22 Nov Sports Photography as a Spectator – Horse Racing

Source: Fujifilm X Blog

By Jeff Carter

In a series of articles X Photographer Jeff Carter will be shooting at sports events in the UK and showing how to capture great images with the Fujifilm X Series without the need for a media pass.

Sports Photography as a Spectator – Horse Racing

Horse Racing is a very photogenic sport with bright colours and plenty of action. The summer months are known as the flat season and, as the name suggests, the races are held without any jumps. November marks the start of the jump season, with races over fences or hurdles, which adds an additional element for the photographer to capture.

Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in the world with records showing horse racing occurred in Ancient Greece, Babylon and Egypt. Horse racing was even included in the Olympic Games by 648BC. In more modern times horse racing became popular with royalty, earning the sport the nickname ‘The Sport of Kings’.

There are major race courses all over the UK and I attended the first event of the 2017/18 Jump Season at Musselburgh near Edinburgh for part 9 of Sports Photography as a Spectator series.

BE PREPARED – What to Take

There are three main elements to consider at a race meeting. There is the paddock, where the jockeys and horse prepare for the race in the parade ring. There is also the grandstand area where the main focus is the betting ring where the ‘Bookies’ are located. The third area is the race course itself, where the action takes place.

You can stand right next to the parade ring so a short or medium telephoto lens is adequate. I used the XF16-55mm f2.8 and the XF50-140mm f2.8 to capture some telephoto candid shots of the jockeys and some wider shots of the horses are they are paraded in front of the spectators by the grooms.

For some of the shots I put the camera down low using a wide angle lens to give a different perspective. Also consider taking along a fast prime lens such as the XF16mmF1.4 or XF23mmF1.4.

In the grandstand area a short telephoto zoom was the best lens to capture the activity. Standing back and watching the bets being placed and spectators enjoying their day out at the races I shot using the XF50-140mm f2.8 attached to my FUJIFILM X-Pro2. An alternative lens to consider is the XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8….


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