The Making of "Traditional Cavalry"

How the winning photo of the "Action" contest was made

By Y.goussyra in Photo Contests on Jun 28, 2019


"Traditional Cavalry" by Y.goussyra

First thank you very much everyone who voted for me in this photo contest. I am exited by this result, and I also want to thank the organizers and administrators. I'm an amateur photographer and a member of the "PHOTO CLUB AGADIR" located in Morocco in the city of Agadir.

In July of 2018 I was at the FANTASIA festival in the south of Morocco. This festival hosts traditional cavalry competitions and I took some great pictures with my PENTAX K200D camera and these lenses: smc PENTAX-DA 50-200 F4-5.6 ED and smc PENTAX-DA 18-55 F3.5-5.6 AL.

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I chose the image above as my entry in this contest "Action". It was shot with the DA 50-200mm lens and the following settings:

  • Focal length 73mm (equivalent of 109mm in 35mm)
  • Shutter Priority (semi-automatic)
  • Shutter speed 1/20s
  • Aperture F13
  • ISO 100

I visited the festival with my friends from the photography club. I did not have any prior experience in taking pictures of this kind of action, but I made the decision to try. I took a lot of pictures without success, but after half an hour I understood how to adjust my PENTAX K200D body:

  • Set your camera on Shutter Priority mode
  • Choose a slow shutter speed
  • Use a tripod
  • Focus accurately (continuously)
  • Position myself correctly
  • Move along with the subject

But I did not have a tripod, so I missed a lot of pictures by not getting the subject as clear as I wanted since I was following the movement with the camera directly in my hands. Without a tripod it was difficult to keep it stable with a long exposure time even with the DSLR stabilizer activated which has otherwise served me well. So I switched method and followed the movement of the subject with my trunk.

(click image to enlarge)

During post-processing, after making the basic adjustments and correcting the histogram in the Adobe Camera Raw module, I concentrated on limiting the motion blur, but accentuated it a little on the head of the horse at the front.

(click image to enlarge)

I used the Adobe Photoshop filters unsharp mask, shake reduction and high pass in fusion "overlay" mode, see these screen shots:

And then I removed the wires in the background with the healing brush tool:

And finally I adjusted the colors with the adjustment layer “Gradient Map".

Thank you again,

- Y.goussyra

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