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Horses swapped for horsepower...
19th March 2015 - 0 comments
Last week instead of heading to Tweseldown like the who's who of eventing I headed to Silverstone, the home of British motor racing to take some photos for my sister in law. For her 21st birthday last summer we all clubbed in for her to have a Ferrari driving experience – What a lucky thing eh?

Well never one to miss out on the chance of a day out of we went to Silverstone with me driving and doing my best Lewis Hamilton impression on the way there (within the speed limits of course), explaining how to take the corners etc…

As you'd expect I was designated photographer. Unfortunately I couldn't get away with charging as it was ‘family’! Damn, broken one of the rules of photography there… Don't give away your time and images for nothing!!

Photographing cars is a bit different to horses. With horses you want to freeze them mid movement whether it be in extended trot or over a jump. The horse and rider need to be in the correct position and the image needs to be sharp with no blur.

With cars you almost want the opposite, you want to be able to capture the movement to show how fast the car is going. This is where the technique of panning comes in. With a slow shutter speed you follow the car, panning across whilst taking photos. If you have the correct shutter speed you should have a nice motion blur on the car wheels and background.


With cars and horses you can of course do some portrait type photos and obviously for this the car is easier as when it's parked it doesn't move, unlike a horse! Even the calmest horse will twitch, blink or move an ear just when you want to take a photo!


In other news this week I was interviewed by equestrian website The Gaitpost, talking about my competition photo shoots and some background information about me and my life.

This weekend I'm out combined training with Trad at LMEQ, after which we are going to pop around some of the XC course. It would be rude not too!!
Quiet winter for the camera...
08th March 2015 - 0 comments
Similar to event horses during the winter my camera doesn't get used much. My last event was in October and since then it's hardly been used. I pick it up for the odd family event or whatever but to be honest I quite like taking a break from it. I could go hunting or whatever but I'm not that fussed about getting cold and wet.


Beautiful winter sunset at Upper Barn, home to Harriet Upton

This year I've actually invested in a new camera, a Canon 7D MKII (for any camera buffs out there), basically an updated version of my previous camera. This camera has been a long time coming and thus far I've been impressed with the updates and it is definitely a step up from the MK1. Usually I would sell the old camera, however this time I've decided to hold onto it and use two cameras, meaning I don't have to switch lens so often. More to carry though!

A lot of people ask how to take photos of horses in movement and I was interested and impressed to see the Horse & Hound recently published an article on their website titled “Photographing dressage horses: what to look for”.

Dressage is the trickiest discipline to get right (riding or shooting) in my experience and there are a lot of equestrian photographers that could learn a few things from this article. I don't claim to be the best photographer in the eventing world (because I know I'm not) but I do think I know what I should be capturing and I think it helps that I'm a rider and look at my images from a riders point of view. You can read the article for yourself and see some excellent example images. It will be interesting to see if they write more articles in the future on other aspects of equestrian photography.

I have used my camera recently to take pictures of my German Shorthaired Pointer puppy Otto (see previous blog for info on Otto’s arrival), he is very handsome and doesn't mind posing too much and it's great to get regular photos to demonstrate how he's growing.


Otto, a bit of a poser

I very much hope to be photographing a lot of eventing this year but I do have to balance my time with working, riding, husband duties & of course looking after Otto. My photography priorities will be focused on Competition Photo Shoots, for which I am available to be commissioned, event coverage for The Eventing Stig and support of riders Clare Stringer and Harriet Upton. I will also be supplying images to corporate clients as and when requested.

As ever it will be a busy season so it is always best to get in touch as soon possible if you think you would like to commission me for a competition photo shoot.
Winter into Spring update
02nd March 2015 - 0 comments
Last year I was a bit quiet on the blog front, too busy is always the excuse right? Well yes I am busy but everyday I spend an hour and a half on a train (to and from work) so I should really be able to knock out a few blogs every now and then!

