Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Photography Challenge... And Some Cool Horse Pics!


A couple weekends ago I was invited to tag along to a Reining show at the LA Equestrian Center with a few others boarders from my ranch. I (gasp! blasphemy!) had never been to the LAEC before. I was like a little kid in a candy store when we drove in: "Oh! Look at the horses! Look at the lights! Look at the barns! Look at the arenas! Look at the poop!"


Unfortunately (or maybe for the better) it was also the day it started raining for a week solid so I couldn't wander around the grounds for hours taking pictures of everything and annoying my company. As soon as we arrived, we had to hunker down in the stands of the (GIANT) arena. Heaven forbid my precious camera get wet!


Fortunately for me there was plenty of action in the arena! However, the combination of poor arena lighting, using my zoom lens, not using my tri-pod, and the lack of additional natural lighting made for a very tough time taking decent photographs.


A lot of my images came out like above before I finally got the hang of. I have to admit, this was a challenge I was really looking forward to. After taking all the pictures of the ranch sorting, I kind of have a hankering to photograph Equine Events. In fact, I would LOVE to do that. This day was great practice. I learned quite a few things, including that light horses are easier to photograph!


The classes we watched were Non-Pros and Amateurs, so the reining itself wasn't spectacular, but it was a heck of a lot better than we could have done! Of course, the slides were my favorite thing to photograph!


The spins weren't too bad either, although not too many people were gettin' em as well as the slides. So the photographs didn't come out so hot.


I also tried to focus on taking some not-so-traditional reining photos. Every is used to seeing the sliding and spinning, but I wanted to capture the other dimensions of reining, which include collection and extension and speed! Some of these images are my favorites.




Let me tell you, just getting my images to look that bad was tough.


As I mentioned, most of the riding/reining was beginning level, except for this fella. This boy could move, and his girl could ride. The crowd (of 10) "ooooohhh"d when they started their routine. Here, let me show you:


He could spin


Both ways.


His transactions actually were transactions.


He went from this,


And this,


To this without an ounce of (visible) effort.


And his slides.

To top it all off, he walked out of the arena like this:


I tried to get some closer-ups of his face while he was working and surprisingly they came out alright.



This one directly above is one of my favorites of the day, even if it is not 100% in focus.

I took an (embarrassing) 415 photos of the day. Obviously, I haven't shared them all here. If you are interested in browsing through the rest you can click on any of the above photos and it will take you to my Flickr account where all the others have been uploaded.

It was a great day for my camera and I. Even though I had to crank my ISO way up (1600 if you care) and all the images are full of noise (camera noise), it was a great experience. I'm amazed that I managed to capture the images that I did.

Has anybody tested their limits recently and been pleasantly surprised? (I know there are a few of you out there...)

P.S. All of the reining images are straight-out-of-camera (SOOC), i.e. they have not been edited at all.


  1. That last picture, the one that isnt completely in focus. I good. I like it. Its focused on what is important and also makes the rider and horse appear almost 3D. Very nice Mama H

  2. That looks like fun, photographing a show. You could do that professionally! That last horse was nice! Love his face, looks like a good go (did he win?) and I even liked his headstall! O would like to shoot more action this summer. I did a little last year and was quite happy with the camera's focus. Indoor arena's are a challenge, though! I was told by someone that large lenses that let in a lot of light (which is what pro sports photographers use) are best.
    What kind of camera do you have? I don't have a tripod yet. Need to get one, though. Saw someone using a lens yesterday TO DIE FOR yesterday. Like a foot long. I was drooling....Thousands of dollars. She was photographing children at my school.

  3. Looks like a lot of fun! Great pictures. Of course any pictures involving horses are great!

  4. Pony Girl: First, should it be creepy that someone is photographing students at school with a giant lens? Is there something I don't know? Secondly, oh do I know about lenses. I have a few on my wish list already. Patience, patience. Those suckers are not cheap. I have a Canon EOS Rebel xSi. Love it to pieces. Well, not literally.

  5. Great photos! Looks like a very fun day and don't feel bad about how many photos you took. I do the same thing! That's what digital is for right? lol

  6. Looks like you got some good experience at the horse show! I think the face pictures turned out really good. That horse that you like was really pretty too!!! Kepp on practiceing!!!

  7. Wow! You've got some awesome action shots. They don't even feel like freeze frames of stills. I can feel the movement! Well done!

    I know what you mean about the hundreds of shots that you have to take just to get a few really awesome ones. Sometimes I'll take a hundred shots and am only happy one ONE! lol! Thank goodness for the delete button. hehe!


    ps Thanks again for all the wonderful supportive and kind comments you've left for me on my blog. They mean a lot to me as I'm forging ahead towards me goals and dreams :)

  8. bah! Please ignore all my typos. I hope you understood what I was trying to write. lol! That last sentence makes me sound like a pirate. :-D



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