Kristen Warning Photography: Blog http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Kristen Warning Photography kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) Sat, 05 Mar 2016 17:00:00 GMT Sat, 05 Mar 2016 17:00:00 GMT http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u184192011-o632646275-50.jpg Kristen Warning Photography: Blog http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog 120 85 Sandhill Cranes - We Finally Meet http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2016/3/sandhill-cranes---we-finally-meet A few years ago, I got done volunteering at my kid's school, and was walking to my car in the parking lot.  I heard this strange noise from afar, and had no idea what it was.  The sound got closer and it was coming from the sky.  It sounded like birds, but nothing I had heard before - it was like a cross between a goose and turkey call.  I looked around in the sky until I saw them - a mass of large birds, sort of flying in a "V" pattern but not really.  Big, loud birds that flew over and then they circled back, like they were confused at where they were going.  I mentioned this sighting to several people and no one really knew, except the school secretary, Janet, who told me they were probably Sandhill Cranes.  

During that winter, I saw different batches of Sandhill Cranes flying over from different locations in southern Indiana.  I saw them when I was riding my horse.  I saw them traveling along the interstate.  I saw them from my house.  I saw them so many different times on such random occasions but I never saw them land, or even remotely close to the ground.  I did some research online and found a few places where they were said to have been sighted, because they winter over in southern Indiana.  My family and I went to one of those places to see them, but with no luck.  I would continue to see them flying by for the next few years, calling out their unusual call, but never saw them up close.  

In January of this year, my kids and I were enjoying a leisurely Sunday, when we needed to go to town to run a couple of errands.  We got done and I thought "Today is a good day to see if we can see Sandhill Cranes."  I told my kids we were going to take a road trip.  It was sunny, relatively warm, and I had my camera.  My kids knew I had been admiring and talking about these birds from afar for all this time, so it didn't really come to a surprise to them when I told them what we were going to do and they were up for it.  

We drove for about an hour, made a stop for some ice cream, and made the turn onto a country road…and there they were.  We saw our first group of Sandhill Cranes in a field and we were so flipping excited!  I drove slowly down the road, and in each field, on both sides of the road were more and more cranes.  I pulled over in a safe spot and assembled my camera, and started photographing the birds.  It was amazing.  

There were so many birds we just couldn't possibly count them.  They were also very shy.  When I would pull over on the side of the road or get out to walk a wee bit closer, they immediately noticed and would start walking further into the field or fly away.

I was amazed and in awe of each new batch of Sandhill Cranes we came across, whereas my kid's enthusiasm had dwindled along with the sunlight.  We literally saw thousands and thousands of these beautifully elegant birds in the relatively short time we were there.  

It was time to drive home, all of us happy for our own reasons - me more for finally seeing and photographing Sandhill Cranes, and my kids because their bellies were full of ice cream.

 

Here's to more random road trips - you never know where you'll end up and what you'll see!  Click here to see the full gallery of images. 

Want to know more about Sandhill Cranes?  Click here for more information.  I found the map of the summer and migration patterns interesting - Indiana isn't really a part of it.  I feel even more lucky :)

 

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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) Indiana Southern Indiana bird migration bird patterns bird photography birds cranes migration nature nature photography sandhill sandhill cranes wildlife wildlife photography winter http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2016/3/sandhill-cranes---we-finally-meet Sat, 05 Mar 2016 16:59:28 GMT
New Year, New Path http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2016/1/new-year-new-path Happy 2016!  Oh, it's been a long time since I posted on my blog, even after I got this most wonderful message from someone on my Facebook page about how my blog inspired her.  Well, I was a big slacker with my blog…since, um, 2014.  It's a new year, so time to start or rekindle habits, right?  Yes!  

The year 2015 had many, many changes happening in my life and quite frankly, while I could have paid attention to my blog and expressed myself along the way, it was not at the top of my priority list.  I went through a divorce, which led to moving to a new town, out to the country, and right next to the barn where I had boarded my horse for three years.  It was a LOT of change, adjustment, happiness, crying, questioning, affirmation - and it's all for the good.  I am finding myself and looking forward to see where my path leads me.  

