Up

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Layla

With Thermal just a few weeks away, I have been mostly shooting horses and barn candids.  Thermal – the HITS Desert Circuit Horse Show begins today in Thermal, California and continues through March 17.  Ally and the Oak Haven crew will be competing during the second half of the circuit and our horses, trainers and riders head south in just a few weeks.  That means, I head south in just a few weeks and will be enjoying the warm desert sunshine while dedicating my next posts to Thermal.  Not to fear flower children, the gardens bloom and the garden shows gear up in March. But, for now, let’s catch up.

My goal this year is to post more pictures, shorten the stories and continue with the intended theme of documenting Ally and my journey to 2020.

2012 ended with the ten year old saying goodbye to two dear furry friends and a stuffed pony named Smores.  But, as the saying goes, “every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”  Two new furry friends have joined our extended family and she continues to ride the real pony named Mickey (along with her beloved, best friend Charly).  As she approaches the end of her 10th year she is gracefully saying goodbye to a few of her childish ways and hello to her tweens.  Fear for me.

I am saying goodbye to an old friend, my Nikon D70.  Great camera that simply hit the pavement too many times (thanks to the 10 year old mentioned above).  My tried and true Nikon D5000 will travel with me to Thermal for the dirty, dusty work.  He will be joined by a new friend who is en-route to Woodside as I type.

I dedicate this post to Layla and Darwin Murray.  We miss you, we love you, may you rest in peace.  xo!!

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Secrets

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“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.”
― Diane Arbus

I had intentions with the photo.  Frame was set.  I was going to capture a moment.  I think we all know where I was going with this.  Caption would read “When I grow up I want to be just like her”.   However, every good photographer/artist knows you need to make sure the composition is just right.   I knew it was all wrong; but, I went ahead because I love the two beings so much I just had to take the shot.  I would see if I could “weed out” the noise in the background later.

After uploading the photo, I decided, it’s just one of those shots you need to leave “as is”.  DOF is good in the foreground, but, the rest is just a hot mess.  I leave it and share it because every photograph has its own story.  The dude in the background is always by my side at the hunter rings.   We stand together on the same line and our clicks are in sync 99% of the time.  I still have a few fails.  I can see that he is wondering what I’m up to at this moment.  Well, my friend, I have little secret 🙂

Saying Goodbye

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Quote of the Day:  “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”  ~ Seneca

Today the small child will say goodbye to her beloved pony, Hailey.  There is so much I want to say about the journey of this child and pony, however, I am too teary eyed to type.  So, what I will say is “thank you, Hailey Duck” for making such a remarkable impact on my child.  For teaching her courage and determination and for allowing her to achieve such great successes by working so beautifully together with her.  You showed her you CAN reach for the stars and, in doing so, get a little slice of heaven.  A piece of my heart breaks today.  You will, forever, be missed.

Poise and Grace

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Quote of the Day:  “By “guts” I mean, grace under pressure.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

She arrived at Thermal with no expectations other than to do her very best.  She had dreamed of this moment for over a year.  She practiced and she prepared.  Moments before she headed out for her first jumping round, she looked at me and smiled.  It was a smile that spoke a thousand words.

I watched nervously.  I was not nervous about the ride, because I knew she would put everything she had into it, and my trust of the pony never waivers.  Nervous isn’t even the correct word to describe my emotions. The emotions were full of pride, respect and a knowing that it was time to let go.  She did not need to hold my hand for this one.

When it was over, her face said it all.  I think she felt a little like Rocky after he ran the steps in Philadelphia.  The definition of poise is balance; stability; ease and dignity of manner; self-assurance; composure; the condition of being calm or serene.  Today was share day at school and she wanted to share about her experience at Thermal.  I asked her if she wanted to take her ribbons to show her classmates and she said, “no, Momma, I just want to tell my friends about how it felt to ride my pony in the desert”.  It wasn’t about the awards, it was about the experience.  The poise of this small child never ceases to amaze me.

The definition of poise, the transitive verb, is to be balanced or held in suspension; hover.  This is what we get to look forward to in the years to come.  The poise and grace which this lovely 16 year old exemplifies goes beyond measure.

Haley, thank you for being such a beautiful example of poise and grace!  Good luck this week at Thermal!!  I promise many photos next weekend.

Thermal

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Quote of the Day:  “There is no end.  There is no beginning.  There is only the passion of life.”  Federico Fellini

Five years ago, almost to the day, my family went on a holiday that would forever change our lives.   We received an invitation from a family at our daughter’s preschool to join them at their vacation home in the California desert.  Little did I know that this journey would transform my life AND provide the most life altering additions to my soul.

The reason the family was in town on this particular trip that February was because the mother, Tarni, was competing at the HITS Desert Horse Show, which takes place annually in Thermal.  Thermal is a small, unincorporated community near Palm Springs, CA.  Equestrians simply refer to the show as “Thermal”.  We spent the day at the show grounds where Tarni introduced my daughter, Ally, to her beautiful horses.  She introduced us to riders, the grooms and trainers.  It was at the cafe where we met a trainer named Wendy.  She was very kind to take some time to chat with us.  On that day, Ally’s little life was forever changed; because on that day she fell in love with horses and began her journey on the path to discovering her true life passion.

Fast forward; it is now five years later, and, once again winter break is upon us.  As we ready our bags to head to our own little vacation home near Thermal, my mind goes back to that poetic February day so many years ago.  My cameras and lenses are packed, ready to take hundreds of photos of the little girl who fell in love with horses 5 years earlier.  Ally will be showing her pony, Paint by Numbers, for the first time at Thermal.  And, yes, as you probably guessed, she will be jumping her pony under the watchful eye of her amazing trainer, Wendy.

Thank you, Tarni, for the gift you brought to our family and the gift of your friendship.  Godspeed, little one, on your journey on this next big adventure.