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Thread: showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

  1. #1

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    showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

    hi everyone,
    I am trying to push myself out of my comfort/ability zone. I went out yesterday and photographed in RAW, then processed in ACR – a totally new workflow for me. The attached was taken late morning facing east [shutter priority, F4.5 (max. 2.8) focal length 29.5mm, 1/640s, ISO100, using Fuji S100fs bridging]. Spectators were quite a way from most of the action, with not many viewpoint options – but it was fun trying to get a good shot.
    First image is as shot, scaled to reduce file size and saved out as a .jpg. Second image, I have adjusted in ACR. Experimented with WB, exposure etc., cropped, and tried unsuccessfully to adjust out the chromatic aberration around the rider’s jodhpurs.
    I would like as much C&C as you can help me with, both the original image and the PP. I look forward to being told what I have done wrong, but will be even more grateful for any reworks or advice to help me improve.
    thanks,
    - Noel

    1. showjumping_as_shot
    showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

    2. showjumping_edited
    showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

    Hi Noel,

    Well this is nothing to be ashamed of for sure.

    I have shot a few of these events and it isn't easy.

    Things in your favour;
    Good choice of background, the line of trees is infinitely better than a row of cars, horseboxes or burger vans glinting in the sunshine (for example)
    Your timing was (very nearly) perfect on this (it would have be perfect if that red flag hadn't just got in the way of the nose, but that's way beyond prediction/control)
    Your shutter speed (1/640s) was pretty good, it may need to be higher still if you zoom in more, or manage to get closer to the subject
    I suspect your camera won't manage the "f/2.8 max" at that focal length and so the f/4.5 was probably as good as you'll get

    The methods I have found most successful are;
    a) shooting with the subjects coming towards you is usually preferable, so we can see faces, not bums and thighs
    b) don't even try to shoot more than two jumps, most are too far away, the wrong angle, or have stuff in the foreground/background that just ruins serious images - this means choosing a shooting position before 'your' subject is jumping the course, but bear in mind they often move the jumps about between events
    Also, pick two far enough apart on the jumping route that they allow time for the camera to empty its buffer, this also allows you time to synchronise your panning with their speed on this section of course
    c) get closer, e.g. by zooming in more (if possible)
    d) shoot at the widest aperture possible (to blur the background and help keep the shutter speed high enough)
    e) using a larger sensor camera helps with narrowing Depth of Field (DoF)
    f) using a larger sensor camera will also help with the blooming (not CA) we see on the jodhpurs
    g) if possible, clone out some stuff in PP to simplify compositions

    With your camera (especially when shooting RAW), getting the timing perfect for one shot is best (through practice), with a DSLR, some may be tempted to take several shots on continuous mode, but actually only one will be 'right' anyway, so you may as well shoot that

    Here are my most recent (2010) published examples; http://www.pbase.com/dhumphries/sports, and looking at them again now, by no means have I followed all my own advice here but they were shot with a DSLR (1.5 crop)
    For comaprison, here is what I shot in 2008 using my Fuji equivalent to your camera https://picasaweb.google.com/1129577...ndShowjumping#, note how (undesirably) sharp the backgrounds are compared to the 2010 ones.

    Cheers and good luck next time - there will be a next time, right?
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 7th May 2012 at 10:48 AM.

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

    Oh, nearly forgot, the black point is too high on your final image, see histogram, it could be moved by 10 or more to give a more punchy image.

    I hope our member Thierry (tb72) sees this and posts, he shoots with prime lenses; 200mm f/2 and 85mm f/1.8 on a DSLR (usually wide open) and achieves brilliant results. Random example and cross country

    If only I had the money for a fast 200mm lens that would Auto-focus on my body - f/5.3 is about my limit at that focal length (using my 70-300mm).

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 7th May 2012 at 11:10 AM.

  4. #4

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    Re: showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

    I would either crop closer and just have the jump and horse or come out a bit and have the tops of the trees. I would try to lighten the horse face a little.
    Don't forget that RAW allways needs sharpening....

  5. #5
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    Re: showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

    Cropping more closely seems to draw attention to the horse and rider. In the front, crop between the tripod and the pedestal and in the rear crop traight thrugh the potted foliage and between the black upright and the white and orange gate. Crop the top somewhere in the trees. Add a bit of contrast and I think that the horse and rider are more prominent...

    I don't know what your camera's maximum focal length is but, it would be best of you shot at the max focal length. Your camera has RAW capability and I would recommend shooting RAW whenever possible.

    The problem with smaller sensor cameras is that the short focal lengths that they have cannot really use selective focus (however on the other side of the coin, these cameras have very wide depth of field).

    All in all, you did a very respectable job...



    The problem with smaller format cameras

  6. #6

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    Re: showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

    Dave, Peter and Richard, thanks immensely for taking time to review, and reply. I am also very grateful for your encouragement.
    Dave, your advice is invaluable and I am certain will also benefit many others viewing this thread. I promised myself a DSLR when I could not do any better with my compacts (I also use a Lumix TZ-10). CiC, yourself, and others here will get me there much sooner than I expected.
    Peter, I tried both crops and preferred the tight version as also suggested by Richard. I haven’t learnt enough to be able to lighten the horses face independent of the rest of the image, or sharpen in ACR (but I can sharpen in Ps). I’ll get there eventually.
    Richard, I had included the stuff to the right to show it was the last jump, as the tripods are the Finish sensors. However, the close crop does add emphasis to the subject, which is more important than context. A preset (still on trainer wheels) Medium Contrast curves adjustment really boosted the shot. Maximum focal length is 101.5 mm, so I could have used a bit more of it without losing more necessary shutter speed than I could offset with an ISO increase. I am OK shooting RAW, but I know I need to become more competent in processing correctly.
    Once again, thank you all for your help.
    - Noel

  7. #7

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    Re: showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

    I also have the S100fs, and it remains my favourite for a lot of stuff - silent shutter, good zoom, high flash sync etc. It does suffer from one thing though - chromatic aberration, although this varies from model to model. In most cases, it's minor but sometimes, well, ACR just doesn't "get it" and for those (few) shots I use DxO which does a great job on CA, and distortion. DxO's negatives are a somewhat quirky interface, and it is slow... which is why I use it only for the problem images.

    As to the photography itself, good stuff!

  8. #8

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    Re: showjumping - what would you have done differently, please?

    hi Peter,
    Nice to hear from you. I enjoy my S100fs as well. I am aware it cannot do everything, but at this stage it can still do more than I am capable of - so I am still learning from it. Nice to know the fringing is partly a design issue and not all down to me. I had not heard of DxO, but just had a look at the web site and it appears a useful program. I may try the free 30 day download when I have time to play around with it. Thanks for the tip.
    - Noel

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