The same month - the day same actually - as my divorce was finalized, I said good-bye to my horse Luxor.  He had been my friend and family member for eleven years.  Luxor had struggled to keep weight on after the spring grass was gone last year, and was suffering from the effects of Cushing's disease.  It was one of the hardest things I had to do, but necessary.  He was in pain, and I didn't want him to suffer.   I was second guessing myself the night before, wondering if I should just let him live until he fell asleep forever one day.  But God gave me a good talking too that evening …after a quick thunderstorm rolled through, the most amazing double rainbow appeared over the tree line, just beyond the horse pasture where Luxor had his final evening grazing with Charm.  I knew it was going to be ok and Luxor was ready to cross the rainbow bridge.  

Luxor

Life has had its ups and downs since then, with a few constants:  the most important one is loving and being there for my kids, as they are traveling this new road with me.   Another is that horses have been relief, therapy, and a new equine love has entered our life - Bella.   This sweet girl was adopted for us (what a gift!) from Heartland Equine Rescue.  She is quite the love, and I've been training her with the help of the folks at Split Ridge Rocky Mountain Horse Farm.  

The other constant has been photography, with many blessings and celebrations!  

Fall was so beautiful for photo sessions, with many wonderful families enjoying the colors of the season - definitely blessed to have been able to capture so many moments for so many people!  

I received my first cover on a magazine! Yes, it's real - the cover of Endurance News.  October 2015 issue.  Me.  The photographer.  Cover.  

Richie Wingfield.  Heard of him?  Well, he's one heck of a natural horsemanship trainer and educator, certified by John and Josh Lyons.  I got to photograph two of his clinics in the fall of 2015.  His son Layne is an amazing horseman as well.  Those clinics were paced well for participants and their horses so they could learn by watching, then learn by doing.  I highly recommend attending one of his clinics if you get the chance.   

What else have I done with horses?  Well, I got to ride a Clydesdale in a parade and then ride a paint in another parade with the folks from Cedar Creek Drafts.  My daughter takes riding lessons there and she loves it.  I was able to ride Hal after a few of her lessons, a beautiful Morgan at their farm, which got me practicing my posture and posting in an English saddle again.  I so needed that!  

I also celebrated my fine art work being accepted as a part of the Louisville Photo Biennial.  There are so many amazing photographers that I was able to meet and see their work in Louisville and Southern Indiana - I am very honored to be a part of such a collective.  

Let's fast forward to 2016, shall we.  It's winter, it's cold, it's a great time for blogging, and here I am.  I am so thankful for the people in my life in so many different circles, as they bring blessings with them.  Thank you for sticking with me through this post to see what I've been doing and where I am in life...

Life is better.  Life is happy.  Life is healthy.  Life is family.  Life is good.  Here's to capturing it in photographs.  

 

 

 
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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) 2016 Luxor blog celebrations changes horses kristen warning kristen warning photography life life path path photography update http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2016/1/new-year-new-path Sat, 30 Jan 2016 19:33:11 GMT
Oh, I've Been Busy... http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2014/6/oh-ive-been-busy It' officially summer and oh how it's flying by!  Busy with taking pictures, taking care of my kids, my animals, my gardens, and trying to embrace the days of sunshine and green!  It also means I've been spending much more time outside than in, and my blog has been neglected - obviously!  I don't even want to look at the date of my last post...

But here we are today and just wanted to check in to say hello - and hope you are enjoying these blissful days of summer!

Best,

Kristen

 

SnapKnot
Courtesy of: SnapKnot

 

 

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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) days days of summer flying by pictures summer summertime http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2014/6/oh-ive-been-busy Sun, 29 Jun 2014 17:46:41 GMT
Top of the Rock - Attending and Shooting My First Endurance Ride http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2014/5/top-of-the-rock---attending-and-shooting-my-first-endurance-ride Ok, so it wasn't my first endurance ride I'd seen.  A few years ago, about twelve of my friends and I who were out on a trail ride in Henryville, IN stumbled onto the trails where riders from an endurance ride were on their way across the course.  I was proud to be riding my Egyptian Arabian, seeing all those in tip-top shape Arabians (and other breeds), going along the trail at a trot or canter most of the time.  The riders and horses are athletes, who cover miles and miles of trail, in a variety of conditions.  So at my "first" endurance ride it was cool to meet some riders, admire their horses, and have a great trail ride with friends for a few hours on a sunny, spring day!

