When I did that first ride with Bill I didn't have any preconceived ideas of doing any more. I never ask to go and he always invites me. To date I've helped him (or Rene) photograph 8 weekends of rides, including Tevis' Cougar Rock.
Between all of these rides we've had several day trips. I've gone scouting deer with him on 3 different occasions and the first one took us to an Ranger Lookout high up on a mountain that overlooked California and Nevada. I have photos somewhere, but probably saved on Bill's computer. It was a treat to go up to this little lookout probably only 15 x 15' which included a bed & kitchen and windows all the way around.
We drove around all day, saw quite a few bucks, then stopped on the way back home at a place called Sardine Lake.
After that day trip we went to the Fireworks 50 in Santa Cruz. I have never been there, to the town, nor the ride. Rene was going to another ride which also was a 100 miler, so Bill, Sage & I went to our ride. It was another wonderful trip and the photos that Bill took were stunning. He was able to shoot about 4 miles into the ride where there was a river crossing. This is the type of detail I want to know before I sign up. Cold river 4 miles after the start. I sense getting bucked off if I was on Ali'i so this ride may not be on my bucket list. But, to shoot, yes. And to see Bill's photos. Omg.
Before we left he showed me past years. He has sequences of horses going thru this creek that should be published but he is very adamant about not putting up any other person's photos (which is why I also wouldn't put up any I've shot, unless I got permission). Anyway, a few years ago, the river was quite high and with only 4 miles into the ride, the horses usually are VERY hot. He showed me horses that started out ok, then all of a sudden something happened. Either they slipped or decided they were going to bolt out of the river, leaving their rider under water and oftentimes themselves. Bill's cameras are quite nice and he's able to shoot and stop the water in motion so the visuals, besides the action shots of horse & rider are breathtaking.
Needless to say, it was a great weekend for selling and we had over 120 riders, which is a great entry these days.
In the morning I was to get a ride with a couple from out of state who were shooting the 4 Appys in the ride. While it was great to get a ride from these people, leaving Bill's drive to his spot easier to get to, it was hard to also "babysit" this couple. I was missin' my favorite photographer as it is so easy to be around him and shoot. I got several photos that were really nice, but overall, my location was socked in with fog, so the ocean view we scouted and saw the afternoon before was not to be had for my photos. Bill showed up later and rescued me from my very sweet but chatty friends. He then got this photo of Sage. I just love it.
One of the Appaloosas at the ride.
This ridecamp was nice because it had hot showers. I did that, then fed Sage. Or I gave Sage food. Bitch.
"I don't think I can eat that tripe and duck head....".
Sage at the tent. You can see some of Bill's river crossing shots.
Sage trying to hide her duck head.
Close enough. She actually ate it later.
Later in the afternoon our Head Vet from Cooley came over to sit with us. We wanted wine and there was none to be had. I saw a woman walking towards the tent (we had sold most of the photos by then) and I asked her if she had wine to trade for photos. She said yes (granted it was a screw top so she got a great deal) and I asked Bill if I could trade her photos for her wine. He said yes and the Head Vet and I split the bottle and enjoyed the rest of our evening talking and laughing.
Then meanly I took this photo and asked for Rene's cell number to text this to him. I had to rub in our day.
He was in Nevada somewhere with a ride entry of some 35 horses AND his fuel pump took a dump. So, his weekend wasn't as good as ours. Later after he figured out who sent him the photo, he realized he likes me a whole bunch ~ says I fit in with him & Bill. He makes fun of me. I laugh. I make fun of him. I laugh some more.
By about 9:30 Bill & I headed to the tent. A father and daugther caught him at his truck with their horses and asked if they could see their photos. The daughter picked one photo ($5), rather than the stack ($20) and had to run back to their camp to get money. Bill pointed out where his tent was and told her she could just come there and give it to him.
Well, it took her a while to get there so Bill & I were already in bed and laughing. Not only does he having hunter eyes, he's got ears like a dog. Especially when it involves someone paying him. He hears this tiny voice outside the tent and he says "Ok, just throw it outside the tent". I must have pee'd laughing because he's got girls all over throwing money at him. Poor thing. He said I probably corrupted her with my hysterics. I waited a few minutes then went outside butt naked to pee and find the $5. Full moon, so it wasn't that hard to find. These are the little things that make our trips so much fun.
On our way home.
After Fireworks, we shot Wild West. I actually only shot one day, but was up there all 3 days, either helping them, or being a scribe for Melissa or one of her vets.
