It is amazing what is achieved with guidance and a little help. Some of the pictures that the photographers achieve from these trips are an absolute knockout. In fact, I don’t recall that any of the photographers I have taken to these horse trotting races has every failed to produce at least one god photograp

Photojournalism technique to gather pictures

I always like to present a challenge for the photographers on our Photography Holidays, and in Menorca the first challenge normally comes quite early in the week.

The photographers arrive at various times on the Friday. On Saturday morning we get together for a chat so that I can look at everyone’s photographs. We have lunch beside the pool with sparkling cava and dishes of authentic Menorcan tapas – it’s all included in the cost of the holiday. In the afternoon we take a short walk along the cliffs to the next village just to get our shutter fingers working.

Photography Holiday - action photography

In at the deep end - photographers get to grips with the techniques of panning with both fast and slow shutter speeds on the first day of their Photography Holiday with Philip Dunn

Then comes the real challenge – in the evening I take the photographers to the local horse trotting races.

Many of the photographers have never attempted to capture high speed action before, so the difficulties of panning with fast or slow shutter speed can come as a bit of a shock.

photography holiday - panning technique

Panning with a slow shutter speed - one of the techniques used to convey a dramatic sense of speed. I this case a shutter speed of just 1/25sec was used to create the action blur. Photography by Philip Dunn

It is amazing what is achieved with guidance and a little help. Some of the pictures that the photographers achieve from these trips are an absolute knockout. In fact, I don’t recall that any of the photographers I have taken to these horse trotting races has every failed to produce at least one god photograph.

photography holiday menorca - freezing the action

A fast shutter speed of 1/2500 was used to freeze the movement in this action photograph of the horse trotting in Menorca. Photography by Philip Dunn

One of the joys of covering these events in Menorca is the fantastic welcome extended to our photographers by the people who run the trotting events. This is definitely not a big league commercial event. It is run by the participants themselves – local people who love horses and are happy to help our photographers get great pictures.

The level of concentration on the main subject – horses and riders – when covering events like these can be intense. Rightly so if you are to produce powerful images. But I do try to guide the more advanced photographers in some of the techniques used by any professional photojournalist worth his salt.

One of these techniques is to ensure your eyes are kept wide open in order not to miss all the other photo opportunities that might present themselves. For instance, while walking up the dusty track between races, I encountered an old man walking the other way. I liked the look of the old boy and the look of the place he was in – so I captured the photograph. Not directly to do with the horse trotting, but a pleasing and atmospheric picture nevertheless.

And one that would have been missed if my eyes had been blinkered like some of the horses in the trotting races.

photojournalism technique in gathering pictures

The basic photojournalist technique of keeping one's eyes open for every opportunity will enable you to capture all aspects of a potential photo essay.

It is worth remembering that these ‘extra’ pictures can be tremendously valuable when selling your photo essay to a magazine or newspaper. They can add an extra dimension to your set of photographs and give the whole feature greater depth.

I often return alone to the horse rotting races when all the photographers have gone home. It always produces interesting photographs, and I am able to share them with the events organisers – it goes some way to repay the hospitality we receive.

We will be heading back to the horse trotting races on the next Photography Holiday in September. There are still some places available – so book your place now.

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