After a couple of years of missing out, we finally got to go back to Courtmacsherry this year for the horse riding on the Strand.
It’s a great event and there are loads of great photos waiting there for anyone who is bold enough to take on covering it: horses galloping at full speed through sand & water; riders covered in muck; the odd horse loosing the steering on the corners; even a serious looking spill and of course the spectators make it too!
But you either have to commit to covering it or not. The view from the stands just doesn’t cut it (as you can see from my pic). And I was there for a family day out, not to disappear off on to the beach on my own for the afternoon.
There were a few photographers who did commit to the sands: definately a few press-pros amongst them. I reckon they got some great pics.
But all of them lacked one essential bit of kit for an event like this: wellies.
In fairness one guy had a high-vis vest and good walking boots but all the horse-people (who had been here before) had wellies. Another guy got inventive with plastic bags but that just didn’t work out and he got mucky in the end.
So what’s my point? Good preparation, research and planning are an important part of a successful photography assignment. You might get lucky and get something wonderfully spontaneous but your chances of good photographs improve on an regular basis if you do your homework and get in the right spot and have a good idea what might happen next (preferably with good light).
Of course you need the skills to capture it once you’re there too.
And some camera gear – but too often the attention is on the camera gear and not the things that let you get in the right spot – in this case it was simply a pair of wellies!
And how do I know? I did a session by a stream in Glengarriff with a small fella who loved to throw stones. The place to be was in the water just beyond where he was throwing so that he faced me. But I brought my walking boots – great for mud (which is what I predicted) but not great for wading out into the stream. That day I needed my wellies and I missed a couple of shots I would have liked to get because I didn’t have them.