December 22, 2017 10:33 AM Blog

I love to read the accounts of friends who let me in on how their year went. Stories are the slices of life; the images that make you think about your own situation and that of friends and maybe even the world (or the world around you?).

So this year brought good and not so good to my door and that's just life. When you mix it all together, it's what you have and the fact that you survived it that just shows you're more than you may have thought you were at the time.

As I celebrated Yule last night, I tried to consider how I've grown this year and what my inner most desires and realizations are. Here's just a general rambling list. Enjoy!

I saw a trivia note that if I had purchased $1000 of Apple Stock back in 1970, that it would be worth roughly $455,000 +/- today. And that told me that I could have actually screwed off most of my working life and still been way better off than I am today financially. Hummmm, something to ponder for sure.

That brings me to the things I'd tell my 16 year old self.
*First; leave your hair long. You are a hair nightmare with no on going style because you just can't keep up those cute short styles and then you become a lab experiment. Keeping the hair long, gives you the ability to tie it up and out of the way as well as keep it down and be that 70's girl you really are.
*Second; pull $1000 out of savings (yes, I've always had some savings) and go buy Apple Stock. Then keep it ... like, 47 years. It'll be worth it.
*Lastly, learn to program! You're a girl and it's a man's world, but stick in there and learn. Typing is fine but programming will give you the world you really want to be in. You can do it and don't let the math scare you. Again, you can do this. And, btw, your best friend is a math wiz and she'll be happy to help you.

Finding out who I am and being happy with me.
I believe, as of this year, that I know who I am and I'm happy with me.
I realize that I'm not a 'sugar coat it' kind of gal (some of you are laughing now but it's okay). And interestingly enough, I not only like straight to the point conversation (and straight to the point people) but I love horror and sci fi. Seems 'my people' are a small facet who pretty much hate everyone but us. I like that ... I'm into that. Straight forward; to the point; no begging or sugar coating unless it's for entertainment in a horror movie! Yes!

Thoughts on Being Kind.
As I grow older, I find that it's easy to be kind and not involve myself in some rant or debate with people to think they'll see things the way I do. They have their opinions and life experiences; I have mine; so best to be kind as I can and go on with my life. It really keeps things simple.

Sometimes Things Come Full Circle.
I've always believed that things sometimes come back around; there's a reason for why things happen even though the reasoning may not reveal itself for a long time. This was no truer than this year.

First up; the Horse World lost one of its great people and Master Photographer in that of Don Trout.
We all wish that the good things in life could just continue on and that's how I've always felt about Mr. Trout. He was my mentor in Horse Photography; he was a super good teacher (even though I was lazy and resisted change), and he, above all, was so kind to not only me but everyone. It's hard to lose someone like that and yet it makes me wonder if I didn't meet him and his super great wife, Deb, all those years ago just so I could spend the last few years with him learning more; putting in shooting time; and becoming a lot less lazy about things when it comes to a little more elbow grease. The world lost a really good man this year but I am happy to my core that I could work for him and ease a little of his workload and at the same time, show him that the time he put in to teach me how to properly photograph horses all those years ago was not wasted.

Secondly, I edit photos for a few photographers. I love editing because I get to see all the fun and never leave my office! But because I am on the road still shooting with Trout Photography, I cannot take on many new clients for edit work just due to lack of time. But back before I really started to shoot for Don and Deb I worked for a really neat clearing house for edit work. You never knew what photographer's work you'd get to edit for but I was lucky enough to have super groovy contact in the company so I usually got my favorites which were the weddings from England (which I LOVEEEEEE) and I got to do some sessions for Carolyn Scott Photography. Now her style is just awesome! She personally (without knowing it of course) inspired me to develop my own edit style. But her work knocked me out and I have followed (some say stalked) her ever since. And this year she and her Hubbs came out to AZ and accepted a couple of session slots which; I GOT ONE! So I loaded up the car and my Hubbs and we got to enjoy a real photo session of our own. The take away to this is that if you have never had a session or you like your picture taken but you think it's too much money or trouble, I say, look around and just do it! It's so much fun!!!! And for me, it was like getting to meet a celeb ... cause, yes, I do stalk her (actually them; Carolyn & Geoff) and they are just an awesome wonderful team!

