A photographer friend called, last week, and offered me an opportunity to shoot a polo match with him. Now, this isn’t the usual crowd of folks I hang out with on the weekends, but I have been around horses on many occasions. (I know what you’re thinking, and, no, I’m not counting pony rides.) I live in northern Virginia, right next door to horsey country. My daughter rode on the William and Mary equestrian team. My family even owned a horse when I was a youngster. But I’d never gotten real chummy with the polo crowd; it turned out to be a fun and interesting day.
The polo match took place in the middle of the day, but you have to play the cards as they are dealt. In this case, it was more of a help than a hindrance because I wanted lots of light to freeze the fast pace of the riders. There was also an overcast sky, so the light wasn't too bad. I kept the sky out of most of my photos to reduce that problem. The even lighting was nice for the few close-up shots I got. (Notice, they actually do wear the shirts.) ;-)
Since I'm primarily a people photographer, I didn't have a nice long lens, like the one I rented for this summer's Alaska trip. Although I had enough notice to rent the big glass, the weather report was too iffy to spend the money. So, I had my 70-200, with a 1.7 teleconverter. Naturally, I had some constraints, but I got close enough to the boundary line to catch some decent photos, and my camera wasn't tied down to a big tripod. You do not want to try to hand-hold a big telephoto lens weighing in at 8 pounds or more. In addition to the mobility, I had time to prepare for shots while the players were too far away for my equipment. Then, faster than you can say "Muybridge," they were back within my range.