Saturday, September 1, 2018

A Summer Survived!

It is Labour Day weekend here in Canada, and by Tuesday the summer will be considered "over".

Under my belt, I now have a few more local shows, and 3 three-day horse shows!

The multi-day events were a challenge - in a good way! Three long days of shooting each, followed by a week or so of photo processing after each of the events. That means literally every hour that I wasn't working at my full time job, or sleeping, were spent at my computer sorting, processing, and posting photos!

Thank you so much, to all the competitors at SVEA and MREC who purchased prints and products this year - your support is appreciated more than you know! I promise you that, for future shows, I will design a more user-friendly way for you to view your photos! :P

Overall, I am very pleased with the photos I captured ... they made the unbroken hours of shooting, baking in the sun and wind and dust, or shivering under rain gear trying to keep my camera dry, worth it! For some reason, there doesn't seem to be a sunny and cool, or dry and overcast, day available in the weatherman's quiver, for horse show days!

I am grateful to have learned a great deal this year, about both photographing equestrian sports and the business of it all. I wouldn't have my new-found knowledge without the gentle prods (ok, firm shoves!) of my friends at LHC Equestrian, and the guidance from Marion Photography. To say nothing of my discovery at MREC that the format of horse shows in Canada is completely different to anything that I have previously experienced in the UK and South Africa!

Most of all, I thank my ever-patient and tolerant husband, without whose unfailing support I would not have survived the first day of the first show! He continues to cheer me from the sidelines, has converted an old service technician's van into a comfy camper, and keeps my computers tuned to peak performance, while never complaining that he has to share so much of my time with my camera and (gasp!) other people's horses!

My camera equipment performed very well. Ok, there were a few terrifying minutes, like the morning after we had monsoon rain all afternoon the previous day, when I thought I'd have to bin my main camera when it locked up and refused to work! I was able to open it up and air it out, while my trusty (and completely dry) back-up machine picked up the slack for an hour before 1DIV allowed itself to be switched on, and then carried on as if nothing had happened!

Oh well, at least it didn't bounce down a mountainside, this time! Tough gear, these Canons!

For 2018 equestrian events, I still have two of out-of-town clinics to take photos at (which will involve camping in Buster, the van - in October and November - I hope Jack Frost will be kind!), as well as a couple of local shows.

I'm not going to make any promises about when my next blog post will be, because it's evident that I'm useless at actually sticking to any type of publishing schedule!

I hope you've had a great summer ... until next time!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

And She's Off!

Wow, that's what you call jumping in at the deep end! Since my last post I/we have ...

... purchased and started retrofitting a small van for camper use
... photographed a local gymkhana event
... photographed a local jumper warm-up event
... photographed a three-day hunter jumper event 135km away

The SVEA gymkhana was a fun season-opener ... here's one of my fav's from that day:

Click to enlarge!

The following weekend, a very enjoyable couple of hours were spent photographing the SVEA jumper warm-up event:

The three-day hunter-jumper event at MREC was a completely different experience, starting with the drive from Squamish to Maple Ridge (this country bumpkin is not used to major highways and city-style traffic)! Three full days of non-stop photographing from 8am until about 4pm daily, in record-breaking heat, resulted in over 3500 images to sort through when I got home. Needless to say, I slept like a top despite the really chilly mornings! It took a week of working on the photos during every waking hour when I wasn't "at work" or sleeping, but they're now posted. Here's one from the show:

With no idea of what, if any, economic benefit will come of this new venture, to save on accommodation costs (and to have a chance of recouping some expenses if it doesn't work out) we decided to start conservatively with an older Chevy Astrovan that we can refit ourselves as a camper. The idea of an "incognito" sleep option is reinforced by the ladder rack and (working!) orange revolving light on the roof!