No one can tell the future (or much of it) so on the big picture, the lives you touch; the people you meet; you never know when your paths will cross. And even if things don't work out with everyone, you can always learn a little something that makes you a better person. I would like to think I strive to be better every day. But at my core; I like me. I'd just like me with Apple Stock from the 70's in the bank. (insert laughing gif here).

Until next year, Merry Merry to All, and to All a Good Night.

Don Trout Photography
Carolyn Scott Photography


December 4, 2017 10:50 AM Blog

So we all have wishes. And sometimes we get them and sometimes we don't. As it so happens, this last Nov/Dec one of my best friends and I got our wishes granted and it was, in a word, super! So lemme tell you the story ...

I realized this year that I have spent as much time with my husband as I have being born; growing up; going to school; dating; marrying badly; figuring out how to be unmarried; and sort of finding myself along the way. Yes, for exactly 29 years I have been with Paul. Which puts us exactly in the middle of our lives so far! I think that's amazing. And to mark this, I wanted us to have a kick ass photo session and I got lucky because the photog couple that I stalk are from North Carolina but they were gonna be in Arizona in November and offering a couple of session slots so Paul & I were in!

Little did I know that Paul would tweak his back; get blessed with 35 days +/- of freelance audio work; and work himself into a froth right up until the day before Thanksgiving (which, our shoot would be the day after Thanksgiving but think, travel time). So he muscles thru like a star and I'm gonna have super super super nice images of the two of us from super talented shooters and a great memory was made as well! This also get's Paul off the hook for any future anniversaries; holidays; and birthdays. So my wish got grated and I would think Paul had a wish in there as well.

Then there's my Bestie, KB, who has always wanted a photo shoot with a horse. And you'd think she and I could have done this years ago but it was one of those things that we just seemed to talk about and not do. So enter another friend Ashley, who has access to very sweet horses and Bam! Photo shoot with horses happens for my friend KB. Another wish granted.

So, while there are many people wishing many things, I consider myself pretty darn lucky for the wishes I am granted and I'm actually really grateful that I have very cool friends; access to awesome photographers; and I have this really good life.

Happy Holidays!

Carolyn Scott Photography
Shadow Glen Ranch
Focused Foundations

October 29, 2017 06:21 PM Blog

So I have to gush that I have that very cool friend who lives in a city that celebrates all things weirdo and cool! My friend Melissa had me over for two glorious days of Halloweening and Trick or Treating! We had cupcakes for breakfast! Pumpkin chili for lunch! Dinners that were out of this world and all the scares and treats I could ask for! Melissa even painted a special piece of art for me to take home! Heck, even the small group of chihuahuas were happy to hang out with me! AND, because I cancelled my Netflix account and Melissa still has hers, I got to see Stranger Things 2! OMG, seriously the best Halloween I've had in a long time. 

As a side note, and important side note. I have a favorite Haunter who's located up in PA. His Home Haunt images are magical and so is his work. I am especially smitten with one image and it does grace that orange tee that I'm wearing. It's personal use so don't get jiggy about it. If he ever offered a tee; I'd be there to hand him money! His wife, also an artist, makes custom miniature jacks and several are included in my personal collection. The link, Pumpkinrot, is where you want to go to be blown away.

So enjoy the images and until next time, Happy Halloween to you all!!!

Burbank, CA
LAEC (Los Angeles Equestrian Center)
Hyaena Gallery
Halloweentown Store
Mystic Museum
Ben Cooper Costumes
Black Cat Comics & Collectables
Yummy Cupcakes
LA Haunted Hayride
Mood Designer Fabrics - Los Angeles
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
What Katie Did
Pinup Girl
Backwoods Home Haunt

October 22, 2017 03:40 PM Blog

If there was a word to describe me, it would be tired. Just plum tired. 

