Sunday, June 5, 2011

Macho Uno... Portrait Session

EquiSport Photos has been on location this past week for one of our favorite clients, Adena Springs in Central Kentucky. Some pretty high profile stallions live there, like Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, top producer Awesome Again, Ghostzapper and Einstein.. one of the smartest horses out there. They also happen to be some of the best cared for horses on the planet!

Bill Drury (left in photo below with khaki cap) is the stallion manager, he always looks forward to our Parading the boys out to the paddock is just what he needs on a 90 degree June afternoon after a busy day in the breeding shed. But he always seems to have a smile on his face, and a cheap cigar between his teeth.

Wendy and I needed to produce a variety of photography for an upcoming ad campaign, from portrait and paddock, to scenic farm shots.
This is the scene for one of the portrait shots of Macho Uno, He is the sire of Mucho Macho Man... one of the Belmont Stakes favs.

Mucho Macho Man stands for a portrait at Adena Springs Farm. Photo: Wendy Wooley
6 of us are involved with the shot. 2 grooms handle the horse. Bill and an assistant get the horses attention. Wendy got this shot, and she handles the reflector duties. All I have to do is work the camera!

Macho Uno. Photo: Matt Wooley 1/1000 @ f/5, ISO 200, -1 EV, 150mm
 I'm working in Aperture Priority for this type of shot. To get this shot I set it on f/5 to get the right depth of field, and just adjust the Exposure Compensation dial until the background goes dark. We have talked about "riding the exposure dial" in a previous post. I want to get just a few Highlight Alerts on the white horse. If I had left the EV at 0, I would have a mucho blown out horse against the dark background. Notice my low perspective, I don't want the hip too high.
The photo that was submitted to the client was not cropped this closely. One of my hardest  lessons is learning to leave the final crop to the graphic designer. They will often need room for text in a full bleed ad or may want to add a gradient layer to resize the image.

Macho Uno. Photo: Matt Wooley 1/1600 @ f/5, ISO 200, 0 EV, 150mm

This is the shot the client selected. Again I have cropped it in a bit, more blue sky will be added as a gradient to the top, to make this a full page vertical spread. F/5 is a good aperture here as well, it keeps the focus on the horse. I'm shooting with a 70-200 at 150mm to compress the image, making the distant barn more prominent. 

Then it's out to the paddock. Wendy uses the 500mm and I have the 300. We are strategically placed for the best light. The groom walks the horse across the paddock and turns him loose. The stallions always have a bit of run in them after being in the stall.

Mucho Uno. Photo: Matt Wooley 1/2500 @ f/5. ISO 400, 0 EV, 300mm
I stay in Aperture for the paddock shots too. F/5 works well for keeping the entire horse sharp, and blurring out the distracting background. I raised the ISO to keep a good fast shutter speed.

It pays to keep an eye out to the adjacent paddocks when working on the farm. Wendy got this great shot of Giacomo doing his best "Bobby Badass" imitation.

Giacomo. Photo: Wendy Wooley 1/5000 @ f/4.5, ISO 640, 0 EV, 500mm

Capture the Light Equine is pleased to announce our Fall Bluegrass Equine Photography Workshop!
We had such positive response from our Spring 2011 Workshop, we are doing it again! Conveniently planned for the week before the Breeder's Cup, this class will be limited to 9 participants with 3 EquiSport instructors. Check out the details and drop us a line!

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