My second and most recent endurance ride was totally on purpose, as I've looked into opportunities to shoot equine events through my education in photography proceeds (always, always learning!) and for fun also!  I found the Top of the Rock ride via search online, which happens to be near my barn where I board my horse - how convenient!  So needless to say, I was excited to try something new with the camera and have the comfort of being in familiar territory.

The first day was cool and rainy, which was absolutely not supposed to happen per all the local weather stations until the day before the first scheduled day of riding, which was Friday.  That was ok, because I was meeting a fellow equine photographer, Peter Demott, who I'd met through the world of Facebook and was attending the ride with his wife, who was competing.  He has been a photographer for a healthy number of years and has attended endurance rides for almost as many.  I was so grateful and humbled to meet him , getting to talk photography and horses.  I also learned Mr. Demott has a great following in the equine world, for being a photographer and well, just being a super nice person!  So thank you Peter!

We attempted to get some shots of the ride, but between the rain drops and me fumbling through being nervous with a new camera body that I was literally learning after having for a whole two days (lesson learned!) we didn't succeed.  After I left the venue for the day, Peter and the riders did get a few hours of sunshine and warmth, so it did turn out good for part of the day.

The second day I went to the event with my camera (yep, the new one - I grumbled at myself the night before and read the manual as much as I could…) and hiked down the trail.  Excitement and nerves were with me so hence some fumbling on my own account - I got past that eventually.  Rider were coming back from their first loop and I started clicking, and the nerves dissipated.  Honestly, I was excited to be there the whole day - outside on a sunny, 70 degree day, on trails in the beautiful spring forest, with my camera, admiring horses and riders.  Anyway, despite being a pretty setting, shadows are a challenge in a forest setting when taking photographs.  Timing, spacing and good hiking shoes/boots help that.

The riders looked to be enjoying such a lovely morning themselves, glad to rid of the rain and gloom of the previous day.  It also means less gear to worry about and probably an easier time keeping horses comfortable during the event.  It turned out to be a fantastic day for everyone.  As riders passed we exchanged hello's and I appreciated the "Thanks for being here!" from several of them!  

It was also amazing to see riders of all ages, from very young to seasoned riders who have thousands of miles under their saddles.  This particular event had riders on a 25 mile or 50 mile course, with check-in with the veterinarian in between loops (being on the course for a certain distance - and please forgive me if I misstate terminology and feel free to correct.  I soaked up a lot of information in 24 hours!).  

I also met some riders who were competing in their first endurance event - how exciting to meet them and be there for such a time!  I could tell they were having a great ride and I'm betting they will be on the event circuit in the future.  

I hiked a couple, few miles out on the trail and saw some amazing views of the southern Indiana hillside.  The damage from the 2012 tornado is still very evident with the snapped tree trunks amidst the younger trees encroaching towards the sun.  

Towards the end of the day and after the event had concluded, I talked with riders and saw their horses resting in their temporary corrals.  A relaxed atmosphere had fallen over the campground, with it's residents engaging in friendly exchanges and laughter.  Have I mentioned how nice folks were and lovely to talk with?!

In summary, I will definitely attend more endurance rides and look forward to seeing my new friends at the events.  I don't think my 28 year old Arabian is up to 25 miles but he is just down the hill from the campground.  May in the fall I will have my camera gear in my saddle bags :)

 

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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) AERC arabians endurance rides equine events equine photography henrvyille henryville, indiana horse horse sports horses photography top of the rock http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2014/5/top-of-the-rock---attending-and-shooting-my-first-endurance-ride Fri, 02 May 2014 16:07:43 GMT
From Track Side to Country Side http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2014/4/from-track-side-to-country-side I've been lucky to have some great friends that I've met through owning a horse.  I've been on many adventures that have brought new experiences for me, which I've embraced for a variety of reasons.  Today was another outing with one of those friends, who is very active in placing thoroughbreds who come off the track and need a new job.  Our mission:  to pick up a race horse who has officially retired and take him to my friend's barn to begin his new journey.