As a fun fact, Deb's son and daughter in law were visiting SoCal and we got to have dinner with those fine young Trouts! Deb and I stopped at Ponte Winery for a tasting before heading to the Del Mar area to meet the kids.

And Deb Trout and I slipped in the most wonderful Ranch Call at Hanson Quarter Horses with Cathy Hanson, Cherie Vonada, Lindsey Minor and a variety of so, so excellent horses and people at the ranch, to close our season out! The new property is just made for great pictures and we enjoyed a day with dogs, Halloween candy, doughnuts (my personal favorite) and good people.

After getting Deb to the airport (so she could start the long drive home to TX from AZ), I met The Hubbs for breakfast. He's cute even if he never smiles for the camera. I look tired ... thus, the word.

So here's to capping off the year of horse stuff with Don Trout Photography. Next up ... the High Holy Days of Halloween with friends and weirdos! 

As always, enjoy the pics. :)

Ponte Winery
Jake's Del Mar
Hanson Quarter Horses
Don Trout Photography
Richie's Diner

October 17, 2017 04:50 PM Blog

It has been some year. Just saying. And I am grateful to be able to finish out this year's show season with great people and to look to the future with shows already booked for next year. But now, a little about the last few weeks.

Deb Trout and I headed off to Paso Robles for the PCQHA Fall Classic. While there, I discovered the best Pizza I've ever had. I mean EVER! Rustic Fire and they sported a nice selection of craft beers (which I also love) and they had Figueroa Mountain's very tasty Imperial IPA Lizard's Mouth. We visited Rustic twice and probably more if we'd had time. Over the top great! Oh, did I mention tv's in the booths with remotes for personal viewing? Yep, super over the top great!

We arrived an extra day early to Paso so's to be sure that we had time to set up for the show; and wine taste a little; AND roam around old El Paso de Robles. Super fun. And we opted to taste as EOS because they have a killer sweet flight. Our only regret was that we didn't think ahead to buy more of their great wine!

The Adelaide Inn, our official horse show hotel, sported all the Halloween trimmings a person could imagine! I was especially happy about this. There was that night that Deb and I did spent an evening in a jail cell ... but that's a story for another time. 

After a wonderful show, we headed to Utah but not without a visit to Murray Family Farm and their pumpkin patch. Man, if we'd had room I so wanted to bring some of them home with me. The wind was just howling. Little did we know that fires would ravage the area just North of us devastating the wine country of Northern California.

We happily stopped in the town of Keene, to the Keene Cafe to meet up with Announcer and close friend, Dal "Doc" Bunn, of the well known Loop Ranch. He treated us to a very nice breakfast and then sent us on our way to Utah. 

We arrived in Utah safely and set up at the Heritage Classic, put on by the fine people of the Utah Paint Horse Club. Those good folks put us up at the new SpringHill Suites and what a neat room. I call the photo "roommates" cause Deb, Laura Rogers (our other shooter), and I all shared the very nice suite. It was warm and comfy which we loved because the weather turned cold! And while some would chuckle at my cap; my ears were warm and lovely while I went out to shoot the cattle events. 

This trip was a little different for me. I usually drive myself to Utah but this time I hitched a ride with Deb; and then our other Shooter, Laura, hitched a ride with us back to Arizona. That said, we passed through Las Vegas where I changed rides to return home with The Hubbs, but not before we had lunch at my most favorite Mexi place, Los Tacos! We had a fab lunch and then drove back to SoCal.

Mizz Deb and I have one more job, a Ranch Call, to do in California and then we can catch up on home stuff and the holidays before hitting the road again in February with the start of the Texas Stock Shows.

As always, enjoy the photos!