In terms of riding and photography it’s been a quiet winter. In November my wife, Lisa had a knee operation to fix a long term problem. All went well but for the following months I became even more of a carer than usual. For those of you that don’t know Lisa has some long term conditions with means she had limited strength and mobility, however she fights on, working full time and gets around at events in her mobility scooter. No one would believe where she's taken it without getting stuck, although at Osberton last year she did run out of power in the middle of the XC field and I had to run back to the car to get the spare battery.


Lisa and Trad

The week before Christmas just as Lisa was getting stronger our lives were turned upside down by the arrival of Otto, a German Shorthaired Pointer puppy. We always wanted a dog and in particular a GSP so when I found out that fellow eventer Robbie Alman-Wilson breeds her own we couldn't resist. Having never had a dog before it was a baptism of fire with sleepless nights and plenty of tears! However 2 to 3 months in, his training is going really well and we wouldn't be without him, I can't wait to get him out at events soon so he can meet everyone – he loves people!!


Otto growing quickly

So with all that going on poor old Trad got a bit neglected. Luckily Dad has now retired so he has been hunting and riding Trad more and for a few weeks I got my trainer and friend Jenny Gray-Wallis to school him for me. She even had a lesson with Ian Woodhead and did a couple of dressage competitions, qualifying for the unaffiliated championship at Addington! As I expected Jenny was able to get him going fantastically, proof that he can do it if ridden properly.


Jenny and Trad at Addington

I was able to start getting back in the saddle in January as Lisa and Otto were able to look after each other and since then I've been concentrating on schooling. Trad is feeling better than ever on the flat, so Jenny’s mini boot camp obviously worked.

We've done a small amount of jumping. One session at the yard and two rounds of JAS at Bury Farm - this went brilliantly! I did the BE100 & Novice classes and jumped 2 clears with just a few time faults. In the Novice I finished 7th meaning I qualified for the final at Hartpury, however I decided not to go as it was a long way for a 1 minute round of jumping.


Video of JAS at Bury Farm

A couple of weeks ago we went XC schooling at Attington Stud, with my long term instructor Jonathan Chapman, which was brilliant! Trad has grown in confidence over the last two years and was very keen, taking me to all the fences including big ditches, trakehners, corners and water.


Video of XC schooling at Attington Stud

Our next XC schooling was unfortunately cancelled due to wet weather but as I'm not out competing until April there isn't a panic yet. My plan is to do an eventer trial at Keysoe in a couple of weeks time and then some more XC schooling, probably over the Easter weekend.
Update on MDR Photo Dream Team
13th June 2012 - 0 comments
So since my first post about the MDR Photo Dream Team I have had some more great suggestions from some of the existing team members and also some new members. These suggestions include the following:

‏@BethEckley88 - Top of my list would be a school & a gallop

@StarEventing - Please can I have a school!? Or even a lunge pen? Can''t ride in the field as too wet

@BSFeventing - devoucoux dressage and jumping saddles all round please

@equispy1 - oh no, Voltaire all the way!

@jen_444 - yard with big indoor school to keep us dry in this weather please but also outside so we can work on the tan when we occasionally get some sun!

@equispy1 - could we all move to Florida to event too please as this weather seems to be here to stay?!

‏@GJMEventing - Today if I had 10 million I would build a massive equestrian centre with an indoor XC course from 90 to CCI****. Think Tweseldown with a lid

@AliDaneEventing - Love the rainbow Oakley. Think all kit should be rainbow coloured actually.

@ARosieLloyd - chocolate on tap at competitions & oh yeah, could i get lots of airdale terriers/irish terriers please?

Not surprisingly the majority of the mentions this week have been related to the poor weather we''ve been suffering with but also some great other ideas, I really love having the rainbow colours as a theme throughout the team and I will work on this as this idea builds.

In the meantime before the big win comes in please keep me updated with what you think the ultimate event team needs and I will also welcome new riders as well. Just tweet @MDR_Photo and use #mdrdreamteam.

Until next time, keep on dreaming…
MDR Photo Dream Team
08th June 2012 - 0 comments
Why I love the randomness of Twitter…

Last week I started doing the Euro Millions and with a few friends discussed that age old question of what would you spend £90 Million on?

