Today, 9th April, was the birthday in 1830 of a rather strange yet interesting man, Eadweard J. Muybridge (initially Edward James Muggeridge), born in England and of Dutch ancestry.
Muybridge spent most of his life in the United States and by the late 1860s had gained quite a reputation as a photographer. In 1872, former Governor of California, Leland Stanford, a businessman and race-horse owner, had taken a position on a popularly-debated question of the day: whether all four of a horse's hooves are off the ground at the same time during the trot. Up until this time, most paintings of horses at full gallop showed the front legs extended forward and the hind legs extended to the rear. Stanford sided with this assertion, called "unsupported transit", and took it upon himself to prove it scientifically. Stanford sought out Muybridge and hired him to settle the question.
Of course, in the 1870s there were no cameras such as ours which can fire off up to 10 frames per second, so Muybridge arranged a long row of twenty-four plate cameras beside a track each attached to a thread which would trigger the shutter as a trotting horse passed along the line.
Muybridge then arranged the separate images in a Zoopraxiscope and was able to view this sequence which clearly showed that all hooves do, in fact, leave the ground but not with legs stretched out fore and aft.
Unfortunately, in 1874, Muybridge discovered that his wife had a lover, a Major Harry Larkyns. On 17th October, he sought out Larkyns and said, "Good evening, Major, my name is Muybridge and here's the answer to the letter you sent my wife"; he then killed the Major with a gunshot.
Muybridge was put on trial for murder. One aspect of his defence was a plea of insanity due to a head injury that Muybridge had sustained following an earlier stagecoach accident. Friends testified that the accident dramatically changed Muybridge's personality from genial and pleasant to unstable and erratic. The jury dismissed the insanity plea, but he was acquitted for "justifiable homicide".
An interesting fellow but one whose work certainly provided a sound basis for the later development of cinematography.
This picture, however, was an attempt at a "panning" shot and was taken at horse-trotting races in Mahon (Mao) in Menorca during a very inspiring photographic holiday last year with Philip Dunn.
Critiques | Translate
bayno (18342) 2012-04-09 3:10
This time we have posted a similar shot, but yours is the most beautiful, light and color at the top, I love the slow motion effect and the position of the jockey, a really good shot...have a good day...
gopalkrishna (74) 2012-04-09 3:28
Beautiful panning photograph. Nice colours !!!
rbassin (18183) 2012-04-09 3:29
Une très belle prise de vue, l'effet de vitesse est bien ressenti.
macjake (56494) 2012-04-09 3:47
Very impressed with this one.
Panning is a technique that i have NEVER tried yet!
what can you tell me about it?
do you set your shutter and F stop before shooting...or do you just pan and what ever the camera pics is what you get? how does it work?
and also...when do you focus on your subject...so many questions!
please let me know how you came up with this beauty.
what makes this photo stand out even more is the yellow ground....our horse racing track here locally is just a gravel course, so if i took this photo here, that yellow band along the bottom would be a boring grey.
Love that yellow, the browns, and the overall brightness. this may be one of your best!!!
Bluejeans (64249) 2012-04-09 5:10
Ola John ,
Que belo panning deste homem a ser puxado por este cavalo em grande velocidade , os detalhes estão fantásticos , parabéns!!
Um abraço Gonçalo
mmohan (744) 2012-04-09 9:12
I think you have done really well to get this one, the few times I have tried it, it has been a disaster. As usual, your note is very interesting , more so because of the story. I also found your detailed explanation of the process quite useful.
jjcordier (76322) 2012-04-09 9:24
Excellente photo de ce cheval de course avec un effet de filé très réussi rendant parfaitement la sensation de vitesse.
subhendu_bagchi (25727) 2012-04-09 9:40
What a catch... Great composition with motion. You spotted the scene really well. Just love the panning shot with a nice motion blur background...
Thanks for sharing.
brianmcc (6175) 2012-04-09 15:48
what an interesting note. just as interesting wes your mention of going on a photogrphic trip with a professional. i have often thought of something like this. what did you make of it?
your panning shot has worked very well. the horse and trap are perfectly positioned to fill the frame. the colours are fantastic producing a very vivid and bright image. the sense of movement is superb, a great result.
chrisvek (7001) 2012-04-09 16:10
Wow.This is a perfect and extremely difficult shoot.Very nice colors and tones.Great job John.Very well done!
