A perfect late-summer morning at Mohonk Mountain House holds the promise of a day spent outside. While this image may be a sequel to last week’s post, I think this other angle reveals a far different view of the possibilities a day can hold when experiencing vacation.
Too Many Ponies at Sunset
Pony Finals 2022 Day 2
Continuing from our Day 1 post, we now move into the second day of Pony Finals 2022. Given the dust and debris blown around on any given day, I rarely swap lenses once I make my choice. Day 2 meant a lot of shooting with the 70-200 mm f/2.8 and its buttery bokeh.
The first step is, of course, getting to the ring. (It’s not really—lots of things come before.)
And what a ring it is! Pony Finals has been held in the Rolex for the past few years. In this flat class, the full extent of the space starts to become apparent.
Big classes mean a bit of a traffic jam getting in and out of the ring. This palomino circling while waiting provides a nice contrast: one forward face, while the rest face away.
Tom O’Mara, President of the US Equestrian Federation, was on hand.
A parade of riders matches the parade of sponsor boards and seats.
As with most horse shows, Pony Finals features a lot of “hurry up and wait.”
Lined up for the judges.
An exiting-the-ring parade.
What a proud face. The 70-200 mm’s bokeh is going to great use here.
I love alternate angles on posed shots.
A lot of young riders are learning to work hard at Pony Finals.
Though horses can’t compete during Pony Finals, there are still a few practicing around the Kentucky Horse Park.
The leaves really frame this rider well.
Back in the ring, we’ve reached the over-fences classes.
It takes a whole team to get a rider to the ring.
And sometimes some behind-the-scenes negotiations.
Breakfast on the Porch I
Mohonk Mountain House remains a place nestled into both the rocks of the Shawangunk Mountains and a pre-digital era. Nonetheless, delightful new traditions manage to merge into the setting. Breakfast in the open air of the expansive front porch came about during the Covid era but has remained—a just delightful way to start the day.
This image also further exhibits the trend I explored in another recent image, showing both a view and a space for the viewer.
Old and New Kentucky
Rocking Chair Array
Rays from the Barn
Drones open up all kinds of new perspectives, but these vantages don’t always have to be extreme or dramatic. The equivalent height of an aerial work platform presents just the correct geometry to get these rays from the setting sun to explode from the roof of a recently renovated barn outside Lexington, Kentucky.
Pony Finals 2022 Day 1
After posts devoted to my photography on the days leading up to Pony Finals 2022, we’ve finally arrived at the main event.
Days start early and run long; this pair is already heading back from the ring in spite of the morning light behind them.
Nearby, this trainer waits to lunge a pony.
And this young rider hurries to groom.
This was my first summer working with Sony’s 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens; the narrow depth of field (with its buttery bokeh) in combination with the eye-detecting autofocus has taken all of the luck out of capturing shots like this one.
Speaking of luck, the passengers on this overloaded golf cart might be pushing theirs.
Some pictures seem like they’re emitting sound. This is one of those.
Warm-ups in the Rolex Ring were a high-traffic affair.
In spite of the traffic, moments emerge in which a single rider is isolated.
I love those moments in which horse and rider seem to share the same expression.
Though there are no events in which adults compete during Pony Finals, this wouldn’t be a Kentucky photoset without Piper and Reuben in the mix.
Emily Elek, one of Piper’s trainers, is always exceptionally busy during Pony Finals. This picture of Emily talking on the phone is rather special for folks who know her constant refrain: “Don’t call—text!”
Now for an amusing pair of shots: two head-on pictures of smiling riders—one with a somewhat larger mount than the other.
Lastly, a shot of Will during his last Pony Finals (he just aged out of the under-18 competition) riding alongside his father in the electric golf cart. (The cart is affectionately called “blueberry.”)
Oscar in the Setting Sun
Rocking Chairs Overlooking the Lake
First Ride on Taco
A Visit to the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology
Our visit to Dublin included a morning in the National Museum of Ireland’s Archaeology building. Fittingly, the structure of the space combined elegant nineteenth-century cast iron with modern additions.
This flint knife, ringed by other pieces of sharpened stone, struck me as a bit like a king being bowed to by lords and ladies.
These woven metal buttons are incredible pieces of detailed structure built from many hours of human effort. Funny to think that we marvel over the structures produced by techniques like 3D printing, when humans have been inventive with forms and materials for millenia.
This array of Viking-era swords, in various states of oxidation, has a delightful rhythm.
Among them, this sword and its hilt of non-ferrous metal is excitingly less degraded.
Too much Tolkien makes every dark stone bracelet look a bit sinister.
On a lighter note, the runes carved into this deer antler read, “DEER ANTLER.”
Boat Dock Before It Opens
A quiet early morning at Mohonk Mountain House’s dock has a place for every boat and every boat in its place. I like the way the path of the dock mirrors the path of the mountaintop in the distance. This calm-before-a-busy-day setting is also a metaphor for Decaseconds: I finished processing all of my pictures from a trip to Mohonk at the end of last summer. Like the boats, my work is organized and ready to be shared.
Bridge Between Counties
Bridges between counties in the approximately southern United States mostly remind me of Smokey and the Bandit, but this one between Woodford and Scott counties in Kentucky differs both in that (1) it’s not currently out, necessitating a dramatic jump, and (2) it’s experiencing a far more peaceful evening.