Posts Tagged ‘Traverse City’

This past weekend, I was in Traverse City, Michigan visiting family.  As a part of our activities we spent a day at the Horseshows by the Bay, a regional horse show.  We saw many fine horses participating in a $30,000 purse Grand Prix. For those, like me, who know very little about horse shows, a Grand Prix event requires horses to jump over a number of jumps in a set course.  The goal is to complete the course within a set time limit (but as fast as possible) and with no faults.  In other words, don’t knock the poles off the jumps and don’t go beyond the set time limit.  The jumps are of different heights, looks and widths.  More challenging than the one-meter Schutzhund jump to be sure.

For fun, I decided to photograph this event and was fascinated at how similarly horses and dogs jump.  See the pictures above.  The primary differences are horses move more slowly and are much more predictable in their movements.  But their approach, launch, flight and landings are remarkably similar.

I found this an excellent opportunity to practice capturing captivating jump pictures.  The other cool thing is since the horses have to jump over a number of jumps, I was able to practice taking pictures at different angles, different zoom lengths and even in different lighting.  It was late afternoon, so some parts of course were saturated in light while other parts of the course were in shadow.

Before I knew it, I had taken well over 300 pictures, with the vast majority in focus, with pretty good exposures and with excellent composition.  That’s not always possible when photographing Schutzhund dogs jumping.  Often, the jump is in focus, but not the dog or only part of the dog, or the camera captures an odd moment due to my timing being just a wee bit off.

Bottom line, if you ever have the chance to attend a horse jumping event, take your camera and practice taking pictures.  It will help you get your timing and composition right for the Schutzhund one-meter hurdle.  And, you’ll have some really nice pictures as a result.

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