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Unexpected Photo Opportunities!

Whenever we head out "on a horse training assignment", along with the tack, I am usually packing a camera! Recently we've experimented with simply relying on the fantastic quality available in the new cell phone cameras. And it's simply all about space! Taking the Canon along involves shoving the saddles and other paraphenalia aside and including the hard case. And I've been blown away with the size of image that Kathy's brand spanking new Samsung takes. We just got her the Galaxy S5. It shoots a 16 megapixel image! Also, it's great for quick video's of riding lessons!

However, if I want to "freeze" an action shot (a horse trotting or cantering, especially in the relatively low light of an indoor arena) then for me, it's got to be the Canon.

Yesterday I was "packing" specifically to get training shots of Kathy and a young gelding that she is helping to bring along, so action shots it is! The decision to haul along the big guy came with the added benefit of some extra photography practice with Lily. The value added lesson for the day for her was how heavy the camera is because she acted as "sherpa girl" (holding the camera) when I switched gears to "trainer guy"! After a quick quiz about ISO.....I told Lily to feel free to shoot while I worked with Kathy. Lily got this great shot of Kathy on Jet!


The ambient light available in the particular arena is nice! This was late afternoon with light coming through a series of translucent fiberglass panels set along one long side of the arena at about 14 feet high. For this shot, the camera is set to ISO 1250, 1/200, f 3.5

At the end of lesson time, as we were headed to the guessed it....the "photography gods" of Central New York smiled upon us! We walk out of the barn and there was a perfect opportunity to get pictures of our new friend Kathy with "Snake Hunter", enjoying a gorgeous fall afternoon and nipping a bit of grass! For the shot below, there was a bit of sun peaking through, but high clouds all around!


Diplomacy is very important for a shot like this! Usually I'm taking pictures of a horse and handler that I know very well and I can "coach" them into position. However, in this case, I don't know this horse or the handler very well at all. But I still wanted to get some pictures. So, after asking if I could take a few pictures (step one in the diplomacy department!) instead of "marshalling them around" and posing them, it was more like wildlife photography...I moved and waited for the shots.

And it was the perfect time to get a quick portrait for Nicole and Star! This is what I'll call a "casual" portrait in that neither the horse nor the handler was specifically "prepared" for picture taking. This was just walking out of the barn after a riding lesson and Nicole asking if I'd take a couple of pictures for her. But there are still techniques to make this a really nice shot! The most important is posing. For a posed shot with a horse, there is one BIG mandatory factor...a horse with good enough manners to stand still! And Star had excellent manners!


On a technical note, the image of the lighter grey horse was shot at f/5.6, 1/800th at an ISO of 100, the dark gret horse was shot at f/5.6, 1/160th at an ISO of 100. The short fast reasoon for the 2 shutter speed...light! Because of the scattered clouds, the lighting conditions were changing really fast. The sun was just starting to set and there were some clouds to diffuse the light. There are several ways to adjust in camera in this situation, but in this instance I just dropped the shutter speed slower for the posed shot of Nicole and the draker grey horse.

I'm using a Canon Mark II n, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Yes I know it's getting older, but it still makes for great grab and go body!

In future postings I'll cover posing for equine photography and post production of images. The pictures shown here are "as is" in that they haven't had any lighting or color correction done in Photoshop ...yet!

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