Well in anticipation of winning on the first week I decided to put together the “MDR Photo Dream Team” into which I will sink my millions.

Now the dream team is the ultimate GB event team but with a twist! Instead of signing up all the top eventers in the world (WFP, Mary King et al…) I have decided to buy some top quality horses for some of my Twitter friends who don’t have the horse power of the big hitters. So far the team consists of the following Tweeters:



So my first question for the girls (yes they are all girls – look better in photos in my opinion) what colour horses would they like? Not surprisingly knowing most of them I should have guessed what they said, here’s a run down so far:

  • @BSFEventing – a dark bay (not a surprise, she already has two)
  • @Alexis_C_Ross – a grey (really no surprise here, she has five at home)
  • @NHeventing – she didn’t say but I know she loves a chestnut!
  • @EmCroc – she didn’t mind as long as it didn’t have white bits that needed cleaning, therefore I suggested a dun
  • @jen_444 – wasn’t too fussy but requested a chestnut or bright bay


To date @HarrietUpton & @Equispy1 haven’t responded on colour choices yet so maybe they’re not fussed, but I think one needs to be a coloured horse and the other black.

So that’s most of the horses sorted, so what else does the dream team need? Below are a few of the suggestions so far:

  • Champagne before the dressage is must have - @EmCroc
  • Kenneth Clawson SJ training & warm ups at competitions - @Jen_444
  • A rainbow coloured Oakley with pop-outs - @Alexis_C_Ross – to this I responded that we might need two!
  • @LMEQ1 as driver and chef d''''''''equipe extraordinaire - @Equispy1 – Kate’s a bit biased here as she is engaged to @LMEQ1, however having met Matt I thought we’d hire a team of drivers make him put him in charge of them & security for everyone!
  • @charliecoffee to supply coffee and brownies to the team as and when required.


Well the good news was that I did indeed win the lottery on the first week!! Unfortunately £2.70 isn’t going to get me very far with the dream team, however I might be even luckier this week!

In the meantime before the big win comes in please keep me updated with what you think the ultimate event team needs and I will also welcome new riders as well. Just tweet @MDR_Photo and use #mdrdreamteam.

Until next time, keep on dreaming…
Walking with Claire Lomas
29th May 2012 - 0 comments
In last weeks blog I gave an update on what I had been up to in April and May, but in fact I missed quite a big chunk out and that was because I wanted to have a whole blog on the subject. As per the title that subject was the two days I spent walking with the inspirational Claire Lomas.

As most of my readers will know Claire injured herself falling from a horse, like most of us mad horse riders have. However unlike most of us Claire wasn’t able to dust herself down and get back on as she had damaged her spinal cord and is now paralysed.

To raise money for Spinal Research Claire set herself the challenge of walking the London Marathon. Yes that’s right WALKING the London Marathon! But how does a paralysed person walk is the question everyone asked? Thanks to the amazing ReWalk Suit is the answer and you can see a video of the suit being demonstrated by Matt, one of Claire’s physiotherapists below:



After reading about Claire on the net and thanks to the tip off from Charlie Massey (@charliecoffe on Twitter) I followed her progress and decided to go and walk with her for a day. I pitched up on day 14 (it took 16 days) when Claire was starting the last few days in central London on the north side of Tower Bridge. You can see a whole album on photos over on my Facebook page here.

It was an amazing day meeting Claire, her husband Dan and their beautiful little girl Maisy Moo who had been there every step of the way! There were also loads of family members, friends and supporters who were equally as fun and friendly and put up with me taking loads of pictures! There were a few celebs that turned up during the day (you may recognise some faces) so that topped off the day.

After getting home on the Sunday night I was buzzing from the excitement of the day which was really rewarding and therefore decided to return on the last day to show my support and again get some more photos.

When I arrived in St James’s Park Claire had got to the bottom corner of the park, just near Buckingham Palace. It wasn’t hard to find her as there was a massive crowd of press photographers, cameramen, journalists and of course Claire’s massive army of supporters.