Rustic Fire
Figueroa Mountain Brewing
EOS Winery
The Adelaide Inn
Big Bubbas Bad Bbq
Don Trout - Fall Classic
The Murray Family Farms
The Keene Cafe
SpringHill Suites, South Jordan, Utah
Laura Rogers
Utah Paint Horse Club
Don Trout - Heritage Classic
Los Tacos

September 26, 2017 11:29 AM Blog

So to continue an Autumn marathon run of shows with Don Trout Photography, I headed off to Scottsdale, Arizona for the Fall Championship Show. It's a nice drive and I always wonder why California can't chip in and make our freeway underpasses as pretty as (or close to) those of Arizona. I mean, the state really does some nice public artworks. Sorry, no photos as I was driving.

A highlight for me was that Deb Trout let me bring a vintage film canister for her to put some of Don's ashes in so he can travel with us to shows. :) Way cool! Now if he would only give me a sign for all the questions I never got to ask him.

It really was a lovely show; super great show management team and a new building at WestWorld that was just awesome to work in; there were food vendors that rocked and a crew for Don Trout Photo that was efficient and fun. I enjoyed my share of laugher, excellent Mexican food, and good moments.

Getting back to California I had time to finally stop and visit the dinosaurs in Cabazon as well as enjoyed the best clam chowder in the state at Ruby's. Oh! And I also slipping into the new Hadley space for treats and to see what the new building looked like. It's very nice ... very nice! Then when finally getting into my little home in the mountains, I was greeted by a sweet treat and Halloween card from distant but way groovy friend, Amy Latka! The woman knows me well!

Enjoy the visual journey and I'll see you all next time from Paso Robles!

WestWorld of Scottsdale
Don Trout Photography - Show Photos Gallery Link
Arizona Fall Championship
Kerry Riley, Assistant Photographer
Cabazon Dinosaurs
Ruby's Diner
Hadley Fruit Orchards Store
Amy Latka Photography

September 14, 2017 12:46 PM Blog

This all started when Mary Cornelius penned me in to work with her at the ODS Championship Show in September. Who knew that most of the West would be in smoke and flames?

So when starting out, the smoke was so thick that I couldn't see the usual mountains and landscapes. It was so weird that the sun was just an orange ball hanging in a dusty sky.

On the bright side, I stayed 'twice' at my usual watering hole in Ashland and enjoyed fine beer and food at Caldera. While in Portland with Mary, I got to explore some new places, had lunch and brew at Amnesia; got to roll around some dogs; enjoyed working out of a vintage 1958 Airstream; got fed really well by Spike (Cornelius); and was sad when I had to leave and the Big Red Dog couldn't bring himself to say goodbye. I think I'm loved?

While passing thru Medford I got to swing in to visit those good guys at Beerworks and picked up a local Anaheim beer that I can't buy in Anaheim. I know, California; it's complicated.

All in all one of the best trips of the year! Enjoy the images. :)

Mary Cornelius Photography
ODS Championship Show Galleries
Caldera Brewing
Amnesia Brewing
Staffordshire Bull Terrier

September 3, 2017 10:43 AM Blog

So once upon a time, I lived in the quiet little town of Costa Mesa and close to that is the seaside town of Corona del Mar. Roger's Gardens is the local (and totally awesome) garden shop there. But it's more, so much more. There are treasures for the home and seasonal offerings such as them turning an entire building into a Halloween Haunt with ever changing themes. This year's theme pays tribute to Harry Potter and his world of magical things. I've made this trek annually to visit a little of home and as of the last few years my Bestie, KB, has joined me! It's the best time of the year!

August 31, 2017 04:00 PM Blog

So a few years ago I got the canning bug (which is carried by all the women of my family) and every summer I am called to the kitchen to save a little bit of Summer Goodness in glass jars. Since August didn't find me on the road, I found a great farmer down the hill who has all the Summer Goodness I can handle! Next year there will be pickles and more! But for now, enjoy today's canning goodness.

