At least physically speaking, I have returned home from experiencing the Kentucky Derby; I am completely floored and totally exhausted. What an incredible experience to see a 135-year-old tradition up close like that! I am grateful to BlogHer (where I'm posting Derby recaps today, tomorrow and Wednesday) for making this happen. The whole thing re-cemented my love for the South, hats and horses.
My recap of the actual Derby race is here but suffice to say, it was an exciting surprise. There's a lesson in here somewhere ... Never underestimate the underdog? Or the underhorse? Don't over look the long shots? Calvin Borel has turbo-charged underwear?
Either way, he and his 50-1 steed, Mine That Bird, came from dead last to clinch the Run for the Roses. I've never heard so much screaming, followed by so much confusion. People were stunned; there was much cursing and only a handful of victory shrieks.
Ah, yes. The humans. Imagine a sea (attendance: 153,563) of extremely well-dressed happy drunk people all in one place. It was a photographer's dream - everyone was on display and therefore, highly approachable.
Even though legal clearance for public photography is printed on the back of one's Derby ticket, I did usually ask people before I snapped their faces. Only two women turned me down but most were thrilled. "Of course!" they'd say, then strike a pose
Most had gone to great effort to look photogenic so they were quite accommodating when I started bossing them around: "Okay, can you come outside where the light is better? Okay, now stand here. No, keep the drink up. Now turn your head so I can see the hat feathers, okay? Great! Smile big!" It was like having thousands of interesting models at my disposal. HEAVEN.
Yeah, so running around shooting is the fun part but the editing, tagging, captioning and organizing part? Not so much. That is what I'm doing all day today on just four hours sleep. If you want to take a peek, visit my Flickr stream but I'll be updating and organizing all day and hope to get it finished by sundown. I'll repost here with more photos and stories too in the coming days.
In the meantime, please enjoy one of my favorite shots from the Briar Rose Party in nearby Shelbyville. I call it "Seth Myers and His Human Kindle." Enjoy!