What Makes This Image Great?
This stunning image by Alan Crowhurst offers a wonderful glimpse into the mind of a creative photographer. Starting with the composition, the photographer opted for a very low angle, likely lying on the ground shooting towards the sky. His choice of a wide angle lens works to accentuate the impressive height each horse achieves while clearing the hurdle. It's not a tightly cropped frame and the subjects have room to thunder forward under vast blue skies. Only a small portion of the surrounding foliage is shown giving further emphasis to the clouds above.
Rather than settling for a traditional exposure showing detail in the horse, Crowhurst has chosen to silhouette the creatures, making it more about shape and form. The jockey and the horse appear as one, revealing the important bond between the two. They have trained for this moment, and are working as a single unit to overcome the competition. Soaring from the darkness the jockey leans forward to reduce wind drag as the horse fully extends its powerful gate.
In addition to these creative elements, the photographer has also made excellent use of a fast shutter speed. With subjects this fast, the setting would need to be approximately 1/1000 to truly freeze their motion. If you look closely, it's possible to see the loose dirt falling from the horses hooves. This type of attention to detail adds a sense of urgency to the moment.