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Jim Work, Photographer
Alpine | TX | USA | Posted: 9:47 PM on 07.25.05
->> I have been asked to shoot some polo tournaments out here at a ranch in West Texas. I have never been to, or seen a polo match. I am at a loss other than I know it's played on horses with mallets and a ball. Anybody got any helpful advise on how to photograph this sport and where to get a quick education on the basics of the game?
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Ian Halperin, Photographer
Plano(Dallas) | TX | USA | Posted: 10:16 PM on 07.25.05
->> I was a polo club photographer for several years. It is a fast, fun sport to shoot.

The field is 600 yeards long by 300 yards wide. A good field has side boards but that will only stop a rolling ball. Keep your eye on the field.

I shot with a 400 and 80-200 on digital bodies. Most places will let you stand anywhere along the side or back. If a horse is headed towards you, freeze. These guys know how to ride and will ride past you if you stay put.

Periods are called chukkers. The play six of them with a break between each one for new horses. Teams change direction after each score. Four players oneach side. Theyhave a handicap. The higher the handicap, the better the player. Look for them to make the big plays and be in the center of the action.

Nice shots are side views in full gallop, headed directly towards you with the ball out front and a player in full swing. Two things will amaize you: how bad a ball gets dinged up and how much the mallets bend when they are being swung.

BTW--The guys who play have money. Big money.

Good luck.
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Randy Janoski, Photographer
Chapel Hill | TN | USA | Posted: 1:09 AM on 07.26.05
->> Jim,
I've had the best results with a 600mm and 400mm. I also use an assistant to carry an eight foot ladder with a one foot(tall) quick slip lens mount secured to the top of the ladder. And just like football and soccer move aroung allot.

As Ian hinted to, quality images are an easy sale to most riders/owners...even with them being older adults!
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Eric Isaacs, Photographer
Santa Barbara | CA | USA | Posted: 2:22 AM on 07.26.05
->> I just shot polo for the first time about two weeks ago (some shots are on my member gallery) It was a fun experience. There were two other photographers there one of whom, David Lominska, has been shooting polo for 22+ years. David was very kind in offering me tips such as where to stand to avoid being trampled by 9 crazy horses (2 teams of four players and the official who stays pretty active on his mount) There were also some nice frames to be made of the handlers getting the hroses ready, washing them down in between chukkers and fans wandering the field stamping down divots.

A 600 would have been nice but I did ok with my 300 f/4, I just had to wait a little longer for the action to come to me. I spent most of my time near one of the goals but the sidelines were ok too.

Good luck!
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Paul Maddox, Photographer
Manchester | UK | England | Posted: 6:16 AM on 07.26.05
->> Great advice, Ian.

Typically I've stood to the right of the goal, which gives you some nice front-on shots. Unless you've got fairly long glass (400mm+) naturally you'll lose some coverage of the whole field.

I've found polo great fun to shoot. Just watch out for the ball, which is very heavy. :-)
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Rob Dicker, Photographer
Lake Villa | IL | USA | Posted: 9:19 AM on 07.26.05
->> Don't forget (at least around here) after the 3rd chucker everyone is asked to walk out on the field and help repalce the divots - a chance to get some nice feature shots of the well to do doing yard work.
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Michael Redmond, Photographer
Kennett Square | PA | USA | Posted: 12:19 PM on 07.26.05
->> I shot Polo for a few summers, it is lots of fun and I second all the tips here. If you can, of course, try to get a clean background as all those legs, mallots, arms, etc, can make for a complex image and you dont need any more distractions.
And those guys do have money - just ask for it upfront!

I had a few polo shots posted in a gallery here:

best of luck and have fun!
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Thread Started By: Jim Work
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