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Thread: Racing Horses - C&C requested

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Racing Horses - C&C requested

    This weekend I visited the a horse racing event, the BC Derby, because I love horses. It was a first for me, and quite the experience. I enjoyed all the action and beautiful horses.

    I would like to try this again this month with a mind to improve upon this set of photos.

    I treated the horses like birds in flight and set my camera as follows..

    Manual F4-F8 SS 2000-3300 Auto iso to a maximum of 1600 (to limit noise, max of 1250 was chosen) Matrix metering and single point center focus.

    I picked out the best spot I could find but next time around I hope to get closer to the finish line.

    My challenges were

    1. Deciding whether to focus on the horses or the jockey's eye?

    2. Horses are large so I ended up clipping the jockey or the horse but in reviewing other horse race photos I do see clipped horses so perhaps it is okay? I used my fixed 300 mm lens to capture the horses racing in the distance. (And the professional photographers at the event all had super long lens on their cameras) I brought along my Nikon D80 with a 28-200 mm lens but it couldn't focus fast enough so I stuck with my D7100 and 300 mm lens. Next time around should I use a 28-200 mm lens on my Nikon 7100 and try and get closer or my 300 mm lens and choose either a full shot in the distance or a cropped close up shot?


    3. I wanted to use a larger aperture then F8 to get more in focus but the racetrack background is full of distracting objects so mostly I used a larger aperture F4 in an attempt to blur the background but I couldn't manage to do it with every shot...

    If my panning skills were stronger could I use a smaller aperture and still have a blurred background, or do I just have to find a closer spot?


    Below is a series of photos to view to provide a sense of the challenges I faced as a general overview.[I] For a critique I would just like to hear a few tips on how I can improve next time around, and I am interested to hear a point of view on not getting the entire horse or rider in the shot.


    I also had challenges with funny angles because I would turn the camera around for vertical mode to fit in as much as possible.

    #1

    Racing Horses - C&C requested


    #2

    Racing Horses - C&C requested


    #3
    Racing Horses - C&C requested

    #4

    Racing Horses - C&C requested

    #5


    Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Cropped (clipped)

    #6

    Racing Horses - C&C requested

    #7

    Racing Horses - C&C requested

    #8

    Racing Horses - C&C requested

    #9

    Racing Horses - C&C requested

    #10

    Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Figuring out the exposure with so much black, white and red was also challenging... But I have a few nice head shots of the horses only in my stash of photos.

    Thank you in advance.

    Christina

  2. #2
    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Nice set of action photos. I think #6, and #7 are to closely cropped. #10 does not appeal to me.


    Bruce

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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    I like them, Christina! I know less than nothing about horses, and horse racing, but you've got some tack sharp shots, and nailed the exposure on all of them - no clipped whites, or blacks. Very nice!

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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Nice set Christina, The exposure and focus look right on. I think both 1 and 4 could be cropped closer, from the right and the bottom. I think #5 is the most interesting. Whatever they are talking about the horse thinks it's funny.

    George

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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Furious action, no time to be selective and so finding the wow shot is so difficult. A nice set though and for me no.s 8 and 10 stand out. No. 8 for the look in the horse's eye and no. 10 is a good study with just enough in the BG to add context.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    It was a first for me, ...
    And that's what makes this set very impressive.

    I absolutely believe that this sort of shooting is something that needs lots and lots of practice in order to refine skills. I have, occasionally, tried sports action photography and because I don't do it often enough, every time I have tried has been a disasater, with nothing really worthwhile being obtained.

    So, I can't think of anything more sensible to say than, if this is what interests you, then grab every opportunity that exists to get there and take photographs. I'd put money on that you will see improvements taking place. And from the starting point of these good images, then we can expect to see very high qulaity stuff coming in the future.

  7. #7
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Hi Christina,

    A great series and thank you for your explanation behind your planning for these. I have never attempted any horse racing but can appreciate your questions concerning the capturing of fast moving subjects like this.

    If you are concerned about the 'clipping' such as in shots 6 & 7 is it worth considering not shooting in so close giving you space to crop more in post if you get that wow shot? No 7 being a good example.

    I do not see a problem with your panning skills at all so I can not think of a reason you could not open up to blur the background more other than you will lose sharpness in the rear horses if they are coming towards you.

    Grahame

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Thank you to all for your comments, suggestions and encouragement.

    Donald, there is a race every weekend until the long weekend in October, so I have a few more opportunities before the season ends. The horses are magnificent in action, and the expressions on the jockey's faces are full of stories.

    For the full shots of the racing horses these would be better if I could blur the background, and if I could find a position front which is not possible. So next time around I am going to position myself near the starting line (instead of the finish line) and see how this works, and use an aperture of 4.

    I think I find the close in shots the most appealing, so I just have to find a position where I can best capture a close up of the jockey and the horse, without clipping the head of the jockey or the horse. The good thing about the races is that there is about 20 minutes between each race so there is lots of time to think between races.

    Grahame, thank you for the tip on aperture and position. I intend to try just that.

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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    All lovely shots especially # 4,6 and since my wife is involved with horses 5 days a week I could interest her too
    I am puzzled as to picture #2, at first glance it looked like a horse was lying on the turf outside and with two people showing. Perhaps you could clone them out or is it meant to be ? Just a thought.
    Patrik

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Hi Pat,

    Thank you. Lucky you. Horses are gorgeous.

    I believe that is a photographer on the ground on the inner circle of the race track and one of several mannequins placed around the track, for what purpose I don't know.

    If I were to do anything with this set of photos, yes, I think cloning them out would improve the photo but I find cloning hard to do well... Hopefully next time around I will be more aware of the background and pick a suitable position. It is more likely that I will do something with just my horse shots (better shots), which I will share later.



    Aside: I've been reviewing my shots and I think I've learned that my major challenge was composing the photo. I found some better shots of the racers where they are not so cropped but they are all crooked as I was likely turning my camera whichever way needed to fit in as much as I could so I captured the action but ended up with odd compositions.


    Quote Originally Posted by pat3pee View Post
    All lovely shots especially # 4,6 and since my wife is involved with horses 5 days a week I could interest her too
    I am puzzled as to picture #2, at first glance it looked like a horse was lying on the turf outside and with two people showing. Perhaps you could clone them out or is it meant to be ? Just a thought.
    Patrik

  11. #11
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    My favorites are #3, #4 and #5 where i can see the full event..... others are good too....
    I suggest some slow shutter shots to record movement in the frame; on your next visit please try this as well as panning
    All the Best

  12. #12
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Thank you for the tip... How low a shutter speed do you think I can get away with?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wavelength View Post
    My favorites are #3, #4 and #5 where i can see the full event..... others are good too....
    I suggest some slow shutter shots to record movement in the frame; on your next visit please try this as well as panning
    All the Best

  13. #13
    Wavelength's Avatar
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    That depends how fast the horses are moving.... just experiment please; wonders can happen

  14. #14
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    LOL Okay I will experiment and if they are all flops, no doubt I will have learned something new.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wavelength View Post
    That depends how fast the horses are moving.... just experiment please; wonders can happen

  15. #15
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Then you can post them under "Abstracts"

  16. #16
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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    All very nice. The cropping doesn't matter to me when presented as a series.

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    Re: Racing Horses - C&C requested

    Well at race speed the horses are running at 35 milres per hour
    Quote Originally Posted by Wavelength View Post
    That depends how fast the horses are moving.... just experiment please; wonders can happen

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