Last month I spent most of my time in Melbourne. It's like a second home for me, with many of my best friends there, and also of course the vast majority of my family. If it weren't for my Mum being in Sydney, and my brother and his kids being in Canberra, and my kids in a very good school here in Canberra, I would move to Melbourne yesterday. One of the things I've often sighed about, over the course of the past 10 years, since the kids were born and photographing at the track became a little bit more problematic, was the difficulty in getting to things like trackwork, or down the beach, or just to the stables, like I used to before they were born. My son being a Type 1 Diabetic since 18 months old didn't help this at all, and there were many times I yearned for the days of being at the track all the time, or just popping down to Flemington in the afternoon to catch horses having a pick (ie - a walk and a graze), and/or having a swim in the pool.
I have to admit that I didn't do much trackwork this spring, but I did have several early rises, two of which were to follow that Famous Pony of mine, the great champion Black Caviar, or "Nelly" as the Moody team affectionately call her, to the beach. A few of the images were run in the papers, and I'm grateful to her trainer for letting me tag along.
The first visit was on Tuesday 11 October. It was wickedly cold that morning, with Melbourne in the grip of a nasty cold front. Port Phillip Bay is usually pretty serene and even when 'rough' compared to where I am used to swimming at Tathra on the NSW Coast, it's pretty tame. However the surf was flying all around Nelly, and the water was unquestionably cold. Her strapper, Zach Ianson, who's a lovely chap (Donna doesn't take her to the beach, or at least hasn't on the occasions I have been) started off with a jacket, but would have been better suited in a wetsuit! You'll witness the later shot where the jacket is missing. That's after he was bowled over completely and discarded it. Nelly, like the Queen she is, kept her feet! That's my girl!
The 2nd visit was on Saturday 29th October, which also happened to be VRC Derby Day. That's a long day anyway behind the lens, with 5 Group 1 races, and the other 4 all Group 2s or 3s, finishing off with the barrier draw. Throw into the mix getting up at 4am to drive from Preston to Caulfield, then on to the beach, and it was a long day!
|Tuesday 11 October 2011. My first session with Nelly at the beach, with young strapper Zach Ianson.|
|In the water with her strapper Zach Ianson. A terrific young bloke.... The rain broke for a short while, but it was still pressingly dark. My treasured D3s tried valiently to focus correctly in the dark... and gasped for more light....|
|"Look Nelly, look at the puppy!"|
|The rain came down again, so alas, just as the light was beginning to be workable in, the beach session was cut short, but as always, Nelly must come first.|