I enjoyed shooting that ride also, as I have ridden it with Ali'i, & Aura last year. It's hard to get good shots sometimes with all the trees, but when they come out, they are beautiful. We changed locations after shooting the 50 milers and went to shoot the 30 milers. My favorite shots of the day were of a junior who decided to throw her hands up in the air going past us and her horse took off bucking. Somehow she stayed on, but I was able to get that action in several photos. I thought for sure she was going to come off and I would have taken a picture!
After Wild West, we shot Gold Country 30/50 which is my club and where Aura and I Top 10'd last year. Since I was stalking Bill, I looked for him and after shooting he got sick and had to leave. I was sad but never in my wildest dreams did I think a year later I was shooting the ride with him. It is a good life I gotta say.
We shot the 50's and Rene was in another location to shoot the 30's. Bill oftentimes wears something very bright so riders see him from a distance. He also can tell (as can Rene) riders before they even get close and calls them out by name. It's an interesting job as riders LOVE these guys and it doesn't matter who the riders are. They seem disappointed if one is not at a location or later to sell. It's again, family.
Last year I remember coming thru this part of the ride and had wanted Bill to shoot me riding away (I call them "butt shots") and when I got to the tent, there was a photo of me & Aura. Bill told me later after we got together he just thought it was a good idea to do and the lighting was good. It's just funny that it happened. Even last year I wrote on my blog how we seemed to have read each other's minds. I now shoot a lot of going away shots and sometimes they are quite nice ~ espcially this weekend with the sun coming up, backlit and dust.
Aura & I from 2013 Gold Country 50.
Looking up from the underside of the Ez-Up.
Gold Country was a lot of fun because it was my club. Thing were really icky with T (as they still are) but once we got the tent & photos set up, it was just like any other ride but better. We had a few people ask how long we had been together and the stuff out of Bill's mouth was hilarious ~ "3 years."......or.... "2 weeks but we've been having sex for a long time"...... After a lot of laughing one of the Gold Country members said to us "It's so nice to see two good people find each other". The kind words toward us has been very heartfelt and in light of leaving my relationship with T, it seems obvious to others that I was pretty miserable.
After Gold Country was Tevis, which was blogged. Then our horse camping trip to the Sierras. We drove home on Friday and Bill asked if I wanted to hike up with him to Tahoe Rim. Duh. No, I wanted to stay home and clean the garage.
So we were off again at about 5 am. We drove thru the Washoe Valley, which was where my interest in him started......We decided to pick an official first date. Was it 3 years ago, or more recently? We picked the day I had him help me shoot my Ruger.
Going up the side of the mountain to get to this ride was pretty fun. Another long, dirt road and beautiful country. And, Road Trip.
Washoe Lake going up to Tahoe Rim on the eastern side.
It took us quite a while to get up the mountain in the truck and once we got there, we had to boogie up to the spot to shoot. Bill's only done this ride, now 3 x's but has a beautiful spot picked out. Based on the time of the front runners from the year before, we had very little time to hike 2 miles up to the top of the ridge. I have done more hiking with Bill because not only does he run, he hunts so is in pretty good shape. I kept on his heels for maybe 1/2 way up and he said I could meet him up there, meaning, if I needed to rest I could. I didn't want to have any part of that, but shortly after saying I wouldn't slow down, I did. It was a HARD hike at a fast pace. But we made it up in time and I was able to look at a few different spots to shoot.
I was taking a panorama shot with my iPhone. I didn't know he took this til Rene gave it to me this weekend.
I took my photo of him and since we were talking about "The Burning Man" event going on at the same time, this is what I call this photo. All the way back from the Sierras and Tahoe Rim Bill was telling me to keep my eyes open for Burning Man art that would travel along the highways to get to the event. I had to say I missed most of the art.......
This ride is so beautiful and now because the Ridecamp is so small there is a lottery to get in. Lake Tahoe may be one of my favorite places on the entire planet. Riding it definitely is on my Bucket List. Shooting it was another great opportunity. With a break between horses, Bill says to me "Isn't this just the best office to work in?". I feel so blessed to be a part of it.
This weekend I shot 2 days at Camp Far West. Bill is hunting and to say I miss him is a huge understatement. Shooting with Rene was good. I think he misses Bill too and we both look forward to the VC100 when he'll be back.
I have never ridden Camp Far West. It's quite close to the house, actually under 40 miles so I took my own vehicle as I wanted to bring Sage & Kai.
As I waited in my Tahoe to leave from Ridecamp to shoot with Rene, I took these photos with my iPhone.
I then got a call, and text & photo from Bill on his hunting trip. I wasn't expecting him to contact me for many more days so it was a sweet surprise. He's set up with the Toy Hauler that he bough from me along a beautiful river waiting for friends to arrive. I can't wait til he gets home, but at the same time I am so glad to know someone who follows his heart and lives the life that gives him joy. It's very infectious. My favorite photographer ♥