Last sunday I took my kid in one hand, my now long obsolete Nikon D90 in the other, and drove us to a nearby jumping competition, where my young friend Mathilde was entered. Mathilde’s own young poney is way to green to compete in that particular class, so she was to ride a friend’s horse, the more seasoned Malcom…
When Marla and I got there, we met Mathilde (whom Marla is unabashedly admirative of), as she’d just be de-scheduled for her run. Yet another friend’s horse had gone lame, and said friend was to also ride Malcom, and go first. Mathilde would go dead last of the class, on a horse who’d been entered in a handful of classes with various riders since the morning. To make things worse, while most kids (and grown-ups) had support and guidance on site, Mathilde was coachless, just her mom and a little 7 yr old for support, and me with my old, worn camera with a 7 yr old sensor. Needless to say, she was the total underdog.
Malcom went in with Mathilde’s friend on board, and ran a faultless tour within a decent time. He’s a small withish horse, with a pretty head and no second thoughts about the jumps. He was neat and cleanly prepped, but not overly fancy, like some other participants.
As I practiced on other riders I was painfully aware of my own limitations as a photographer that day. While the D90 was a groundbreaking model at its release in 2008, 7 years is an eternity in digital technology, and sensors have since blasted past its competency level. The zoom I’m using dates back from the 80’s, with a slow aperture of F5.6 at its end. Having zero credit I was not allowed on the pattern grounds and had to shoot from the sideline, like any plain soccermom. Cruel
However, I was about to learn a precious lesson. From an 18 yr old, no less. Once all other participants were gone, Mathilde and Malcom strolled in, full of confidence and ready to kill. And kill, they did
As I watched in shock and more than a little awe, I could faintly here a female voice screaming “Easy Mathilde, take it easy, don’t rush it”. But Mathilde and her white steed were not taking it easy, they were charging through the jumps like a pair of rabid bulls, and not a pole flinched
3 jumps before the finish line, I grabbed that shot. See that look ? That’s the eye of the tiger, the look of absolute determination of a predador on a killing spree. Anynone involved in any sports knows the amount of time, effort, money, hardship, disappointment, in other words, the sum of dedication that it takes to “get there”. Well that was the look of someone who saw the opportunity to get rewarded for all that, and was not going to let it go. I was seriously impressed. And thrilled for my friend, as well
We’re mostly limited by our own fears. The boundaries we impose on ourselves. When we start believing, and I mean TRULY having faith, in ourselves, we can break a lot of limits. And it kind of goes for camera gear as well. The shots may not be as good as they would have been with a better camera, but I think they do the event justice as the passion Mathilde and Malcom put into winning this highly desired 3rd place clearly shines through them. As a pessimist with a painful lack of self trust, that was a precious lesson.