cover image by Caio Siqueira
Photowalking in Jockey Club with Click a Pé in São Paulo, Brazil
Yeah!! One more photowalk in an exclusive, forbidden or inaccessible place in our city! \o/ Call it whatever you want :P I love this kind of photowalk and I get so excited about it, and especially for this one, a lot of expectation took place. Yes, when it is too much, things can go wrong… I will talk more about that during the article.
For now, I can say to you that we had an awesome photowalk in Jockey Club de São Paulo! By the way, do you know those books that explain the meaning of names? As you may know, my name is Filipe, but probably you don’t know that the meaning of my name is something like “Friend of the horses” :)
Well, I’m not sure if they really like me and we are friends hahaha, but… anyway… photograph them was really a nice experience :)
Let’s photowalk the photographically inaccessible Jockey Club of São Paulo!
Photowalking in Jockey Clube de São Paulo
This is one of the awesome places that you normally can’t photograph that Click a Pé has organized a photowalk. I’ve already written a post about another one that was at Congonhas Airport.
For a photographer, Jockey Club is really inaccessible. You can’t photograph there, even in the areas that are open to the public you can’t do it. In addition to this, we would also visit some other places that regular visitors are not allowed to go in. So, it was a big day! In other words, a lot of expectation.
The photowalk started really well :). Just after arriving I saw some friends that I’ve made on my photowalks. Do you remember Anselmo and Jama from my first photowalk in São Paulo downtown? Yes, they were there too :). Quite some time that we didn’t see each other.
First spot, Tattersall
After the usual instructions about how the photowalk would be, we went to our first spot, Tattersall, this is the place where horses are sold. The building and some other stuff inside it has the shape of a horseshoe :)
The initial instructions also made me think that we would need to be in a hurry that day. Actually, later I could see that it wasn’t the case. But it put me in “fast mode”, and this is not the way I like to enjoy my time photographing. I need time to look at things and find my compositions.
There was also a lot of people, about 400! Yes, Click a Pé can do it, it is crazy. But this made the Tattersall very crowded. When things get tough, we need to try something new.
It was hard to make the kind of photography that I am used to and that I already like. So, why not try something new? Let’s try to turn the disadvantage into an advantage.
There was a big crowd there. What could I do with them? Later on, we would photograph horses running, a lot of panning would happen… Panning is associated with movement. Why not try to get the movement of our group too? But not with panning, of course :)
I thought about a long exposure. So I needed a spot that has an interesting point of view of where we were. And I found it! It was inside the Tattersall, and there were people already there, but it still had space form me :). So I quickly went there to get my spot.
There was a problem. I was thinking about a really long exposure, but there was too much light there, my photo would get overexposed. I don’t have a big stopper (10 stop ND filter) or any other ND filter to try a not that long exposure. Now what, Filipe?
My solution was to do a composition of many images. I’ve already done image compositions for HDR and panoramas (remember the photo expedition in Três Picos?). But this one is different. The composition doesn’t enhance dynamic range, nor angle of view, it is supposed to make you see the time passing and the movement that happened during this period of time.
The result? Give a look:
I want to improve this kind of image and technique, it is my first time doing it. As I said before, I’m trying something new. I think it is really interesting, it is different from a long exposure. It has a different look, closer to a painting.
I also think this would help me to think and see the whole photographic process (from capturing with the camera to the final image) during the capture. I think I will be able to shoot fewer images, but more accurate ones. I will try more of this for sure.
Hum! I think now I will miss when the crowd is not that big hahaha.
Second spot, grandstands and surroundings
For the second spot, I was not that successful in creating something new. So, the second strategy took place, the Terminator one, “I’ll be back”, hehehe. I would come back there later on, before going home. Probably it would be just me or a few people. And it was really that. See below, just me having fun \o/ :)
The indoor areas near the grandstands were not that big so it got really crowded with people that are not part of the day by day of that place. The presidential room, also in that region, was accessible just using the elevator, so we were visiting it in small groups. But it was taking more time that we had.
Jockey Club was closed at that moment, but it would open soon to the regular public like it always does. So, we needed to respect the schedule. There was a lot of things to visit yet, so we needed to go to the next place. I could not see the presidential room, the museum, and other exclusive areas.
Fortunately, many others did, look at this awesome photograph below.
The next spot is waiting for us, let’s go!
Third spot, where horses and Jockeys live
We had a nice walk surrounding the horse track till we got to the next place to be visited. There are more than 1500 horses living there, really amazing.
We visited several stables and we made some photographs of the horses there. After that, we also visited the medical center of the horses and we had some more time to photograph. It was really nice to see this part of the Jockey Club.
Then, it was lunch time :). I was sooooo hungry! Already starting to feel strange. I was not aware that we would have lunch that late (2 PM), I should have prepared myself better. I will pay more attention to this next time. I don’t like to harm my health.
After lunch, we had one of the big moments of the photowalk, the horse racing! For me, it was the best part of our day.
