Photographer Samantha Decker Captures the Essence of the Saratoga Summer

There’s something special—some would say magical—about summer in Saratoga. The Congress Park ducks carelessly stopping traffic on Broadway, the possibility of winning big on a $2 bet at the track, singing along to Dave Matthews Band at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), cutting a rug on the Miller Lite–soaked dance floor at The Horseshoe…it all comes together to create an electric energy that’s somehow, at once, both exciting and relaxed. There’s so much to do, but no one is in a rush to do it. It’s almost as if, when you’re in Saratoga, the city happens to you, and you’re just along for the ride. 

That’s the feeling Saratogian Samantha Decker (@samintoga) expertly captures in her photography. Her secret weapon: She loves a Saratoga summer as much as anybody. A middle school French teacher by day—or should we say winter, spring and fall—Decker has the summers off. 

“I love walking up and down Broadway and capturing the cars driving by with the historic buildings in the background, and then heading to Congress Park,” she says. “The state park is like its own universe with so many areas to explore, and the track gives me a chance to work on my action photography. But my favorite place to shoot is actually the Oklahoma Training Track. I go there in the morning to photograph the horses and exercise riders, and it’s so quiet and peaceful, save for the sound of hooves on the track.”

Decker also shoots horses away from the track, too, at Old Friends at Cabin Creek in Greenfield Center and Nipper Knolls Equine Center in Granville. When she sells a print of a horse from either nonprofit, she donates 100 percent of her profits to the organization. That’s another thing about summer in Saratoga: The city has so much to offer, but its residents? They’re always ready to give right back.  

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