Trip report: Moolmanshoek – July 19-21, 2013

A few weekends ago my wife and I joined a group of fellow photographers from Bloemfontein for a weekend of fun on a farm called Moolmanshoek in the Eastern Free State. The main aim was to take photos of the pride of the farm – horses. The trip was initiated and organised Bessie Vermeulen from our group of photographers and what a success despite the cold conditions. Thanks, Bessie and well done! We need to do it again.

 

The road from Winburg to Senekal had not stop-and-go and the potholes on the road between Senekal and Rosendal were all filled up.  So it was a smooth ride. Arriving at the farm on Friday afternoon, it was all relaxing and get all the necessary arrangements in place/ready for Saturday. We did not stay at the main lodge but we stayed at the self-catering units at Langesnek Leadership Centre (just a km or two away from the main lodge. We spent the Friday evening in front a huge fire in the fire place indoors with lots of dogs keeping us company.

 

An early Saturday morning as we had to rise before sunrise in order to get some actions shots with sunrise through the trees. It was freezing cold and the grass was white with frost. Here is an example of the early morning shots:

Horses and sunrise 1400 300k 72d sRGBHorses and sunrise

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 70mm-200mmf2.8 lens @190mm, ISO800, 1/2500 sec, f8, exposure comp = -0.67, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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Then another horse ran into the camp and I decided to give panning another try – just because of the low light condition and a very busy background. Had to quickly change my camera setting for “panning mode”. The two examples with some degree of success – not easy to do panning without some sort of support like a monopod:

 

Horse panning 2 1400 300k 72d sRGB WHorse panning 2

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 70mm-200mmf2.8 lens @200mm, ISO200, 1/15 sec, f8, exposure comp = 0, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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Horse panning 3 1050 300k 72d sRGB WHorse panning 3

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 70mm-200mmf2.8 lens @200mm, ISO160, 1/20 sec, f8, exposure comp = 0, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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After the early morning session it was time to capture some running action. This was one of the helpers to get the horses running – as you can see from the camera setting, we were ready to capture some action shots but I just love the horseman in the early morning light:

 

Horse rider 1050 300k 72d sRGB KHorse rider

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 70mm-200mmf2.8 lens @200mm, ISO800, 1/8000 sec, f4, exposure comp = -1.00, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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And then the action shots:

 

Horses galloping 1 1400 300 72d sRGB K WHorses galloping 1

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 70mm-200mmf2.8 lens @130mm, ISO400, 1/3200 sec, f8, exposure comp = -1.67, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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White horse 1050 300k 72d sRGB KWhite Horse

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 70mm-200mmf2.8 lens @200mm, ISO800, 1/4000 sec, f8, exposure comp = -1.00, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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I’ve tried to convert the image above into monochrome – you’ll be the judge:

 

White horse 1050 300k 72d sRGB K BWWhite Horse – monochrome

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 70mm-200mmf2.8 lens @200mm, ISO800, 1/4000 sec, f8, exposure comp = -1.00, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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After that, the horses were chased into a camp where it was possible to get some more action shots. Once again, tried some panning shots with some degree of success:

 

Horses panning 1 1400 800k 300d sRGB K Y WHorse panning 1

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 70mm-200mmf2.8 lens @200mm, ISO200, 1/25 sec, f22, exposure comp = +1.33, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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And as the horses were “leaving” the enclosed area through a gate – another great moment to capture some action shots. This action was not expected and my camera settings were not set for the current condition as I clipped some of the highlights on the horses at the back. Nevertheless, here is the image:

 

Horses through gate 1400 300k 72d sRGBHorse through gate

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 70mm-200mmf2.8 lens @90mm, ISO200, 1/400 sec, f2.8, exposure comp = +0.67, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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And finally we had the opportunity to get some portrait and close-up shots while the horses were relaxing. Now it was getting difficult as it was already late morning with the sun getting higher:

 

Horse head 1 1050 300k 72k sRGB WHorse head

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 17mm-35mmf2.8 lens @35mm, ISO200, 1/500 sec, f11, exposure comp = -0.33, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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There horses 1400 300k 72d sRGB WThree horses

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 17mm-35mmf2.8 lens @25mm, ISO200, 1/1000 sec, f8, exposure comp = -0.33, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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Eye of the horse 1050 300k 72d sRGB K WEye of the horse

Nikon D3S camera with Nikkor 70mm-200mmf2.8 lens @200mm, ISO800, 1/2500 sec, f11, exposure comp = -0.67, Aperture priority, WB = sun, handheld.

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Many thanks to Moolmanshoek and the staff providing us with the opportunity to photograph some of their stunning horses. An experience not to forget. And finally, here are the warriors braving the bitter cold conditions on a winter Saturday morning:

 

The photographers 1400 300k 72d sRGB WThe photographers and the horse men/woman

 

Message to take home:

I am not really a horse person but a photographer has to love what he or she is doing. If you love what you are doing, practice comes easy. Only then will you have more and more perfect moments! I do love action photography and therefore I would practice as much as I can. If opportunity knocks, I’ll answer and I’ll be there. Just remember, the camera is driven by human passion.

 

Until my next trip report, keep on enjoying what you are doing and keep on shooting!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. #1 by hogsbackphotos on August 27, 2013 - 4:50 pm

    Well done Willem.

    • #2 by whk139 on December 19, 2013 - 8:53 am

      Hi Josef – thanks for the comment.

  2. #3 by Alison Duncan on December 17, 2013 - 5:58 am

    Please let me know if you guys organise another one of these trips. I would LOVE to attend

    • #4 by whk139 on December 19, 2013 - 8:52 am

      Hi Alison – you can just contact the people at Moolmanshoek for a weekend break. They are very friendly and helpful. Have fun!

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