The scenes that day were amazing, there was a three horse escort from the Household Cavalry as well as two mounted police officers clearing the path along with Charlie, Matt (from Littleton Manor Equestrian) and a fireman called Rob in his full uniform.

The crowd were cheering when Claire crossed the finish line in exactly the same way they would have done if it were the actual finish to the official marathon, which for Claire of course it was!

Again I took loads of photos of Claire and her followers and you can also see them on my Facebook page.

I also made a very small video of some of the scenes of the last few hours of the walk including Claire crossing the line and Sir Matthew Pinsent presenting Claire with a box full of medals that marathon runners had donated for Claire. You can see the video below.



I’m very pleased to say Claire likes the photos and particularly the video and she added a link to her Just Giving page, which is a great compliment for me. Last week she also messaged me to say could she have a copy to pass onto BBC Belfast and they may use it when they feature Claire on air in June, which again is very exciting for me as there were hundreds of film crews there.

Now if you have read this blog, looked at the pictures or watched the videos and donated to Spinal Research then thank you. But if you haven’t donated then please do so now by clicking here and going straight to Claire’s Just Giving page.

Although Claire only finished the marathon a few weeks ago she is already in training for the next challenge, which is even bigger. This time she is aiming to cycle from Paris to London. Yes that’s what you just read, CYCLE from Paris to London!

Follow Claire on Twitter to find out how the training is going…
Interview for Horsemart
01st May 2012 - 0 comments
I was recently approached by Nicki Strong to do a small interview about equine photography, how I got into it and a few pointers for people.

I don't profess to know everything about equine photography but I am always happy to share what I know so I just gave a couple of tips which I hope people find useful.

You can read the interview below or on the Horsemart website.

Ever fancied a career as an equestrian photographer? Nicola Strong speaks to Michael David Rogers to find how he has forged a career as an equine photographer.

Michael David Rogers has been riding horses for around 20 years, growing up in a Pony Club environment, and competing up to Novice level British Eventing. When his horse was retired, he went down another avenue to get his eventing fix, combining another of his passions...

Michael now works part time as a self-employed equestrian photographer for his company ‘MDR Photo.’ In addition to yard shoots, he provides a service for event riders, acting as a personal event photographer for the duration of an ODE.

This involves capturing images of each phase of the competition, including the 'informal moments' such as warm-ups, at the lorry park, friends and family, and getting ready for the off.

Michael uses his in depth knowledge of the sport to guide his work, explaining; "What I really love with the challenge of action/sports photography is 'freezing' the moment at exactly the right time. For equine photography there are a lot of these moments that you have to get right, whether it be the different movements in a dressage test or the variety of jumps SJ and XC can throw up. There is nothing better than hearing from riders who like the photos you have taken of them and their horses.

After taking photos of friends at Pony Club events from the age of 15, and while spectating at some of the larger sporting events, Michael got the bug, and a few years later, splashed out on his first digital SLR camera and some lenses. This really kick started his career as an equestrian photographer, and it wasn't long before his self taught skills were noticed, leading to paid event photography work. This is where Michael says he truly learnt how to take pictures of horses properly.

Top tips
Five years on, Michael is a lot more experienced, and has some great tips for budding equestrian photographers:

* Learn at what points in a horse’s movement to capture the picture. This can change depending on the breed of horse and what pace and movement you are trying to show off. With jumping again you need to try and capture the perfect point which shows the horse at its best.
* Also, to capture a horse moving (or anything else for that matter) the shutter speed needs to be relatively fast. There is nothing more frustrating than finding that you have the timing spot on with a nice shape over a fence only to find the photo is blurry because your shutter speed wasn’t fast enough. The minimum I try to set my shutter speed to is 1/800sec, although I always try to go above 1/1000sec to really freeze the action.
* Finally, always try to think about the background; I see lots of nice photos spoilt because they have a car or portaloo in the background. When framing up a picture check what is going on behind the horse or jump to see if anything is going to spoil it or distract the eye. Sometimes all you need to do is move left or right a few steps and the background will be greatly improved.

Choosing a favourite photo must be a tough ask with so many to choose from over the years, but equestrian photographer Michael has picked out a few favourites.

