Horse Jumping Photo Techniques?

Started Dec 29, 2003 | Discussions thread
ron mcmillan Contributing Member • Posts: 836
Re: Horse Jumping Photo Techniques?

Hi Reeko,

Sorry for stating what might be the obvious, but seemingly it hasn't occurred to you either.

Who needs horses or outdoor jumps to practice this sort of shot?

Go to your nearest car junction and practise taking sharp frames as cars pass a particular landmark, whether that's a street sign or a lamppost or a parked car.

Get a friendly kid to ride his/her bike past a tree or a sapling or a waste bin or a piece of paper placed exactly where you want it, over and over....

Get an adult jogger friend to vault a small obstacle over and over....

As for exposure, shooting on automatic is truly the preserve of the amateur. If you are serious about your pictures, you'll want to take more control over your exposure. That could be as simple as taking a camera reading off of your palm at a place where the light will hit your subject in the same way, and then opening up the exposure by one f-stop (so if your camera meter says the right exposure is 1/250 at f11, expose at 1/250 at f8 or 1/500 at f5.6), or going the whole hog and trying to understand light by using a hand-held meter -- something that anyone who is remotely serious about photography should do in any case. But in any case will require you to forget about shooting anything on automatic.

As for sharpness, you'd be daft to rely on the camera. Better to pre-focus on the jump and be sure of your depth of field at a given f-stop. Focus on a point that will roughly correspond with your wife at a given moment, then switch off autofocus. And when she jumps, take a burst of frames.


Reeko wrote:


Have been playing with my 10 D now a few months and just now got
what I hope will be a good lens for sports, A Sigma 100-300 f4 and
a good monopod. Specifically - Outdoor horse Jumping events.

Anyway, I wanted to ask what settings and techniques any of you
guys might use. I am fairly new to this...

1) Typically I shoot Shutter Priority for action, usually setting
at about 1/500. Is this a good speed to capture a horse jumping? I
then adjust the ISO setting if I am concerned with getting a
particular F Stop/DOF. I can't decide if this is better than going
aperature priority.

2)I can't decvide if I want to use servo mode, and track the horse,
taking the shot when he jumps, or to set up/focus on the jump and
wait for the horse to enter the picture. Feedback?

3)How low should the aperture be to get the horse and rider both in
clear focus, and yet hopefully get some blurring of the background.
From early experiments, I will be shooting at the 200 to 300
rangesince I can't get close to the jumps.

Thanks for any help. I really want to get some good photos of my
wife and her horse, suitable for framing. It is hard since at the
actual event you only get 1 or 2 chances to get a shot, I can't
afford to be experimenting at the shows. (I would probably practice
on other horses at the events , but I am also the groom, so don't
have a lot of free time :). Plus it is hard to tell how the pics
look on the camera display.


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