I’ve been spending the past couple of weeks hanging out at the Gulfstream Park watching the horse races. I know people like to go to the horse races to gamble but I just go to watch the races. One day sitting in the stands I got the idea that I wanted to photograph the races. Mainly I just wanted to photograph the horses as the rounded the last turn with dirt flying behind them.
After checking with the main office at Gulfstream Park to make sure it was OK for me to photograph the races, which it was, I picked a few of the early races to photograph. I found a little hole in the fence near the track right near the last turn so I camped out there with my D300 and 70-200 f/2.8 lens.
As I watched a couple of races to figure out the best angle for the shot I quickly realized how big the track at Gulfstream Park really is. Even zoomed out at 200mm I was still short. Maybe if I had a 1.4 or 1.7X tele-converter I might have been better able to really zoom in on the action. At least my D300 has the 1.5 crop factor which helps a bit.
I wanted to shoot some photos wide open at 2.8 and other photos I wanted to pan the lens and get some action blur photos. The tricky part was that these horses were moving fast and I mean fast. They sounded like thunder as they rounded the turn and you can hear the loud cracks of the whip as the jockeys were trying to get them to go even faster.
After each race you see a stream of people entering and leaving the stables at Gulfstream Park. Stable hands walk out the horses for the next race as other stable hands bring back the horses from the last race. I find it interesting that the horses being walked out for the next track are so clean while the horses from the last race are covered completely in dirt. I was able to grab some shots as the horses paraded in front of me.
I doubt I’ll ever place a bet at the Gulfstream Park track but I’ll go back to watch these majestic creatures fly around the track. Gulfstream Park is a mere 10 miles from my house and in the facilities around the track are numerous shops and restaurants. So if you’re ever in the area and want to catch a race then grab a bite to eat or even hit the casino, then Gulfstream Park is the place for you.