Monday, March 25, 2013

Favorite photos from 2012

Why does it feel like 2012 lingered on a month or two past its welcome? I guess that's just a symptom of winter, and me not going on a trip over the break. So while this post may technically be "late" in the realm of year-end lists, it is coming two full months earlier than last year's tragically tardy summary of 2011. Perspective, people.

2012 was hot and cold, and definitely an earth-shaker for me thanks to a sudden decision to move to a new town. While the spring granted me the excitement of a new favorite horse in Union Rags, the post-Triple Crown trail was less stellar than years past. Since I moved in July, even further away from any racetrack, I had a fairly good excuse for being more disconnected. (Side note: I truly envy every one of you who live closer than 3 hours away from a track. Be grateful for what you have.) Also, I put a stipulation in the event of this move, I would get to see the 11-time world champion Kelly Slater surf in person--and it totally worked and made up for the lack of races I got to see in the surrounding months. (I'm still feeling the effects of that trip, in fact.)

So, because I like to keep a record of things, here's a list of my favorite shots I took during the 2012 racing calendar. (And maybe a bonus Kelly Slater shot because it totally qualifies according to the criteria in my head.)

"So are you guys comin, or what?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

And the Wowie goes to...

Congratulations to Natalie Voss of Lexington, Kentucky, for winning my camera phone photo contest with her picture of a race horse on the track at Keeneland. I received several great entries this year, making the judging incredibly difficult on my end, but it came down to the degree of difficulty in using a camera phone to capture a horse in motion. Not only does Natalie's picture capture a horse in a fully-extended trot with perfect sharpness, her photo also displayed the simple beauty of a race horse going to the post under a striking blue sky. This is the kind of picture that just makes you want to hop in the car and go to the track.

Here is Natalie's winning entry:

Here's what the photographer had to say about her photo:
"I had never been on the turn at Keeneland like this before, and was lamenting that I hadn't brought my point and shoot camera to try to capture how beautiful the colors were that day. I was pleased and a little surprised that they came through so well on my cell phone."
Thanks to everyone who participated in my photo contest! There are a lot of great phone-wielding photographers out there, and you made judging this contest extremely challenging. I'm only sorry I didn't have more calendars to give away!

Follow Natalie on Twitter at @flysofree. Congratulations, Natalie! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Return of the "Wowies!"

Last year, I held a camera phone photo contest which was lovingly dubbed by some Twitter friends as "The Wowies." I received a number of great entries and thought the contest was successful enough to try it again this year. Because I'm lazy, and because it seemed to work smoothly, I'm keeping the same rules as last year. The only change is that the contest is now open to everyone, no matter where you live in the world! Here's the scoop: puts out a racing calendar every year, and as I am one of their photographers, I get a complimentary calendar for my contributions. Since I get extra calendars, I thought it would only be appropriate to give one away as a thank-you to my followers on social media. (My mom got the other free calendar, or I'd give away more than one. Sorry.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

At long last, my epic Trestles blog

Unlike in horse racing, you don't get too many chances to see ASP events come to America. With my window to witness the greatest surfer of all time closing fast, I had but a few chances to see Kelly Slater this year without having to cross an ocean. My first choice was to see him compete at Trestles.

The San Clemente Pier
Considered a holy place for surfers, Trestles is located at San Onofre State Beach in San Clemente, California. Ironic my first encounter with surfers was in San Clemente, watching amateurs flounder near the pier, when one of the best surf spots in America was just a couple miles down the beach. While there are several great surf spots along this stretch of sand, the best and most consistent wave is at Lower Trestles, or as those in the know call it, Lowers.

The thing about Lowers? It just happens to be one of Kelly Slater's favorite playgrounds. Before going into the 2012 Hurley Pro, Kelly had won the world tour event at Lowers five times before, more than any other professional surfer. If Kelly is King of Surfing, Lower Trestles would be his kingdom. So, yeah, the first place I got to see Kelly Slater surf in person was at his home away from home.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

And now for something completely different...

I've been cheating on horse racing. Like, hardcore. Honestly, who could blame me with the onslaught of retirements sweeping through our sport like a rampant disease? I'll Have Another. Union Rags. Bodemeister. All of our best 3-year-olds are gone, gone, gone, and so my interest has admittedly waned following the spring races. 

As someone who admittedly avoids most popular sports like a mange-ridden muskrat, it probably surprised me more than anyone I could fall in love with a new sport. Perhaps it's because this isn't just another game where the object is to move a ball from one geographical location to another; or partially due to the fact it's just so different from any other sport. Either way, there's a lot to love about this new [to me] sport.

I'm talking about surfing! As in in the ocean. With a board. And wetsuits. No, it's definitely not me doing the surfing. (Big HAH!) I like to leave that up to the professionals.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Triple Crown Dichotomy

Since Silver Charm lost the Belmont to Touch Gold in 1997, I have made it my life goal to see a Triple Crown victory. Even if it means having my head cryogenically preserved and saved till there’s a real chance in 200 years, I vowed to see this happen. 

The nose heard 'round the world.
The Triple Crown bug first bit me when I was 14; the last near-miss had come when I was 6 and too young to understand the gravity of the event. I kind of blame Bob Baffert for hooking me, because his horse lost the Crown by ¾ of a length in 1997, and then by a nose in 1998. I was so crazy about Real Quiet, I resorted to bad poetry when the unlucky Fish lost. It taught me to want something with every fiber of my being, to dare to hope the seemingly impossible could happen. One. Freaking. Nostril. Yeah, I cried, I hated Victory Gallop with the wrath of a thousand burning suns. To this day, I sneer when I see a progeny of that horse in the winner’s circle. That legendary photo finish and its heart-shattering result will be ingrained in me forever.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Favorite photos from 2011

Not gonna lie. 2011 wasn't my favorite year, neither for racing nor for me, personally. So I wasn't particularly motivated to blog, or even put together a best-of post. But hindsight is 20/20, right? I now have a better appreciation for the races I shot last year and have decided to put together a better-late-than-never post about my top ten favorite racing shots from 2011. So here, without further ado, is my least-sucky shots from a less than stellar year.

The Factor finds a scratchin' post
 I took an impromptu trip down to Hot Springs, Arkansas to shoot the Rebel Stakes. While I was there, I stalked The Factor on the backstretch, where I discovered the gray/roan colt has quite the personality. During a bath, he started playfully shoving around his assistant trainer and used him to rub his head. I loved how this moment showed the bond between these two.