The Challenges of Fast Action Photography

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One of the gardians
How fast can horses run through water? Despite the heavy and clay-like mud conditions of the marshes of The Camargue, pretty fast. Fast enough to require a shutter speed of at least 1/1500s if the light conditions are good enough. With two camera bodies hanging off my shoulders, one with a wide angle lens and the other with a longer lens, I was sure I was adequately prepared to capture the movement of these beautiful creatures as they come thundering towards you, water spraying everywhere and glinting in the light. With the camera set on continuous high, it was an intense few minutes of concentration as you focus on the lead horse in the pack, and follow his movement through the water. Nothing quite prepares you for how beautiful these horses are, all white with long creamy manes which fly backwards as they run. Their gardians ensure they rest after each run as it is very tiring for them to run in the muddy conditions of the marshes - I know just how sticky that mud is after getting stuck and feeling quite trapped as I tried to pull my wellington boot out of the mud.

After a while you can almost predict their movements so that you time the shot to capture their hooves as they lift out of the water. It was a thrilling experience, and I came away with some images I was very pleased with - and not a single mosquito bite either!