Shetland Pony Photographers – Follow Up

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This is a follow-up on my original Shetland Pony Photographers Blog from yesterday.

This gets more amazing with each passing day since I began looking into Shetland Pony Photographers.

Last night I receive a great message letting me know that I was tagged in another Facebook post and it mentioned me. It concerned the photo of me on the Shetland Pony taken in Liberty Homes, North Charleston, South Carolina in 1947. I have to tell you that the person who wrote me was a long time friend from St. Paul’s High School, Hollywood, South Carolina, named Theron McCants. My  family had moved out into the country next to the Toogoodoo River near Meggett, South Carolina while I was in the tenth grade. That was a major change because I had transferred from North Charleston High where I was one of about 2000-2500 students with a class size that numbered well into the hundreds. St. Pauls had 276 students in the entire school 8-12 grades and there were 40 students in my class at the time of graduation – and Theron and I were two of them.

Here it is 69 years after the photo of me on the pony was taken and I get a message telling me that a friend had sat on the same horse three years before me and 14 years before we met for the very first time. Just goes to show that it was a small world even back then. The back story to all this is that this took place during and just after the end of World War II. Liberty Homes was built to provide housing for married defense workers during and just after the war. It turns out that Theron’s dad also worked for the Charleston Naval Shipyard like mine did. We had moved to North Charleston from Brunswick, Georgia in the summer of 1944. His dad went on to bigger and better things and moved to the Ravenel, South Carolina area during the late 1940’s where they remained and where I became friends with Theron when we moved there in 1959. Theron had gone directly to the Ravenel are, but we had several other homes before we got there after having left Liberty Homes in 1949.

At any rate, to cut to the Chase, here is the photo that Theron sent me of the Shetland Pony he had his photo taken on in 1944. …and to make it easy to compare I am re-posting my photo as well along side the one of Theron. I want to thank Theron for allowing me to use his photo.

Theron is on the left and his photograph was taken in 1944 in Liberty Homes. My image is to the right and it was taken in Liberty Homes as well, but three years later, in 1947. Both photographs taken three years apart feature the same Shetland Pony and tackle. The two photographs were taken 14 years and 11 years respectively before Theron and I actually met. …and then another 69 years before we realized that we both had a mutual friend in the form of an unnamed Shetland Pony.


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Shetland Pony Photographers

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Me – circa 1947

Most people my age or 10-15 years younger tend to have at least one of these photos. In my research I have determine that for 10-15, maybe 10-20 years this was done all over the country. No Internet in those days so the primary forms of advertising was newspapers and radio and a little television the latter half of this phenomenon. Of course, after the end of the way and a lot of kids being born (the baby boomer generation), this turns out to have been marketing coup for the guys and gals doing it. Just think what a draw that little Shetland pony was everywhere it went. I personally don’t think that they had to do much advertising. The Shetland Pony was the draw. These guys primarily used 5×7 sheet film and cameras. That means that they didn’t need to travel with much in the way of a developing lab. The prints would be contact prints (see an example of a contact printer below) directly from the 5×7 negative which could have been done right in a hotel/motel room. Additional equipment and supplies would have included chemicals and trays. I don’t think they ever offered enlargements or “package” deals with so many of each size, etc.



I just figured that it took a substantial amount of travel and the photographers were pretty nomadic as opposed to working just one area. I bet they were very interesting people to get to know. One thing that I’ve heard is that they were nicknamed “The Kidnappers.” Not because they actually kidnapped the kids, but because of the attention the Shetland Pony caused and I can imagine many a kid wandering off to get their photos taken. The photographer would take the photo without permission of the parents in many cases then ask the child where he/she lived and then he would show up with the print in hand to try and sell it to the parent a day or so later – and in many cases the parent(s) didn’t even know the photo had been taken.

Other than finding loads of the photographs, I have NOT been able to find any significant amount of information on the Shetland Pony Photographers. I would even be interested in finding out what happened to all the ponies. There must have been tens of thousands of them. Where were they kept at night. For all I know the photographer got a double room and put the pony in the second bed – just kidding of course, but where did they keep the ponies at night – maybe in a live stock trailer?

Again, I would be very appreciative if anyone can help point me in the right direction with links, etc. …and if luck would have it, I would love to find a couple of the photographers and interview them for my personal enlightenment, but who knows – maybe there is a book in this somewhere. I did do a book search on and Barnes and Noble without any luck.

