Equestrian Action in the Surf: Have Your Camera Ready

Rider in the surf

Rider in the surf © Paul Mozell

I make a few trips to the beaches of Massachusetts in the summer but often my best visits are during the fall, when the crowds are gone and the landscape opens up. Today, my eight year old daughter, her friend, and I,  bundled up against the forty degree temperatures and steady wind and wandered down Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts. I have seen horseback riders here before, but never so many as today. As the girls searched for shells and artifacts in the sand I spotted a lone rider and horse dashing through the surf with joyous abandon. In this part of Essex County it is rare to see any riders going faster than a peaceful trot, so this explosion of energy and movement was a delightful surprise. I pulled a Nikon D300 and 70-300 lens from my backpack, taking care not to let any blowing sand invade the pack or camera parts, and started shooting. In a few moments she had passed and I quickly reviewed the results in the LCD screen.

The camera had been set in aperture priority when I grabbed it from the pack, and the resulting shutter speed of only 1/400th of a second gave me a slightly blurry action image. Not acceptable. To my delight, the rider and horse turned around and approached me. We chatted for a minute about the weather and the great day, and she readily agreed to do the charge through the surf one more time, just for me. This time with a shutter speed of 1/1000 at an ISO of 400, I was ready, and got the shot. I agreed to send her a print or a file. I’m also hoping she’ll sign a model release which will increase the prospects for sale of the photograph as a stock image.

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