High Hopes Steeplechase 2014

Horses fly over a fence at the 2014 High Hopes Steeplechase race in Lexington, KY.  The Kentucky Horse Park hosts this race each year.  Thousands of tailgaters enjoy the race.
Horses fly over a fence at the 2014 High Hopes Steeplechase race in Lexington, KY. The Kentucky Horse Park hosts this race each year. Thousands of tailgaters enjoy the race.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

After considering it for a few years, I finally made it out to watch the High Hopes Steeplechase Race at the Kentucky Horse Park.  I am very glad I was able to go.  I was joined by friend and horse racing writer Maryjean Wall who has become quite a photographer in her retirement.

The crowd at the Steeplechase is amazing.  There were thousands tailgating along the rail to watch the races and the days other events.  I can’t wait to go again next year!

Horses race by under a beautiful Kentucky sky.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 224-70mm F/2.8G.
Horses race by under a beautiful Kentucky sky. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 224-70mm F/2.8G.

 

Between races, the Woodford Hounds put on a demonstration of fox hounds.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
Between races, the Woodford Hounds put on a demonstration of fox hounds. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

A hoses shows his displeasure as racers pass.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 VRII.
A hoses shows his displeasure as racers pass. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 VRII.

 

Stick horse races here a huge hit for the kids and the crowd.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
Stick horse races here a huge hit for the kids and the crowd. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

Horses head toward the final turn before hitting the homestretch.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
Horses head toward the final turn before hitting the homestretch. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

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Above Kentucky-Part II

Horse farms create some fascinating patterns on the Kentucky landscape.  Some of the highest densities of Canada geese are found in horse farm country.  Nikon D4 with 24-70mm f/2.8 G.
Horse farms create some fascinating patterns on the Kentucky landscape. Some of the highest densities of Canada geese are found in horse farm country. Nikon D4 with 24-70mm f/2.8 G.

 

Each spring, during the month of April, I spend a few days in the helicopter flying surveys for nesting geese.  Of course, I can’t resist the urge to shoot a few pictures out the window of our beautiful state.  This is the second installment of pictures from this spring.

The crossing of Interstate 64 on the Kentucky River just south of Frankfort, Kentucky.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.
The crossing of Interstate 64 on the Kentucky River just south of Frankfort, Kentucky. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.

 

A sod farm creates unique patterns on the landscape.   Nikon D800e with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.
A sod farm creates unique patterns on the landscape. Nikon D800e with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.

 

A trailer park in central Kentucky.  The density of these homes is striking.   Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.
A trailer park in central Kentucky. The density of these homes is striking. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.

 

After a very harsh winter, much of the countryside was pretty beat up by livestock.  There was a great deal of feeding taking place in this region.  These patterns are created by roll bales being scattered to feed cattle.   Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.
After a very harsh winter, much of the countryside was pretty beat up by livestock. There was a great deal of feeding taking place in this region. These patterns are created by roll bales being scattered to feed cattle. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.

 

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Another view of downtown Frankfort. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.

 

A central Kentucky golf course.   Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.
A central Kentucky golf course. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.

 

Some surface mining taking place in eastern Kentucky.   Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.
Some surface mining taking place in eastern Kentucky. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.
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Spring at the Feeders

After working at it a week, I was finally able to capture a male rose-breasted grosbeak at the feeders.  I have had five coming, but they always bypass perches and fly direct to feeders.  Of course, this one was pretty "ratty" but still a beautiful bird!  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.
After working at it a week, I was finally able to capture a male rose-breasted grosbeak at the feeders. I have had five coming, but they always bypass perches and fly direct to feeders. Of course, this one was pretty “ratty” but still a beautiful bird! Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.

 

The arrival of a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak at my feeders inspired me to break out the blind and try to photograph one.  There have been few times that I have met such an uncooperative bird at the feeders.  I have had up to five males coming to the feeders but all seemed to fly directly to the feeder and by-pass my perches.  After a week of trying, I finally managed to capture a ratty male.  Oh well…it is a start!!!  Here are a few of the images I shot in that week of trying.

 

A male American goldfinch comes to the feeders.  I know they are common birds, but this might be my favorite breeding plumage shot I have taken of one.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.
A male American goldfinch comes to the feeders. I know they are common birds, but this might be my favorite breeding plumage shot I have taken of one. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.

 

I know...a female cardinal...but I love the attitude and the perch!  This is the perch the grosbeaks were supposed to use :-)  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beemer.
I know…a female cardinal…but I love the attitude and the perch! This is the perch the grosbeaks were supposed to use. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.
The female grosbeak also decided to cooperate last evening.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.
The female grosbeak also decided to cooperate last evening. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.

 

A tufted titmouse visits.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.
A tufted titmouse visits. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.

 

Brown-headed cowbirds are rarely the subject of my pictures.  As such a problem species, I figured to was good to take the opportunity to shoot a few.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.
Brown-headed cowbirds are rarely the subject of my pictures. As such a problem species, I figured to was good to take the opportunity to shoot a few. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.

 

Shooting some of the other birds has given me some ideas on shooting doves.  Look for better pics of them soon.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.
Shooting some of the other birds has given me some ideas on shooting doves. Look for better pics of them soon. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII and SB910 with Better Beamer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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