Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rest In Peace Cigar

Hopefully, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know how grateful I am to live in the state of Kentucky.  I don't know if growing up here gave me my love for horses or if somewhere in my DNA I loved horses and living in Kentucky just facilitated it. But I do love it here..

One of the BIG reasons I love living here, is that an hour away, to the southeast is the Kentucky Horse Park.  I make it there at least twice a year.  Hopefully, if it's been a good year, it's a lot more than that.

In 2008, I had just had my son and I was an out of work System Engineer.  My entire life, I've wanted to be an artist or do somethig artistic for a living but I had NO clue how to go about doing so. I had surrounded myself with non-artistic people because that is essentially how I grew up.  My husband gave me my first DSLR (I'd had film SLRs in the past).  It was quite a learning curve compared to the sharp, clear, beautiful pictures from film.  But less expensive (sort of) and instantly gratifying. I entertained the notion of becoming a photographer for a living.  I had post-partum depression pretty bad and I really wasn't in my right mind. What I did have in my favor was an eye for composition (thaks to my art training) and my love for horses.

On the day the above photos were taken, Alysheba had just come back from Dubai that week and I wanted to get some of the first photos of him back on US soil.  I thought that maybe would help my career. (It did not, I am/was clueless on how to market myself)  There was another, what I assume was a more famous male photographer there who was sort of snotty to me. But I didn't care. I had my son with me and I was on familar ground.

I got some great photos of Alysheba.  He was really a wonderful horse.  I wish he was around longer so that I could've gotten more photos.

I then turned my lens on Cigar.  Cigar had been there for some time and although I knew he was a great racehorse, I didn't know until recently how truely great he was.  On that beautiful, warm, fall day, I took photos of the old man that showed his real personality.  He played with his handler and was generally well behaved, as he always was.  Getting a photo of cigar with his head UP and not buried in grass is a coup for someone who isn't at the horsepark every day.

 I got very lucky that day..  They let Kona Gold out in his paddock while cigar was standing there and kona proceeded to HAUL BUTT around his paddock for seriously, a good 6 or 7 minutes with cigar watching the entire time.  Ears up, intensely interested..  Lucky for me.

Although my photos were blown out (see the white fence with no detail?) because I was new to photography, photoshop now saved my butt.. and in going over my photos again, the photos I thought were "bad" are actually just showing his personality. So I'm sharing them here with you.

Be grateful for the champions that are still alive. Take as many photos of them as you can. Even if that champion is a horse in your back yard, or in the barn where you ride. You won't regret it.