Equine Photographer West Sussex South of England Show 2017
Rural pursuits are a popular theme in the county I live in and I love to visit the South of England Show. This is held in the picturesque village of Ardingly in mid-Sussex and it’s a lovely day out. So you’re aware, I was there as a supporter, not as a professional professional. If you took part in the show and if you’re looking for photographs then the official South of England Show 2017 photographers are the ones to approach.
The weather is always a big subject here in the UK and it’s true to say that any large landmark show like this will tend to suffer either from baking temperatures or torrential rain. That’s just how it is in June in this country. However the weather was pretty much okay this time – well, at least it wasn’t roasting hot which is never pleasant for the participants. It was dull, a little damp, and rather chilly – but I find that more comfortable than the alternatives. Photographically speaking that’s going to force you into higher ISO values if you’re photographing action, but the conditions are still perfectly manageable.
Watching your shutter speed is crucial when photographing moving targets. Don’t make the mistake of compromising on that in order to protect your ISO – you’ll just end up with blurred images which aren’t any use to anybody.
As you would expect, pretty much everyone will attend with a camera, and this is a great location to practice different kinds of photography from portraits to classic sport photography. On this occasion I was travelling very light indeed, just one small camera and a fairly small lens – the Sony 18-105G which gives a useful ‘event shooting’ range in APS-C terms. Naturally I would have gained an even greater spectrum of photographs if I’d taken a much longer zoom, but I couldn’t be bothered on this particular occasion. At an outing like this the action takes place at fairly close quarters so don’t worry if you don’t possess any ultra-telephoto optics. Nor do you need equipment with particularly fast performance – most of the action is predictable in terms of direction and C-AF isn’t even necessary.
As always it’s impossible for me to say which animals I like the most, they’re all special and much loved by their owners and handlers. There’s also a great deal to learn about our native and local breeds, many of which are now in very short supply. It’s always worth going to large shows like this because that may be our only opportunity to see many of these animals.
Aside from the serious side of competitive showjumping and breed competitions, there’s also plenty of entertainment. One of my favourite acts was on display over the weekend – the Devils Horsemen. This is one of the best-known Equestrian stunt teams and there’s every chance you’ll have seen members of this group many times over if you watch action movies and historical dramas. In fact Camilla is the lead horsewoman in Game of Thrones. Dante the black stallion is very famous for his Lloyds Bank commercials.
Since this is an important part of the countryside calendar you’ll also see dignitaries in attendance. This year the Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit – she’s a friendly and approachable lady who is happy to chat to visitors and participants whilst presenting many of the awards and trophies.