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Behind the Shot: Billy Slater Zara Tindall MBE (née Phillips) Delfina Blaquier

Canon 7D

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 favorite shots. 

Rider: Billy Slater, Zara Tindall MBE (née Phillips), Delfina Blaquier 

Event: 2023 Magic Millions Celebrity Polo Match 

Location: Gold Coast, Queensland 

Camera Type/Settings: Canon EOS 1DX Mark II 300mm Lens ISO 250 f4 1/1250 sec 


Polo is always a little challenging to shoot because unlike dressage or show jumping, you never know where the action is going to be. It’s a little bit of guesswork mixed with good luck.  

I always like to shoot polo from ground level so this means getting down and dirty, and often being in the line of fire! While this looks like the riders are coming straight for me, it was shot on my 300mm lens so there was some zoom involved.  

The aperture for a shot like this has to be wider too, as there is more than one point of focus to get right. However, it can be rare to get all the riders, horses, polo mallets and the ball in one composition – and this was one of those special moments. 

Why this shot is special: 

The polo celebrity match at Magic Millions is always fun and has a great atmosphere, but make no mistake, it is highly competitive.  

Billy Slater is a very good polo player and always gives one hundred percent to his performance. Here he is in full flight about to whack the ball, but hot on his heels in the blue hat is Olympian Zara Tindall MBE (daughter of Anne, Princess Royal, and Captain Mark Phillips, granddaughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II, and niece of King Charles III) a great rider and competitor who has represented her country on many occasions. 

Also determined not to let Billy get away Is Argentina’s Delfina Blaquier (in the pink hat). Delfina is married to Argentinian polo megastar Nacho Figueras, ranked world Number 6, and is a great player in her own right. I really like that this image highlights the horses’ athleticism as well as the riders’ absolute commitment to the game.  

I think the shot gives such a strong feeling of being there in the moment, watching the action with the thundering of hooves, the dust, the speed, the sun shining, and the players’ win at all costs attitude. 

Michelle is available for event, commercial, and private shoots. Visit Michelle Terlato Photography to view her impressive portfolio.