Horse Racing on the turf at Woodbine

Horse racing on the turf at Woodbine; copyright jmeyersforeman

Horse racing on the turf at Woodbine; copyright jmeyersforeman 

Sitting at the racetrack, so much going on, so much to look at, to watch and enjoy. People scrutinizing the racing programs, carefully examining the statistics of each horse in the race trying to pick a winner, and how much to bet? Do you bet the favourite,  a sure thing, safe money, or do you play a hunch, or bet against the odds and pick a horse that has a chance “with a little luck, and the right jockey” to make some big money?!

Some horse lovers and racing enthusiasts will head out to the warm-up ring for a closer look, watching how the beautiful well-trained animals. Will the colour of the horse, the way it is walking, the choice of jockey affect the final decision of a bet? Some people watch the TV’s screens scattered around the club house, watching races that are happening at other tracks, or analysts discuss the horses, jockeys, track conditions, and trainers.

Once the decision has been made people are off to the betting machines to place their bet. Betting slips in hand some people head to the rail along the track while other people stand around the TVs to watch.  The horses arrive on the track and parade past the clubhouse before heading to the gate.

We hear the call to post over the load speaker, then the announcer, “They are loading the gate” “The gate is loaded……annnd theey’rrrre offfff” the excitement builds, the  people yelling out the numbers of their horse. People in the seated area stand, more people crowd the rail. The horses round the final turn, galloping full speed down the final stretch. The excitement reaches a crescendo as the horses thunder by racing towards the finish line. Suddenly it is over ” photo finish” flashes across the jumbo screen that is sitting outfield, and TV screens. The excitement continues as everyone watches the relay.

While people wait for a final decision on the race, they are already reviewing the program and looking to place their next bet, some people are off for a refreshing drink, a bit of lunch, some head to the winner’s circle to see the winning horse and congratulate the jockey.

So much to watch and enjoy and a great way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.

First Past the Post; Woodbine, Toronto Ontario

First past the post; Woodbine, Toronto Canada; copyright jmeyersforeman

First past the post; Woodbine, Toronto Canada; copyright jmeyersforeman 

One of the places we like to visit when we are in Toronto is the Woodbine race track., in fact, if there is a race track in any city we are visiting we are likely to spend a little time there.  We are not big gamblers  but it is always fun to sit in the stands, sun shining down on us and watching the horse run. I will get as close as I can to the start or finish line for a few pictures. I am pretty happy with this one!

May I Join You for Lunch?

May I Join You for Lunch?

May I Join You for Lunch? 

We were sitting in the train station waiting for the train, on our way to Nantes, having our coffee and croissant when this little guy flew in and landed on the railing next to our table. I am not normally interesting in beggars’ who come to the table seeking easy rewards, but I couldn’t resist his inquisitive little face, so I threw a crumb to the floor. Before long he was back. Several times he visited our table. Between visits I was able to get my camera out of the bag, and on his return I snapped a few images, so I guess he earned his crumbs!

It is these little things that make me smile!

For the love of Peacocks; Careres Spain

Peacock showing off

Peacock showing off

We have arrived in Caceres Spain, late one afternoon and we walked around the narrow cobblestone streets of the old town. When we spotted the lovely Peacock calling out, and showing off his lovely plumage as he sat high on one of the roof tops, just out of reach and unbothered by the growing crowd below. It is heard not to stop and watch such a beautiful creature, it is a little like watching a mime in the square, except there was no hat to throw money into….

Peacock, calling to the crowd

Peacock, calling to the crowd

Over the years I have occasionally experimented with adding a texture layer to some of my images, and decided to add a one to these images to give a painted quality to this set of images. The texture and inspiration come from Kim Klassen’s collection, and is called Waterfront7-Magic eDiition. Kim  has provided great inspirational ideas, and technique over the years. This week’s blog post is “for the love of…”  I will join the growing list of admirers and add my post to her page, check out her work, as well as the many others who use textures as part of their image processing.

these and other images are available from my gallery 

On the Road to Almedralejo Spain;

I have to admit that today was not very inspiring, 17.2 k of dirt road, 13k backpack, 10 C, and a 20k wind blowing in our face all day. The road was mostly flat, we could see for miles, and then….

walking the Via la Plata on our way to Almedralejo Spain we encountered goat herders at work

walking the Via la Plata on our way to Almedralejo Spain we encountered goat herders at work  

the goat herders, their dogs, and the goats came up the small hill. The goats hesitated a moment when they saw us. We stopped so as not to scare them, and the goat herder spoke, waved his stick, and the goats moved forward….

