Winter break

I’m coming to the end of my winter break and head back to work tomorrow. It’s been refreshing to have some time off, ride in the light and wake up knowing I have the whole day at my leisure. Unfortunately, at the beginning of my break, my jump trainer called to say she had a family emergency and wouldn’t be teaching until after the new year. I was disappointed to have alot of time off and not feel productive with my jumping, but come the new year, we’ll start back fresh.

My break started by sitting through horrendous traffic on the Beltway on Dec. 21 so I could see my favorite band, Go Radio, at The FIllmore in Silver Spring, Md. There weren’t that many people there, which was surprising for a show put on by DC101, but it made for a nice, intimate feeling, even on the bigger stage. I did photos for avoidthescene.com, and those are up now on my Flickr page.

On Sunday, I had a really good flat lesson with Oh So. He was quiet enough that we could school some walk-canter and canter-walk transitions. My trainer brought her young horse over to school him in a different arena, so that made for some excitement.

photo-4On Christmas eve, I went to see Lincoln with my parents. It was a bit slow and talky, but I can see why it will probably win every Oscar. My mom decided she didn’t want to go to church that night, which makes it only the second time in my life that we’ve missed Christmas Eve service. It’s the only time every year that we go to church, but I think we were all missing my brother, who spent Christmas with his fiancee and her family in Ohio.

Christmas morning was sort of a non-event without my brother there. It took us all of a half photo-5hour to open our gifts, then my mom and I went for a hack. I did get some pretty cool stuff though. I had been wanting a new lens for shooting concerts and I got a 24-85mm f/2.8, which is really exciting. I’ve pretty much been shooting with just my 50mm f/1.4, but now I have the flexibility of a zoom too. I also got a nice set of different flavored hot chocolates to try. I’m not a coffee person, so I’m excited to take these to work.

Throughout the break, I also got a chance to clip Rocky again and work both him and Toppers quite a bit, which I’m not so sure they appreciated! Toppers in particular was looking and feeling quite good for his 21 years!

photo-3

On Wednesday, we had pretty awful rain, so my dad and I went up to DC to go to some museums. I usually don’t have the time or energy during the year to go, so it was nice to spend a day not doing horse stuff. We went to the Museum of the American Indian first to see the “A Song For The Horse Nation” exhibition. COTH featured a couple of pieces from it in a recent issue, so it was cool to see the whole thing. We also went to the Air and Space museum briefly and the National Gallery, which had a really cool Roy Lichtenstein exhibition.

Thursday was jam-packed with another flat lesson on Oh So and one on Sam. He was photogood again. We worked on some trot lengthenings and lateral work with minimal tension, which is a win in my book. I haven’t done lessons on Sam regularly for awhile since he’s not consistently sound, so it was nice to have a few reminders on my position and his pace. I tend to lean “at” him a bit since he warms up quite stiff and high-headed. We worked on some counter leg yields and leg yields in walk and trot with more bend than usual to help free up his shoulders, and to my surprise, he came nice and round and got steadier in the contact.

That afternoon, my dad came with me to a travel agency in Fredericksburg so I could start planning my trip to Ireland next year. I came home with quite a few brochures and a lot to think about, but I’m really excited to start researching.

Thatnight, I took my dad to see The Hobbit in 3D since he’s never seen a 3D photo-2movie. I probably should have watched the entire Lord Of The Rings trilogy first to refresh my memory, but I thought it was pretty good, and now I have to wait an entire year for the next one!

Friday I spent most of the day outside working all four horses. I had a good jump school with Oh So on my own. I just set up some fences with canter poles before and after them and a few small gymnastics, and he stayed nice and steady and waiting. It’s often a challenge to jump at home because our ring is smaller then the places we usually go, so setting up gymnastics is usually better for both of us.

Yesterday and today were just more of the same. After working everyone each day, I’ve been working on little things that need to be done, but I keep putting off- fixing my music website, cleaning my room and closet, organizing my computer, etc. Now I’m off to work for one day, then off on New Year’s Day, and ready for whatever 2013 brings.

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The long-overdue and way too infrequent music post

Although I don’t write about it enough, music is a big part of my life, or at least it used to be before I had a full-time job. I’ve been to hundreds of concerts, but these days, I don’t usually have the energy or time to drive an hour or two to D.C., Baltimore or Richmond.

Going to a concert is sort of like eventing for me. When the lights go down and the crowd cheers, I get the same feeling as when I’m getting counted down in the start box on cross-country.

