Monday, January 30, 2012

We have a winner!

Thank you to everyone who participated in my camera phone photography contest. It was very difficult to narrow it down to only one photo, but ultimately, it all came down to this eye-catching shot of Havre de Grace in the paddock before going on to dominate in the Grade I Beldame. Congratulations to the winning photographer, Derek Brown! Here is Derek's entry:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Photography Contest!

Yup, this is what you'll get if you win. puts out a racing calendar every year, and as I am one of their photographers, I get a complimentary calendar for my contributions. This year I have an extra, and thought it might be fun to hold a photography contest and give it to the winning entrant.

To put things on a level playing field, I decided to make the subject matter limited not just to racing, but to all animals. (I wasn't able to journey to my first horse racing track until I was a senior in high school, after all--how would 17-year-old me feel?) Even though technically, humans are animals, please no people shots. (Though if you sent me a fantastic picture of Bono, I would possibly make an exception. He sort of roars like a lion, right?)

Mighty Eclipse Winner

Mighty Mayberger at Hollywood Park
Let me tell you a secret about horse racing photographers: Not all of them even like horse racing. Pretty sad, isn’t it, as they are given some of the most intimate, up-close access to our great sport? These are the people who don’t know the names of the horses, don’t follow the race results, and don’t know the difference between an outrider’s pony and Zenyatta.

Then there is the other side of the coin. There are racing photographers out there who love the sport so much, they will travel across the globe to take thousands of breathtaking photos that most people will never see. They follow individual horses for the sheer love of the sport. (And the fact they are positively, one hundred percent, certifiably addicted to shooting the races.) They’re called crazy by some people—by those who just don’t understand.  

I will have been professionally photographing Thoroughbred racing for only three years this June, but I have met nearly all of the best racing photographers in that amount of time, because there are so few of us. It only takes about a single minute to figure out the motivation behind each of them. When I came upon the horse paparazzi at Belmont Park for my first time as a credentialed photographer, I had no clue I was about to meet people just as whacked out of their minds about racing as I was. I met every mindset of photographers—but in those so-called “crazies,” I found my people.