20/10/16 – Stow Horse Fair

On Thursday we attended the annual gypsy horse fair at Stow on the Wold, in which travellers from all over England gather to buy and sell goods and auction off horses. I was initially very nervous about this shoot as I thought it would be predominantly portrait work and I am still not confident with asking people if I can take their image. Even with consent forms given to us to offer people, I didn’t think I could do it and was very wary therefore about going. However, when we arrived at Stow on the Wold, we saw it was a very picturesque town and I knew instantly I would not to focus on people when there was so many views to shoot around me.

A lot of my images from the day were shot off the hip because I was very nervous about annoying anyone on what is an important day for the travellers. However, I managed to get a few of people passing by and a couple of people even asked for their photos to me taken by myself and my coursemates.

The first image which I liked was this one. I shot this image using an ISO of 200, an aperture of F6.3 and a shutter speed of 1/200 sec. This image was taken on the way up to the horse fair, and although we did stand directly in front of the police officers and the horses and take their pictures, this one was take off the hip (which is why there are a couple of details missing). Although it isn’t really a full image as the horses head and the police officer are missing, I like it.I like the focus on the “uniform” the horse has on rather than the horse’s face as it does show the distinction between this working horse, and the ones which I later shot being sold at the fair. I also like that the colours in the image are all quite neutral aside from the bright yellow, which really stands out.


This next image I really like due to the amount of detail in the fur. This was also taken with an ISO of 200 and aperture of F5.6, and with a shutter speed of 1/350 sec. I like the depth of field in this image, how everything else is out of focus and this woman is clearly the main subject. I enjoyed taking images from behind people rather than face on as I feel I could, in a way, control how natural they looked. In a portrait, no matter what it is always going to look posed. However, this I feel is a lot more natural. 1

I also like this image that I shot from behind. I chose to take an image of this man because I particularly liked his hat. And I really like this image because I like how central he is in the image, and I’ve managed to take exactly the back of his hat, so it’s almost very symmetrical also. I also like how the horse boxes are in the background because it puts the image into the context of where we are. It also shows that he is looking at them, making a viewer see him as a horse owner or a potential buyer rather than just a passer-by. I shot this using an ISO of 200 again, an aperture of F9 and 1/160 sec shutter speed. I think the aperture was a good choice with this because there is a decent amount of detail particularly in the hat, which is what I saw as the main focus. 8

I got various images of horses at this event. One that I particularly like is this one. 17

I like the whole composition of the image; having the horse in the foreground, then the keeper and then the hills in the background, almost using “the rule of 3”. I took this image again with an ISO of 200, an aperture of F8 which I feel gave the image a wider depth of field, allowing the other horses to be in focus and not just the keeper.


The above photo is my favourite image from the day. I only got the chance to take one photo because the man was rather hostile with people taking pictures of the puppies, so I’m particularly happy with the outcome. I used an aperture of F7.1 which I feel enabled the blur in the background thus allowing the puppy to be sharp and in focus. I also used a shutter speed of 1/320 second as the puppy was moving, so I feel this froze the movement quite well.

When I found out this shoot would be taking photos of “gypsies” I was particularly excited to view their caravans as I know some can be rather extravagant. I thought these two presented a kind of juxtaposition; the one on the left is not so extravagant and the sign almost adds to idea of it not being that amazing; whereas the one on the right is exactly as I pictured, reminding me of a palm readers’ caravan from films. I feel these are a great contrast to each other. These were both taken using a shutter speed of 1/160 second, however aperture wise the first image used F10, and the second F8, which I feel shows in the slight light difference – the first one being slightly darker. Perhaps that slight difference adds to the contrast in ideas on these caravans, the lighter one adding to the “niceness” of it, so if I were to compare two images like this again it would be an idea to use the same aperture.

One thing that I enjoyed on this shoot was taking images of people as they were just going about their business. As I said previously, I don’t particularly like taking images of people while they know as it does seem unnatural, even if it is in context and in a natural environment; it tends to look posed. I feel the first image above works well even though it wasn’t posed or asked to be taken. I loved the natural stance of this man and his dog and felt I had to document it. I also like how the blue of his clothes almost matches the blue tent in the background, which pulls him into the image more but also allows the dog to be noticed a lot more. I shot this image with an aperture of F10, which I feel gives just the right amount of light to show the colours in the man’s clothing and the tent. The second image above was shot off the hip and had to be straightened when editing. I like it because the mum and dad are looking in the same direction at something, clearly distracted, whereas the children are focused on going forward, which I think is nice. Also, I like that the parents are holding the younger girl’s hands, showing a nice family connection, almost giving them their own story amid the story of the horse fair. I took this image with an aperture of F5.6 as it was relatively gloomy weather at this stage in the day, so it allowed enough light into the image. It also has a shutter speed of 1/320 second as they were clearly walking so I had to freeze them.


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