"Taken at Hambleden International Horse Trials in 2011, whilst working with Ultimate Images, pictured is William Fox-Pitt. One of the reasons I like it so much is that both horse & rider are in a good position (as you’d expect from WFP), but a sneaky little leaf has managed to get attached to William’s helmet. I could have easily cloned this out but I kind of like the little imperfection."

"The next one was taken during a yard visit in 2012. Pictured are Harriet Upton and one of her horses, Glimpse. This picture was taken in Glimpse’s stable as it was really raining & windy, with no fancy setting up or anything. To me it displays the great connection between a horse and rider."

Throughout 2012, Michael will be continuing to photograph clients and his three supported riders at events, and is also hoping to become more involved with the Kimblewick Hunt. A return to competing may not be out of the question either, as he suggests: "I have really got the passion for eventing back in my blood and who knows what might happen in the future!"






Please feel free to get in touch for further info about equine photography and my photography services.
Favourite Photos from 2011
29th December 2011 - 0 comments
As the end of 2011 is nearly here I have decided to look through the many 100s of photos I have taken and choose some of my favourites. I have managed to narrow it down to 15 which although may not technically be my best pictures they are the ones I have enjoyed looking at and have made be smile because they were either funny or memorable.

You can take a look at them on the MDR Photo Facebook Page. As its a public page you don't even have to be a member of Facebook to view them. Please pop over and take a look and like the ones which catch your eye. I have briefly explained on the photo descriptions why I have choosen these particular photos and I'd be interested to see which ones attracts the most likes and comments.

I'd like to say thanks for all the support I have received this year, particularly through Twitter where I have made a lot of new friends and have met two great riders (Clare Stringer and Harriet Upton) who I am looking forward to supporting in 2012.

I wish you all the best for 2012 and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible.
Still busy in the winter
13th December 2011 - 0 comments
Although the eventing and photography season has been over for nearly two months lots of things have been happening with MDR Photo and particularly our supported riders.

First up at the beginning of November our supported rider Clare Stringer was announced as the winner of the Shearwater Insurance Scholarship for 2012. This is fantastic for Clare and will really help her to bring on her horses at the beginning of 2012 and throughout next season.

Following this great news I was very pleased to announce Harriet Upton as the successful person in my search for a new supported rider based in the South East. After receiving many great applications for a new supported rider following advertisement on our Twitter feed and Facebook page we choose Harriet as we were very impressed with her application and we felt she would be a great ambassador for MDR Photo. She is part of the British Eventing U18 Programme and the GB Junior Squad; you can read more about Harriet (and Clare) on my dedicated Supported Riders page.

On the 27th November I went to see Clare at Kenneth Clawson’s yard near Lutterworth, Leicestershire. I was there to meet all the horses and get a load of photos, which we will both be using on our websites. As well as seeing Bandi and Fifi again it was really good to meet Indi and Delphi for the first time. All four were very friendly around the yard and behaved really well when I was taking photos of them in the outdoor school. It may have been dry and sunny but the wind was incredibly strong making it feel very cold, but some how Clare managed to stay in a polo shirt all day whilst everyone else was wrapped up in coats and scarfs! All the photos can be seen in the gallery. Here is a behind the scenes photo of me taken pictures of Clare and Bandi.


At the beginning of December Harriet and I were interviewed on the Eventing Radio Show as part of the shows focus on amateur riders and sponsorship. Harriet and I were both very nervous but absolutely delighted to be invited on air so if your keen to have a listen you can do so by clicking on the below picture.



Finally I am pleased to show you a picture of the new MDR Photo branded polo shirts, which have just been delivered after being designed over the last few months. These were purchased through a small but extremely helpful company called Can Logo, I can not recommend them enough. My supported riders and I will wear the shirts at events and training days throughout 2012 so if you see any of us wearing them why not say hello.


The rest of December is looking pretty quiet which is nice and I will be enjoying a rest over Christmas, however I will be finalising dates and availability for the 2012 eventing season soon so keep popping back to find out where I plan to be.