After cleaning about 20 years' worth of dust, dirt and grime from this ex-municipal/plumber's workhorse, we discovered that our rarely-used futon fits perfectly - and provides extra storage space underneath! My better half spent hours installing a rooftop solar panel for much-needed camera and laptop battery recharging - it works like a charm! Also included are a water tank for drinking and washing, and a mini-porta-potty for midnight emergencies.

One certainly couldn't ask for a nicer place to park for 3 nights:

Can you spot the one that doesn't quite "belong"?!

What's next? A local gymkhana this weekend, then another 3-day hunter-jumper in Maple Ridge in two weeks!

Cheers for now!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

In the Start Gate!

This weekend is my last one completely "off" for a month!

Next Sunday I have a gymkhana at SVEA, the following Saturday a SVEA hunter-jumper event, and the weekend after that a three-day hunter-jumper at MREC!

I've started a list to try to keep track of things to do and help me get organized. It will be interesting to see what I forget, or didn't anticipate. Hopefully nothing major!

Oh, and my two-sided equestrian business cards arrived:

I'm still not sure about them, and am sure that my graphic designer friends will be cringing - but they'll do for now!

Meanwhile, it seems spring is finally putting in an appearance while still maintaining a tighter grip on alpine regions:

Last night's rain sticking on the ridge behind the Stawamus Chief ...
See you next time out!


Sunday, April 15, 2018

No "rain" today ...

... "the rain" has gone away ... with apologies to Herman's Hermits!

After what seems like weeks of non-stop rain, and a rather bleak forecast for show day, yesterday was dry!

Last year at this time the trees were in full leaf, this year the leaves are barely showing:

And we managed to have a fun morning at the SVEA Jumper Warm-up!

Not only did it allow many horses and riders to stretch their legs over some jumps for the first time this season, it also allowed me to get my photographic "eye" back in after a long winter!

If horse shows are your thing, have a browse around the gallery (30% off with coupon code SVEAwarmup until the end of April).

Two weeks today will be gymkhana day!

See you there!

Friday, March 30, 2018

My Dance Card is Getting Full!

All of a sudden, thanks to the unfailing support of my Most Significant Other and a firm push from a couple of friends, I have a very busy year ahead of me ...

Three 3-day hunter/jumper shows at MREC ...

Three instructional clinics at MREC and Southlands ...

Seven gymkhana fun-day Sundays at SVEA ...

And a couple of SVEA dressage days, too ...

The busiest month features 2 one-day events and 1 three-day ... and there's a possibility of more dates to be added!

I'm excited!

Until next time ... keep that umbrella handy!


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunset & Night Long Exposures

That's a photography expression ... believe me, any other type of exposure is not something you want to see!  :D

It all started with a forecast of Aurora Borealis - and this dramatic view from our deck yesterday morning:

(please click to enlarge the images!)

There was similar drama going on above Mt Garibaldi throughout the day, so I thought I'd try for some longer exposures at sunset. The closest we got to sunset colours was this ...

... and that was minutes before the clouds slammed down over the mountain!

After about an hour of standing in freezing wind, hoping that the clouds would break up, they finally started to give the mountain back to us:

As darkness fell, the focus shifted from sunset, to capturing the "dragging" clouds and the indigo sky of alpenglo, then to stars, followed by a (very faint and forlorn) hope of aurora borealis!

Lessons learned:

- Need a shooting location further out of town ... once darkness fell the light pollution definitely impacted my efforts in a negative way!

- Need to find a sturdier qrp (plate that connects camera to tripod) to further minimize the impact of wind on long exposures - can you say camera shake?! I know it's in a box somewhere ...

- Need to investigate a remote shutter release device ... the 2 second delay mechanism doesn't cut it!

- If I want to capture Aurora Borealis, I'm going to have to stay up late or get up in the wee hours, when they're more likely to be putting on a show! I'm definitely not a night-owl!

Thanks, as always, go to my ever-patient and supportive hubby for his company - and the cup of Timmy's hot chocolate!

Until next time ... have a great week!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

A House Guest!

We are busy this weekend, with a friend staying overnight ...

