27 July 2015

Lakna's Liberty - Choctaw Pony

Today we got some new photos of my little "sister" Liberty. If you don't know who Liberty is you need to read my earlier post Choctaw Baby Born on the 4th of July.

Lakna's Liberty - Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
She looks in fine fettle and growing like a weed.

Next one the little gal is taking a siesta.

Lakna's Liberty - Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

We'll be headed down to the sanctuary in September to meet Liberty in person. We can hardly wait!

If you love horses we encourage you to check out the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. There's nothing else quite like it. And, if you can, sponsor or adopt a slice of American history, freedom and liberty. Or just donate what you can to keep this wonderful dream alive.

Our thanks to Cori Clements, Director of Tourism at the Sanctuary for the photos.

Ciao for now!
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

24 July 2015

Hiking In The Kootenai Forest

We got up early this morning and headed out into the Kootenai Forest. There really isn't much to say except that it was a beautiful Montana morning and we greatly enjoyed ourselves.

Kinsey took photos of things that caught her eye and I basically made a nuisance of myself lunging after squirrels.  Below are some of the things Kinsey saw.

The sun rising over the Kootenai
Wild daisy

Indian Paint Brush
My adorable self
A beautiful day in the Kootenai Forest

Pictures can say it better.

Ciao for now
Molly Montana

©Kinsey Barnard

16 July 2015


Kinsey has asked for air time to tell you about a new camera she bot. Without further ado here's Kinsey!

Thank you Molly for this rare opportunity to get a word in edgewise.

I wrote awhile ago on my blog The Liberated Photographer that I thought I may have lost my muse.  I think my real problem is I am plain tired of lugging my two Nikons around. Most of the photography I do is done whilst hiking in the mountains and forests and those cameras, with lenses, are heavy buggers. I'm doing the hard court press on 70 so maybe I'm losing a little bit of steam.

I had gotten to a place where I was leaving the Nikons at home and just taking a Panasonic Lumix point and shoot. I can put it in a pocket, very liberating. Whilst the photos are not the greatest quality they are fine for internet sharing on Facebook and the blogs. There are moments of frustration when I see something I really want to photograph and I don't have the right tool.

Whilst I was on my Journey to the Black Hills this past May/June I met another professional photographer who had just gotten a Leica V-Lux Type 114. He was enjoying the heck out of it and invited me to look it over. I was amazed.
Leica V-Lux (Type 114)

The Leica V-Lux 114 is what they call a bridge camera. It fills the void between a point and shoot and a DSLR. It does it with about a third of the weight of either of my DSLRs. I carry two Nikons, one with a wide angle lens and one with a 70-300mm zoom. I don't like changing lenses in the field and I never know what I'm going to want to shoot. Great for quick flexibility. The pits for the hauling factor.

The Leica V-Lux 114 comes with a fixed 25-400mm, which gives me the same or better range range as the two Nikons, and 16x optical zoom. The lens is a respectable f2.8-4.  I took the below photo with the zoom fully extended and it's amazingly sharp.
Full on zoom

There is also a macro zoom that works well. It took the photo below indoors with just ambient light. Again quite sharp.

Indoor Macro

It has a built in flash but I almost never use a flash. I adjust my light with shutter speed or stops and ISO. The ISO on this camera goes to 12,500. My Nikons go nowhere near that. I haven't tried it yet to see how much grain you get but 12,500 is a big number. The V-Lux sports 20 mega pixels. And, last but certainly not least it has a German made Leica lens. Leica lenses are legendary.

The manual is a tome and I've barely scratched the surface of the things you can do with this little camera. One thing you can't do is much in the way of action shots, like a true point and shoot the regeneration is very slow. It does have a burst option and there may be other tools I haven't discovered yet but the things it does offer make up for this shortfall as far as I'm concerned.

I've heard some people complain about the plastic feel of the body. Well, it's that plastic that makes it so light so I'm fine with it.

If you are looking for a camera that will take you farther than a point and shoot but without the weight and expense of a DSLR I think this Leica V-Luz is the bomb. It's certainly gotten my photographic juices flowing. Looking forward to learning a lot more about this little camera. If you've used the Panasonic Lumix Point and Shoot you'll find that the controls are very familiar. With a price tag of around $1,200 it's steal! You can pay up to $30,000 for a Leica DSLR. :)

Anyway, I'm having a ton of fun with the V-Lux and just wanted to share it with you in case anyone else was looking for a nice little bridge camera.

©Kinsey Barnard

10 July 2015


Regular readers may recall our visit in May to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary and that Kinsey had asked to sponsor the foal of Choctaw mare named Pearl and Choctaw stud named Lakna (Lakna is Choctaw for Yellow Sky Horse). Pearl was very pregnant when we were there on May 26th. We thought she would be giving birth anytime. But, we were very wrong. It took so long we were starting to really worry. I'm sure the Sanctuary was getting tired of Kinsey checking all the time. You would have thought she was an expectant grandmother. Turned out we had been home for a month before the blessed occasion.
Choctaw Mare Pearl-Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
For those who may not know, there are only about 300 Choctaw Ponies left. The US government in their infinite wisdom and in the spirit of their limitless greed decided the best way to control the Indians was to take their horses away so they slaughtered them. Thanks to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary the number is growing. In fact this summer the number grew by three thanks to the Sanctuary.

Chocktaw Stud Lakna-Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

We just kept waiting and waiting until we got to July and Kinsey starting hoping the foal would be born on the 4th of July and that's exactly what happened.

When you sponsor a young horse you usually get to name it. Kinsey had been thinking about all sorts of names but when the blessed event happened on the 4th of July the only name that would do for this little filly was "Liberty". Liberty aka freedom is the essence of the sanctuary and, well, the 4th of July. So without further ado I would like to introduce you to Choctaw filly little miss "Lakna's Liberty". I'll be thinking of her as my little sister. Her formal name will be Lakna's Liberty in honor of her daddy.

Choctaw Filly Lakna's Liberty-Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

We could not be more thrilled. Kinsey is already working on plans to go back to the Sanctuary to meet this very special girl in the fall. I don't think Kinsey has been this excited or inspired by anything as much as this birth in a very long time. We'll keep you posted.

If you love horses we encourage you to check out the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. There's nothing else quite like it. And, if you can, sponsor or adopt a slice of American history, freedom and liberty. Or just donate what you can to keep this wonderful dream alive.

Ciao for now,

Molly Montana

@Kinsey Barnard