Fiesta of the Spanish Horse 2008

May 5, 2008

A Noble Event

Every year one event brings together excitement and horses and fund raising for a good cause. All the proceeds from each years event goes to the American Cancer Society, the USC Norris Cancer Center, and the Roy and Patricia Disney Cancer Center. The Extravaganza is where the best acts and the most polished Spanish horse breeds are shown off. Photographing this event is challenging. This year we sat in the box seats to get a close look. The Equidome is lit inside but it isn’t bright enough for say ISO 100 film or that setting on a Digital camera. Jamie and I shot ISO 800 film and shot digitally in both 800 and 1600 modes. This was in an effort to keep the shutter speeds above 1/90th of a second.

All the Excitement

The event is very exciting all the way through. We saw trick riders who rode their horses while hanging offTrick Rider flipping in front of horse the side of the saddle upside down or while standing on the saddle while using no hands. One of the two trick riders even swung in front of their horse to the other side and got back on. The crazy thing is the horses steer themselves when the riders are doing these tricks. So both horse and rider have to trust each other.

The other exciting thing to see is when the horses are taught to jump straight up in the air from a standstill. This is called a capriole. It’s not something you would see if you’ve been to a thousand horse shows but each year you can see it at the Fiesta. Shooting such an act is difficult as you can imagine. The photographer on the floor of the arena had a powerful strobe.Horse perfoming capriole Being in the stands meant not being afforded that option. Therefore we had to rely on a high ISO and a quick response on the shutter. If our camera’s had any shutter lag once the shutter had been pressed we would miss the shot. That is the thing I love about our XT and the Canon A2E I was shooting film with. Both of these cameras have little to no shutter lag.

“Awww, how cute!”

Every year the Fiesta trots out the newborn foals with their mothers. This year one of them was only 5 days old! The reaction of course is unanimous. “Awww, how cute”, is what I hear from the whole audience. Taking this picture wasn’t hard at all. Any shotFoal and Mare would do but I think this shot on the right demonstrates the interaction between foal and mare especially well.

I could write on for days about all the wonderful acts you can see at this show. I can’t show them all here though so be sure to head over to the Gallery to check out all the photos. We put them under the Horses category.