I've been around thoroughbreds often enough to know their overall personality and temperaments and been to Churchill Downs many times, but today was exciting for me because I got to be there for a horse to have a life changing day.  I had mixed feelings, knowing this horse with an amazing pedigree and such athleticism would be leaving the life he's known, leaving his horse friends and an atmosphere he's known from a young age, so a little sad for him.  At the same time, I was excited for him to know he was leaving for greener pastures - literally.  

We arrived at the track and talked with nice folks about the horse and other horsey type topics.  I got to take pictures around the barn area and the quiet track (we were there post-exercise time so no pictures of that).   Race HorseDon't know his name, but a fellow horse at the race track looking to see who is going where with whom.

It was then time for us to load the horse and head to the barn.  Excitement, nerves, uncertainty, energy.  This thoroughbred knew today wasn't just a normal day.  His routine was changed and something new was happening.  Below is a picture of him being nervous about crossing the water drain, right before loading on the trailer.  Some challenges were there, but success was there also.  Loaded up, we headed to his new barn.

Last Day at the TrackHis last time with his feet at the trackside barn. I still can't get over the muscles and build of this horse. Beautiful.

I got to help with the unloading process.  I had never handled a horse of that stature and energy level but my friend gave me specific instructions on what to do and what not to do.  The energy and power of the horse was channeled through the lead shank into my hand - amazing and slightly intimidating to begin with, but I knew I had to stay calm and relaxed to help him get off that trailer safely with my friend, which the two of us did.  Once on solid ground the horse immediately came down in energy and walked to his new stall with ease.  Whew.  Here he is looking out with wonder and a little worry.  That would soon pass.

New sights and sounds and smells in the country.  Quiet yet busy and noisy.  Rural calm with other horses and animals who already call this barn "home" all taken in by the newcomer.  I was and am so excited for this thoroughbred to enjoy relaxing in a pasture full of fresh spring grass.  Excited for him to be able to roll and get muddy.  Excited for him to relax and play and not need to work.  Excited for him to just be a horse.

Burning BushChecking out everything at his new barn.

I can't wait to see where this handsome thoroughbred goes and what new life is there to welcome him eventually.  What I do know about him is that he has been cared for by some great owners and trainers, and is now in the hands of people who will give him that care as well - he can just run for fun now.

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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) Burning Bush barn country horse horse farm horse pictures horse racing horses pictures of race horses race horses rural thoroughbreds http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2014/4/from-track-side-to-country-side Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:36:01 GMT
Thunder Over Louisville 2014 http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2014/4/thunder-over-louisville-2014 Thunder Over Louisville

2014

First of all - forgive me!  I have left my blog for too long and my absence has left so many stories left untold!  I'm going to work on that :)  

 

Now down to this past weekend at Thunder Over Louisville - it was spectacular!  I've been to this event before and been behind a tree line along the river to see some of the show because the crowds are just enormous and the family just never left hours early to get really good seats.  Well this year was different and thanks to some dear friends, my family and I had no obstructions to enjoy Thunder and we were ON the river.  No trees in sight!  And forgive me if I don't recall each type of plane but much respect to each one and their pilot!

The Blue Angels have always been a big draw to this event in Louisville and they put on quite a show again this year.  AMAZING timing and precision with this flight crew.  The pilots were giving thrill after thrill to the over 650,000 people who came down to the Ohio River.  

The planes flew over the crowd and back again with a variety of formations performed during flights.  Never, never a dull moment.  It is also an amazing sensation to feel and hear the jets rumble as they fly over.  Such an energy!  

