St. Michaels Mount

What you really need is some horses galloping along the strand… about two minutes after I took this shot a couple of riders came along the beach. Not quite the effect I was after but the good fortune of happenstance is not to be sneezed at.

St. Michaels Mount is at Marazion, Cornwall. England.

—Stephen G. Hipperson—

At the Races

A few portraits taken in the parade ring.  Taking candids in such an environment is not so easy because of the sheer confusion of people and horses going this way and that.

In my limited experience, I have found professional jockeys are usually reluctant to have their photographs taken – they almost invariably look the other way or turn their heads altogether.  One of the best places to stand is the exit from the parade ring as the riders ‘go to post’.   No longer a bastion of male domination, at least one race had a lady jockey riding.

I think most of these photographers were professional of some sort – as they had access to the course where we mere mortals are not allowed to tread during racing.   Despite our lack of access, I would recommend a visit to the races as a photography trip – but use common sense on when and where to photograph – have a care round the bookies and definitely NO FLASH – unless you want be escorted from the course in short shrift.


Zara Phillips

Zara Phillips

A few year back, to mix it up a bit, I visited Bramham Horse Trials which takes place quite close to where I live.  Let me hasten to add, I’m not a horsey person, so such things don’t really interest me. However, it seemed like a good ‘stretch’ for my photography.

I learnt quite a bit, not least pick the right day!  I went along on the dressage day so all the ‘action’ was people making their horses do the dancing round the ring bit – useful for compactness, but a real job to follow with a lens long enough to get a reasonable sized image of the horse and rider (and they move pretty quick).

I quickly learnt where the key positions were and, as above, the most obvious ‘pose’ was at the finish of each session when the rider ‘presented’ to the judges.  This woman was one of the last I photographed and I’d nailed down the positioning and timing pretty well.  Judging by the sudden influx of other photographers when she entered the ring I guessed she was a ‘known’ rider – it turns out she’s the granddaughter of QE II, daughter of Princess Anne.

Normally when I do my photography I’m on my own, with no other photographers or people about, but here I was standing with 3 or 4 other people with DSLRs.  What I hadn’t particularly appreciated was the volume of noise that emanates from multiple DSLR shutters going off together.  One poor lady spectator got particularly annoyed and voiced it, but from my point of view that was tough on her as I’d been standing there for a good 45 minutes before she arrived on the scene.


Skipwith Common, (Part 2)

Well, our group went out to Skipwith Common as arranged.  Wellies, thick trousers and shirt, US duck hunters cap, Barbour and some 50% DEET on exposed parts.  Bins round my kneck, camera on the tripod.   Off we set.

To be honest we didn’t go that far, the lighting was atrocious – dull overcast under trees is not the best to work with, lack of contrast and all that.  In fact, I only took 15 pictures and some of those were repeats.

Mirror Pond
Found a small pond where the water was so still it was like a mirror.  I really liked the confusion between real and reflected image.


This is a wild Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) – I looked it up.

Big Ol’ Brown Slug

They tell me these are good for Chub fishing but I’ve never used one, don’t fancy picking one up myself!

Moss and Silver Birch

Don’t know why I took this one particularly, something in my head said ‘take this picture’ – so I did.

Secret Miller

Now while I suspect somebody deliberately placed this Miller bottle in the hollow of the tree, regular flooding has filled the space around it with dead leaves and twigs.

Well, I was getting fed up, desperate to take something ‘different’ so I started to wander back to the car.  As I walked down the narrow road, fringed by shrubby trees, I saw a couple of ponies coming toward me. It suddenly dawned on me that no one was leading them, strange.  Click, then I remembered that Skipwith has a population of Dartmoor Ponies – great stuff.

Unfortnuately, I couldn’t get close enough to them before they turned round and sauntered off in the opposite direction.  It was clear that they must have been ‘family’ -they didn’t get more than a metre from each other as I watched them.

Dartmoor Ponies

They made my evening for me anyway!

I’m particularly pleased with how sharp the second shot is as I was down to 1/3 second.