I’ve been taking photos at Ajax Downs Racetrack for the past couple years and am always amazed at what I capture. This type of sports photography challenges both your technical and creative skills. As with many sports photos timing is everything. In horse racing the finish line is always the favoured location in order to capture the winner. Crossing the finish line happens so quickly that it’s more of instinct than planning when taking the photo. I shoot with two camera bodies for two very specific reasons. As for lenses I tend to stick to tow of my three ‘holy trio’ Canon lenses, the 70-200mm f2.8 and the 24-70 f2.8. One day I’ll bring the third lens (the Canon 16-35mm f2.8) to capture all the action.
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You can also see them on our Flickr page, Flickr Horse Photos.
My workhorse camera body is the Canon 7D. The 7D combines all the key elements I need for capturing the action, speed, focus and of course reasonable cost. It also uses the same battery as my other camera body the Canon 5D.
Between races I tend to use the Canon 5D to capture both jockeys and horses. The action is typically slower and well within the 5D’s speed range. More often I find myself using the Canon 5D for creative shots or portrait photos while in the paddock.
Just East of Toronto you will find one of the most dynamic racetracks in Ontario. Ajax Downs (formerly Picovs Downs) has grown over the years from a small racetrack to a high quality casino and racetrack. Ajax Downs Casino combined with the racetrack is a perfect match. While at the track finding better and more creative locations to shoot from presents many hurdles. The typical location to shoot from is right at the finish line, a place I find myself during most races, but there are many other spots to shoot from. I’ll flip back toward the paddock to just hang around and see what happens. Remember these horses are full of energy and holding it in is a struggle. While hanging out at the paddock I’ve had a number of opportunities to capture horses on the run or acting up.