Welcome to spring! What I love is watching all the new life, from baby horses to the new grass under their feet. How can you not smile when a foal is racing around its new environment learning how to use all those long legs they were given?
A Day In The Life…………
Welcome to the Augusta Cutting Horse Futurity. The finals are tonight, and we are ready to capture great images for everyone. Here is a little taste from the last week……
End Of Season Sale
We are getting ready to delete old galleries to make room for the fall shows!! So to make your choices a bit easier for you we are offering 15 images on a CD for $250.00. They are fully edited images that you can print, email, use on Facebook, or a multitude of other things. About the only thing you can not do with them is change them or resell them.
This offer is only available to the galleries that have a “Year End” tab in the pricing section. If you happen to choose an image that is not in a sale gallery, you will be asked to choose another image. Once you have placed your order via the internet, we will email you an order sheet on which to list your deisred images. Simply email the form back and we will get started on your images. Please note that due to high volume it may take 3-4 weeks for your order to be completed.
S. Sylvester Photography
Comfort and Peace
I learned some thing about myself this last week. Photography has always been a passion for me (bordering on obsession….lol). Yet last week I became aware that it was something more, way more. It is a place I can go and find comfort and peace.
The week started as any other, home from a horse show and processing photos – LOTS of photos. Then Tuesday night the call came that my Grandmother was in the hospital and not expected to make it through the night. She was 87 with Alzheimer’s that was taking over more and more everyday. By Wednesday evening I was in Denver and with my family at her side she was hanging in there, but unresponsive. We sat with her Wednesday, and well into the evening Thursday, before heading home to get some rest. She found her peace early Friday morning (only a few hours after we had left her), and made her own journey home, I could not ask for more for her. Although my heart was breaking for my Grandfather who had been married to her for 70 years. Wow 70 years, unbelievable, here is a man who took his vows to heart. He promised to take care of her for the rest of their lives, and well he did. He may have needed help at times, but he truly took that vow to the end.
It is said very often that dying is harder on the ones left behind than the person who dies. After having gone through this, I now have a better understanding of this. I miss her dearly, but I also know her body is now healed and she can keep a watchful eye on her family. She always did have eyes in the back of her head, and now , well she really does see everything. So I guess I best behave….
The rest of the afternoon we spent as a family together, eating, laughing telling stories of all of our adventures with Grandma. You know I learned a lot about her that day to. Stories that I had never heard before. It was actually very enjoyable despite the circumstances.
I had brought my camera with me to Denver (I really do take it everywhere…lol) and I am so glad that I did. My Aunt has beautiful flowers blooming in her garden right now, and lots of birds sitting on nests, and just a photographers heaven. Off I went in search of the perfect photo, here I was wandering around the yard in awe of all the beauty, (thanks to my Uncle for pointing out all the nests…). Then it all came rushing in to my thoughts, that all was ok, I was at peace knowing grandma was in a better place. I felt ok with my camera in hand, and photographing the things that my Grandmother loved so much. Birds and flowers were passions for my grandmother, every spring/summer she would spend hours and hours with her gardens, and she always made them welcoming for the birds. (Ok so they weren’t very welcome in the strawberries.) She also had an amazing collection of porcelain birds, I can remember giving them to her for birthdays and christmas and the were all displayed proudly throughout the house. She could tell you what species they all were while you were watching the live ones from the kitchen window or the patio or the porcelain ones perched throughout the house. Flowers for her were no different, she knew them all and how to make them grow perfectly, her gardens were always the envy of others.
So now when I photograph birds and flowers it is with a different perspective. I want to show Grandma that I now see more of what she saw, and I like to belive that perhaps she is helping me find the shots to take of her favorite things. My photography took a turn last week, and I have my Grandmother to thank for that. So Grandma the images on this page are for you…..
Zorro Finds His Place In The World
I am having a ton of fun photographing free pet sessions with pets that have been adopted into new families!!! Being allowed to come into a family’s home and share with them the joy of a new family member is an amazing experience. The new pet knows how lucky they are and their new family is overjoyed. So really it may be somewhat selfish of me to relish being a part of this personal time with these families.
It gets so depressing seeing all the animals waiting to find their “furever” homes. The pounds are overflowing, and most rescues have stopped taking in animals, since they have no more fosters available to take them in. The pound is a horrible horrible place, it is depressing, and sad. Even the animals are depressed and sad. I personally can not go there as it is just too much to take emotionally. Bless the people who work at the pound. They are doing a job that really no one wants, and no one wants to see done.
So to go and photograph a pet in its new permanent loving home, well it is the bright side of what these rescue organizations and even the pound do. It is truly amazing to see these animals blossom in their new homes. They really are grateful for what they have been given, you can see it in their eyes if you truly take the time to look.
