I hate the smell of manure in the morning

Race horses cross paths during early morning workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 3, 2013. REUTERS/John Gress

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The last few days I had to adjust my central time body clock to pre-dawn eastern time wake-ups while covering my tenth Kentucky Derby. Even through I know someone who would beg to differ, I hate getting up crazy early to start work and today was one of those days. After waking up at 3:15am central time myself and fellow photographer Matt Sullivan were on our way to the lovely backside at Churchill downs to capture wold countries fastest horses exercising before dawn.

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Kentucky Derby hopeful Verrazano is washed down after early morning workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 3, 2013. REUTERS/John Gress
Kentucky Derby hopeful Verrazano is washed down after early morning workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 3, 2013. REUTERS/John Gress

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One of the most amazing parts of my morning was capturing Verrazano, one of the top favorites, being bathed in almost total darkness. Thanks to the year old Canon 5D mark III camera and a 35mm f1.4 lens I was able to capture the thoroughbred at 1/60 f1.4 ISO5000. Although you can see the pre dawn sky and detail in the horses skin, the scene appeared four times darker to the naked eye, very similar to the image below. In addition, I had to use the cameras live video function to focus the lens manually while zooming in to the scene on the rear LCD display. Making this image wasn’t even possible with the previous generation of cameras.

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Kentucky Derby hopeful Verrazano stands with his groom after early morning workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 3, 2013. REUTERS/John Gress
Kentucky Derby hopeful Verrazano stands with his groom after early morning workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 3, 2013. REUTERS/John Gress
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Orb, ridden by jockey Joel Rosario (L), passes the famous twin spires and crosses the finish first during the running of the 139th Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, May 4, 2013. REUTERS/John Gress

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