Photographing any big international event brings with it specific challenges. Covering large three-day and four-day horse trials is no exception.
Although the title of this article is Badminton Horse Trials Photos. some of the challenges are photography related, others most definitely aren't!
This portrait of Tom Jackson and Waltham Fiddlers Find is a classic example of one of the relaxed and informal photos that are possible while riders graze their horses on the lawn in front of Badminton House. The proximity of the front lawn to the stables means that at most times of the day there are horses grazing there and, with the house's facade in the background, it is the perfect place for "I was there" type images.
One of the problems which this presents, however, is the fact that as the house front faces North, the sun is nearly always behind the house, as can be seen from the shadows in the foreground of the photo. This leaves the subject's face and anything else facing the camera, unlit and potentially in shadow.
The solution, which needs preparation in advance, is battery-operated flash powerful enough to overcome the sun and fill in the shadows. This normally requires more than just a flashgun. In this case it was a 360W portable flash which I mounted on a lightweight stand and took with me. The difference it made was significant, creating a nice contrasty image with detail in the shadows.