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March Photo Dump!


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Hey everyone! It's been a minute since we've done a photo dump and I miss seeing what you all have been up to! Share your photos from March and the story behind them below!

I went on the hunt for spring ephemerals in March, I was out nearly every week looking for wildflowers! I ended up being invited to a property where there were a ton in bloom. I got to see bluebells, bloodroot, twin leaf, and yellow trout lilys. Plus some nonnatives. Not everything was in full bloom so not all my photos are outstanding but I have a blast. This day I used my Sony A7RV and Sony 16-35 GM.

Could contain: Land, Nature, Outdoors, Plant, Tree, Vegetation, Woodland, Grove, Flower, Tree TrunkCould contain: Leaf, Plant, Flower, Petal, Geranium, AnemoneCould contain: Nature, Outdoors, Weather, Leaf, Plant, Fog, Mist, Vegetation, Tree, WoodlandCould contain: Leaf, Plant, Vegetation, Tree, Soil, Flower, Petal, Grove, Woodland, AnemoneCould contain: Leaf, Plant, Flower, Tree, Soil

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My wife competes in an equestrian sport called Combined Driving. She has been training hard all winter, leading up to the Live Oak International show in Ocala, FL. This is one of the premier driving shows in North America, and it's been a dream of hers to compete here. 

Could contain: Adult, Male, Man, Person, Vehicle, Wagon, Horse, Horse Cart, Helmet, Wheel

My role on the team is to be her personal paparazzi. The media team at the show was kind enough to credential me. I've had some challenges before because I "look" professional with that big white 100-400mm lens and a monopod. All due respect to the real pros covering the action - I'm not trying to compete with them. And we do support them at the shows I cannot attend. And at this event I helped them out and covered some stuff they were not able to. So that's a win-win I think.

Could contain: Person, Horse, Vehicle, Wagon, Wheel, Glasses, Car, Carriage, Horse Cart, HatA Combined Driving event has three phases held over three days. The first is dressage. All competitor drive the same set pattern, and they are judged on precision, control of the horses, and proper gaits and movement in each portion of the test. Accuracy and elegance are the goal, not speed. Prior to the start of competition, the horses are presented and inspected by the show judges and veterinarian to ensure they are sound and capable of safely competing.

Could contain: Person, Adult, Male, Man, Vehicle, Wagon, Carriage, Horse Cart, Horse, WheelThe second phase is called the Marathon. The team will travel several kilometers over a cross-country course. They will face several obstacles which must be correctly negotiated. There is a minimum and maximum time that the course can be completed in. And each obstacle is timed as well. The fastest through the obstacles is the winner of this phase. It is a test of endurance, speed, and maneuverability.

Could contain: Helmet, Adult, Male, Man, Person, Carriage, Horse, Horse Cart, Wagon, WheelThe third and final phase is Cone. You can see this better in the first photo. A course is laid out in the show arena with cones, and each cone has a ball balanced on top. Drivers must complete the course under a maximum time, and are penalized for each ball that is knocked down. Speed and control are of the essence - as well as memory, as they must remember the correct order to run each gate on the course. After the first two phases, my wife was in the lead with "two balls in hand" - meaning if she came in under the maximum time allowed, she could knock down two balls and still win the competition.

She has been showing this pair for several years now. There are actually three horses in the team - two mares and a gelding. The gelding rotates in for the marathon phase, while the girls do dressage and cones. The gelding, named Altivo, is a Lusitano which is a breed originating in Portugal. The two mares are full sisters, born a year apart. They are Andalusians, also known as Pura Razs Español, which are a breed originating in Spain. Enough of that sidebar, you want to know if she won!

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Tears of a winner. Not only did she win, but it was the first time she had a double-clear round in cones with the pair. Meaning, she drove the cones course without error and didn't knock down a single ball AND came in under the maximum time. Giving the hugs in our good friend Cheryl, who rides along as a groom and navigator. Being the driver, my wife Jenni hold the whip - and that is the proper term for the person driving the carriage - she's "The Whip."

So that was our big March adventure, and my big photo effort for the month. Photos were mostly shot on an a9 and 100-400mm G-Master and 24-105mm G series lenses. I had an a6000 and RX100 as backups. A Sony Tough Card in the a9 kept up nicely with my excessive use of high-speed drive mode.

My wife would stay in Florida for a few weeks of additional training. I took the time to put together a collage of photos to surprise her with on her return home to our farm in Virginia. It turned out great, and I used the CollageWall product from MPix to produce it. I was really impressed with how easy it was to mount on the wall and it turned out PERFECT. And it shipped and arrived several days sooner than I expected. I'll definitely be getting some more of these in the future. It made a great memento of this big milestone in her showing career.  

Learn more about the Live Oak show at their website

You can learn more about combined driving at

Could contain: Carriage, Vehicle, Sword, Weapon, Animal, Horse, Horseback Riding, Mammal, Person, Wagon

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