Well, he's actually more family than friend!

The small but mighty ...

Madi the Teacup Maltese Poodle


What a cutie, eh?!

See you next time!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Blue Between Blizzards

Ok, blizzards might be putting too strong a spin on it, but you catch my drift!

Before I get onto that, though, here's the sunset Alpenglo on Garibaldi from last weekend's day of gale-force winds - the fuzziness you can see is the snow blowing around in the alpine!

As always, click to enlarge the photos!

And now, back to regular programming...

Yesterday's storm brought 10cm+ to the Squamish area. Needless to say, this caused chaos on Highway 99, the main artery between Vancouver and Whistler, on the worst possible day of the week: Friday! Vancouver was snarled, too, because the city isn't set up for snow (or efficient snow-clearing) and city-mice don't put winter tyres on their vehicles.

This morning, though, we woke to a glorious bluebird day and, as soon as the sun reached the valley floor, we were out walking to enjoy the winter wonderland before the sun started knocked the globs of snow out of the trees:

The next storm is forecast for tonight ... another approx 10cm of snow!

Could this be the last blast of winter?! We shall see...

Until next time!

Saturday, February 17, 2018


As I sit at my window and watch the latest North Pacific winter storm dumping what's forecast to be up to 30cm of wet snow by tomorrow morning, I am contemplating what's scheduled for me (and my camera) this year!

After a couple of summers taking photos at local equestrian events, this year I have been offered the chance to shoot at three multi-day hunter-jumper events at Maple Ridge Equestrian Centre! Those are in May, June and August.

Hunter-Jumper at SVEA

Also, in late June and early October, I'll be capturing the action at two two-day eventing clinics being taught by world-greats William Fox-Pitt and Lucinda Green! These gigs will be shared with popular Vancouver area equestrian photo-guru, Marion Fox. (Marion also happens to be the person who I owe props to for opening the door to the events at MREC!)

Lucinda Green instructing at MREC

To say I'm excited about these opportunities is an understatement!

As soon as the schedule for the local Squamish riding club, SVEA, has been released, I'll be adding a few more dates to my calendar - hopefully a couple of dressage dates along with hunter-jumper and other activities!

Dressage at SVEA

Of course, I'll be continuing to do any pet photography that comes my way, too!

But, it's only mid-February and, the weatherman says, after this snow has fallen and the skies start clearing, there's an Arctic outflow coming! This means all this lovely slush will freeze solid! Ack!

See you next time!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Year Ago Today ...

It's almost a year since I posted here! I have every intention of making it a regular contribution but, as my track record indicates, my intentions can't be counted on ... at least when it comes to regular blog posts! (One of my new year's resolutions was to get back to my blog ... and look how long that took!)

What inspired this return to the blog? Today was the first full day of sunshine that we've had in about 6 weeks! It feels like spring (although we know that's probably a false alarm)! Don't get me wrong: Not complaining! We had a couple of weeks of snow over the holidays but, since then, nothing but rain. Dreary, yes, but less of a pain in the butt to deal with in daily life!

Today we had a lovely walk from our flat through Squamish towards the Terminals and Estuary area. Here are a few of the photos (click the image to enlarge):

As many of you already know, we now live in Squamish. That's about 90 minutes' drive south of Pemberton, where we were before. It's a moderate-size town at the head of a fjord called Howe Sound, on British Columbia's coast, about an hour's drive from Vancouver. We've been here since June last year, and are loving it! That's a big surprise, particularly to me, because I didn't have the town at the top of my list of most-want-to-live-in locations!

Have to admit that I'm getting a tad nervous because our lease is up in 4 months. No idea if that will mean we have to move yet again ... one can only hope not but, at this time, it's up to the landlord gods, if we're to continue renting. And the WHA gods ... which by extension means the wait-list gods, if we ever hope to be able to find a place to buy ... and finally unpack all these xxxxing boxes!!!

If anyone's still out there ...

See you next time!