Just like the rest of my "off season" the variety of things I've been shooting lately continues to grow. That's the fun thing about the supposed off season that's fun.....doing different things. About 3 weeks ago I shot a horsemanship clinic not far from home. Living in Arizona provides some unique opportunities to shoot back in time, as I like to think of it. Whether it's shooting some strange geological formation, indian ruins, petroglyphs or a local cowboy the opportunities are vast here. So I took advantage of that and went out to shoot Ricky Quinn, a real modern day cowboy and, some would say, horse whisperer. Listening in at his clinics one can't help but go through some deep introspection to work through the human and horse relationship or just make yourself a better person all around. More times than not the issues that people are having with their horse stems from their own personal issues whether they be control issues, self confidence, lack of focus, communication problems or some other deep seated issue they don't even know about. It was all pretty fascinating and made for some exciting shooting.
If you've never seen a horse get ridden for the first time you have got to do it! The horse in question was Mack. He's about 1 1/2 years old and I remember the day he was brought to the barn. He had little spindly legs and just tufts of hair for a mane. If you got too close he would give you a good nip before he learned some manners. Seeing that saddle go on for the first time was amazing. Mack was mostly freaked out but Ricky calmed him and worked him slowly until he slid on the saddle pad, then after a little time the saddle went on and got tightened into place. Mack exploded in protest. You could see his head dip and body compress and then expand like a tight spring. After a few good bucks and a run around the ring he settled in. Ricky moved around him cautiously and settled him down again. Then he loaded up onto one side of him with a foot in the stirrup. Mack again protested against the new feeling of weight on his back. Ricky tried again and this time Mack stayed calm. Ricky got on and let him move around the round ring. After about 10 minutes Ricky yelled to open the gate. With the gate open he steered Mack through it, out onto the road and then off onto the trails. I've never seen anything like it.
A week after what seemed like stepping off a movie set of the wild west I shot a local team sponsored by Taser. They wanted to do something a little edgy to go with the brand and since they have an amazing headquarters just over in Scottsdale we shot there. This shot was taken in the entryway to the building where it is a round room made of brushed stainless steel and polished concrete floors. It was really dark in there and I added a couple lights to make things pop, one with a blue gel on it that reflected around the room. We did the whole nine yards with group shots and head shots at several places in the building. This weekend we are going out to do all the action shots. That's where I'll get the good stuff!
After shooting Taser it was back to shooting some racing. The next week I went up to Boulder to shoot at the Boulder Cup cross races. What a great time that was! The weather was perfect and we had good crowds both days. I even shipped my bike up there earlier to do some riding with Cyclingnews tech editor James Huang. He had me gasping and wheezing at trails over all of Boulder but I really enjoyed it. I'll definitely be back there again next year.