Shooting the International Gold Cup Races

Four years ago I shot my first Virginia International Gold Cup race. Being a long-time Virginia resident I had often heard of the Gold Cup races but had never actually attended one. So when I went there with my buddy Scott Kelby we were a little over our heads with respect to the sport and what we should shoot. Even though we were pretty green, we soon figured out where to point our lenses, more importantly, where to stand (with the help of some experienced steeplechase photographers). This year I had to do without my buddy Scott but I was much more confident about what to expect and how to go about getting good shots.

The only problem I had all day was the weather. It was great for spectating, but the partly cloudy skies meant that the exposures were constantly changing from cloudy to bright sunshine. I was shooting at apertures between f/2.8 and f/5.6 and had to raise my ISO at times to keep the shutter speeds between 1/1000 and 1/2000. That being said, I never had to go above ISO 800 so my images are still pretty clean.

This year I arrived very early to the event so I could catch a little more than just the races, like the terrier races (a big crowd favorite), along with some of the environment surrounding the event. I even shot a couple of the trophy presentations.

My shooting experience this year was fantastic. I got to hang out with some great photographers, run around on the race course, and spend an entire day photographing some amazing athletes. Next year I’m definitely adding the Spring races to my schedule. I’m told it is quite the event. Until then I’ll just enjoy working with the few hundred shots from this weekend.


  1. Don Flory says:


    That last shot of the dejected jockey tells a whole story in a single frame. Nicely done, most folks would not have bothered to take it.


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