Kentucky Derby Festival Balloon Glow 2014

Participants "light up" their balloons at the Kentucky Derby Festival Balloon Glow.  There were great crowds and a bunch of hot air balloons at theis years festival.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.
Participants “light up” their balloons at the Kentucky Derby Festival Balloon Glow. There were great crowds and a bunch of hot air balloons at this years festival. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.

 

One of my favorite events every year is the Kentucky Derby Festival Balloon glow held at the Kentucky State Fairgrounds.  This year, 63,000 spectators enjoyed 31 hot air balloons lighting up the night.  The giant crowd always makes for some fun people watching.  These are a few of my favorite photographs from the evening.

 

The "Wicked" balloon is always a crowd favorite.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.
The “Wicked” balloon is always a crowd favorite. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.

 

WLKY's Lauren Adams in a live on site report.  She was discussing all the goodies which could be purchased from vendors.   Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.
WLKY’s Lauren Adams in a live on site report. She was discussing all the goodies which could be purchased from vendors. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G.

 

The Junior Jockey Club mascot, Churchhilll Charlie. meets and greets the crowd.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.
The Junior Jockey Club mascot, Churchill Charlie. meets and greets the crowd. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII.

 

The Wicked balloon as seen by the Lens Baby Composer.  Nikon d4 with Lens Baby Composer 24mm.
The Wicked balloon as seen by the Lens Baby Composer. Nikon d4 with Lens Baby Composer 24mm.

 

A vendor selling "trinkets" at the Balloon Glow.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 VRII.
A vendor selling “trinkets” at the Balloon Glow. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 G.

 

Balloons light up the night in the first all glow of the evening.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.
Balloons light up the night in the first all glow of the evening. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.

 

A spectator shoots a picture as a balloon is filled.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 G.
A spectator shoots a picture as a balloon is filled. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRIIG.

 

A pilot maintains the hot air in his balloon.  Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.
A pilot maintains the hot air in his balloon. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.

 

A final shot.  Nikon d4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.
A final shot. Nikon d4 with AFS Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VRII.
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Final Day at Keeneland Spring Meet 2014

Horses battle coming off the backstretch at the final day of Keeneland's Spring Meet 2014.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
Horses battle coming off the backstretch at the final day of Keeneland’s Spring Meet 2014. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

I enjoyed one last day at Keeneland this spring for about 6 of the final day’s races.  Cloudy and windy conditions with heavy rains just before the race gave way to clear skies by the end of the day.  This day would mark the final day where Polytrack is used at Keeneland.  Plans are to remove the Polytrack and return to racing on the dirt this fall.  This a collection of a few of my days shots.

This day's mee marks the final use of Polytrack at Keeneland.  Plans are to remove the polytrack and replace with dirt in time for this Fall's meet.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
This day’s mee marks the final use of Polytrack at Keeneland. Plans are to remove the Polytrack and replace with dirt in time for this Fall’s meet. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

Outrider Gene Vosler before the first race.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

 

Jockey Corey Lanerie before the first Race.  His horse. competeing in the 4 1/2 furlong "baby race" was not at all happy about all the excitement.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
Jockey Corey Lanerie before the first Race. His horse. competing in the 4 1/2 furlong “baby race” was not at all happy about all the excitement. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

Horses break out of the gates on the days first race.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
Horses break out of the gates on the days first race. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

Horses shortly out of the gates.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
Horses shortly out of the gates. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

Horses Round the turn in the 6th race.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 VR.
Horses round the turn in the 6th race. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 VR.

 

 

Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

 

Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
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Nesting Woodcock

An American Woodcock sits on her nest in Central Kentucky.  Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.
An American Woodcock sits on her nest in Central Kentucky. Nikon D800E with AFS Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII.

 

The American Woodcock is one of the favorite species I work with as a Biologist in Kentucky.  I had the opportunity to photograph this female on her nest this spring.  As is always the case with woodcock, she was buried deep in the vegetation.  I circled her multiple time to find at least a small window to shoot in on her.  Two days after this photograph, she hatched her young and left the nest site.

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