saratoga snapshots blog

July 2011 Archives

For my first real foray on this blog, I took an early morning trip downtown. I had in mind to do a series on the churches in the area (and I still may do that). But along the way I got distracted and ended up shooting a lot of other stuff as well. Photo walks can be like that. Sometimes you start out with one thing in mind, but you end up in an entirely different situation. It's easy to come up with some really interesting shots that way. I always urge photographers to keep an open mind when they go out to shoot. Unless you are on an assignment, (sometimes even then!), keep your eyes open for that unexpected shot that seems to pop up out of nowhere. Below are just a few of the shots I took this morning.I typically take 200-300 shots on one of these walks. But I usually pare it down to a handful to show. Some are filed away if they are useable, the rest tossed. Hey, storage is cheap, but it's not that cheap! So take a look and let me know what you think. I am looking for suggestions for unique and interesting things to shoot in Saratoga, so share your thoughts!

BethesdaEpis.JPGBethesda Episcopal Church on Washington Street (1/52s/F8/ISO 64)


Bethesda Episcopal on Washington (1/80s/F8/ISO 64)

detail-BethEpis.JPGDetail of Bethesda front windows. (1/160s/F4.6/ISO 200)

Hattie's Chicken Shack. Best. Chicken. Ever!!! Don't try to go during the season, unless you want to be with 100 of your closet friends elbow to elbow. (It's a small place!). After the season, it's easy to get a table. If you don't want to wait, try the Express location in Wilton. (1/210s/F3.1/ISO 64)
sm_DSCF0636.JPGSo if you don't want to brave the crowds at the track, but still want to see some horses, you can drive around and count the painted ponies in Saratoga. (Hint-there are rumored to be 2 dozen of these around town). (1/110s/F4.5/ISO 64) Here's another:

(1/170s/F4.1/ISO 64)

Here's the Batchellor Mansion. A B&B located on Circular near Congress Park. I have always loved the architecture of this building and admired the color.
(1/45/F8/ISO 64)
Here is a detail showing the unique color scheme and the fantastic roofline!
sm_DSCF0642.JPG(1/200s/F3.1/ISO 64)

After the Batchellor, I shot up to North Broadway to see if I could find any good shots in Mansion Row. Alas, due to the cloud cover and the trees, there were not a lot of good shots to be had. I did manage to take this one, though. According to the legend I have been told, this house was owned by two elderly sisters who did not get along, each occupying one wing of the house until their deaths. Note the identical sides of the house down to the porches! (Can anyone confirm this?)
(1/80s/F4.1/ISO 64)

After my foray into North Broadway, I drifted down to Franklin Square, another well known area in Saratoga, and for good reason. Check out the row houses below:

sm_DSCF0657.JPG(1/80s/F9/ISO 64)

Here's my house in Franklin Square (just kidding! I wish!!):
sm_DSCF0655.JPG(1/240s/F3.1/ISO 64)

Here's the fountain in the Square. Luckily no homeless people taking a bath as has been a problem in the past! :(
(1/150s/F3.1/ISO 64)

After leaving the Square, I moved on to the Visitors Center and shot this wide angle view. I really like how this turned out!sm_DSCF0654.JPG(1/45s/F8/ISO 64)

And last but not least, a shot of the famous jockey statue outside of Palio Communications:
sm_DSCF0649.JPG(1/170s/F3.1/ISO 64)

So that's about all for now. As you can see Saratoga is a great place to take pictures. So I urge you all to get your cameras out and take a photowalk. It's a great way to see the city and get some really nice shots. I used two cameras for these photos. One is a Nikon D50 with a 28-80 zoom lens, and the other is a Fujifilm S4000 with a 30x zoom. Both nice cameras and both fairly easy to use. The Nikon is a bit heavy, and with the lens, downright bulky, but is is a fast camera and I use it to get a lot of action shots. The Fuji is a lot ligher, but it's slower, so I tend to use it on stationary items. What do you use? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts and experiences. I'd love to hear your stories! Bye for now!

I remember going to Saratoga for the first time 5 years ago. It was a cacophony of sights for a horse person and image maker like myself. I was overwhelmed and did not know where to point my camera. I think it must be the same for everyone coming to the track for the first time. Even now, I spend a lot of time the first day just getting my visual bearings. It helps that I get there early in the morning to watch the workouts and then take a break before the first race. Much goes on even before the official opening of the day and for many the day is over before the first post time is announced. It is a place that is alive at all hours, even during the quiet time.






















I recently attended the open house at the track. This was prior to opening day of course, but it was really nice because you got to just wander around the track and see parts of it that you would not normally see. The horses were available for a quick pet, and there were lots of activities for the little ones. Needless to say it was very crowded and quite hot. There was some shade but it didn't do much good! One thing was kind of disappointing, and that was that Shake Shack was not open! There were a few demonstration races so people could see some of the upcoming talent. I'm a rail bird when I go to the track, so it was just fine with me. There is nothing more awe inspiring than to hear the thundering hooves and feel the ground shake as the horses race by. It seems that NYRA has put some money into sprucing up the track lately. It was looking pretty polished when I was there. All in all a pretty good day.


Actually, it felt more like everything was panting in the over 100 degree heat. But racing enthusiats came and visitors strolled the streets. It was an image makers paradise.


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Saratoga Snapshots Bloggers

Mark Bernard photographs Saratoga scenes and events and will be adding compelling photos from the area. To see more of Mark's work visit his Website.

JT Gilbert loves to photograph the world around him. From long exposures to HDR, color burns to black and whites, you never know what you are going to get. Website.