 

 

One of my favorite parts of the Blue Angels performance was when two jets came quite close to each other, but with a twist - one was right side up and the other was flying upside down.  Oh, and the landing gear was extended.  Amazing!

Even though they were flying hundreds of miles per hour, the small distance between planes at moment was astounding.  The Blue Angels were consistently impressive during their performance and even though they obviously couldn't hear it, the crowd erupted with applause and cheers many, many times during their time in the program.

Here are few other planes from the show.  I totally recommend coming to Louisville to see Thunder at least one time - you won't regret it!

 

See more of the Blue Angels and other planes at the gallery listed below.  Know someone who loves planes?  Send them over to the website to check it out - thanks!

http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/p784387704

 

 

 

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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) air show airplanes angels blue blue angels flying jets jets" louisville louisville air show of photography photos of planes pictures pictures of planes pilots plane pictures thunder thunder over louisville http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2014/4/thunder-over-louisville-2014 Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:31:33 GMT
Missing My Equine Models After the Move http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2012/8/missing-my-equine-models-after-the-move This past Saturday I moved my horse to a new barn in Henryville, Indiana.  It is a beautiful setting, with 120 acres, three lakes, and miles upon miles of horse trails.  I am so excited to be at this new barn and for my horse to be in a safe yet lovely setting - and my kids are especially excited to get to swim and fish in the lakes!  Not to mention they also love the gator golf cart they might get to ride in if they ask really, really nicely with their big brown eyes flashing behind their polite smiles!  

I am a bit sad though to be leaving my old barn as I'll miss the friends I've made there - both human and equine. Can you get attached to a bunch of horses that aren't yours and you don't ride?  YES!  

It may sound silly but for the past few years I've gotten to know the other horses that Luxor has been boarded with and they definitely grow on you.  Some in more positive ways than others, to be polite, but I definitely grew to love each of them as they were a part of our days spent at the barn.  The three horses that were in his herd I will especially miss because I would always take time to love on them for a few reasons.  First, because when I called Luxor, he came up to the barn and so did the other three horses, and they were there so greet me.  Second, because the owners of the three horses rarely, and I mean rarely, ever came out to see their horses.  No, I'm not judging, I just have a hard time comprehending. I especially wanted to give these three horses some TLC, because they all loved and quite honestly - need the attention.  If money wasn't an issue I'd have that small herd of horses as my own, but alas.  Anyway I will miss Sunny, Fly and Gitana and I hope that the people who still board there recognize the kind hearts each of them has, and the need for some attention.  And finally, I will miss taking pictures of the horses!  Their photographs show their beauty, character, personality, friskiness or whatever they were feeling on a certain day.  I will miss sitting and watching the horses interact, being silly, grouchy, sleepy, etc. etc.  That group of horses has given me some amazing moments caught on camera and a start on a path to where I am today with photography.

So at this new barn, will I have anything to take pictures of?  YES!  Maybe not as many horses, but the scenery is amazing with lots of wildlife, and some real cowboys and cowgirls that might be up for a photo session or two.  Is Luxor happy in his new home?  I believe yes, as yesterday I turned him out to the "big" pasture for the first time on his own after walking him around to show him the boundaries, and after I let him loose he turned his back to me and headed off to graze without looking back.  Will he miss his old pasture buddies?  Yes, I'm sure he will but he will get to see a few old horse friends when I have them and their owners over to ride at our new digs.

Thanks for visiting and check back to see what new images I will be showing from my new photography palate.  I'm excited and can't wait to take my camera out with me on horseback rides, hikes, fishing, swimming expeditions and...   

Luxor waiting patientlyWaiting Patiently

 

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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) Luxor barn equine models herd herd of horses horse photographs horse pictures horses kristen warning kristen warning photography pictures of horses http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2012/8/missing-my-equine-models-after-the-move Mon, 06 Aug 2012 14:31:30 GMT
Spring Mill State Park - The Bird Quest Continues... http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2012/6/spring-mill-state-park---the-bird-quest-continues Yesterday my family and I went to Spring Mill State Park located in Mitchell, Indiana.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and perfect for spending it outside.  We'd never been to Spring Mill before but had heard it was fun, with lots of historical buildings in a village, lots of hiking trails and also has a great campground.  We were just going for the afternoon, so naturally I took my camera with me.

