I have to confess that I have always been somewhat afraid of horses.
I knew at an early age that they were capable of hurting or even killing a person with the strength they possessed in their legs...I can vaguely recall distant memories of my parents talking about this...evidently someone they knew had been seriously hurt by a horse and now the neighbors had one.
Magic occasionally got out of his pasture and into someone else’s pasture...my parents told us kids not to ever get near that horse.

It's many years later and horses still intimidate me somewhat but I appreciate them as animals. They have been a very useful animal in the course of human civilization and are quite pretty as far as animals go. Breeding has been going on for some time and even someone like myself learns to recognize certain breeds: Clydesdales, Lipizzaners, Arabs, Shetland ponies etc.

Just recently I've started to realize that they have personality that can be noted even on a first meeting. I didn't see that before...they all seemed indifferent to me!

Where I live now (Merritt, B.C.) there are a lot of horses around. On the ranches in particular I've seen quite a few gentle giants and in one case completely ignored the fact that two horses that had walked past me on a farm road on their way to greener grass were still behind me as I was photographing more horses in front of me. I suppose they are like any other animal...they only react (or attack) if provoked or given a reason.

It's not like back in the day when I worked on a pony ring on the carnival circuits and was around working animals that liked to pick on the new kid (this is true- working animals know the routine better than any crew and know all kinds of tricks to make your working life hell!) On the other hand I have to say that that experience gave me the courage to grab the bridle of a horse I had found wandering on a country road in Saskatchewan and walk it to the nearest driveway where it evidently had walked out of...


Cows and Cowboys.

I didn't set out to take pictures of cowboys...it was a matter of the opportunity presenting itself!
I had set out in the late morning to see if the pelicans were on Nicola Lake again and if the eagles were still near the bone pit but was disappointed on both counts. I did get some great photos of deer, Herefords and a few decent osprey pictures but it wasn't what I really wanted...

On the way back home I stopped several times to check out odd little locations that had inspired curiosity and then, at the end of the lake, saw Helmut taking photos so stopped to check them out. His specialty is ospreys and he showed me a few he had already taken and gave me a few tips on locations of other nests.
We discussed lenses and how best to clean dust from behind the mirror of an SLR and then parted ways. After trying for a few more shots of the raptors I was ready to call it a day but noticed a cowboy on a horse on the hillside across from me. I then saw a second cowboy higher on the hill and wondered if I should approach them or not. I decided there's no harm in asking and they were both quite cheerful about me photographing them mending fences! I quite enjoyed myself despite knowing there were dust motes trapped in my camera. The weather was brilliant and the pictures turned out almost too perfect!

But the best part of the day was in the evening when I figured out I could set the camera to bulb, remove the lens, and have access to the back of the mirror as it was on auto-pilot taking a photo of nothing!


April Continues

Last Saturday was a buzz of activity in Merritt, B.C. Othmar Vohringer was giving his master hunting class for Whitetail deer at the Civic Center and it was well attended by people from Vancouver to Salmon Arm. I did some video recording of the event as well. Despite knowing a lot of the material I still learned new things about hunting. This event was in support of the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club's new range renovations.
That weekend was also a free hazardous materials round-up day. The crew were busy sorting out all kinds of noxious and generally unsavory chemical products. The oddest thing that came in was a jar full of aquatic animal specimens preserved in formaldehyde.
On a totally different note, the quilters of Merritt were also at the Civic Center piecing squares (is that how it's put?)I was quite impressed with the quilting scene which I knew was always big in Merritt...it was interesting to see the layouts, materials, tools and machines they use to put these fabric arts together.



Spring is here and that typically means good weather and lots of wind in Merritt. Recent outdoor events included a local car show, the fish and game club's Black Powder Shoot fest, and an Easter oriented event in the park. My sister was visiting from the coast and quite enjoyed the medieval re-inveners and rendezvou-ers at the black powder shoot.
I offered to show her 'Windy Canyon' (formerly Coal Gully) but she was too tired and passed but Othmar came with me. In hindsight it was for the best as it was surprisingly soggy in the canyon because of a small stream of runoff that made the clay and sandstone extremely slippery.
It was quite fascinating to find remnants of what Merritt was founded on- coal. There were visible outcrops of coal seams to be seen as well as scraps of metal from the ore mining operations. At the top of the gully we had a great view of Merritt. It was much easier coming back down, as there are very good dirt bike trails all along the hillsides. A few other notable events were the Valley Visual Artists 18th annual Art show and sale on March 23rd-25th, a hunting promo in Kelowna, and a Whitetail Deer hunting seminar last Saturday to benefit the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club.