"Oh, I love the cartoon!!" Susan C., Editor, San Mateo Daily Journal
The cartoon was not meant to show off my Microsoft Paint skills, but meant to get some important points across to my subjects before I started arranging them. I wanted to be sure that the "blond" on the right could not be stepped on by the horse should it decide to turn. I also wanted the horse's attention on the rider, seen at the left, who is probably in a better position to control the horse down should it get skittish. In either case, the protective measures shouldn't be too obvious when it comes time to make the photo.
What Really Happened: As it turned out, there were some children competing the "6 and Under" event. The publicist had suggested that I contact them, since they were the grandchildren of a well-known equestrian trainer. I did, and found them impossibly cute. I decided that this was shot worth taking, and an opportunity to try the P7700 on an actual assignment. Quick equipment summary for shot: Nikon P7700, ISO 100, 1/500 of as second, F 4.0. Lighting was provided by 2 Nikon SB-800s, set to 1/2 power, fired through a Zumbrella on a light stand placed as close to the left-hand stalls as I could. I put it by a "tack room", assuming there wouldn't be any in-and-out traffic. I chose this camera, even though the exposure value could have been duplicated with my D7000 by setting the camera to ISO 100, 1/250th of a second, and F 5.6. I had plenty of flash power with the twin SB-800s. I chose to stay with the P7700 because it had the higher useable flash synchronization speeds, and because I wouldn't really know how bright the sunlight would be when I found a good location..
In the end, I submitted the first shot. At the time, there was no way to know that a better shot wasn't just waiting to be taken, so I just kept shooting, trying to make the next shot a tad better than one I just made.
But shooting as quickly as I do, I don't have time to make my final choice in real time. I barely have time to take a quick peek at each shot with a Hoodman Hood Loupe. In actual practice, I really only have time to check for "blinkers" and for "blinkies", the latter the name that is given to the over-exposed portions of the image which "blink" on the LCD display when the image is reviewed.
I was pleased (enough) with the shot, so if my editor wanted a "cute" shot with horses, it was in the can.
To be continued...