Magritte sky - Bucharest morning view of central Bucharest (Romania) taken from Intercontinental Hotel top The famous way in which this master of surrealism who was Magritte painted the sky and clouds seems to be present in this fabulous spring morning in Bucharest
American Pharoah wins the Belmont Stakes, becoming horse racing's elusive 12th Triple Crown winner.
Taking the photo was the easy part...putting into words what this experience was for me is not.
It's a time like this I wish I was an absolute artist with words, to be able to express in the most perfect, eloquent manner how incredible and how priceless this moment was for me, who has been following horse racing passionately (and at many times obsessively) since I was eight-years-old.
I was present at Belmont Park for seven denied attempts at the Crown. Each time left me, and the rest of the racing world, devastated and hollow and robbed. I've wanted this just as badly as the next racing fan, but I was one of those fans who spent long days in the mosh pit on the Belmont grandstand apron, surrounded and crushed and suffocated by tens of thousands of fellow patrons, hoping it was all worth it to be a tiny part of history. I was convinced I'd never, ever see it in my lifetime, or at least as long as I was actively photographing the sport.
I knew how to deal with disappointment--I was a seasoned veteran. But I didn't know how to deal with this.
When it became clear that no one was going to catch American Pharoah, the feeling that coursed through me seriously cannot be described. I knew I had to focus on getting the shot, but as I'd always hopelessly anticipated, I became an unglued mess. I was trembling like an earthquake. My blood pressure probably went through the roof. The guy next to me bumped me a few times and my balance teetered. I didn't get the "perfect" shot, the shot I wish I could've gotten, but it couldn't been much worse. Some of my frames in the sequence at some point became just of Pharoah's head. I'm not ashamed. This was my dream come true, and I wasn't composed. I'm not surprised and I'm not angry. I'm just thankful I got this shot, something I will treasure for the rest of my life along with the blessing and honor of being present for this unforgettable occasion. I would feel that way 110% even if I hadn't gotten the shot, either.
American Pharoah is my hero. I love this horse for what he gave our sport. I love this horse for what he gave me. Two days later, it still feels like it was nothing but an incredibly vivid dream I had. I repeat the truth over and over in my head to try to wrap my brain more around it. It's real. It's real. It happened. And I am so, so very happy.