I recently went and shot not 1 or 2 dogs, but 5 for Terri and Jerry Watson. Three who were permanent members of this family, and two fosters. One of the fosters named Zorro, caused me to leave with tears in my eyes that day. This little dog (a senior chihuahua) would come and just sit next to me while I was taking pictures of his “temporary” family. He asked for nothing, no nosing for pets, no licking trying to get my attention. He just sat there as if to say “you know I am here and I am safe, and that is enough for me.” At one point his foster “dad” picked him up and just loved him with so much emotion that deep down, I knew even though I was told he was a foster, that he had truly found his place in the world. A place with a warm bed, toys to play with, siblings to hang out with and a family that loves him more than anything else. This my friends is why rescues do what the do, and why I LOVE what I do. I was fortunate to get the picture of Jerry showing love to this foster dog, and it has truly become one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken. (and to be clear I have taken tens of thousands of pictures). I do not know if Jerry knew I was shooting him when he was doing this or not, but I am so grateful to him and his wife for showing their fosters as much love as they do their own dogs. If I ever come back as a foster dog, I want a family as kind and loving as they are. So thank you Terri and Jerry for allowing me to come into your home and share your “children” with me, I will be eternally grateful.
If you have adopted a new family member and would like more information on a free photo session with your new pet, please feel free to contact me, I would be honored for being allowed to share in this special event with your family.
It is now May 2nd and I have not blogged anything since December!! What the heck? Who sped the clock up? I was supposed to be doing my self-imposed schooling, starting in January and here it is May already….. Now in my defense (here come the excuses!) I have been learning many of the things on my syllabus, maybe not in the order I was supposed to but, hey learning is learning ! Thank goodness I do not have any teachers to report to, I can just imagine the excuses I would need to come up with for not turning my homework in on time. So here it is May, when my schedule usually starts to lighten up. But not this year! (this is a good thing I think). Two of the things I really wanted to concentrate on this year were A) learning more, and B) really pushing my business further. Careful what you wish for, ’cause it may just happen.
I have met some truly wonderful people in tha last few months and have reconnected with many more. Life really is a good time when you let it. I have joined a couple of Meet Up groups. These are groups of people with the same interests that you can get together with and learn/share your passions. One that I joined is AZ Shutterbugs West where KC Costa and Norman Beer have pushed me to do more and to share my knowledge with the rest of the group. Everyone in the group is great fun, and we always are learing new things from each other. (see I really am learning). And I have to say working with models like Wendy West, Claire Hinder, Jessica Vargas and AJ Martinez make learning that much more entertaining! Thanks you to each of your for your help!! I will be posting photos of our MAD Cap Theater shoot soon, so stay tuned. For now you all will have to settle for Chalupa…….
So back to the learning part – what I have been playing with (sounds more appealing than learning, don’t you think?) . Studio lighting (again MAD Cap photos to follow) and studio lighting for commercial photography.
Well, I am off to learn more and shoot more!!
Time to Get My Learn On (or just a refresher)
I have decided to send myself back to school in a way. Not the class room lecture type school, but rather one that I have imposed upon myself. Some items I want to get better at, and some items are just good to do as a refresher course. Life sometimes gets in the way of what we know and every now and again we need to step back and look at things again or even in perhaps a different way. So I have made up my curriculum (which since I made it – I can change it if I want to!!! lol) and will be doing a “class” a week. If you want to join me, I would love to have company – even if only in cyber space. I will be happy to post your assignments right along with mine, and I would even appreciate some critiques! So get out your red pencils and let’s have some fun.
Week 1 (Jan 2-8, 2012) Fill Flash
Week 2 (Jan 9-15, 2012) Fill and Reflector
Week 3 (Jan 16-22, 2012) Flash Exposure Compensation
Week 4 (Jan 23-29, 2012) Panoramas
Week 5 (Jan 30-Feb 5, 2012) Light Diffusion
Week 6 (Feb 6-12, 2012) Chiaoscuro
Week 7 (Feb 13-19, 2012) Revealing Texture
Week 8 (Feb 20-26, 2012) Transparency and Translucency
Now this looks like a pretty good start. There are a lot of lighting “classes” here, but lighting IS photography. So time to get back to basics!!! The panorama was thrown in there just for something fun and different.
Find the Truth Then Decide
So at the beginning of the month I posted a link by Mark America on my Facebook page in regards to horse slaughter….. Yep, I got some backlash and some people removed me as friends. Makes you think that your friends should all have the same opinions that you do. How boring would that be? It is funny I never really put where I stand on the slaughter issue, I really only wanted people to be open-minded about what they were reading.
It is sad that so many people make decisions based on what they hear. Not what they have researched themselves or what the facts are. When you meet someone new are you going to go by what someone else has told you about that person or do you want to make up your own mind based on what you yourself learn about that person? People should be aware of all the facts before they go ranting about an issue they have not really researched.