Spring Mill IS an amazing place with so many areas to explore and enjoy, so we didn't cover the entire park yesterday (which we hope to complete in the fall during a camping trip next time).  The kids loved playing in the stream that runs through the entire park, and is also a factor in the restored mill on the grounds in the Pioneer Village (picked up a bag of fresh ground corn meal from the mill - can't wait for homemade corn muffins!).  We also watched how tools from the 1800's were used to carve wood, make pottery, and rugs made on a large loom.  

Before we went to the Pioneer Village we went to the Nature Center, with lots of hands-on learning for kids of all ages, then went out back for a quick hike on Trail #5.  Now in my previous posts I've mentioned a quest for pictures of a blue heron.  Little did I know I'd happen to run into one in the lake who would really put on a show for us.

My husband and kids were ahead of me on the trail enjoying the scenery, with me a few steps behind looking across the algae covered lake for anything that might be camera worthy.  Wouldn't ya know it, but there in the middle of the lake was a Great Blue Heron standing still, quietly waiting for it's lunch.  I shot a few pictures of the bird, and pointed it out to everyone, and they watched for a few minutes.  There was a thin line of small trees and plants lining the shore, so as we walked quietly I tried to get better pictures through better vantage points.  

After a while we decided to turn around on the trail to get back to the car and drive to another section of Spring Mill.  As we walked, the Great Blue Heron was still standing in the same spot, and I took a few more pictures.  I said to my family that I wondered how long he probably had to stand there to catch a meal.  Not but a few moments later that bird put on a quite a show - stabbing a fish with its beak, flying a short distance to shallower waters, swallowing it whole while stretching its neck out full length to get it down, then fixing its feathers - ALL while directly facing us!  We couldn't believe it and thought it was awesome!  Our patience had paid off!

After the show, we walked back to the car and did several more hours of exploring and having fun.  It was a wonderful day, with each of us loving a different part of it.  Personally, I am feeling quite lucky in my quest for bird photographs, with two close encounters in such a short amount of time (see previous blog entry to understand fully!).  Will I get shots like that again?  I hope so - perhaps with a bigger lens on the end of my camera to get even better images (wink, wink!).    

Thanks and let's see what happens next with the camera!

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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) bird pictures blue heron great blue heron heron mill pictures of herons spring spring mill spring mill state park http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2012/6/spring-mill-state-park---the-bird-quest-continues Sun, 24 Jun 2012 19:49:09 GMT
Church Hill Downs - From the Other Side of the Grandstands http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2012/6/churchhill-downs---from-the-other-side-of-the-grandstands Wow.  

I am still thinking and feeling that today after spending the morning at Churchill Downs in Louisville with a friend, and her friend who has a race horse in training.  Being on the backside of the race track is a whole different experience with its own energy and feeling to it, and I am amazed at the entire experience.  Seeing the riders on excited and nervous thoroughbreds in the early morning on one of the most famous race tracks in the world has made me appreciate another aspect of the equine world.

The back side of Churchill Downs is full of large barns, mostly full of horses in each stall, wonderful smelling green hay, and the bustle of people around every corner.  What I didn't realize is the safety aspect of being in this world of horses and how alert a person needs to be at all times.  My kids were invited to go today, which until leaving, I hadn't fully appreciated until talking with my friend, listening to her say how she appreciated how my kids behaved today.  She said she wouldn't bring just anybody's kids to this area - and now I understand why (and I am so proud of my kids!).  

When we first got to the stall where our new friend's horse was, we had just been told that if a horse is being lead by, we needed to immediately stand against the wall, stand still, and let the horse pass quietly by.  If we didn't we had a high chance of getting kicked.  After having a few horses go by, we decided it was safer to have us stand on the outside edge of the barn and watch the horses go by because more than a few people in such a busy, closed in area was just too dangerous.  We walked to the track to watch exercise jockeys ride horses around the track, entering them through one of a few gaps along the track rail.  

