I dropped my camera bag...

It was 1990 and I was a staff photographer with The SUN newspaper in Brisbane.
I was working a Sunday shift and, like most Sundays, it was pretty quiet. However, there were a couple of jobs to the north of Brisbane and the boss gave them both to me.
The first was a BMX event in Redcliffe, an area on its own peninsula 40-odd km north of Brisbane. On the way back to town I had to stop off at Sandgate, a bayside suburb, and photograph a 'beach' horse race happening there - by 'beach' I mean a race along the mudflats at low tide.
I made it to Redcliffe on time and, as sod's law dictated, on the one day when I wanted everything to run smoothly, there was a delay. What that delay was, I can't remember, but there was one. Normally Sunday shifts were cruisy but with only the one beach race at Sandgate, I had to get there or else.
After waiting around in Redcliffe I finally got a photo I was happy with and made a dash to Sandgate.
I knew I would be cutting it fine but dash I did and arrived with minutes to spare before the start of the race.
I drove along the foreshore and there was quite a crowd assembled. Sandgate is a bayside suburb, so many had walked down to the water's edge. However, quite a few had driven and parking was a premium.
I drove along the waterfront, looking up al the streets leading away from the water but there were no parks. I finally found a sidestreet with a few spaces at the far end of it and sped to park the car.
I grabbed my camera bag and began running to the waterfront. As I approached the end of the sidestreet I heard the 'bang' of the starter's gun.
I picked up speed and, having made it to the end of the street, I ran across the road running along the waterfront and looked in the direction of where the 'bang' had come from. I could see the horses picking up speed at the far end of the mudflats and knew I had had to act quickly.
Normally in situations like this, I like to get to the job early, have a look around, work out the best position and set myself up. However, in this instance, I was unable to do any of this. I was going to have to do with whatever I had to work with.
With the adrenaline surging through me, and as politely as possible, I wiggled my way through the assembled crowd until I had a clear view of the mudflats, whereupon I dropped my camera bag on the ground.
Without even assessing the situation I reached into the bag and, in one motion, grabbed a camera body and my 80-200mm f4 lens, fitted the lens to the body, swung the camera up to my face, focused the lens (this was the days before auto-focus) and started firing. Thankfully I'd already used the camera in Redcliffe so the settings were set for the conditions.
By now the horses were in full stride and I pressed down hard on the motor-drive, focusing somewhat blindly as they approached where I was standing and sped past. I didn't have to time to properly compose the photo and was running on pure instinct.
I had no idea I'd taken the photo you see here until I got back to the office. It had all been a blur of adrenaline and panic.
As it turned out, this photo didn't get a run in the newspaper. The SUN was a tabloid and silhouettes were 'frowned' upon - too esoteric. A photo was used but it was a far less dramatic one I took after the finish of the race (from memory this photo may have also been used, but the size of a postage stamp).
I love looking at this photo and admiring everything about it - the beautiful composition, the silhouetted seagulls and horses in full stride, the 'beach' setting - and then remembering the mayhem surrounding it and the pure 'arse' of it all!

Gear used - Nikon FM2, 80-200mm f4 lens, HP5 film, 1/250 sec f5.6 (or thereabouts)

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