© 2010 Andy Coates acoates_20101103_yabusame


November 3rd is Culture Day in Japan and in Meiji Jingu shrine they have many showcases of traditional arts. There are various traditional archery competitions, sword demonstrations and horse back archery (yabusame). I’ve tried a few years running to get a shot I’m happy with of the event but due to a combination of crowds and difficult lighting conditions it has proven difficult.

This year I chose to situate myself under the trees towards the start of the run and forgo the opportunity to shoot them at the fastest part of the run and close to the main two targets so that I could avoid the harsh differences between mid day sun and the dark shadows.

Certainly there was no use of flash, off camera or otherwise, in these conditions, the horses don’t take kindly to that, so I opted to go for motion blur to show the speeds that the riders are going at. This one was taken during the initial warm up sprints so he was holding the reigns but in subsequent runs they are riding only with their legs as they quickly draw and shoot arrows at the small targets.

wonderful to watch their elegant controlled shooting at speed.