This is my fourth year of photographing the New York State Fair Barrel Racing Championship event. Barrel racing is an exciting horse riding event where rider and horse circumvent around three empty 55 gallon barrels arranged in a triangle. The object is to race around each barrel without knocking any of them over. Time is kept for each run and the fastest horse and rider wins.
Horses dig in as they round each barrel leaning at almost impossible angles. Dirt being thrown in all directions. Riders looking ahead to the next barrel.
The 2010 event featured a lot of barrels knocked down and, for the first time, I saw a horse loose its footing and go down. I think a lot had to do with the change of surface in the Coliseum. In years past it was a thick layer of natural dirt. In an effort to save money, there is now a synthetic dirt surface which is not as good for the horse’s footing on such a high speed agility course.
Considering they have less than 30 feet to stop after breaking the timing laser before hitting the end boards, they fly at full gallop after rounding the last barrel.
The Coliseum at the New York State Fairgrounds was where my daughter competed in show horse competitions for years. I was never able to get any good photos of her as my film cameras and lenses were not good enough, even with flash and panning, to get consistent results. The Nikon D700 digital SLR camera and Nikon 70-200VR f/2.8 lens gave me excellent results without flash. No noise reduction was used on any of the photos above.
I’ll bet the photos you did get of your daughter are precious, and the memories evergreen.
And I’ll bet the rider in that last image will treasure it a long time from now. What a great shot!
Oh, yes, I treasure those photos Gerry no matter how underexposed and grainy they turned out to be.
She did have a great expression once she looked up after rounding the last barrel.
I do so enjoy barrel racing and missed the events here this year for barrel racing. These are great action shots! Wow on the third shot as rider and horse go down!
Funny thing there, Anna, was the barrel did not move. I would like to photograph barrel racing with better light for faster shutter speeds someday.
I’m pretty sure in a race against a static barrel I’d win… 😉
Synthetic dirt??? Seriously?? Never thought I’d hear such a thing!
Great DOF on the last shot! That cowgirl is going for gold!! 🙂
LOL…I bet you just would, too, Tracy. 😉 There is a name for the dirt but I couldn’t remember it so synthetic worked as it is not natural. Stuff looks hard and slippery to me but the horses manage.
Thanks, still getting used to what the D700 can do.
Wow, such great action photos you have made, I am surprised about the time, – only 1/160 s. You have to give the girl at the last photo a copy, it is such a wonderful and happy photo. Synthetic dirt…..poor horses.
Thank you, Birgitte. That shutter speed worked best and I tried to catch the horses when they were not moving fast unless I was panning with them. I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow.
Love the last shot – the expression on her face and the slight motion blur on the horse’s legs is great.
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The dirt looks so real especially in photos. I love the last shot, such expression on her face. I hope you did some panning photos. 🙂
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