Last weekend I'm pretty sure I did something that none of you did. I can't guarantee it, but I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who went to a Halloween party... for horses. Yep, that's right, I went to a Halloween party at a ranch, for horses, AND their owners. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun and I think I got some pretty good pictures. That's two weekends in a row and did something for the first time that ended up being a great photo opportunity. In fact, many of the challenges I encountered last weekend with the cyclocross race, I encountered this weekend with the horses. Moving subjects that were all over the place, moving at different speeds and challenging backgrounds. The saying you can bring a horse to water but you can't make him drink, goes for taking photos too! You can never get the horse to look where you want, when you want, but if you're patient and wait for just that right moment, you can get some great pictures. It was fun to just roam around the grounds, taking pictures when I wanted, of who I wanted and I think people are probably glad I did. They had hired another photographer for the event, but he was more focused on taking portraits of the people dressed in costume with their horses. I took the opportunity to take some candids of people participating in different events, having fun and eating bbq. Next year I'm gonna throw my hat in the ring to be the official photographer for the event. Because one, I like bbq and two, I like bbq and I'll do anything twice if there's bbq involved. Did I mention they even had a bbq!!
One thing I would definitely have done differently is bring a reflector. If you're taking pictures outside (or even inside with studio lighting or flashes), it's just about the best $30 you can spend. Even ones as large as 50" can be bought for under $50. If you're just starting, try a smaller one and it will cost you less than $30, but I'd get the largest one you can afford. They fold up small, so size shouldn't be an issue. They also are reversible and usually come with different covers, so you can either diffuse light or reflect light depending on how you use it and if you reflect it, the different covers allow you to reflect white light, golden light or you can even use it with the black cover to block light. The reason I would have wanted one at the ranch was because a lot of the riders were wearing those cute little horse riding helmets and they have those little visors on them. That meant that for the people wearing them, in most of their photos their eyes were shaded. If I would have had the reflector, I could have bounced light back up into their faces, revealing their eyes. I could have also used a flash to do basically the same thing, but I thought that would freak out the horses... and I left that in the car too.