Wassail Photoshoot At Highland Farms, South Royalton, VT
Due to Covid, the 2020 Wassail Parade in Woodstock, Vermont had to be cancelled, however that will not stop visitors and locals alike from being able to see the parade. Instead, the parade entries will be photographed and filmed and a "Wassail Parade Film" will be avaialbe duding Wassail weekend. The equestrian entity fee goes to The High Horses, Theraputic Riding Program, a wonderful charity for improving the well-being of people with unique needs through a therapeutic equine experience. Please head on over to the High Horses web site and see all the amazing things they accomplish with their horses, ponies and team of experienced and caring individuals.
I was fortunate to be invited to photograph the Covid responsible equestrian group from Highland Farms by Gael Cantlin and when we arrived it was a cold and blustery day on the top of Skyline Drive. Highland Farms is an amazing equestrian center with a mirrored indoor school, outdoor school, several barns and miles of beautiful riding trails. Every single person was so friendly and warm and it was such a great feeling to be back in the equestrian scene again. I have owned horses since I was 8 years old and sadly miss not owning one now. Being able to work among such a wonderful variety of beautiful animals really did make my heart beat a bit quicker and added to the overall joy and excitement of the afternoon.
Obviously the first horses one notices when driving into the farm are the Belgian Drafts....magnificent and usually as gentle as a puppy.
While the owners were tacking up their horses and ponies, I grabbed a couple photographs inside the lower barn where the extremely calm ponies stood patiently in cross ties and a soulful Beagle also waited patiently for the excitement to begin.
I loved watching the children and their ponies and the over all getting ready scenes unfolding around the lower barn. A bit different than the pre-wedding getting ready photos I must say, but just as enjoyable to photograph. I'm looking forward to hopefully heading back there for a "fine art" equestrian portrait session with horse and owner and will also photograph those sessions as I would a wedding, with some getting ready photos, candid fun photos, fine art poratiats and detail photos as well.
When Libby and Tuscany were ready we took a couple photos before they went over to the indoor school to exercise a bit before the parade.
It was a cloudy day and the light in the indoor school was not optimal. Not knowing Tuscany I decided against using off camera lighting and just went with the natural light as best I could. This is definitely a situation I need to work on, low light in wedding receptions is completely different than the low light in the indoor school. In wedding receptions it is much easier to photograph in low light as there are always lights of some sort, either candles or soft ambient lights and they are usually highlighting the couple. In the indoor school there was no artificial lighting whilst I was photographing and being a dark cloudy day didn't help either. Here are a few, taken at a very high iso and fairly slow shutter speed. :)
Once everyone was ready the "parade" got underway. Sue walked down the road first and was dressed in a beautiful, vintage coat and beaver top had and in the basket were cookies she bought from the local farmer's market that she gave out to everyone.
Here are a few more photos of riders and Covid responsible handlers making their way to Skyline Drive for the filming and photographing of the parade.
Once the Wassail parade got underway, I was at a bit of a disadvantage as I only brought one camera and one prime, telephoto lens, so most of the photos are close ups of individual riders and horses.
This really was a brilliant way to spend a blustery Saturday in beautiful Vermont and I want to thank all the riders, handlers and all my friends for being so warm and friendly. Highland Farms is such an impressive equestrian centre and I wish I had known about it when I had my handsome hunter Pudge, at livery here in South Woodstock. I cannot wait to head back for that fine art equestrian session and please contact me if you are interested in the same. Since most of my early 2021 weddings are still postponed, I have a lot of time on my hands!
Sally Carpenter Equestrian and Fine Art Portrait Photography, based in Woodstock, Vermont, serving all of Vermont and The Upper Valley with fine art portraits of horse and rider, dogs and country life.
Vermont Fine Art Equestrian Photography
Growing up with horses for most of my life, equestrian portrait and event photography is something I have always loved! The main reason I moved to Woodstock, Vermont was the Green Mountain Horse Association and creative artsy, feel of the town itself.
While living in Calfornia I shot several covers for equestrian magazines as well as being the "go to" photographer for stud farms and horse shows in the Southern California area. I suppose my first real photography jobs were photographing horses and their owners, with a few barn dog portraits thrown in the mix from time to time as well.
My first horse was a Morgan and who'd a thought I'd end up living just miles away from the Justin Morgan homesite.However that would be almost 35 years later! I was heavily into showing my horses in California and when I moved to the UK in 1980 ish, the first thing I did was buy a gorgeous grey hunter mare, we named "Sherry" ....this was because I needed about half a bottle of sherry before I had the nerve to get on her..LOL.. I suppose "Dutch Courage" would have been a good name as well, but it was already taken, by one of the top dressage stallions in the UK.
I have always loved photographing horses and their owners and even though our weekends in the UK were busy with competitions, pony club shows and one day events, I still managed to bring the cameras along and get some photos of the excitement and obviously a ton of photos of my son Chris and his Welsh Pony..also named Kris. That was back in the days of film so one of these days I will go back and look through all the hundreds and hundreds of prints and maybe do a "vintage" blog..."In Search of Horses Past" to steal a title from a quite famous book.
So, now that Covid has hit the wedding industry so very hard and most of my winter and spring 2021 weddings have already postponed, I have a lot of free time for some equestrian photoshoots in Vermont and The Upper Valley. Please contact me if you might be interested in booking such a shoot. I promise we will have a super fun time and come away with both candid and fine art photographs of you and your best friend.