Surrounded by goats

Surrounded by goats 

the next thing we knew they were walking around us, as if we were not there…

off they go, goats and goat herders walking down the road

off they go, goats and goat herders walking down the road 

and they were on their way.

One of the things I love most about the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in general, and the Via la Plata specifically is that it brings us close to experiencing Spain, the Spanish people and their way of living that most tourists don’t experience.

 

St. Lawrence Market, Toronto Ontario

St. Lawrence Market, Toronto Ontario

St. Lawrence Market, Toronto Ontario

We have had a few days in Toronto and area over the last few days visiting family and friends, and it has been wonderful seeing everyone. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to see everyone.  During our time in Toronto we were staying only blocks from the St. Lawrence Market. The National Geographic has ranked this market as the #1 food market in the world, so we thought it was time we paid the market a visit.

The main and lower levels of the South Market contain over 120 specialty vendors.  Below a few simple snapshots taken of the food; some we enjoyed and at some wanted to enjoy.

macaroons

macaroons

cakes

cakes

olives

olives

green groceries

green groceries

Frodo; mascot for MRI Auto Care

Frodo

Frodo

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t have a pet, and has heard me say I don’t do pet photography. It isn’t that I don’t like animals, I do, but I have trouble feeding and taking care of myself, so keeping a pet would be unfair! I don’t even mind including family pets in a family portrait session.  I have just not spent a lot of time photographing pets, that I am not sure I could get it right as a professional pet photographer.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to do business and environmental portraits for MRI Auto Care who area updating their web presence, and Frodo is a big part of the customer service team!  It was great to meet and work with everyone over there, and I will be posting some of the other images in the near future.

I will leave you this week with the calm and quiet face of Frodo and wish you a wonderful weekend.

Kakinga a Western Lowland Gorilla, Calgary Zoo

Western Lowland Gorilla Kakinga, Calgary Zoo enjoying the sun

Western Lowland Gorilla Kakinga, Calgary Zoo enjoying the sun

We visited a zoo a couple of weeks ago, Kakinga was out enjoying the sunshine. She was watching the crowd who was watching her and the troop of gorillas at the zoo, and I was able to take this portrait of Kakinga as she sat.

Chilean Flamingo at the Calgary Zoo; Explore Calgary

Chilean Flamingo at the Calgary Zoo

Chilean Flamingo at the Calgary Zoo

More photos at the Calgary Zoo, dare I say, the weather was so nice, people flocked to see the flamingo’s in the beautiful sunlight. It was a great day.

The year-long pass is probably the best deal for families, especially those with young children.  It allows multiple visits, and you don’t have to worry about seeing everything in one day, the kids getting tired and cranky from all the walking and over stimulation.  I did notice that most of the animals have their feeding and demonstration at 2 pm.  Multiple visits and you have the opportunity to see each one on a different day.

There are plenty of indoor enclosures for days when the weather was not as good, lots of outdoor spaces for picnics and relaxing, and a wonderful playground for kids.  The weather forecast for Calgary is for more great weather this coming weekend, my recommendation is pack a picnic and head to the zoo.

Having a look-see at the Calgary Zoo; Explore Calgary Project

Elephant's Eye

Elephant’s Eye

Bill and I have been talking about visiting the zoo for a very long time, it seems to get pushed down the list of things to do!  On Saturday that all changed! We put our busy schedules aside, to “just do it”  and  we went for a walk around the zoo.  We had a look-see!  We were not the only ones. It was the first nice day, almost spring like here in Calgary and lots of families were out for the day.  I don’t think it matters how many people are there, it never seems crowded and there is so much to see.

The elephants are always one of my favorites, not always great for pictures.  The enclosure is rather unattractive, but I am sure suitable for the elephants. This wrinkly old guy strolled up to the fence and I was able to get some close up pictures, he stood for a few minutes, almost like he was posing, then wandered off to bother the ladies!

I do feel that my explore Calgary series has suffered a little from the busy schedule, and horrible weather! I am hoping that I can motivate myself to get out of the studio a little bit more now that the day are a little longer and a little nicer!