Belton Horse Trials and trying to get photographs

Today I went to Belton Horse Trials, local to me and a nice day out. Up at sparrow’s cough (though not as early as some of the competitors I am sure!) and bag packed with gear off I went.

Yesterday I had my photoshop lesson with Drew and I picked his brains as to which of my lenses I could use sensibly over the day and he tested me on what settings to use! Armed with my bit of paper, a 35-70mm, a 75-300mm and just for the heck of it my 10-20mm lenses I hit the road.

On arriving at the venue I was slightly non-plussed by the signage everywhere, but found myself directed into the owners car park! I did query this, but I think they wanted to fill that car park first, and I was there by 8am!

First things first – find a cup of tea. Only £1.50 and next to the showjumping ring – bonus. I watched for a while to learn the round, and to pick my spot.

Using auto ISO, and White Balance, I was using Manual (eek!) and shutter speed of 1/1000 and an aperture of 4.00.  I was shooting in RAW.

This is the first time I have photographed at an event like this and I was trying to get shots of the whole horse and rider going over the jump. As you can see, I wasn’t always successful!

Too much space to the right and a sign covers the horse's face - oops!

Too much space to the right and a sign covers the horse’s face – oops!

After the showjumping, I moved to the dressage ring via the tents selling all sorts of goodies. I did resist … for the most part! Just a couple of presents bought!

I haven’t included any of the dressage shots, as I want to put them together for something else a little later, plus I want to take more tomorrow. I was aiming there for specifics, such as parts of tack, hooves, hocks, eyes etc. Not entirely successful, but tomorrow is another day.

From dressage to cross country via my car for a coat and a sandwich. I sat by the water jump for some time, and met a friend from the camera club, and tried to think about angles and trying to get a decent shot. As you will see below, knowing when to click is a major part of the shot. I took nearly 400 shots and have already got rid of some, but I will be editing them and tucking them away on SmugMug at some point. I will also put some more on the blog.

So, my last two shots. One showing you have to know when to click, the other I have edited, and will probably continue to do so, I want to take the camera out of the bottom right hand corner. What did frustrate me a bit was that the official photographers had the best spots – usually on the other side of the fence with the officials!

Showing a clean pair of heels.

Showing a clean pair of heels.


Spot the camera? But on the plus side, the horse is in the shot too!

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2 Responses to Belton Horse Trials and trying to get photographs

  1. Helen says:

    Wow up early and a great spot for photos… it is so hard to get in the right spot to capture the moment, and when you are close you realise that another photographer is already there – meaning right spot is found!

    I was reading up on eventing… and timing is everything … knowing when to anticipate … are you using high speed shutter and taking multi shots, it might well help get the right moment…..

    Looking forward to seeing more … and more photos on your blog – you have been too quiet.


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