Spirit Of The Southern Cross by David McMahon

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This horseback rider was concentrating so hard on the flag that I hit the trigger to capture his intensity.

He was part of the Melbourne Cup parade on Monday. I shot a series of vertical frames showing his face clearly, but this – the only horizontal frame I shot – just captures the spirit of his task.

There is a poignant touch to this image, because we were told that this small group of four or five riders were from the Victorian alpine town of Marysville. As any Aussie will tell you, Marysville was all but obliterated during the Black Saturday bushfires in February.

I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot with a Pentax K100D, using a Sigma 70-300mm lens. F5.6, 1/350, ISO 200, focal length 300mm.

Featured by my co-host in ANYTHING WE WEAR, November 2009.

Featured in YOUR COUNTRY’S BEST, November 2009.

Featured in COWBOY/ COWGIRL ART, December 2009.


Walkley Award-nominated journalist, novelist and wedding photographer at davidmcmahonweddings.com

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  • cherylc1
    cherylc1about 5 years ago

    Awesome capture!

  • Thank you, Cheryl. The story behind the image says so much as well, because a little part of every Australian heart died in those fires.

    – David McMahon

  • Barssel
    Barsselabout 5 years ago

    This would make a great addition to the Horse and Rider group

  • Thanks very much for the advice, Ademac – I’ll check out the group right away. Thanks for your kindness.

    – David McMahon

  • Diana-Lee Saville
    Diana-Lee Savilleabout 5 years ago

    He saw you with your camera and hid his face :P

  • I hear you, Di.

    – David McMahon

  • John Vandeven
    John Vandevenabout 5 years ago

    Awesome shot David

  • Thanks so much, John. Really appreciate it.

    – David McMahon

  • Betty Mackey
    Betty Mackeyabout 5 years ago

    You show a lot here. Well done!

  • Thank you, Betty. We merely record what we see. The rider gave me the moment to capture this image.

    – David McMahon

  • Shulie1
    Shulie1about 5 years ago

    A wonderful shot, David

  • Thanks so much, Shulie. It’s always interesting shooting images of a parade from a crowd …

    – David McMahon

  • Trish Woodford
    Trish Woodfordabout 5 years ago

    This is great David, so very aussie – of course the flag but also the horse, the hat – wonderful :)

  • Thank you, Trish. Yes, the hat is a classic Akubra. Glad you liked this shot.

    – David McMahon

  • sfmilner
    sfmilnerabout 5 years ago

    Greetings David; Beautifully captured.

  • Thank you, Steve. It was just one of those quiet moments, many metres past the media and the TV cameras – and I was privileged to be there to capture it.

    – David McMahon

  • Scott  d'Almeida
    Scott d'Almeidaabout 5 years ago


  • Thanks so much, Scott. It is an image that I find extremely inspirational, in the light of what Marysville went through in the fires.

    – David McMahon

  • lorilee
    lorileeabout 5 years ago

  • Thank you very much, Lorilee. That’s a truly wonderful accolade – and it really is recognition of the resilience of the people of Marysville. My deepest thanks again.

    – David McMahon

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