Thursday, November 29, 2012

Montpelier Hunt Races

Montpelier, Virginia 

Friends invited me to attend the 78th running of the Montpelier Hunt Races at Montpelier, the family estate of President James Madison. The event was held on a cool fall Saturday morning on the first weekend of November. This was my first time at a steeplechase event, and it was more difficult to photograph than I imagined. I was not prepared for the speed of the horses, and catching them as they came over the jumps took reflexes better than I possess.

After the first race my friend previewed the photos I had taken and tactfully advised me that it was best to get the whole horse in the frame. She was right, of course, and I did better by switching to a wider lens, but this shot does suggest a bit of the intensity and speed of the race.

These horses are approaching the jump. If you look closely at the two horses in the lead you can see that they are both completely airborne, with all four hooves off the ground.


  1. Cool photos, Edd. You did well...

    As one who does youth sports photography I know what you mean about catching the action. You're probably already learning this but what I do is to anticipate what is going to happen and then shoot just as the action starts. You won't always get the good ones but you will catch plenty...

    Here's a link to my smugmug site showing just a few of my sports photos to give you an idea of what I'm talking about...

    I am looking to see more of your work. Keep it up and do it the way that you want. Not the way ol' codgers like me tell you to do...

    :-) Glenn

    1. Thanks for the tips, Glenn. I found it very difficult to follow the rapid action through the viewfinder. I agree that the ability to anticipate the shot is key, and I expect that lot of practice is needed to get really good at it.

      One of the frustrations of my "day at the races" was that we saw only four races, which meant that the horses passed by our vantage point only 8 times during the 4 to 5 hours that we spent there. So I had very little time to figure out the best approach or gain experience. It was more of a social event than a racing event, and if I go again, I think I just might try to concentrate on the doings of the crowds of people that attended, some of whom I suspect, never saw hide nor hair of a horse all day.


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