This is my fourth AERC event, and my second at the Caja del Rio plateau, east of Santa Fe. After the first three, I took a class online about equine photography, so I’ve been anxious to put the new information to the test. Unfortunately, I was not able to practice much at all during the class, so didn’t get the benefit of feedback and criticism from the instructor. So this is really the first time I’ve been able to try things out.
To be blunt, I’m less than impressed with my ability to take the printed information and apply it to the real world. Practice takes time, and you have to make the opportunity. In this case, I struggled with timing for conformation, and got amazingly pissed off that my aging Nikon D100 can’t keep up with the rigors of this kind of shoot. The focus is slowing down, the shutter sometimes only partially fires, and it’s very slow to recover when shooting raw.
FYILook for another entry soon where I talk about the equipment list for this shoot!
While I think my images are marginally better than last time, I’m very disappointed. My wife points out that it’s probably because I’m more critical due to taking the class. For this shoot, I’m trying to pay attention to the conformation and position of the horses, in addition to focus, background, shutter speed, etc. The biggest challenge has been in trying to nail the timing. The horses are sometimes bunched up, or changing gate, or just screwing around while they negotiate the trail. This makes it amazingly difficult to be patient and wait for the ‘right’ shot.
In the end, if couldn’t get the right timing, I just shot anyway so the rider would have a memory of the event. But even this proved difficult at times because of obstacles; bushes, other riders, vehicles, and so forth all presented things to deal with. This area appears very open, but there are in fact tons of visual distractions. To compensate, I’ve started shooting tighter, which seems to be more popular with folks buying photos, but it’s less rewarding than telling the story of the rider in the setting. Art vs. Business, you know 🙂
At the moment, I’m waiting for the images to finish uploading before I start reviewing and making selections for editing. Once that is done, I’ll print 4×6 proofs and then upload finals to my gallery for ordering. If you are so inclined, I’d appreciate feedback and comments when the images go up. Also, if you are an outdoor action shooter, I’d love to hear your thoughts on preparing for casual events like this – planning, positioning, what takes priority when you press that shutter release.