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06-08-2020, 01:42 PM   #1
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Equine photography advice

OK, I have a chance to photograph a horse and rider in a yard and over low jumps.
I have a K3 & a KP. My zooms are 10-17, 18-135, 50-200 & 55-300. Primes, 21, 35 & 70mm limited.

I am thinking, KP & 50-200mm and K3 & 70mm limited but I am open to suggestion.

Re the shoot. Single point AF or multi? Also, where do you focus? Horse or rider? Minimum shutter? And what aperture? Lol, I don't want much. I am thinking f5.6-f8, minimum shutter speed 1/800, iso as low as possible. Any tips would be gratefully received

06-08-2020, 01:51 PM   #2
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I've shot a lot of horse shows and my 80-200 FA* 2.8 was the lens of choice unless you can get very close to the jumps. The 55-300 might be OK but you may be forced to be nearly wide open. You will want to keep shutter speeds in the 1/1000-1/2000 range to stop motion. If you can pre-focus on the jump itself, you may get a higher rate of keepers. Timing the shutter is one possibility. Others prefer to shoot multiple frames and high speed to capture that floating moment that the horse is in the air. Run and gun never worked for me. Riders are very aware of what the jump should look like so try to capture an angle the fully captures the athleticism of the horse and rider. Practice makes perfect. After a few jumps you will get the hang of when to trip the shutter. Head on shots are rarely flattering so consider 30 degrees or so from the side. Have fun! -
06-08-2020, 02:02 PM - 1 Like   #3
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perhaps this article might be of interest?:

QuoteQuote:
Guide to Camera and Autofocus Settings for Shooting Sports
High-speed photography: horse show jumping
By beholder3 in Articles and Tips on Apr 26, 2017

We probably all try out new things in photography because that can be fun. But it can also be a hard thing to do with a DSLR and all the dozens of settings you can use. Often some initial guidance helps.

Here we want to share some experience on shooting a certain type of sport (contrary to popular belief, Pentax cameras can well be used for this purpose!), actually some outdoor horse sports: show jumping. This is intended to get interested users going quicker and to provide an easy reference if you want to try it yourself, either because you are a rider as well, or maybe your kids and relatives are, or you just enjoy the sports and the horses from a photography perspective. . . .

Read more at: Guide to Camera and Autofocus Settings for Shooting Sports - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com
06-08-2020, 02:36 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentax Syntax Quote
I've shot a lot of horse shows and my 80-200 FA* 2.8 was the lens of choice unless you can get very close to the jumps. The 55-300 might be OK but you may be forced to be nearly wide open. You will want to keep shutter speeds in the 1/1000-1/2000 range to stop motion. If you can pre-focus on the jump itself, you may get a higher rate of keepers. Timing the shutter is one possibility. Others prefer to shoot multiple frames and high speed to capture that floating moment that the horse is in the air. Run and gun never worked for me. Riders are very aware of what the jump should look like so try to capture an angle the fully captures the athleticism of the horse and rider. Practice makes perfect. After a few jumps you will get the hang of when to trip the shutter. Head on shots are rarely flattering so consider 30 degrees or so from the side. Have fun! -
Brilliant, thanks

---------- Post added 06-08-20 at 02:37 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
Brilliant, I will have a read. Your knowledge of existing articles never ceases to amaze I am impressed once more

06-08-2020, 02:46 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I've only shot a few horse races outdoors and polo games indoors. Here are a few takeaways from a newbie

- Meter carefully, if you fill the frame with a dark/light colored horse the camera will over/under expose. If possible, manual exposure helps, but only if light doesn't change much. Or keep in mind to compensate a half stop as needed. Another strategy is to expose at iso 100 to protect the highlights and then lift exposure in post.
- I'd say, ISO as high as possible, as in sacrifice ISO over shutter speed With the k3, 6400 should be no problem, and the kp is even better. 1/800 sounds about right, maybe lower is fine as you're panning

- I found it easier to focus on the rider, for me and for the camera, more contrast and more stable than the horse's head, also works better in terms of depth of field

- If you don't know how close you'll be to the horses, I'd take the 55-300 on the KP (PLM? doesn't matter actually), and the 18-135 on the K3. Either lenses you choose, get there a bit early and try to get a sense of what lenses you'll need
06-08-2020, 04:35 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
I've only shot a few horse races outdoors and polo games indoors. Here are a few takeaways from a newbie

- Meter carefully, if you fill the frame with a dark/light colored horse the camera will over/under expose. If possible, manual exposure helps, but only if light doesn't change much. Or keep in mind to compensate a half stop as needed. Another strategy is to expose at iso 100 to protect the highlights and then lift exposure in post.
- I'd say, ISO as high as possible, as in sacrifice ISO over shutter speed With the k3, 6400 should be no problem, and the kp is even better. 1/800 sounds about right, maybe lower is fine as you're panning

- I found it easier to focus on the rider, for me and for the camera, more contrast and more stable than the horse's head, also works better in terms of depth of field

- If you don't know how close you'll be to the horses, I'd take the 55-300 on the KP (PLM? doesn't matter actually), and the 18-135 on the K3. Either lenses you choose, get there a bit early and try to get a sense of what lenses you'll need
My 55-300 is the HD but not the PLM, consequently I am a little bit concerned that it might go hunting focus which takes forever. The 50-200 is an astonishingly sharp copy and seems to catch focus faster. I canít imagine needing wider than 50mm, hence the prime being the 70 although my 18-135, on a good day, is stellar. Regarding iso, I donít tend to push the K3 past 3200 but outdoors that should be fine whereas the KP I have had up to 12800 ..... what a camera that is thanks for the advice
06-08-2020, 08:50 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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The DFA*70-200 f/2.8 works well for me, even from the stands.


I think I can, I think I can
by Paul the Sunman, on Flickr
06-09-2020, 12:11 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cerebum Quote
My 55-300 is the HD but not the PLM, consequently I am a little bit concerned that it might go hunting focus which takes forever.
You won't need fast focus since you know where the rider and horse will be, the jumps. Pre-focus on a crossbar or something that will be on the focus plane that you desire, then shoot a burst as the the team jumps. try to find a seat that gives a favorable view of at least one jump with an uncluttered background. Do some fun stuff too like slow shutter and panning the team as they pass. That will blur some of the background distractions and give the impression of speed.

06-15-2020, 05:22 AM - 1 Like   #9
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One thing to keep in mind: avoid photographing horses with wide angle lenses, head-on it makes the head look large and its hindquarters look disproportionately small - the reverse scenario isn't particularly flattering either.
06-15-2020, 05:48 AM - 3 Likes   #10
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I've shot dressage competition at the Olympic games.

Forget shooting from the stands. Shoot low angle shooting up at the horse. Be mindful of the background - it can be very distracting - choose a wider DOF that blurs background yet not so wide that the entire horse is not sharp . A bit of dust in the air adds a 3D-like effect.

Obviously, you can not usually use a flash; so underexpose the image a bit to darken the background, then dodge the horse/rider in post.

Last edited by Fenwoodian; 06-15-2020 at 06:56 AM.
06-15-2020, 07:46 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
Forget shooting from the stands.
Sometimes, it's the only choice you have.
06-15-2020, 08:57 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
you can not usually use a flash
I have seen places that hang up a sign saying ISO6400 only. I find that to be a bit fascist: What happens to the photographer who decides to use ISO 400 and exploit the low shutter speeds and pans, capturing the horses movement? Are the stands going to subside beneath him masticate him in a maw of grinding metal trusses and girders?
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