After additional research:  It is all so sketchy. Most of it is opinion and assumption based on people who were primarily customers and kids at the time from all over America posting the Shetland photos. From that you pretty much can assume that they were, in fact, nationwide since they come from all over the country. …but as to who, how, we know when, where, etc. they were based out of or if they were all independents going with the idea, or worked for an Olan G. Mills type organization I have no idea. …and like the tidbit on “The Kidnappers” may have been just one localized area – all I have to go on is one person’s view of what they were nicknamed in his/her area of the country.

When I was a more active photographer, I was a member of the PPA so I may be able to contact them and see what they have on the Shetland Photographers. I was planning on calling them on Monday. I didn’t think of it until after their offices were closed for the weekend.

What I would love is for some of the living Shetland Photographers or family members would give me a shout and some information about them. It is very possible that at the end of the war (and it may have started as early of the 1930s driven by The Great Depression as an innovative way to make money without becoming a street corner beggar. If that is the case, they deserve much admiration for their desire to get ahead on their own. Then after the war, millions were getting out of the service and people were hungry for jobs so that very well could have driven the phenomenon as well.

At any rate, it is intriguing and I do hope that I am able to gather more information on them As I do I will add it to the note.


In the last 24 hours I received a photograph from a person I know who had his photograph taken on the very same Shetland Pony that me photo was taken on. Check out the follow at the following link.


Shetland Pony Photograhpers follow up.



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Pileated Woodpecker after flying into a plate glass window

Pileated Woodpecker after flying into a plate glass window from Richard Atkinson on Vimeo.

This pileated woodpecker flew into a plate glass window where I was staying while in Michigan taking photographs of a few of the lighthouses. When I walked outside, he was on his back not moving. I picked him up and could tell that he was still alive and just stunned. He started holding his head up so I knew that he had not broken his neck. I rubbed a finger over his head and down his back and talked to him in what I hoped was a soothing voice for a woodpecker. He started moving some on his on and I kept trying to perch him on my finger. After awhile he got the knack of it and stood on my finger but was very unbalanced. I kept talking with him and would bounce my hand a little trying to get him to take off. After about 10 minutes he final took to the air. He tried to land on a limb but wasn’t quite up to it so he flew around a little more until he looked like he was getting his bearings and then flew to the nearby woods. I think that he will make it just fine. …at least I really hope that he does.


Shipwreck at Grand Turk – Mega One Triton


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There is a large grounded ship at Governor’s Beach on Grand Turk Island. Originally, the Mega One Triton was an oil rig service vessel.

Later, it was decommissioned as an oil rig service vessel and began a new life as a cargo ship. The Mega One Triton ran a cargo route between the Dominican Republic and Grand Turk.

The Mega One Triton was washed ashore during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. There have been several attempts to remove the vessel from the beach, but due to its size and lack of funding the efforts have continued to be unsuccessful.

Mega One Triton grounded at Governor's Beach

Mega One Triton grounded at Governor’s Beach


Caribbean Cruise


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Shipwreck at Grand Turk

This was a trip for pleasure, but I was able to get a few photographs while there. Regretfully, it stayed pretty much cloudy and windy all the time. Our first stop was at Nassau, The Bahamas where I went on my very first ever SNUBA adventure. I used my GoPros and was able to get a little video. Just not enough time in the water to really get all I wanted to. More about that later.

I saw the new Chinese Baha Mar Resort that they are building in Nassau. I was able to see it from the mini-bus that was transporting us to the SNUBA site. No chance to get any photos. It is enormous and is suppose be even larger than Atlantis when it opens later this year (if on schedule).


The lighthouse as the entrance to the bay at Nassau with Atlantis in the background

Here is a short video of what I saw during my SNUBA adventure.

