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Vaulting into Summer

Three weeks ago was the barn’s annual end-of-the-year party/show. Because I had to work that day (working weekends can be incredibly inconvenient sometimes) I only caught the last 20 minutes or so of the show, but I did get some nice shots of the kids vaulting:

Waiting their turn...

Waiting their turn…

Hi Fred!

Hi Fred!

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This kid was especially photogenic:

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Afterwards, Laurelia and Lucie hopped on for a quick lap around the arena:DSC_1201cs

 

I’m still bummed I missed most of the show, but at least I got to see this little bit, and there was a dinner afterwards, which was a lot of fun. After a long day at work, getting to share a meal with my fellow equestrians (during which we mostly discussed horse-related stuff) was just what the doctor ordered. :)

 

Now that the weather is mostly sunny, I’ve been able to bring my camera out to the barn more often and get some nicely lit pictures.

A couple of Mountain Blue after class:

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This may be one of my favorite horse-related portraits yet:

 

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Blue’s ready to hit the trails!

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I dropped by the barn one afternoon to get some pictures of one of the classes, and I got these gems:

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Afterwards, the kids took the ponies down to the creek to cool off:

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DSC_1058csLast week I got Elise to take a few pictures of me with Blue and I think they turned out pretty well:

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Or, Why I Will Never Have a Career in Retail

My summer job this year has me working at what is apparently the biggest rest stop in Europe, and so far it’s been interesting, to say the least. I actually work for the company that supplies the nougat (and related products) for the shops, and my sole responsibility is stocking the shelves. Sounds simple, right? Actually, once I figured out the stockrooms and such, for the most part, it is. The stocking shelves part, that is. Dealing with customers… well, let’s say there’s a great deal of truth to the saying, “Whoever said there’s no such thing as a stupid question never worked in retail.” I get treated to all sorts of ridiculous questions every day, some several times a day (those of you who work/have worked in retail or customer service know exactly what I’m talking about). It’s gotten to the point where I’m tempted to make myself a T-shirt that preemptively (and somewhat snarkily) answers said questions, among other things:

1. If your question is not nougat-related, I may not (ie. probably don’t) know the answer.

2. Don’t ask me which brand is the best. I am contractually obligated to tell you that they’re all good. Just pick one.

3. You don’t want that bag/bar of nougat after all? That’s fine, but please do me a favor and put it back where you found it.

4. In the same vein, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, kindly remember that nougat bars are not Jenga blocks.

5. It’s called soft nougat, not “chewy.”

6. Read the label carefully before asking me a question. Chances are the answer is on said label.

Another question that pops up frequently is, “Where is [X]?” Answer: “It’s right behind you.” Mind you, I can’t snicker too loudly at that one because let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of not seeing what’s right in front of our faces at least once.

Every now and then I’ll get a more original (but no less baffling) question. The winner to date is: “Where can I find nougat without honey?” Umm, that doesn’t exist… This is when I truly realized that while most people might know that Montélimar is basically the nougat capital of the world, they don’t necessarily know much about it. Looks like I really have gone native.

Now if I could just stop dreaming about refilling the storage bins, that would be fantastic…

April Show Pics

Last month we had our annual unofficial, just-for-fun spring jumping show, and it was a rousing success, as usual. It was a great opportunity for me to get in some practice with Mountain Blue, who is apparently my new project horse. It turns out that despite her being nine years old she hadn’t been ridden all that much or learned anything beyond the absolute basics before coming here, so we’re in the process of getting her up to speed. She’s quite the handful, but quick to learn and generally eager to please, and she’s making pretty rapid progress. I think that with a bit more work, she and I will make a great team.

Here she is before the show:

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me on mountain blue

I also took advantage of the show to test my new lens (with a bigger zoom) and I’m quite pleased with the results:

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Hey everyone! So, after months of icky, wet, cold weather, spring is finally upon us. Which means… outdoor photoshoots! A few weeks ago Sissi drafted me for a photo session with her (and brought in her fiancé partway through). The result was a boatload of pictures. Here are some of my favorites:

We started off in the back yard:

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Naturally, Lucy wanted to participate:

"Hey, what about me?"

“Hey, what about me?”

 

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Then I decided the yard didn’t offer much in the way of backdrops, so we packed up and headed for the park.

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Oh yeah. Much better.

At this point Olivier joined us, and he and Sissi proceeded to be disgustingly adorable for the camera:

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All together now: aww…

A couple more pics with just Sissi:

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More to come shortly…

Pics from Cardiff

The weekend before last, Audrey, my mom and I went to Cardiff for a conference (which was great, by the way). We arrived a day early in order to do a little sightseeing. It was very gray and wet the entire weekend so we didn’t get to wander around quite as much as I would have liked, but I did get some nice shots  of Cardiff bay:

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National Assembly for Wales

National Assembly for Wales

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Spot the TARDIS!

Spot the TARDIS!

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Merchant Seafarers' War Memorial

Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial

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We also seized the opportunity to indulge my Whovian side:

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The First Doctor's TARDIS console

The First Doctor’s TARDIS console

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Hey, is that K-9?

 

 

"Affirmative!"

“Affirmative!”

Of course, I had to get a picture with “my” Doctor:

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He wasn’t all that talkative, though. ;)

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The Doctor's crib

The Doctor’s crib

Oh, hello Davros…

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"EX-TER-MIN-ATE!"

“EX-TER-MIN-ATE!”

Uh-oh, don’t blink…

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No, seriously, don’t blink!

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Handles

Handles

The Eleventh, Tenth and War Doctor's TARDISes

The Eleventh, Tenth and War Doctor’s TARDISes

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Look at all the goodies...

Look at all the goodies…

"WOULD YOU CARE FOR SOME TEA?"

“WOULD YOU CARE FOR SOME TEA?”

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Bessie!

Bessie!

Yeah, I had fun. :) Our tour guide probably enjoyed my reactions as much as I enjoyed the Experience itself: upon noticing my geeked-out expression, she said she had the same look on her face the entire first year she worked there. As she put it, “When you arrive at work in the morning and the first thing your boss says is, “Go clean the TARDIS,” you know you’re in the right line of work.” I quite agree. :D

Kitties Vs. The Camera

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will have noticed that cats are one of my favorite subjects to photograph, second only to horses. The reason, aside from their general gorgeousness, is their huge entertainment factor. I’ve often said that you don’t really need a TV when you have cats; they’re practically walking cartoons. Or cartoon fodder, in this case:

lucy cartoon 1s lucy cartoon 2s lucy cartoon 3sOther times they’ll make it pretty clear what they’re thinking:

"I am not amused."

“I am not amused.”

*sigh* Are we done yet?

“You better not be using that warping app!”

Doing “photoshoots” with Lucy can also be highly entertaining. She’ll strike a fabulous pose or two:

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And then she’ll get bored:

*yawn* "Are we done yet?"

*yawn* “Are we done yet?”

Sometimes I’m not sure I want to know what’s going on inside her head…

"Hmm..."

“Hmm…”

 

 

 

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