Not-quite-photography Friday: Presto Warrior Design

I think it’s safe to say that when little Presto hit the ground, he immediately charmed all of blogland with one tiny whinny. So when he landed himself in an emergency clinic as a sick little foal, he gained himself a whole community of well-wishers hoping for his health and healing.

When Amanda addressed questions regarding donations to his care fund, I was more than happy to volunteer my design skills to a very worthy cause. I immediately stalked all her media of Presto and landed on a still of him frolicking in his pen. A little illustrator magic, some feedback from Amanda, and an oldies tune on repeat in my head generated the below image!

To buy a t-shirt and help offset the costs of Presto’s stay at the clinic, check out this link where you can buy Presto-related goodies through next Friday! Presto, we are so glad you are feeling better and one day I hope to hear that adorable little whinny in person!

The Photography Business Check up

At the beginning of the year I shared my goal to take my photography to the next level this year. It started with investing in new equipment, i.e a full frame body (Nikon D750) and prime lens (85mm f1.8), and then using that equipment to shoot two pro-bono sessions with well-known local equestrian entities. I also took a survey on the blog of your opinions regarding portrait sessions/equestrian photography in general, and I thank all that participated- the feedback was incredibly helpful! The photos that follow are just a sample of my favorites this year.

And of course I am now partners with Lilybird Flowers!

Since kickstarting everything back in January, I have officially done more shoots in the last 3 months than I did in the entirety of last year. I used any profits from shoots to pay off my new equipment, and now that it is all covered all pennies earned will go into the #newponyfund.

For the first time since I started my photography side-business, I actually am at capacity for how much I can handle. That’s 5 sessions booked for the month of April, and though it feels a little harried between balancing the 9-5 job and time in the saddle, it’s still a pretty cool feeling. The next step feels like building a pipeline of bookings for the future- and this is something I’m less successful in, as most of my sessions are planned weeks out instead of months. Part of this is probably the financial culture of horse people as well as obvious worries about weather, pony soundness issues, and other concerns.

One of my other goals for growth is to incorporate portraits into my horse-shopping travels, which helps offset the costs of hotel/gas/etc. I also love meeting new people and experiencing the relationship they have with their horses. Every equestrian’s journey is slightly different, and every single one has a story to tell. Facebook has been helpful in spreading the word, as well as my connections (and I include blogland in that!) in various areas. My next possible trip may be to northern Virginia/Middleburg area, maybe even this weekend, and if I’m lucky I’ll squeeze in a shoot while I’m there!

Photographing Cambalda will forever be a highlight for me- Ping is the man!

One of the main struggles I have found with this business is the sheer amount of competition there is. While I feel like I am reasonably priced given the work involved, there are others out there who charge a fraction of my fees, or even work for free. Mostly these are younger photographers looking to build their portfolio or just make a little spending money, but I simply can’t, or won’t, attempt to enter a price war that will leave me not being able to cover even my gas. All I can hope is that my style and quality of work will be attractive above the mayhem, but it’s easily to enter into an oblivion of self doubt when faced with the daily barrage of local photography ads.

Still, I am more than excited about the sessions completed so far in 2017 and flipping ecstatic when I think of all the sessions to come. Sometimes I wonder if I am boring readers to death with my Friday photography posts, but I just love to share this other side of my equestrian passions. Thanks for being part of the journey, and if you have something you want to see please let me know!

 

 

An Ill Pup

Radio silence incurred because as if we needed another family member to get sick, Drake ended up spending the weekend in an emergency clinic.

After a few days of just not seeming right, one large puke, and a missing lens-bag cord was noticed, we decided to take him in to the vet. Cue much of Saturday spent in vet waiting rooms, wondering what it would take to get our fur baby right again.

Elliot (cat) and Drake (shepherd)

It turns out he had quite a lot of inflammation in his GI tract and in general his bloodwork showed that his body was somewhat angry at whatever was going on. X-rays didn’t show any obvious foreign objects, but as he was also quite dehydrated, the decision was made to transfer him to an after hours clinic where they would give him fluids, do a contrast study, and in general work to get him comfortable.

Drake and Elliot

After spending 2 nights there, he’s back home, and luckily eating and drinking in a more normal fashion. He seems thoroughly exhausted and a little dull in the eyes after his experience, and the husband and I are both hoping he cheers up soon.

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I’m working for home in order to keep an eye on him, and doing what we can to get him to perk up. Please send healing thoughts for my precious boy to feel better!

Photography Friday: Anniversary Edition

Yesterday marked 4 years of marriage with the husband, and 8 years since we met on a cruise ship and started dating. So to give you guys a reprieve from horsey photos this Friday I thought it would be fun to share some of our wedding photos!

All photos are by Robyn Van Dyke Photography.

So excited that I forgot to grab my bouquet!

