Category Archives: Horses

Nikon Photo School – Racehorses

I went on a course a few weeks ago. It was being run by the Nikon Photo School, hosted by (famous) Sports Photographer and Nikon Ambassador Mark Pain and it was right here in Newmarket. Figured I could happily get there for sunrise!

The night before we all met up in one of the restaurants in town and it was great to get to know people and share stories. As it turns out, many years ago Mark worked at the same branch of Jessops I did. Small world!

On the day of the shoot, we all met at the B&B everyone else stayed at and then headed up to the gallops. I started out taking a few photos with my D5000 but the light was really bad and my camera wasn’t coping. Anything over ISO400 looks like crap and my zoom lens is f5.6 fully zoomed I think so it was a disaster. Luckily, being run by Nikon, they had loads of cool equipment, like a Nikon D4s and the 70-200 f2.8 VRII telephoto lens. So I bagged myself those for the day. Not too shoddy! The D4s was a brilliant camera. Pros: Sturdy, fast, responsive, awesome. Cons: Bit noisy. Didn’t know how to use it so I ended up shooting in JPG for the whole day which wasn’t great. As for the lens it was awesome but again, in full amateur mode I changed the VR setting to Active. Only when I got home and noticed nearly all my photos were blurry and I googled why did I realise that this setting is if you’re on a moving platform e.g. a boat, not if the subject is moving fast. What a dick!

So between the JPG and the VR problems I salvaged 44 of the 900 photos I took. The rest were mostly action burst shots and then a few were exposure problems I fixed in the next shot or too blurry to recover. But for usability, this gear was nice to use and I’m seriously considering the lens and maybe upgrading to the new D7200, especially given that a day at the beach broke the AF on my 55-200 lens and I’m in serious need of a replacement. We’ll see what the commission fairy brings me in the next few months.

So first up is the shots from the gallops:

002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010

Then we went up to the heath:

011
012
013
014
015
016

Then we went back to the gallops:

017
018
019
020
021
022
023
024
025
026
027

Then we went to Pegasus stables:

028
001
029
030
031
032
033
034
035
036
037
038
039
040
041
042
043
044

I developed a whole new level of respect for these beautiful animals and the riders.