One of my oldest and certainly one of my favorite sleigh pictures is this one of Ghirardelli.
Then there is this one, which must have prompted the "Driven a FJORD Lately?" bumper sticker on the back of the sleigh...! The pony is an Amarna (Liz Bouras) resincast. I was a little ashamed I hadn't thought to make tracks in the snow, for passage of horse and vehicle. At least it was still snowing!
The earliest sleigh shot I can find is this one, from 2000. There was an even earlier one, from 1998, showing a bay pinto Moody Infinity pulling this sleigh (which I remember very well, and have the index thumbnail of), but my filing system has failed me and I can't locate the photograph. I found this one instead, surprising me because I'd forgotten about him. This horse happens to be Chris Nandell's Jorrit Friesian. (I named him Foucault. He's such a swingin' guy!) I digitized and signed the photo. All these images up to the Ghirardelli pictures were originally photographs.
The Friesian shows what I've used in show rings and other places where I didn't have real snow: a piece of fleece. It shows best in his shot. Now we come to a more humorous set-up: I had purchased a Santa and some accoutrements, thinking to make a real Christmas scene. This was shot in the same front yard. Alas, too much work needed to be done on Mr Claus; in the way of over-ambitious projects, he has remained his primitive, mantel-intended self:
Four shoeboxes of photographs document 33 years of my model life, from 1978 to 2010.
The sleigh was originally a Dick Eighmey Bobsleigh in green and yellow. Somewhere in the mid-1990s I customized it heavily, adding shafts and a prow, painting it red, pinstriping it, upholstering, adding little gold griffin-heads, bumper stickers, extra bracing, railings and a whip socket etc. I boasted its own mother wouldn't recognize it. After 20+ years, the shafts have broken. They were designed to be detachable, but unfastening them is a fiddly process and puts stress on the very joints that broke. I would love the time to sit down and fix my vehicles...
For more than 10 years I did not take any new sleigh pictures. And then came this:
Here's one from the other side. Incongruous with tropical greenery, perhaps it is a winter garden?
So now we come to today, December 9, 2018. I wanted to do another sleigh shot. There wasn't much snow - in fact there wasn't any. I scrambled around throwing fleece, Santa, toys, assorted dolls and a couple of deer models into a box. It was below freezing outside and had been for days. Our goal for a hike was Colyer Lake, a little agricultural lake just southeast of State College.
We have never canoed Colyer, despite its being the closest paddle-able body of water to our house. For about 10 years it's been closed; the dam was undergoing repair (yes, that's how long it took. bureaucracy + recession = forever). Now that it's fixed, Geo complains of no facilities; and it's true; this is a very primitive little spot.
Santa, other dolls, fleece, toys and trinkets never left the box. Instead I stepped out onto the ice. Near the shore it held my weight. The temperature was 27. I lay down on the cold gravel bank and tried to get my head as low as possible.
I was having so much fun. I turned right along the bank. There is a haunting quality to this shot which I think has to do with looking down from above and its having no horizon.
A word on Steve's famous ermine cloak. This lovely artifact was made when I still lived in Colorado, pre-1988. (Woops, just realized the cloak is the oldest element, not the harness.) Tandy's in Greeley had a sale on ermines and I picked some up. The cloak makes for some lovely winter model scenes, but I tremble at how Steve still doesn't have any gloves.
Cold temperatures do not seem to stop him. Bitumina is looking with great interest at the other side of the lake.
Yes, have a wonderful holiday, guys.
See you later...