And then a series of photos that basically represent my college days running with a pack of feral boys. Illustrated here is a drinking game where a pre-decided item (in this case a bouncy ball) was secretly passed around from drink to drink. If someone snuck it into your drink you had to finish it within 2 minutes or give it back. If you successfully finished, you got to keep it and sneak it into someone else’s drink. Yes, college at its finest. And no, I would not back down from the game, not even on my wedding night!

So many memories! Wishing you all a happy Friday! Have a great weekend all!

Photography Friday: Lilybird Flowers Round II

Sorry, not sorry, I couldn’t not share more of the photos from my styled shoot that was also last week’s Photography Friday post. Today’s round of portraits again feature the beautiful work of Lilybird Flowers, and seriously- are you guys not just in love with these flower crowns?

Thanks to Leah of Lilybird Flowers again for including me in this exciting opportunity! Let’s get this party started!

The Queen of Flowers herself.

Photography Friday: Styled Shoot with Lilybird Flowers

When one of my girl friends mentioned to me back in November that she wanted to start a floral business, I was so excited for her, and more than eager to propose we do a photoshoot together that would show off her services.

A styled shoot is an exciting opportunity for a photographer, because you get to exert an unusual amount of control over the aesthetic look of your subjects. In a normal photoshoot, the client chooses their outfits, the location, the horse/pets/etc and so on and so forth- and so they should- its their shoot! But in a styled shoot, the florist and I got to nitpick every detail.

Our model was another friend, who also was my realtor for the House on a Hill 2.0! Katie is a stunning creature and her young Hanoverian gelding, Sully (aka Smush) was a wonderful companion.

The hope is that Lilybird Flowers and I will partner for shoots in the area, using her florals as a wonderful accompaniment to my portrait sessions.

It’s been an exciting week for BGD and I have loved collaborating with Lilybird Flowers so far. Hopefully there will be more floral equestrian shoots featured here in the future!

Happy Friday, all!

Photography Friday: Equestrian Gender Reveal

Horses are a part of our family, even if they don’t (often) fit through our front door! So when Kasey and Trip reached out to me to do an equestrian gender reveal shoot, it absolutely made sense. We scheduled the shoot for the farm where she keeps her retired (maybe to be un-retired!) showjumper Noah, and her baby thoroughbred Tide. We chased the sun all over the farm, and here are the results!

And for the big reveal- this family of 4 will become a family of 5 and welcome their little boy!

Congrats to Kasey and Trip, and happy Friday everyone!

Photography Friday: Christine and Kadet

Christine is a very special friend of mine, and also a huge part of this blog in that she has probably taken a good percentage of the media, particularly sales horse media, that you see on this site.

In return for the countless (because if we’re counting, it’s probably more than 20) hours driving to horse shows or seeing prospective horses, as well as being chief ear wrangler for my photography projects, I was keen to do a photo session with her and her horse Kadet.

Kadet is a special guy himself, a spritely soul turning 19 this year. He is retired from the highest levels of showjumping and now enjoys the good life of trail riding and light work with Christine. When he’s not galloping around his spacious paddock, Kadet’s other skill is proving himself to be the miracle horse. Despite breaking his coffin bone, getting cast in his stall, and fracturing a bone in his leg (all separate occasions), he’s bounced back every time and is the picture of health today.

So many thanks to Christine for her continuous support and friendship! Happy Friday to everyone!

Photography Friday: Ocala Portrait Session


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When I went to Ocala last month, I got to meet my first Julieann’s new Irish import, Ollie. So obviously we had to do a photoshoot with him, and her OG Jasper, in and amongst the stunning spanish moss of Horsepower Equestrian. Ollie is such a ham and a typical [big] baby, and it was hilarious trying to position him so that he wouldn’t try and eat the moss that was so conveniently at face level!

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We also did horsey version of a family photo, and I have to say, when the boys starting touching noses my heart just melted.

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Sadly, the light faded quickly, but not before we wrapped up one of my favorite sessions to date with this sweet moment between J and Ollie back at the barn.

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Lots of photos coming over the coming months, I hope you guys enjoy a little photography every week between now and.. I don’t know.. forever! Happy weekend!

Photography Friday: I Bella and Cambalda

Well, I did tell you guys I was going to hit the photography game hard this year, and so far I have made good on that promise! One of the exciting shoots I did to kick the year off was this rather impromptu mini-session done in the warmup arena at Wellington. Cambalda, or Ping as he goes by in the barns, needs to introduction to the eventing crowd. He’s been on the circuit at the top levels of the discipline for many years now, culminating in being named alternate to the Pan American games team.

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I Bella is a little newer to the eventing scene but no less talented. She finished 12th in the Eventing Showcase and looks to be an up and coming star for the future and one to watch. And while I understand that she is an absolute fireball under saddle, she is potentially one of the quietest, sweetest horses I have ever met- I mean honestly, how many Advanced level horses do you know that will stand like a statue in the middle of a showgrounds without a lead rope???web-ibella-cambalda-5

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I really must thank Erin, Jennie’s groom, and Jennie herself for allowing me the pleasure of photographing these truly special horses. It was an honor and one photography session that will stand out for me for the rest of my life!