Well my freelance event season has certainly started!!
With other photographic things planned during the latter part of winter and early part of spring I knew when I took 2017 bookings in throughout winter last year that I’d need to give myself a late start to freelancing. Normally I get going around end of March/early April. This can prove to be somewhat cold and damp still, so actually starting at the tail end of April meant that hopefully my season wouldn’t start with me wrapped up like the Michelin man trying to operate!
My first booking of the season was at Bicton International Horse Trials in Devon with Jay Photos and the weather on the Friday was dry and often sunny too. In fact the whole weekend was bright. Yep, it had its chilly moments but c’mon this is April still!
Despite the house move last November, Bicton was still only an hour away for me, just in another direction which is great news as the team at this event centre work blinking hard all season on their ground, their facilities and making everyone truly welcome and I love going there.
My day was all cross country, Novice first off followed by Intermediate and my given fences were both drop fences. The novice being quite a meaty question for many at this stage of the season. I had lots of wiggly ‘snakes’ on the approach at times, a fair bit of vocal at times and the occasional odd launch or dramatic ‘all fours’ landings at times, but only a couple of stops. All in all it was fair and rode much better than those walking it thought it might.
Here’s a short video that gives you a quick insight into one of the fence choices on the tracks that day…
Now hear comes a lesson. Earlier in the week I’d had the main freelance camera back from its annual TLC / MOT trip. I’d been through the settings and checked all was ready and bar it still being on British Summer Time I was good to go. Few test shots before hand and it was packed for its job. Part way through the first class I wasn’t happy with it, at all. It was lagging and wasn’t really holding focus – or so I thought. I’d also recently had a change of contact lens prescription, specifically for this kind of work. They were trialling my dominant eye and getting them to work independently of each other (yep, freakkkk!) So I really wasn’t sure whether the camera was now faulty, whether my eyesight was playing tricks or what. My confidence in my ability fell through the floor. I was about to resort to another camera body I have when I checked one last setting on the camera and discovered the problem! I’d missed something pretty simple on it’s return and in the process of trying to figure it out or thinking it was something from a more complicated aspect, I’d overlooked something basic! I was livid with myself, I felt like a total novice for that moment.
Gave myself a good telling off but moved on, you just can’t afford to get distracted in this sport.
You resolve, you learn, you move on.
From then on, the images went back to how I’d expect them to be and my confidence rocketed!
Saturday saw me at a bit of a loose end due to a local event being cancelled earlier in the month, so what to do….?
I know, I’ll go for a 5 hour round trip and head up to Hambleden on the Bucks/Oxon border to catch up with others and keep pushing that confidence back upwards before the next booking on Sunday.
I caught up with 2 fellow photographers who weren’t part of the official photography team but who were there doing some onsite portrait shoots. I also caught up with the OEP team who I work with at times. Was so good to see some familiar faces after a the long winter break and the house move!
Sunday was a nice late start at Pontispool EC for a One Day Event, again with the Jay Photos team. First time to this Somerset event centre and its a very nice place. Lovely setting, surrounded by beautiful trees. Riding Club ODE’s are usually a fun day for all and I always enjoy grassroots events of this nature. I LOVE seeing the big grins on the approach to fences and the voices of encouragement. We all know its not aimed at the pony, he can do it with his eyes shut 😉
Watch my clip from Class 1 at this events.
So, that was my first weekend back. A total baptism of fire. A MASSIVE lesson learnt but most of all, it was just great to be back out amongst familiar faces!