We would be able to photograph very close to the track. How close? Well, we were just separated by a fence. It was us, fence and then the grass of the track was already there. They said that this place was the professional photographer’s spot, \o/.
But I didn’t pay attention to one thing. The width of the track, it was not short. For the first race, I was using a wide angle lens and it was a complete failure hahaha. The horses were running next to the other side of the track, so they were not that close to us. It was really not a good idea to use a wide-angle lens. But obviously, for the next race, I was more prepared.
I would say that for better shots, you will need at least a 100mm lens (full frame equivalent) and a 200mm would be a really nice option, if you want to get the horses individually running at the other side of the track. A longer lens is also possible if you want to get details.
That is not the only option that you have to photograph them. Before the race starts, the horses run a little bit, probably something like a warmup. And they do it not at the other side of the track, they do it in the middle or much closer to where we were. It was much better for me to get nice photographs of them in this situation.
How was my camera configuration? My interest that day was to do panning. I want the movement and the sensation of speed of the horses and jockeys. As I don’t have much experience with panning, I started with the shutter speed of 1/100 and hoped for the best hehehe :). Training is really important to get usable photos when doing panning.
After some races, I’ve also tried 1/60 for the shutter speed, the background gets a little more blurry. ISO was at 100 and aperture was in automatic mode to let me focus on following the horses while the camera calculated it to get the best exposure.
It was really nice to photograph the horses running! We had a lot of fun! :) \o/
While I was there enjoying to photograph the races, some of our friends were at other places of Jockey Club. Luckily they did it! They capture really nice images of the bettors. Look at them below!
I love when others see what I was not able to see. So awesome! This is a really good point of photowalking in a group.
After many races and pannings, the natural light was reducing and it was time to get back to the second spot, before it was too late, to get the photograph that you have already seen above. Another great and peaceful time of that day, very similar experience to that photograph of the man in the check-in hall in Congonhas Airport. I stayed there until I was satisfied with what I was getting.
At around 7 PM, it was time to say goodbye to this nice photowalk in Jockey Club and go home.
Final notes, my reflections about the photowalk
I think you can see that this photowalk was a really good one. But I almost messed it up due to excessive and unrealistic expectations.
I know that in Click a Pé, and many others photowalks done in groups, I can’t choose the best time to be in each spot and spend time as I want to. It will be crowded, we also have a schedule that needs to be respected, and we need to adapt ourselves. The “game” sometimes is to be able to get interesting photographs despite those limitations. Yes, Filipe, you are not in your travels, you don’t have the same freedom. Take it easy.
On the other hand, we were in an inaccessible place, just this point should make everything awesome! It is really a big thing. We are also enjoying a good time with some friends, we don’t need to spend time planning the photowalk beforehand, and we are also visiting new places of our city or of the world. It is a tradeoff. We just can’t have everything all the time.
For me, there is no place on Earth that if you create unrealistic expectations you won’t get disappointed. Choose whatever you want.
When I went to Peru I made sure that I had zero expectations about it. Machu Picchu, for instance. People talk a lot about it… Do you want to know the truth? People talk too much about it. I think a lot of people get there expecting almost a miracle happening to them there.
I will deeply discuss Machu Picchu in another article. But, it is a mediocre ruin. It doesn’t have the biggest rocks, nor the most polished ones, and also not the biggest terraces… If you get there thinking you will see the best and greatest Inca ruins, you will get disappointed. If you think you will “feel the energy” and so on, you may get disappointed, I felt nothing (besides tiredness :P).
But there is a lot of interesting things there too! But not what you may think or have anticipated. You won’t see the biggest rocks and terraces, but you will see a little of everything in an amazing place in the middle of the mountains. For me, MP is all about the combinations of ok rocks, ok terraces, and so on, with where it is located. Then you add some trails to get there and some mountain hiking. All this together does the “magic”.
By one way or the other, it ends up being the epic day of my epic travel. I really think that low expectations were the key, not just for this day, but for all my Peru travel and maybe for my photowalks too.
Low expectations are not equal to thinking that everything is bad and you are better. It is just not to anticipate, let it happen. Just live the experience. Be there with the best of your intent, just accept new things that you will see and be open to try to understand it. This also fits well with what to expect from other people. You don’t expect.
So, don’t create expectations. Our minds are crazily good on creating unrealistic situations. We will live easier and happier if we don’t feed those thoughts.
When an excess of expectation takes place, it blinds you from other things, you can’t see the good, just the bad. Find your way to enjoy your moment. It is not easy. But we can do it.
Difficulties sometimes are good. You have the option to give up, or you can choose to create or try something new. You may or may not be successful, but this does not matter that much. We photograph for the passion of it. Not to deliver a job at the end. We enjoy the process of getting there and life experience it provides to us. Let’s keep improving.
Anyway, it was a really nice way to start Click a Pé’s photowalks in 2018. I’m so excited to see what is to come in this big year! Well, not too much excited, right? Just the enough ;) Hope to see you in the next one! :)