Anne Sandler, of Slow Shutter Speed blog, has given us this weeks lens artists photo challenge. ” What is your photographic groove? Well, it is not hard for me to answer that. Horses and horse photographs.
When I started blogging I quickly realized that taking photos of horses was not so easy. They are always moving and there are moments in those movements where they look ungainly or as if they were about to dive headfirst into the dirt beneath them. What could I do? Luckily for me I saw an advert for the EPnet (Equine photographers network) course. This was a 6 week course and each week there would be a specific aspect of photographing horses. There was an assignment relating to this and I would submit my photos online and the instructor would give a valuable critique with suggestions on how to improve. I learned a lot. For example, a horse cantering has a moment in the gait where they are going ‘downhill’ and if that is the moment you capture the horse looks dreadful. You must press the shutter and click just at the moment the horses hind legs start to come forward. I am still working on that!
Here are some horse photographs that I like. First a canter photo where I captured the ‘uphill’ moment.
The trot is not so difficult but the ideal is to capture the moment when one of the front legs is fully extended. Since I am often taking photos of exceptional horses in competition they have the talent to offer spectacular trots.
Sometimes is it nice to just capture the head and neck of a horse .
The photo below is my best ever photo of a pirouette. It is tricky to catch the split second when the horse is up in front and sitting behind.
Here is one of the spectacular trots. The thing to notice here is that the angle of the hind leg is very nearly the same as the angle of the front leg. This shows that the horse is properly engaged and not just waving his front legs out in front of him.
Here is another canter photo clicked at the right moment to get the uphill part of the canter stride.
My horse Biasini. This was taken for the photography course. I had him standing in the doorway of the arena and spot metered onto his coat and that took the background to black. My husband had a plastic bag to rattle to get his ears forward. I was amazed when I saw how well all of the photos taken in the arena doorway turned out.
For my technical info I always shoot at shutter priority 1/400 captures dressage horses well but jumpers need more speed. I have a Canon 50-250 lens and longer lens 250-600.With the weight of this long lens I use a monopod to support it when shooting. I never use the motor dive to snap snap snap snap. Since I am a rider I can judge the tempo of the horse’s strides well enough. Also I have stood beside Susan Stickle, the official photographer of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington FL. She takes individual shots as the horses are doing their extended trot across the diagonal. Her photos are superb so I think it is ok to follow her example.
Thank you Anne for this challenge it has been fun to look through the archives and select photos of my photographic “groove”. Click here to see Anne’s photographic groove and in the comments you can see other bloggers responses.