Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Frosting is Sweet

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In my last post, I said that the show this weekend had already qualified as a success and any other positive developments would be bonuses. You know, the frosting on the cake. Well, lo and behold, when I went in yesterday to deliver the two final prints that had been waiting for their spot to be cleared, I got a taste of the frosting. One of my prints has pre-sold. Gee whiz. I even got to collect an early bonus. April 2009 has been filled with blessings.

I have been scurrying about working on some last minute materials for Lori and, in the meantime, stumbling into a couple more projects. Whew. If I weren’t already a wee bit of a dizzy dame, I would be by now.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mulling Things Over

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I took things easy this afternoon. This morning I buzzed about finishing a printing job for my project and helping The Husband get ready to go to LA. He had to go down there for an audition and afterwards he had an appointment to shoe a horse in our old neighborhood. By the time I finished the printing for me, the stapling and general assistant for him, got him off, then drove into town to deliver some biographical material for Friday night’s promotion, I was feeling a little worn. Besides, I discovered that we are smack back into late winter again. Well, my idea of winter, anyway. I got out of the car and was hit by how cold and blustery it was. I had no will to make any other stops and came straight home after completing my delivery.

With the house quiet and feeling tired besides, I gave myself permission to ignore the to-do list and spend time instead relaxing and reflecting a bit on my experiences the last couple of weeks. I’ve been thinking mostly about this First Friday event and all my preparation for it. I have reached the conclusion that my participation in First Friday is already an unqualified success. I see those furrowed brows. How can I declare this a success when the event hasn’t yet taken place? Easy. This is clearly one of those cases where the journey was the destination.

First, by saying yes to this invitation, I said yes to a lot of work that I normally postpone indefinitely. When asked to bring in additional pieces, I said yes and embraced the challenge of more framing. Without external structure, I will shoot much faster than I can process—much less print, and forget about matting and framing. I frequently have pieces that I want to take all the way to that conclusion of the framed print, but I love shooting so much that I am constantly ahead of myself. Yes, my preparation for First Friday meant that I didn’t have as much time for shooting, but it prohibited my normal procrastination on printing and framing.

Another bonus was the motivation to get out and talk to more people. I am quite impressed by Lori (the shop owner) and want so much for this event to be a success for her. Her store is new; she has put a great deal of energy into her new business and has accomplished amazing things in a remarkably short time. I want to support her and thank her for choosing my work and for inviting me to be her first “featured artist”. It’s been easy to talk up the evening, because of my enthusiasm for her and her entrepreneurial spirit. So far, quite a nice number of people have said yes to my invitation to attend on Friday evening and I look forward to meeting still more people in my new neighborhood.

Just by committing to the event and preparing for it, I have already accomplished a number of things. Now, I can settle down and look forward to the pleasure of watching the evening unfold knowing that the experience has already been a success. Everything else will be a bonus.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hanging Out With the Guys

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For a couple of evenings this past week, I spent some time out in the pasture hanging out with Lancer and Night. Friday, I darned near got frost bite it was so cold, but I have a several motivations.

Not only do I just enjoy watching the horses from a closer point, I certainly hope to get some shots that I like. My major motivation is getting back to a point where I am more comfortable shooting action. For many months now, I have been shooting landscapes and a little macro with very little action. I had gotten to the point of feeling totally out of shape for the demands of fast action shooting. The shots of the horses that I have posted recently were shot from safely outside the pasture, because I was still hobbling about on my abused ankle. I have finally reached the point where I feel relatively comfortable wandering about in the field—ground squirrel holes and all. The footing isn’t the very best, but, so far, so good.

One of the reasons that I need practice is that my best lens for shooting horses is far and away the 70-200 f2.8L, but the lens has two major drawbacks. 1. I foolishly saved money (this was done a couple of years ago) and didn’t get the IS version. 2. The weight. I call this lens Big Bertha. In the past, I used this lens only with a monopod. While I was never satisfied with that arrangement, I didn't feel confident without the security of the monopod. I put up with it, even though it is a definite hindrance. Most equine photographers handle that lens handheld for action, and I am slowly working my way up to some consistency with it. Of course shooting handheld will mean accepting some major disappointments with shots that would have been terrific, if only they were sharp. On the other hand, it means getting some shots that definitely would never be possible while lugging around a tripod and would most likely be missed with a monopod. I am going to go for the spontaneity and flexibility. I will have to live with the near misses.

My time with Lancer and Night is relaxing. Mostly they just eat their way along—not wildly entertaining; but I enjoy watching them do almost anything. Both of these evenings, however, the guys have put on a little show for me, and I thought I would share a couple of my practice shots. These are the antithesis of the glamour pictures that I will do more of as the weather warms—shots showing the horses “stood up” nicely with coats clean and shiny, eyes wiped clean, chin-hair trimmed sleek, hooves polished. Here, they are just being horses—and happy horses with room to play.

By the way, it may look as if Lancer (the chestnut) is standing still in the second shot, but he had just been crammed into the fence by Night, while they charged around the pasture. Night was playing the aggressor the second evening and was crowding Lancer, just for fun. They had a good romp, and I was treated to grand entertainment along with plenty of practice shooting fast action.