This year I was once again commissioned by Land Rover to photograph the Burghley Horse Trials for them as title sponsor.
In addition to photographing the equestrian competition event in a way which incorporates Land Rover branding I was asked to photograph the Land Rover “activations”: the company’s stands, hospitality areas and other public-facing activities.
The images taken during the event are available here: Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2019.
No photography, just helping with setup and build.
On Wednesday morning a new Land Rover Defender arrived on a lorry to be installed on a plinth in front of the Land Rover trade stand. My job was to then photograph the car on the plinth before the area got too busy with members of the public.
The plinth had been partly built and needed to be finished. The car itself also needed additional work as it had to be camouflaged inside and out to prevent details of the finished car being made public before the official launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show, two days after Burghley
Thursday – Dressage Day One
In short, it wasn’t ready until after the first horse inspection, and by then the roped off area around the plinth was surrounded by people. I decided to return early on Thursday and try again.
The traffic into Stamford on Thursday was the worst I can ever remember, backing up all the way the A43 exit on the A1. The traffic and parking coordinators also forgot that the Press have a car park for a reason, so I was forced to struggle about half a mile with rucsac, camera bag, laptop bag, ladder and big lens case. Not fun.
Dressage day one afforded me time to do quite a lot of the Land Rover activation photography between a small number of tests I wanted to photograph. Brand Ambassador Eliza Stoddart was one test that I wanted to see and shoot on her debut at Burghley – she went into the lead and stayed there for the rest of the day.
Friday – Dressage Day Two
Another mixed day of dressage, Land Rover activations, and Dubarry Young Event Horse.
Saturday – Shetland Grand National and Cross Country
My Saturday began in the main arena at 9am where the Shetland Grand National team were performing at Burghley for the first time.
Racing in aid of the Bob Champion Cancer trust the ponies took part in two qualifying races and a final, for which the first four from each heat were eligible.
Then it was off out onto the cross country course where the main event was starting just after 11am. I spent my day moving between Land Rover sponsored fences (By The Lake, Lion Bridge, Trout Hatchery, Discovery Valley, Finale and Arena Fountain) attempting to photograph the action and include Land Rover branding wherever possible. In particular we wanted a mixture of images of Land Rover Brand Ambassador Zara Tindall and to this end I set cameras up on the arena fence and then positioned myself in Discovery Valley where I could capture her in both directions. The arena fence was a remote camera fitted with a wide angle lens activated by a colleague from Land Rover’s PR company, but we wanted highly cropped detail shots in Discovery Valley so I used a 400mm for these.
Sunday – Show Jumping and prizes
Land Rover have three specific areas of branding on the final day of the competition.
Their signature parallel fence is the last on the course, so I set up a remote camera on that and get all of the top 25 riders over that fence. At the same time I photograph it with a different camera from a more head one angle so that these images can be used on the stand next year if necessary.
The winner receives a branded rug for their horse and this is another of my priorities. There are various times at which I can capture this, not least as the winner enters the arena for the prize giving, but my preferred opportunity is during the lap of honour, when the rider is normally displaying more emotion. One of these shots also ended up on the front of Horse & Hound.
The final “must have” image is the winner with the Land Rover Trophy, in front of the house, surrounded by Land Rover cars.