Calling COTH photographers...taking jumping photos at indoors, tips?
Fiance is bringing me to Harrisburg to watch the Grand Prix and I am going to bring along my Nikon D3100. Looking for some tips on how to get the best action photos. I am still very new to this camera and I want at least a chance of getting clear pictures.
Be as specific as possible on aperature, ISO, shutter speed, etc.
Last edited by To the MAX; Oct. 8, 2012 at 09:02 PM.
i set mine on the shutter speed priority setting, play around and see how fast i can set it without totally losing the picture. then i lighten them up on the computer. not perfect, but it gets clear pictures.
Shutter speed priority would probably do it. I do a ton of concert photography which is the same basic problem since I go to small shows - dark, fast movement.
I like to shoot at 1/80 second for fast movement (play with that one to see) and aperture as open as I can get with my f/1.8 lens. I assume a horse show will be more well lit so you wouldn't have to get that open! I also prefer ISO of 800 or lower, but again some conditions require otherwise.
My trick for open aperture and handling the tiny depth of field is to make the center point the focus spot, put it on auto focus, aim at something where you want to take the shot (center of the pole of the jump) then put it to manual and not change the focus so you can take the pic as soon as you want without the camera trying to adjust focus, and it will be in proper focus. After some practice it is fast enough you can get multiple jumps in one round.
An example of exif data for a shot I took for a musician at the back of the stage on whom there was no light - you just see the reflections of lights around him. You should be able to have a higher f/# and lower ISO in your indoor. http://www.flickr.com/photos/netg15/...57626571710230
My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.
Originally Posted by katarine
If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed
What I do is set ISO to 400 and then set shutter speed priority to 1/100th of a second as I find this is the the slowest I can use and still reliably freeze the action. Then I do a test shot to see what aperture the camera chooses at that speed. If the aperture is not at maximum, I raise my shutter speed to 1/125th and test again. If the camera is happy, I use this and set my auto focus to single shot and then prefocus on center of top rail of the jump while the horse is a few strides out. Then finish pressing the button to shoot while horse is at apex of the jump.
Note, that if ISO 400 and 1/100th doesn't make the camera happy, I raise ISO to 600 or 800 instead of lowering shutter speed.
Basically fiddle with the settings until you get a good shot (or at least one that has enough light in it that you can later tweak it in Lightroom or Photoshop) and that has at least a shutter speed of 1/100th and an aperture of at least the highest (lowest number) your computer will go and with the lowest ISO.
And test it on all the jumps you want to shoot, as the light may change from one jump to the other, so you either have to plan your shots based on your camera's settings, or be VERY fast in making the needed change (usually of shutter speed). You could also make your settings for the lowest lighted jump of the ones you want to shoot and then let your camera adjust for the better lighted one by auto adjusting the aperture smaller (higher number).
Sonest and others have already posted some great tips. Being completely new to DSLR photography about 6 months ago, I had a learn a lot of these basics about aperture, ISO, and shutter speed myself. I found that it always helped when going to a horse show (I shoot a lot of my wife's shows now), to pick out the person with the biggest lens that looked like they knew what they were doing and ask them what gear they were using and what settings they were shooting with. I have gained a huge amount of understanding by doing this, and also learned that different people will sometimes shoot with slightly different settings, for example some on full manual, others in shutter priority. I'll try and cover a few tips in addition to what has already been mentioned concerning ISO and shutter speed.
First, make sure your focus point or is set to center or single only as this helps with focus. (you might see it referred to as Single-point AF
Also, make sure you shoot with manual ISO that way You are controlling these settings, as too high of an ISO (usually much over 800 but it depends a lot on the model camera) can cause a lot of noise.
I usually shoot with the white balance set to auto so its one less setting to adjust. This is easily fixable later during post-processing, esp. if you are shooting in RAW instead of jpeg. (Keep in mind though that if you are shooting in RAW, the pictures take up significantly more space and you can very quickly run out of memory on your card).
Depending on your lens I find that usually f4 and up is best to shoot at, as with a larger aperture, you end up having parts of the jump or the horse/rider out of focus. My telephoto lens has a variable aperture (f3.5-5.5) so usually when I'm all the way zoomed out the pictures will be darker and I'll have to decrease the shutter speed to allow for more light, or increase the ISO, or both.
Shutter priority is what I would recommend for shooting with as this will let the camera adjust the shutter speed as needed for the correct exposure. As others pointed out, its good to do a test shot or two at each jump, so see what your camera is going to be shooting at, so you know if you will have to compensate for low light on certain jumps by increasing ISO. When you are shooting actions shots and are trying to freeze that rider over a jump, you usually aren't going to be able to go much lower than 1/250th of a second, without the clarity and sharpness starting to deteriorate.
Keep asking questions when it comes to photography though, I've learned so much from doing the same and by reading countless blogs too."
Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique
You should be at a minimum of 1/2x focal length of the lens to prevent motion blur. If you are shooting a 100 mm lens, you should be at a minimum of 1/200 shutter speed. I stick to 1/500 minimum for action shots, as I'd rather know I'm freezing the motion, and can lighten dark images and use noise reduction software in post. I'd go down to 1/400 minimum (I shoot with a 200 mm lens). I'd be shocked if you are really freezing all the action at 1/80 or 1/100 with a jumping horse and a lens of 100 mm or more. 1/60 is considered the speed needed to freeze motion of an average person, with high speed and action sports you want to go considerably higher.
I'd start with shutter priority at 1/400, raise the ISO as needed. I'll shoot night indoor shots as high as 3200 (with a 5DMK II) and the noise is manageable in post production. The lower the ISO, the better, so I'd go as low as you can while still getting a good exposure. Do you have post production software like Lightroom or Photoshop? If so, you can be a little under exposed to give yourself the best chance of getting everything sharp, and lighten in post. If not, you'll want to get the exposure as close as you can in camera.
Another thing I really like to play with at night or in low light situations is pan motion shots - slow the exposure down to 1/30 or slower, and pan the camera with the motion of the horse. Takes some practice to get the timing right, but you can produce some really cool shots like that. Here is one of my favorites:
Yes, definitely you will need to pan with the horse if you are shooting at a shutter speed less than 1/250th. Guess I forgot to mention that.
You focus on your top rail of the jump by half pressing the shutter release button, then find the horse and pan with him (follow him) with your camera until he reaches the apex of the jump and then fully press the shutter release.
But truly, if you are panning, you can freeze a horse in motion just fine at 1/125th or 1/150th.