I wish that I could recommend the excursion to everyone, but I can’t. It was listed as Snuba Underwater Adventure on the web site. Don’t get me wrong, the guides, especially Charles, were absolutely great. My beef is with the time. The excursion is listed as 5 hours, but an hour and a half of that is travel to and from the dock where the boat that you will take is at. Once you get through all the safety briefings and getting your gear and you get out on the water, you have less than 2½ hours on/in the water. Then add to that the fact they carry you to three different locations AND that there isn’t enough SNUBA gear for everyone on the excursion you only get to use if on ONE of TWO out of the THREE stops (the last stop is for shark viewing so no SNUBA). You then realize that you are going to get less than 20-30 minutes actually underwater using the SNUBA gear. On my trip, I actually had the best place for SNUBA. The first location already had people in the water when our boat got us there. I have no idea how long they had been out there, but know they got much more time in the SNUBA gear than my group did because we snorkeled while they were in the gear for as long as our whole SNUBA stop. Depending upon how much longer they were there than we were they must have had somewhat more time in the SNUBA gear than we did. I don’t consider it worth the cost for 20-30 minutes in the SNUBA gear. It also did not give me time to get use to and use the GoPro cameras underwater to their best advantage in the short period of time I had.

Since we weren’t able to put ashore at Half Moon Cay, we went on to Grand Turk. The Captain made arrangements for us to land four hours early in Grand Turk which gave us the entire day there instead of the originally scheduled half day. While there I was able to get the shot of the Shipwreck which is located at Governor’s Beach (shown in the lead photo) next to where the old US Air Force facility was located.


Burro – and don’t forget to check out the wild horses as well

Grand Turk Lighthouse on the north end of the island where Columbus made landfall

Grand Turk Lighthouse on the north end of the island where Columbus made landfall

All-in-all, we still had a great trip, but next time I will find a better way to get out to do the SNUBA even if I have to do a private charter.


Happy Fourth of July – Happy Birthday, American


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Fourth of July – an American Celebration from Richard Atkinson on Vimeo.

Happy Birthday, America. Scenes from around America set to music by the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy Bands.

I wanted to put something together to help celebrate our country. We are truly a divided country so maybe for just one day we can lay aside our differences and celebrate our country for being exceptional. Hopefully, everyone reading this feels the same.

All photographs were taken and copyrighted by Richard ‘Dixie’ Atkinson. The photos are located in various galleries at: Photographs by Dixie.

This is a basic repeat of my last years July 4th blog post.

Bodie – a California Ghost Town


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Bodie Methodist Church

Church during a storm in Bodie.

Bodie is a ghost town that was founded by four prospectors in 1859. It was named for one of them who died during a blizzard the first year. A post office operated there from 1877 until 1942. It became a historical park in the early 1960’s.

The Methodist Church shown in the photograph above was built in 1882. It was one of only two churches in a town which supported between 60-70 saloons. The last regular church service was held in this church in 1932.

The banner photo of the old rusted out car used for this blog was also taken in Bodie.

See more photos of Bodie in my Bodie State Historical Site Gallery.

You are also invited to visit my many other US National Park Galleries as well.

Beartooth Highway in Montana


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I traveled the Beartooth Highway some years back. However, the primary trip was to Yellowstone National Park and I stored these images away for a rainy day. Well the rainy day finally arrived.

Scenes along the Beartooth Highway – a National Scenic Byways All-American Road (US 212) between Red Lodge, Montana and Cooke City, Montana just northeast of Yellowstone National Park and north Cody, Wyoming. These were just posted to the Americana Gallery on my photography website. The scenes below show a fisherman hard at play trying to get his catch of the day as well as different plant life and landscapes.

These and other images of Americana can be seen on my website at Photographs by Dixie. These images can be found in the Americana Gallery.





Horton Mill Covered Bridge


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It was a cloudy, overcast day, but I did have some luck. As I was using the DJI Phantom to do some video of Horton Mill Covered Bridge, three couples drove up in classic antique Studebakers. Two of them were Golden Hawks and one was an Avanti, the fastest production auto to ever drive off a showroom floor in America having been clocked at almost 170 miles an hour at Bonneville Salt Flats. So, all-in-all, it turned out to be a very fine day. I would like to thank the couples for allowing me to video their fine vehicles and post them on the Internet. I hope you enjoy both the bridge and the Studebakers.

The music is royalty free music purchased from Stock20 and is entitled Morning Mist.


Modern-Day Wagon Train


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Horse Drawn Wagons

I was out the other day testing out the new gimbal on the DJI Phantom and looked down the road and saw this modern-day wagon train coming at me. I got the Phantom in the air and was able to get these shots. I hope you enjoy them. I understand that they were more active in the past, but due to safety and traffic concerns they had to cut back on their activities. I did not know they would be out this particular day so I consider myself very lucky to see them and to get these shots as they were on their way to Mount Cheaha in northeast Alabama.