Start As We Mean To Go On
After a relaxing break from the busy life at shows over Christmas and new year, it felt good to be back behind the lens in a professional sense. I will admit, I couldn't keep away from photography entirely over this break, making the most of the beautiful heavy frosts we've had recently, and took to photographing my little herd when they were turned out in the mornings, for this is when they are most entertaining in the field, busying themselves rolling, occasionally trotting about for a leg stretch after a cosy night in the stable, and generally socialising with one another.
Friday night, I found myself thrown back into the fray, covering Walford College's Winter Ball at The Lord Hill Hotel, in Shrewsbury. Students had brought their A-Game, hair trussed up in curls, bouffants, buns, gelled or hair sprayed into position. Gowns floated around the room, tuxes and suits strolling boldly as they entered. Friends greeted each other, excitedly squealing about how lovely one another looked, occasionally exclaiming "Oh my goodness, I didn't recognise you!" It took me a little while to really find my groove, but as the atmosphere grew, images began to appear before me, I was back to it, capturing both candid and posed images. The lighting in the bar was what really caught me eye, as students stood waiting to order drinks, the light cascaded elegantly upon them. As the night continued, guests became a little more bold in calling me over to have their photo taken, shouting their friends to pose with them. By 10:30, it was home time for me, back to the desk to begin processing the night's antics.
Saturday morning I was heading to Reaseheath, ready for a day covering British Dressage. I arrived in good time to set myself up in the top corner of the beautiful indoor arena, laying out business cards so clients would be able to find their photos easily. At 9:30 am we started Prelim 14, a good entry of tests with some quality riding. The day drew on, observing and capturing competitors in Novice 34, Elementary 42, Elementary 49, before finishing with Medium 63. Overall, a comfortable 350 images post processing. It felt good to be back in the game, watching elegance unfold, being given the wonderful opportunity to capture it all.
Sunday, I was again, at Reaseheath, ready for a day of unaffiliated dressage. Competition commenced at 9:00am, with a massive entry for Prelim 12. This class was fiercely contented with an entry of 27 competitors, eventually finishing at 12:15. We continued on into Novice 28, a smaller entry, but still a good quality of tests produced, and finally finishing with Elementary 49. At points throughout the day, glorious sunshine emblazed the arena, setting the boards alight and settling a glow on gleaming coats, now that is what gets us photographers really excited! However, now that I have been covering Reaseheath's dressage for a few months, I'm finally starting to recognise the regular competitors, which is where the real reward comes in; seeing riders and horses improve with each competition, and having the honour of documenting their progress through the art of photography.
With just under 2000 images captured, processed, and uploaded this weekend, I feel that I couldn't have started the year on a better note. Here's hoping I am able to have just as many busy weekends, capturing riders' thrills and spills as the competitive year goes on. Looking forward to seeing you all out there!
Keywords: 2017, British Dressage, Dressage, Events photography, January, Reaseheath, SkyLimit Photography, competition, new year
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