Have a great week,
timecapturer (48668) 2012-04-10 3:10
this is wonderful. The sense of movement is fantastic and so compelling. An accomplished execution and superb presentation. Bravo!
Have a good week - regards Brian.
Fascinating notes too!
Royaldevon (29549) 2012-04-10 3:47
Well, this has worked well!
Your panning has produced a shot which creates a fine sense of vitality and movement - good on a still shot!The legs are certainly in an extended trot and those wheels are whizzing round!
It surprises me that you use a slow shutter speed, you would think a fast shutter spped would be even more accurate!
I once went with my husband's brother, panning swallows over a canal and trying to get them reflected in the water. I won't tell you how successful I was!
Have a lovely day,
delpeoples (53009) 2012-04-10 4:27
Ciao caro Giovanni
What an intriguing title to your photo and a note which draws us into this photo, which is already superb in its own right, even untitled and noteless. An excellent example of panning with wonderful stark colours and contrasts. I especially like the bold yellow tones that look like whipped cream due to the effect of the panning. As to your note, if dear old Muybridge had been French or Italian, he'd have been congratulated for his deeds instead of charged. My Italian half certainly sympathises with him. As to the part of your note which refers to old photographic techniques now adopted and improved on by the digital era, I invite you to look at this link: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=364589.
The photographer referred to in the article, Joe Vissel is a friend of my best friend's Dad. A most interesting man.
Un abbraccio e bella giornata
ourania (30937) 2012-04-10 10:15
a fantastic and very compelling action picture that envigorates the spirit and the senses! It's impossible to look at it without feeling excitement. It makes you feel the powerful movement and the speed. I love the combination of blurry movement with sharp control and concentration, the dynamic horizontal lines and colours, the exquisite lighting. Framing is marvellous, too. A photo that makes a strong and lasting impression, congratulations and thank you!
All the best,
agjika (3616) 2012-04-10 12:22
This is different, nice different! You have got the shutter speed just right with the main subjects nice and sharp yet everything else blurred . Superb motion on the wheel.The position of the man and the horse is also superb.
Excellent Shot, well done.
Didi (56851) 2012-04-10 12:27
Very nice composition with interesting movement sensation.
Very good description
emka (78852) 2012-04-10 23:07
What an interesting and strange story!! and fantastic dy namic photo to illustrate the subject. I have no idea how to make such panning shot. As I remember, the legs of the horses move differently in gallop or trot. Here is a trot, where the diagonal pairs of legs move forward at the same time.
There photo holiday with professional are usually very expensive. is it worth going for this? Have you learned and improved after that?
My backpack is ready..
Silvio1953 (122129) 2012-04-11 6:07
Ciao John, fantastic action shoot, great panning, beautiful movie effect, splendid light and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio
CLODO (30236) 2012-04-11 8:05
A good action shot giving the sense of motion and speed, well realised with the sharp part of the sulky and the blurred legs of the horse.
RhodieIke (11742) 2012-04-12 1:37
Wow, John, Love this, you captured the action just right, fantastic motion shot, very interesting caption and note, Well done, Cheers Iain.
williewhistler (14143) 2012-04-12 2:29
Hello John, this is super action shot with everything just right, with the horses stride and flowing mane along with the rotating wheel all giving dynamism to the shot.
The splash of red in the blurred BG is well placed adding impact to the whole scene.
A real beauty.I found the note fascinating.
Kind regards Les.
holmertz (40983) 2012-04-12 11:55
This is a nice shot of a trotter with the speed clearly showing. But to be very honest I find your note a lot more interesting than the photo this time. A fascinating story and the links provide excellent further information.
In the 70's I used to go to horse-races in Sweden quite often, always trotters like this one. I managed several times to take photos clearly proving that they actually fly.
- Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) (20420)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2011-05-14
- Categories: Nature, Transportation, Event, Decisive Moment
- Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, HOYA 67mm HMC SUPER UV(0)
- Exposure: f/25.0, 1/30 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2012-04-09 2:56