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Thread: Polo Match Shooting

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Polo Match Shooting

    I have never shot (nor even seen) a polo match but, my camera club is visiting a local polo field this weekend for the Sunday match.

    Does anyone have any tips for photographing a polo match? I plan on using two cameras, 7D and 40D with 300mm f/4L IS and 70-200mm f/4L IS lenses (this is my standard field sports setup). I will use the lenses in IS mode 2 since I might probably want to pan.

    I plan on shooting in AV mode using ISO 400 which will allow me quite a decent shutter speed at f/5.6 (this aperture will allow selective focus but will still allow me too get an entire horse/rider in focus). The match will be at mid-day and I expect fairly bringt sun. This should allow me a shutter speed of somewhere about 1/3200 second. I can get very decent quality from either camera shooting at ISO 400 and that is quite often my selection when shooting.

    I am also planning, to shoot a selection of shots at a slower shutter speed for some creative effects.

    I will shoot in AI Servo AF and in burst mode. I will probably shoot in low-speed burst but, may also try the higher speed burst. I will use back buton focus. I will play around with the various 7D auto focus modes, such as Zone AF and AF point expansion this week shooting cars passing along a road.

    Although JPEG will allow longer bursts, I plan on shooting in RAW. I don't usually machine-gun my shots, so shooting in RAW should not be a problem.

    I am taking a monopod because at the end of most sports events, my arms are ired from the weight of cameras lenses and the monopod helps that.

    I plan on taking a small, low stool. I like to shoot sports from a lower angle but, due to arthritis and a pair of total knee replacements, kneeling is no longer an option for me.

    I plan on stationing myself near the goal for one or two chukkars to getthe horses/riders coming directly at me. I will post myself in the corner off to the side of the goal for one chkkar and will shoot from the sidelines for one chukkar. That way I will get a selection of head-on shots, 3/4 views and side shots.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Polo Match Shooting

    Richard - I've never seen a match live, but from very limited experience of seeing the sport, I think you've got two main scenarios. Firstly, there is open play, where horses are at the gallop and everyone is in hot pursuit of the ball. The second is when the ball comes to rest, or close to rest and everyone converges on it to try and gain the advantage. At that time is can be quite a melee of men and horses all bunched together. This could make for quite dramatic close-up shots I would have thought - close-up of heads of men and horses tussling together.

    I envy you the opportunity and look forward to seeing the results.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Polo Match Shooting

    Hi Richard,

    I haven't shot polo and not sure how close you'll get to the pitch, but I'd have something wider than 70mm available in your bag just in case the 300 proves too long for such big subjects (when not doing close ups).

    Good luck,

  4. #4
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Polo Match Shooting

    Donald,

    I am quite excited about the opportunity to photograph the polo match. Apparently, my club has arranged for half-price tickets ($6 USD instead of the normal $12) and will have a table set up under a canopy for refreshments. I have read postings often about photographers not seeming to like their photo clubs. However the loose affiliation of clubs to which I belong constantly has opportunities like this. We have no required official meetings and I could go to several shoots a week if I had the inclination. The prices are always quite reasonable and usually include no more than the admission fees to the events (most often at a discounted rate).

    Dave...

    You are quite correct in that I should carry a shorter lens. Whenever, I get lazy and decide to carry the absolute minimum of gear, it always seems to bite me on my bottom....

  5. #5
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Polo Match Shooting

    This is the type information that I get about a shoot. Usually, there are three or four shoots every week.

    http://www.meetup.com/pacificphoto/e...5232&_af=event

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Polo Match Shooting

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    This is the type information that I get about a shoot. Usually, there are three or four shoots every week.

    http://www.meetup.com/pacificphoto/e...5232&_af=event
    I see there's a 14 page pdf of horse racing shooting tips linked from there Richard, only had a quick scan. Probably doesn't tell you anything relevant to polo you couldn't work out for yourself though.

    Cheers,

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Polo Match Shooting

    Thanks Dave... I viewed that PDF file and while it contains some good informatin, there was nothing that changes my plans.

    I did get one piece of great advice from a friend. However, I will not follow his advice. It was to bring an eight foot ladder to be able to shoot down and minimize the sky and possible minimize the background clutter. I am sure that would result in some good shots but, I can't see me lugging an eight foot step ladder around the polo field, much less teetering atop the ladder in the midst of a crowd of cheering spectators......

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    Re: Polo Match Shooting

    Some ideas of what to expect and prepare yourself for at

    http://www.poloblogs.com/photo-galleries

  9. #9
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Polo Match Shooting

    Andrew,
    Thank you very much. That link helped immensely. Like I said, I have never seen a polo match in person or on television. One of galeries even showed the venue in which I will be shooting.

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    Re: Polo Match Shooting

    Richard: never have shot a polo match, and being Canadian I would think hockey, but a bigger rink. It will be fast moving, I would think not as much action in the centre more around the blue lines. However if you move to one end the action will be at the other, and likewise, so find a good place and wait for the action to come to you. I believe that they trade ends, have fun.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  11. #11
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Polo Match Shooting

    It was a fun day. The 300mm f/4L IS lens on my 7D was perfect and all that I needed and used. I stayed in one place, because I had a seat at a comfortable table with awning, and I let the action come to me.
    When I was younger, I would have run from one end of the field to another but, I have grown older and wiser. BTW, polo is supposedly played on the largest field of any sport.
    My images are located at:
    http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Other/San...1018&k=tQZcDm4
    Here is one image...
    Polo Match Shooting

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