The Rules at the Track

The rules are you have to always stop and let a horse pass, stand still and quietly, and no sudden movements.  No feet scuffing, no banging, so tapping, no shuffling bags, no speaking loudly.  Anywhere.  

Why?  The thoroughbreds are excited, nervous, and sometimes scared, so for the safety of the riders (and horses) everyone must obey these rules.  We had to constantly be aware of horses and riders coming and going, and my kids did great (which for a six and eight year old it can be a challenge for a few hours).  

It was simply amazing to see the horses walk out to the left onto the track of Churchill Downs with a pony rider or another race horse because most of the horses being exercised was giving off such an energy and excitement - eyes wide, muscles twitching, feet dancing, tails swishing - and that's just walking onto the track.  Other thoroughbreds were walking out like it was just another day at work.  As mentioned when horses go out, and also when they are walking they are all headed clockwise around the track.  Horses that are running at any speed are going counter-clockwise.  Horses that are running at a slower pace are in the middle of the track and the fastest running horses are on the inside along the rail.

Here are some other things I learned today.  

Breezing

When a horse is being run the fastest it can go, it's call "breezing."  That part of their workout is usually done in front of the grandstands and they run full out.  By the time the horse and riders were on the opposite side of the track where we were,  they were being slowed down, with the jockeys standing up in the stirrups.  Some horses had their reins pulled back and they were snorting to the rhythm of their feet hitting the ground, while others had their heads pulled all or part of the way to the side because they still wanted to run.  

Tongues

The horses tongues are tied down so they don't swallow them when they are racing.  I had no idea prior to today.  Some horses entering the track had their tongues literally hanging out of the side of their mouth, while others you could not tell.  When they were running there was no hanging out but you could see some of the bands on the bottom side of their mouths in the pictures.  

The Horn

If the horn is sounded at the track at Churchill Downs it is to alert everyone that a horse is loose and sounds until the horse is caught.  We were there for a couple hours before this happened.  We were standing in a boxed in area with rails next to a building used by timers next to the track.  The horn sounded and within a few seconds everybody came to a halt, on and off the track.  Immediately pony riders approached the loose horse who was running down the track in the wrong direction directly towards us.  A gentleman was standing with us watching and he told us to go stand behind the building and stand against the wall as he went to stand in front of us.  He then said go stand on the other side of the building - and I'm glad we did.

As we got to the other side, the loose horse rain right up to the rail where we had been standing.  It could have easily hopped the rail and run over anyone that was there.  Loose horses on the track are usually scared, hyped up, and in "flight" mode and have to be taken very seriously as injury to the horse and those around them can come easily.

A couple of pony riders gathered in front of and on the side of the horse and eventually caught him.  I swear as soon as as the pony rider had the loose horse's reins in his hand, that is the moment when the horn stopped sounding.  Amazing.  Thank you to the man who had the foresight and thoughtfulness to tell us to move to safety.  

We Met a Race Horse in Person

The friend of my friend (our new friend and her two girls) has trained horses for years and is training her two year-old colt on the track.  Unfortunately her horse's legs need some down time so she did not run him on the track today.  We did get to meet him, see him get a bath and see his stall, which happens to be next to a thoroughbred who just won his first race.  Who knows what other horses we ran into today - perhaps a Derby winner in the future.  That's pretty exciting to me!

It was an amazing experience today to be on the other side of the track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY today.  My kids loved it, I loved it, and our friends who go on a regular basis are so interesting to talk with and hear their stories.  I don't know which is more fun - being in the grand stands with a crowd of people watching the races every 30 minutes or so.  Or being on the barn side of the track watching more horses than I can count horses walking, running, all at the same time, on a beautiful almost-summer morning.  What do you think?

If you want to see more pictures, check out the gallery named "Churchill Downs" for a full view of what we were able to see - including the loose horse, a famous trainer, and lots more.