Jacinto Farms - peach supplier
Saving the Season, by Kevin West - canning bible
Great Stormy Summer Canning Weather - SoCal Mountains

August 8, 2017 10:48 AM Blog

So I have this cool friend. Yes, I have a handful of friends and they are all very cool people. This planet is a better place because they are here.

This friend, she's  smart; I mean like really smart. She's actually a Research Scientist but I adore her mostly because she's worked as a Professional High End Groom for world class horses (meaning she's got mad skillz). And she's a Halloween Weirdo like me! 

So when she invited me to come hang for a weekend and enjoy the spookiness of Burbank, CA (oh yes, there is spooky goodness to be had in her town) and try out a Con (ScareLA2017) I was in! Oh, and there's also a pack of Chihuahuas in this story and they happily swayed me to now know there are awesome dogs in their breed as well as the annoying ankle-biters. 

So without more detail, just enjoy the badly produced iPhone images of my weekend adventure! And know that next year ... next year there will be a solid plan and great images.

July 9, 2017 06:13 PM Blog

It's summer in this part of the world and it's hot. Temecula, California was no exception but despite the heat, riders donned heavy chaps; rode good horses, and cut themselves some cattle this last Friday at Galway Downs. The SCRCHA put on a nice show and I enjoyed a morning of shooting cutting. If you'd care to see the work, follow this link. As always, my thanks goes to Don Trout, as he always takes the time to answer my shooting questions and guides me to being a better photographer.

June 29, 2017 02:58 PM Blog

Well now that I've got your attention.

It's always on my mind to do a blog post on how "I" feel about being a Horse Show Photographer. And I believe, while there's good reason to point out what's wrong with the profession, I'd like to shine a little light on what's right about the profession. So with that, I hope you'll stay and enjoy the read.

It seems every time I read a post about Horse Show Photography it's littered with complaints about Poachers (or perceived Poachers), poor income, how hard we work and I just go away from those articles feeling sad about the entire thing. But really, and I mean this, it's got to be good or those of us doing it wouldn't do it. Right?

I learned about horse photography and being a Horse Show Photographer back in 1993 from Don Trout. So while I shoot a variety of horse breeds and disciplines, my foundation is that of the Stock Horse world.

The Don Trout School of Horse Photography, Class of '93
(copied with permission)

Armed with my new found knowledge I returned home to photograph our little mare; photograph some other breeds and sports (because I wanted to be good at shooting horses and not just specific breeds or sports) and eventually I worked my share of horse shows. And, like a lot of people who want to do horse show photography but we can't figure out the big picture; I didn't have a clue about how to staff help so I worked way too hard and got fussy about the industry and left for magazine work.

Me shooting my set up at a Dressage Show.
I always had visitors.
And I still tilt my horizon.

And an overview of me,
that Mistry Pony,
and some of the terrific people
I have worked with and for at horse shows.

Digital photography came along and changed the world we knew forever in good and not so good ways. Magazine work was on the decline and horse shows were now swamped with everyone shooting. In some areas it hurt business and in others there was virtually no affect. Somewhere down the line I stated to shoot a little Western Trail for Don Trout Photography (where Deb had brought me on to help with sales) and that blossomed into full bore Horse Show Photography for the Trouts. And this is where I think a few things need to be said.

  1. Be or Don't Be a Horse Show Photographer.
  2. Be Happy with your Deal or Don't do it.
  3. Think of Us as a Group and not just as Individuals.
  4. Pick a Show that Supports You and if not, Move On.

There's something so wonderful about people who come to a horse show and literally set up a 'studio' (in some cases) to photograph these large animals and their people. I've always felt this was so amazing! Then there's props and signage; grooming supplies, computers, lights, office sales help, mirrors, candy, things that make noise and things that look pretty; and all of this creates the world of the Horse Show Photographer. It's the laughter over dinners, the moments when you realize your boss has slipped into the backdrop shot; the dogs and their antics; the kids and how they love their horses; the prizes, and time standing still for a few days so you can enjoy fine horses and the kindness of people who love animals surrounding you. It's so amazingly wonderful. And this is why I think so many of us are Horse Show Photographers. And why this keeps drawing me back.

