First things first,
What should you wear to a polo tournament?
I was pretty clueless when I found out I’d have an opportunity to photograph polo.
I imagine the dress code varies depending on location/polo club.
For that reason, I googled the polo club I
knew thought I’d be going to.
I looked through photos of polo events from the club, and I saw a wide range of outfits. The variety of attire only confused me more.
I sent a message to Dr. Painless (my polo connection) and asked him.
He told me Friday games would be “very casual” and Sunday would “be more of a scene.”
Unfortunately, his makes-sense-to-a-man information left female-me *still* clueless.
As it turns out, I over-dressed a little for Friday. Shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops would have been FINE for Friday-casual games.
On Sunday, I under-dressed.
(Because Friday had been so casual, I wrongly assumed Sunday wouldn’t be that much different.)
Sunday looked more like what you’d expect from a polo crowd – sundresses, white pants, five hundred dollar bills taped over breasts, hats, etc.
As a first impression, I was really surprised how HUGE polo fields are.
A polo field is the length of NINE American football fields!
Of course, being an animal lover, I wanted to visit with the horses before the game(s).
No one seemed to mind, especially not the polo ponies.
(I think they found me much more interesting than standing around swishing their tails at flies.)
I loved how the white horse/pony rested his head on his friend’s butt.
What are friends for?
I really like horses. I could have spent hours just with them, but I was visiting the field for polo so I bid the horses good-bye.
I think they were sad to see me go.
If I’d had an extra day while out in the desert, I would have loved to have spent time *just* photographing the polo ponies.
The clicking of a camera shutter is very interesting to a smart, inquisitive, horse.
Dr. Painless explained to me why the horse tails are braided/tied up – so they don’t get caught in the mallet as the rider swings it.
Another player explained to me what makes a good polo photograph from a player’s standpoint.
I warned everyone I expected to come away with nothing more than a Gigantic Horse Nostril Photo.
(Hey, I’m primarily a seascape photographer!)
The game of polo, itself, was much more exciting than I expected.
Dr. Painless gave me a quick rundown of the basics.
Minutes later, I found myself oohing and ahhhhing at the appropriate times.
I may not have picked up on *all* (many?) of the details, but the fast-action games were easy to follow even for a newbie.
I like the above photo even though it isn’t considered a “good” photo. In fact, it’s a “bad” photo because the horse’s mouth is open.
I like it anyway because you can see the sand coming up from the field where the horse’s hooves have dug in.
(Apparently, sand improves the field for both the horses and the players.)
The above photo is a better polo photo.
The subject horse’s feet are off the ground, its mouth is closed, the player is mid-swing and the ball is visible.
(Also, the shutter speed was fast enough to freeze the action, including the sand flying up from the field.)
If I’d realized how big the field is, I would have taken an even longer lens.
Regardless, it was a fun (new) experience.
If I ever watch a polo game again, I’ll have a better idea what to expect.
To be honest, I was surprised to discover polo is so fun.