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Behind the Shot

One of Australia’s top equestrian photographers, MICHELLE TERLATO travels the world capturing equestrian athletes in action. Each month she shares one of her favourite shots.

Rider: Scott Brash (UK)

Horse: Hello Jefferson

Event: 2022 FEI World Equestrian Championships Individual Jumping in Herning, Denmark.

Camera & Settings: Canon 1DX II 70-200 lens, ISO 3200 f 2.8 1/2000 sec.

Challenges: There were two big challenges with this shot. The first was shooting late at night. Usually used for football, the stadium was very well lit in comparison to what we frequently work with at Australian venues – but fast moving subjects and often very dark colours don’t make the job any easier! The most obvious challenge was to capture the moon in the shot. It only hit the right spot in the sky above this oxer towards the last 10 to 12 riders. I wanted to capture the moon, but I had to keep in mind that I also needed the winning shot – so I couldn’t afford to experiment too much in case I missed it and had no shot at all!

Why is this shot special?: Few other photographers were in this corner location and I don’t think they’d noticed the full moon. The perfect spot to capture the shot was in the stadium corner in front of the television broadcasters. Because we couldn’t block their view, I had to stay low and wide to avoid annoying them.

Then I had to get down to almost ground level in order to get the right trajectory to capture the moon above the rider, basically acrobatics with cameras! Too high and I ended up with just black sky, too low and I cut off the bottom of the jump. Then there was the speed of the horse and capturing it at the right time over the jump: not too early at takeoff and not too late landing.

However, the end result was several shots of the world’s top riders jumping at night with a full moon. Wonderful!

I was thrilled with this shot of Scott. I think the moon provides unique atmosphere, along with the crowd and the stadium signage, plus Hello Jefferson is a lovely colour – not too dark. I hope you like it.

Michelle is available for event, commercial, and private shoots. Visit Michelle Terlato Photography to see more of her stunning work.