The Studio set up for the Medford Oregon Summer Classic show.
Don and Deb have been the Horse Show Photographer there for 31 years!

The other thing to consider, and this is aimed at those of you who aspire to photograph horses, is that the Horse Show Photographer shows up with a trailer/car load of gear; insurance; staff, and not one thing to sell until they shoot. So when other people come to a show and shoot & share it does hurt the Horse Show Photographer. And I'm not saying don't shoot. I'm saying, pick a show that has no Show Photographer working it to shoot at. Or just shoot for your close friends and not the entire class. The flip side of this is that people who love photography and buy images will always buy good images. It's part of who they are and poachers won't change that. It's the people who don't spend money on photography who want free. These people are not your customers. 

And Pro Shooters, don't show up and say, 'oh it's my client and they asked me to come' and then shoot. Your client couldn't show up at a Professional Football game and ask another team to come and play. Let the client embrace the resources of the show that they are at and they will probably find out that it's fun to see how other photographers photograph them. And you can photograph them someplace that does't have a Horse Show Photographer working.

Let's work on being a group of people who try to make our world better. It's about 'us'. Those shows 'back in the day' that one person could work now have more classes; more rings; more coverage and now more technology is needed and we as working staff need to figure out how to do our job efficiently and still make a profit. Profit = Living and so this is where we need to change with the times.

And if you really want to be a Horse Show Photographer, then make connections with the shooters you admire and see if you can work for them. Hone your craft and then savor the moments in a world that only we can experience.

Deb Trout and I selfie'ing while we are taking down the backdrop area.
Like the song says, we're the first to arrive and the last to leave.

Thank you for taking time out to read this post. I tried to keep it short and to the point. I really love the horse world but I also know that it takes a Village. If you're in this alone, you're gonna get angry. You're not alone. We're all here for each other (or so I'd like to think).

June 15, 2017 09:52 AM Blog

It's an age old question for a lot of Creatives; do I have the ambition to keep up a Blog? And there's no easy answer here. Supposedly an active Blog shows that you're busy BUT in a lot of our cases, we are busy and we don't have the time to sit and chat about it on a Blog; much less prep images and so on and so forth.

But that said, I long to be the type of person who wants to journal (blog). I want to write interesting things that a lot of people would care about; would want to read. I want to be that person who keeps a Good Blog but not necessarily an Overly Active Blog. And I've stopped and started this more than once.

So, for those of you who've stuck with me; I'm gonna try this again. Now though, I have a nifty new software (Sytist by PicturesPro) that makes it really easy to add my Blog into my new site design. And, yes, I still have things to say. So! Here Goes!

I recently worked a job in Utah for Don Trout Photography and I usually treat myself to an overnighter in Vegas after the job. I love Vegas. There's nothing not to love about Vegas; ask and you will receive! I usually stay at the South Point Hotel & Casino (because it's a great place AND they have Equestrian Events!) And this year I've been on a quest to find the Perfect Taco. 

It's boiled down to this; the perfect steak taco was found in Houston (TX). Battered fish tacos are my first love in Old Town Orange (CA), but heading into Vegas I decided to try Los Tacos off Sahara and, wow, it's pretty much my Taco Mecca. I got the El Pastor but the owner played Nine and A Half Weeks on me and fed me a little taste of the entire taco menu along with the Shrimp Cocktail (which was to die for). As you can tell from my photo, the owner also has a fine sense of humor.

All that foolishness aside, great menu; food to die for; and you're in and out in the shake of a lamb's tail! Two locations in Las Vegas (NV) and his Father's place (the original) is up in San Francisco (CA) so I cannot say I was surprised by the high quality of the ingredients and the menu items served. Estupendo! I can't wait to get back there in October!

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