At the moment, my favorite band is Go Radio. They’re the perfect pop-rock band with great melodies, heartfelt lyrics and it all comes together through lead singer Jason Lancaster, who sings like he means it with an amazing set of pipes. I just saw them on their most recent tour last week in Richmond and it was pretty amazing. Even though there were probably only 100 people there, they put on an awesome show. Although the photographer in me doesn’t like small club shows because of the generally bad lighting, I think I prefer them to bigger arena shows and clubs. On average, the places I go to have about a 1,500 capacity, which is nice, but still not as intimate as the smaller club shows. There’s nothing like standing in the front row and singing along with the band.

My tastes have slightly altered as I’ve gotten older. I don’t listen to as much pop-punk as I did when I was in high school. I’m more into pop-rock and I really like a strong vocalist. Anything with a piano will definitely get my attention. Unfortunately, a lot of the bands I listened to in high school have broken up, and I’m not finding what I’m looking for in the current crop of bands in “the scene”.

I can’t believe I’ve been shooting concerts since I was 16. It started with just my point and shoot, then I started shooting for a website called AvoidtheScene.com and was able to get photo passes and learn how to deal with PR and media people. I took over the site soon after I started working for them, but my web design skills are severely lacking, so I’m going to be migrating the site to a WordPress platform in the next few weeks I hope. All of my photos can now be seen on Flickr. I’m currently shooting with just a 50mm f/1.4, but I’m hoping to upgrade to some sort of zoom lens soon.

So, I’m not sure exactly what the point of this post was, except maybe to share some of my photos! I saw two amazing shows last week, so they just inspired me, I think!

Go Radio in Richmond. I think my iPhone 5 will be replacing my point and shoot for videos from now on!

Warped Tour 2012 – July 21, Merriweather Post Pavilion

Well, another Warped Tour has come and gone. I can’t believe I’ve been going since 2003. This year’s lineup actually resembled the 2003/2004 lineups, which was really fun for me. I felt like I was in high school again! Warped Tour goes in trends- screamo, pop-punk, electronica, hard core- this year I think the theme was classic. Bands like Yellowcard, New Foudn Glory and The Used, who were at their peaks when I was in high school, returned as if they’d never left.

We Are The In Crowd

There actually weren’t a ton of bands I was interested in seeing this year, but Yellowcard, NFG, Mayday Parade and We Are The In Crowd were enough to get me to sit out in the sun all day and sweat. I honestly didn’t recognize a lot of bands on the smaller stages. Maybe I’m just not keeping up with “the scene” as much as I used to!

My day started with We Are The In Crowd, a bouncy pop rock band from New York. Led by vocalist Tay Jardine, they had a small, but dedicated crowd at the Tilly Stage. They played a selection of songs from their EP and most recent full length and put on a great show.

Mayday Parade

Next up was Mayday Parade. There was only one stage set up in the amphitheater this year which made it tough to see a lot. I can usually sit there for awhile and cool off and shoot one band, then another immediately after the first band’s set finishes. I wasn’t able to stay for all of Mayday’s set, but I’ve literally photographed them a dozen times, so I got the shots I needed and ran off to catch New Found Glory on the main stage (at the opposite end of the venue).

I’ve been a fan of NFG for years. They were one of the first bands I got into when I started listening to pop punk. They haven’t changed a bit since I last saw them (2008 maybe) and put on an energetic show, full of jumps and plenty of crowd interaction.

New Found Glory

To be honest, I only snapped a few photos of Falling In Reverse for my brother who likes them. Not my cup of tea at all, but the pit in front of the stage wasn’t as crazy as I expected for them.

Next up was Tonight Alive, a band from Australia. I’d never seen them live, but I enjoy their music enough to want to check them out. They had a decent crowd and played a cover of Mumford and Sons “Little Lion Man” which I really liked.

Yellowcard played on the main stage next. I hadn’t seen them live since probably 2004. They went on a hiatus a few years ago, but have come back sounding better than ever. They played a good mix of songs from their large catalog and ended with fan favorite “Ocean Avenue”.

Yellowcard

Last but not least was All Time Low. I’m not a huge fan of their music, but Maryland is there hometown and they’re fun to shoot, so off I went to the amphitheater again. They had the biggest crowd of the day and absolutely sold out the place for a 30 minute set. They sounded solid as usual and I did my best with the poor lighting.

Warped Tour is always a fun time, even though you’re sweaty and gross by the end of the day. I think you can never be too old for it and there’s always something for everyone’s tastes. It’s a great place to discover new bands, learn about good causes, and spend $40 on overpriced lunch and drinks like I did by the end of the day!