 

 

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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) church church Hill downs horse racing kentucky kristen kristen warning kristen warning photography louisville pictures of a race track pictures of churchill downs pictures of race horses race race horses thoroughbreds track http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2012/6/churchhill-downs---from-the-other-side-of-the-grandstands Wed, 13 Jun 2012 17:38:47 GMT
The Way Things Work...The Barn Session http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2012/5/the-way-things-work It is amazing to me how the world is connected and how chance meetings can turn into something special.  I had a wonderful day yesterday for a few reasons, and one of the reasons stems all the way back to last September...

Yesterday I had the opportunity to took some pictures at an amazing location in Floyds Knobs, Indiana.  I had never been there before and it happened because I met a very nice woman at the Maple Syrup Festival back in early March 2012.  I had a photography booth set up at the festival in a rustic, old cabin and a woman was very complimentary.  After a nice conversation, she invited me to come to her place to take pictures because she had a "big, old barn" that might be nice to photograph.  I got her name and address, and tucked it away.  

I gave her a call recently, and the invitation was still open, so a friend and I drove out to her home.  We headed up the driveway to come upon a beautiful country setting.  My friend was there waiting for us, and let us stay for a few hours taking pictures.  The barn was big and old, but also contained an amazing number of antiques, tools, and even four swings up in the loft!  Of course we had to test those out, and it was like gliding through the air - so fun!  And how many people can say they got to swing inside a barn on an old cattle farm?!  

The Barn

The swing

After touring the barn, we headed outside to an out building, pond, flower garden, and to an old tree that was still growing even though it has a massive hole through the center of the trunk.  The big, tall trees that have been there for decades covered us with cool shade.  There was so much to look and an enjoy, through the camera lens and just sitting in the grass embracing a moment as well.  

The Tree

After the shoot, we had some chit chat, and it turns out my new friend knows and worked with my best friend from Sellersburg - what are the chances?  We then headed on our way.  I got home, checked my email and had another delightful surprise...

I had entered some photos in a "Phone Photos" competition for an art gallery in Louisville, which if chosen, would be printed, displayed and up for sale.  I had received an email saying I had made it into the showing!  How cool is that?!  So needless, to say, I was on cloud nine for having those two  photographic blessings come my way.

It was also my kid's last day of school yesterday, and when they got home, we all went out for ice cream.  Now there's my final reason for having such a good Friday.  :)

Hope your weekend is what you want it to be and who you want to be with.  Enjoy this picture from the inside of the barn - such character.

Kristen

Old Barn in Floyds Knobs, Indiana

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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) barn barns in southern indiana floyds knobs indiana old barns southern Indiana http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2012/5/the-way-things-work Sat, 26 May 2012 16:57:14 GMT
Ok, my first one! And I'm giving you the bird! http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2012/5/ok-my-first-one Hello and welcome!  I've never blogged before here or anywhere else for that matter, so this is all new to me.  I figure I might as well try it and see what happens.  I suppose this will be a good tool for me - to get out those thoughts of why I took a photograph, what inspired me, things I've learned and continue to learn, and just about "stuff" in general.  

My latest favorite picture I took was just yesterday.  I should have been working in the garden, but a large heron got my attention that feeds at the small lake near the garden.  I put down the garden hose, quietly walked back to the house and grabbed my camera.  I've been trying to get good, close shots of this bird for about a year now and he/she always wins with a getaway before I can get close enough to get a decent picture.  Well, yesterday I finally got a good image and my neighbors got a good show of me crouched down, almost crawling as close to the water's edge as I could get.  There were also a good handful of ducks watching me inch closer, who were well-behaved for a while, but then they eventually gave me away.

Here is the bird - more beautiful now that I can see the details of its eye, body structure and colorful feathers.  Simply an amazing bird, and I am so glad my patience and having a non-clumsy moment finally paid off.

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kris10whoa@gmail.com (Kristen Warning Photography) birds heron kristen warning kristen warning photography pictures of birds pictures of herons http://www.kristenwarningphotography.com/blog/2012/5/ok-my-first-one Mon, 21 May 2012 14:14:08 GMT