Catching up…

I’ve been home about a month now from my out West quest (but it seems like 6 months!).  I’ve been meaning to blog more about our first two days at the ranch.  I was having photo uploading issues those days so didn’t really fill you in on what all happened at the ranch.  So….that’s what I’d like to do now! 🙂

We had a VERY busy two days on Monday and Tuesday and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!  (Except for a period of it being too cloudy….more on that later).  No rain, no snow, great temps…..beautiful!!!  Scott had everything planned out for us each day and was very much in tuned with the weather, the light, the morning fog, etc…

We started our first shoot with the wranglers moving a small herd of horses up and down a shoot or alley way.  It was a good place to start as we were all so anxious and that allowed us to just settle down and not have too much going on around us in too many different directions.  The next day, we shot in a narrower shoot that runs in between the corrals.  That was AWESOME!!! I shot a lot of it laying on the ground in the manure with my wide angle lens shooting up at the horses as they came barreling by.  Couldn’t see what I was shooting at….just had to hope and pray that I was getting something good. I loved the perspective I got with that lens down on the ground like that and plan to make a wide angle lens part of my lens bag soon.  I had rented this one from West Photo in Minneapolis.  It was great to be able to try it out and play with it before just buying one.

Sombrero owns about a dozen very cool longhorns.  And it’s true….they have very long horns.  We got to shoot the cowboys/cowgirls moving them around a bit for another session.  They seemed so docile….I really wanted to go up and pet one.  We settled them along a small creek and were able shoot down on them from up above.  Great wide open spaces. 🙂  One of my favorite shots from this session is when the cowboys came galloping up the little trail to get back on the high ground.  I got a great shot of AJ and his nice bay horse. 🙂

I was looking forward to the buck out sessions with a few of the “snuffier” horses.  Moses and Dana were the 2 lucky cowboys that took turns riding for us.  Normally, the buck out shoot has taken place in the round pen….but it was too muddy, so we used the shoot that we started out in on Monday.  It wasn’t ideal since the horses were in a fairly narrow but long space.  The shooting was a bit tricky as they were often times too close to us to shoot…but it was still fun and exciting. 🙂  I got many shots of Cal is his role was “pick up man” and was usually at a good distance from my lens.

We had a few different water set ups. Two of them involved the wranglers riding through the water….walk, trot, and canter, one at a time or two or three at a time.  Johnny on his pretty black and white paint were among my favorites here.  Another water shot involved bringing the herd toward us across a creek with very still water that made a great reflection.  They went back and forth a number of times so we had plenty of chances to get great shots with lots of water spray and splashing.  My favorite water set up involved bringing a herd of 20 or so horses through a pond type area that was about knee deep.  Scott wanted sun for this session, but the clouds had a different idea.  So once we got the horses out there, the wranglers had to just have them hang out and wait until the cloud cover passed.  Almost an hour later (and me checking the depth of the water in my new waterproof Dublin river boots)….the sun finally peeked through and it was show time!  But that didn’t go as planned. 😦  lol  A couple of the horses decided to ignore the wranglers and instead lead the herd and come barreling right through the photographers!!  It was rather exciting, I must say. 🙂  But the wranglers got them back in control and got them execute the planned route.  These shots were some of my favorites from the week.  It was such a pretty spot and all that water flying.  Then you have a wrangler come galloping through the water wide open…..just awesome!   So the water options on the Sombrero Ranch…..Excellent!!!

Another session brought us across the road in which we had Jerry riding, but ponying along 3 pack horses.  Also, Christy, Quentin, and Terry.  They were down in a ditch for a lot of this session….a cool location.  Bud came too….as the “lookout”.  It was hard maneuvering among all that sage brush, especially for Jerry with those pack horses, but all went well.  The guys all had their antique rifles, shotguns, and pistols with them too, which added a nice touch to these photos.

The stagecoach session was fun. A team of 4 gray horses were hitched up, including Jaimie (mental note…never forget Chuck yelling again and again….JaY-me!!  JaY-me!!). lol  Inside joke, sorry….you had to be there.  Anyway, the stagecoach cruised up and down a farm road for us with guns drawn, robbers, and out riders along also.  Moses and Dana led the way, Chuck drove the team while Jerry defended with his rifle and Quentin and Terry were the bandits chasing them down. Lots of fun!  But what also was fun….was the manure fight that broke out among some of the photogs.  lol  I will admit, I am the guilty party that started it all.  Thanks Kim and Carien for joining in. 🙂  Photos exist somewhere of this event, but I have yet to see them. Boy, this is turning into a very LONG blog post….I wonder if anyone is still reading at this point. Ha!

Both days ended with amazing sunsets.  Especially Monday night….we were across the road working the herd up and down a hillside (when I say “we”…of course I mean the wranglers were.  I just feel like I was part of them. ) Anyway, afterwards, we had this incredible GOLDEN sunlight setting on our riders.  It allowed for superb shots.  Grant, on his palomino, affectionately named “Barbie”, were stunning in that light…We didn’t want it to end!  The next night, we were out in the pasture with the herd of about 20-30 again….and ended up shooting silhouettes as the sun was setting on a ridge….as the wranglers moved the herd along.  Then we just had the wranglers ride without the herd, twirling their ropes and galloping along.  A great way to end the day!  And that’s how our shooting on the farm went!

When Scott didn’t have sessions planned for us, we had time to go back to the hotel and clear our cards off or stick around the ranch and just find candid things to shoot at.  Horses in the corrals, cowboys doing…well, doing cowboy things, etc….  We also got to eat lunch and dinner on the ranch which was nice to relax and get to know our new friends better.  While having lunch with Compass one day, Kim and I were roped into having a special session with her and her horse involving a water trough and showing off Compass’s tattoos. 🙂  She is a riot!!

The days started before any rooster even thought about crowing and they ended late with us emptying our cards onto our computers and me falling asleep with my hands on the keyboard.  I love being that kind of tired…..outside all day in the fresh air….horses, friends, my camera….awesome way to spend the week!  That’s it for now…  I will be writing again soon! 🙂  If you made it to the end of this….give yourself a high 5 and let me know!! lol  I think you should get some sort of award!!!   Thanks for reading!!

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