People have gone on the assumption that all horses that are processed are for human consumption. This is not true. Try researching tallow and see what you come up with. Another assumption is that the AQHA is responsible for the over population problem because they pay out incentives. Perhaps reading how the incentive fund really works might be enlightening. The money does not come directly from AQHA. How about those that want more laws for those of use who have horses. Yep just what we need more laws, and more restrictions. Next thing you know we will have laws about having children too (oh wait, maybe for some that may work….. wait, I better not get started on welfare etc…..). It is to bad that the majority people who are screaming about slaughter have not helped to come up with any viable solution. My taking on another horse is not an option and I would imagine that most people who have horses feel the same way. I have what I can afford to feed and take care of properly, and I have taken in and still have more than one rescue dog. Do I have any answers? No I don’t but I am not going to condemn someone who does. Instead, I will research their idea and come to my own conclusion as to whether or not it will work, or if it would work better with a little tweaking.
Another one that I like is that people should not have horses if they can not afford them. While I agree with this statement for the most part, what about the good people who have lost their jobs and are choosing to feed their families before the animals. Are you going to tell me you would feed your horses before your kids? Or spend $300+ to have a horse put down instead of feeding your children.(never mind those that have more than one horse). Oh yeah you should put them down and not put your family first……yet, how many of you have tried to put down a healthy horse? All the vets that I know will not put down a healthy horse, it must have some kind of ailment. So now what?
Before anyone goes there, yes, I know that most horses are given drugs that make them ineligible for human consumption. But not all animals that are destroyed go to human consumption. Dogs and cats that are destroyed do not end up on people’s plates. And do you really know where your horse ends up when you have them put down and then picked up by a carcass removal service? Processing plants.
With hay in my area fetching $17+ per bale for grass and $19+ a bale for alfalfa, (if you are lucky enough to own horse property). Trims running approx $50 (for a decent farrier). Yearly vet at about $300 (on a good year and a healthy horse….) and we have yet to add in – vitamins, special shoeing if needed, etc, etc. So how many rescues can you afford to take in?
Again I ask what HELPFUL solutions can you come up with?
As far as my stance on slaughter – if it is done in a humane way and regulated in some way then yes I am for it. Delete me if you must, but please do your research before condemning anyone – each of us is entitled to our own opinions and I can only hope that your opinion is truly your own and based on RESEARCH and TRUTH.
Way Back When
For those of you that think photography is a relatively new thing for me – think again. My first camera was one of those Kodak Instamatics with the cool flash cube! Then came the 110 camera. It was not until high school graduation that I got an SLR. Yippy…..oh wait – I have to pay for the film and processing???? Hmmmm….. Not sure I like this now. lol So being a broke college student, I did not get to do much in the way of photography, I did not stop by any means, just slowed way down so I could afford to shoot!
Now I have digital SLR cameras and still have some of that cost per frame mentality (not near as much as I used to though!) I love the challenge of trying to get the shot right in the camera. While I have a great abundance of respect for Photoshop wizards, I personally do not think that it makes you a better photographer. I feel that comes from knowing your equipment, how to use it, lighting and knowing your subject.
It is funny to stop and think how long photography has been a part of my life. I finally sat down and went through a few old negatives (20+ years old….lol) and decided to have them converted to digital. Photography has come such a long way since 19?? (I can’t really remember the exact date I started my camera obsession so you are not getting the exact year!!) When they first introduced the digital SLR cameras, I was in college and can remember the photographers at the horse shows with these very, very expensive new fangled cameras that you could see pictures on immediately. I was so envious!! Now I can not imagine anything else. Yep I am now one of those camera geeks that waits for the new models to come out. As of now I am saving my pennies for the new Canon 1D X which is set to debut March 2012. I can not wait!!!
So here are a few pictures that I recently had converted from 135mm negatives to digital……not bad for the negatives being well over 20 years old!! lol
Enjoy This Ride Called Life
You have heard it a thousand times “enjoy the ride”, but have you ever stopped to really think about what that means? I mean really thought about it? Life is short and you only get one ride through it, so why not enjoy it? Everyone has problems, everyone has worries, stress, money issues, blah, blah, blah. So and so is mad at you for doing something you don’t think is justified. Guess what, if you are dwelling on it, then you are losing precious time you were given to enjoy life. I consider that a real waste of your own precious time, energy and well being. Do you really want to waste a minute on something that is really only a blip on your life radar? That time you wasted could have been spent laughing with your friends or family. Instead, that moment is gone – forever. Happiness really is a choice, you can decide to be happy, or you can decide to dwell on all the wrongs that have been put upon you. Me? I choose to be happy in as many ways as possible. Next time you are out doing errands, take a minute to just enjoy the scenery around you, the flowers, the clouds, the laughter of anyone. It really will make you feel better. Then just keep adding those types of minutes to your days and you will be surprised how fast your out look on life will improve, and people will want to be around you because you are always happy. Now don’t get me wrong I have times when I am flat out pissed off at the world…lol but I try to remember to only let it last for so long, because who else really cares how bad a day you are having? and whose time are you really wasting?? That’s right yours, and every minute is yours to do with what you like, so wouldn’t you rather enjoy them then waste them?