Equine Photography Tips IV – Timing Over Fences
It’s been a while since we’ve revisited the equine photography tips series, but a Facebook fan and friend mentioned that I kind of dropped it off… whoops! She asked specifically about timing over jumps (amongst others I will cover soon!), so we’ll cover that today. If you want to play catch up, you can read the timing under saddle post or browse my entire equine photography archive.
Timing over fences photos is both the easiest and the stupidest hardest thing ever. Just like with under saddle photos, DSLR camera folks are going to have an advantage. If you’re shooting with a point and shoot camera, my advice is practice practice practice until you know how much lag time you’re dealing with. Then you can take the advice below and adjust your timing accordingly.
In our amateur competition world, there’s a good chance a lot of us aren’t jumping huge. In my opinion, this is actually the easiest type of jump to photograph. Most horses are doing an exaggerated canter stride over these lower heights, so all I do is click for my picture when both front knees are at the high point in the jump.
With around 2’0″ fences, oftentimes the horse’s hind feet are still on the ground at this point. You get the “cute knees” factor an idea of what kind of bascule the horse may have over bigger fences.
Closer to 2’6″ the idea is still the same but depending on the pace the horse is carrying and their scope, they may actually start to be really jumping at this point. If so, you still want the knees at their highest point but the hind feet will have just taken off the ground. 2’6″ – 3’0″ ish is the hardest height for me to nail as I will demonstrate by two bad photos and one good one.
Large Hunter Fences
With hunters, it’s all about style. You want to capture them doing the roundest jump possible with the tightest knees possible. The classic hunter photograph is approaching the peak of their jump but not at it quite yet. The horse should still be moving up, but their front legs should start to expand. You want to take the photo when the cannon bones are perpendicular to the ground. I have a habit of getting this shot slightly too early, so I can show you the difference.
Large Jumper Fences
With jumpers, it’s about tenacity and athleticism. For me, the ideal shot varies per horse. Is the jumper a classic style like McClain Ward’s Antares or do they need a belly guard because their knees are so damn tight over every fence? Like hunters, I try to take the photo still on the upward momentum but usually very close to the top of it. Jumpers are faster paced and very so much in style, there isn’t as much of a right or wrong way to shoot them like there is in hunters (at least in my opinion). When I shoot jumpers, I try to get shots that are WOW instead of “Oh good, they got over it.”
Chasing shots are when the horse is landing on the off side of a fence. For hunter/jumpers, it’s not an ideal shot but with Cross Country it seems to be more popular. My only examples are h/j shots. This one is easy to get… shoot while the horse is landing but before their feet have hit the ground 100%. Chasing shots tend to look better when they are 3/4th view instead of my few “good” examples which are almost straight on.
I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions about equine photography please feel free to share. I’m not an expert or a pro, but I’m always happy to share what I know!
23 thoughts on “Equine Photography Tips IV – Timing Over Fences”
Awesome tips!! Photographing jumping is my favorite, this is a great reminder to do it more often 🙂
Funny, but I never realized that I *hate* landing shots of hunters/jumpers but I like them of cross-country!
I kind of hate landing shots in general. I think people like them no XC because it showcases how gigantor those solid jumps are.
It’s very hard to grasp correct timing over fences. Good examples!
Mike takes my photos for me and found this post very helpful 🙂 Love all your examples. Even the ‘badly’ timed ones are stunning 🙂
Glad he liked it!
As always lovely pics!!
Thanks for the tips!
These pictures are great and the tips are awesome. I’ve been having my husband read all your photog tips since he is my sometimes camera man. Thank you!
And I know it is annoying to a lot of people to comment on this but gosh it seriously bothers me to see pictures of jumpers with their legs nearly parallel to the ground, toes pointed straight down and feet near their horses arse such as the 8th picture from the bottom. I know I don’t have “room to talk” as I don’t ride at that level and am far from perfect but it is so distracting. That gray is lovely but all I can think/look at is the train wreck waiting for a sudden stop to happen! (sorry!)
I need to do a post on that sometime using some of my grand prix pictures. I used to agree with you, but seeing some of the “unconventional” styles mixed with their INCREDIBLE “stickability” has made me re-think that.
These tips are great, I never knew there was so much to put into horse jumping photography 🙂
Your pictures are the best!
I personally love landing shots, regardless of if it’s jumpers or XC. One of my favorite pictures of myself and my horse is a landing shot; that could have as much to do with the face I’m making as it does with how cool we look. (http://s9.postimg.org/j4zcpqp8v/landing.jpg)
That’s a cool shot! You looking for the next fence totally makes it.
Chasing shots are only so popular with cross country because most of the times the actual jump isn’t that pretty ;P (Lol, it is kind of true that the crappier jump stylists turn into low-level event horses… not to mention when you’re jumping crazy obstacles at speed, sh*t happens!)
LOL I hadn’t thought of that before!
Landing shots on XC are really popular with drop fences, but not so much with regular fences. Like the drop into the Head of the Lake…. BAM! That is a really freaking long way down. http://www.dressagedaily.com/sites/default/files/article/image-gallery/oconnor-12k3de-0320.jpg
Drop fences are kind of a badassery ‘thing’ for eventers I suppose… it’s even in the USEA logo and all lol!
Some of those are some really great shots! Thank for the pointers! Even though I don’t really jump I found these so very helpful! Action shots in general are really hard to get!
Good info. It’s hard to get that just right shot. I don’t take them anymore since we stopped showing. I love the one with the horse coming straight at the camera. Must have been an interesting shot to get.
Great post! I am showing it to my husband (main horsey photographer) right now!
love love love this blog post. Its the photag in me. Great advice! My experience is in shooting people..posing… not fast moving leaping 12oolb animals. so this… very helpful!
Do you photograph in RAW? I try to but when photographing the horses jumping etc the lag between each photo makes it a bit harder to get it right at the peak of the jump. Do you have any tips?? I looovvveeee this serires btw keep it up!!