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Old Nov 27, 2008, 4:08 AM   #1
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Any pointers? I have no idea where to begin. Shooting the archers and their gear is very straight forward, trying to get a good photo of someone actually shooting is not, and catching an arrow mid flight seems nigh impossible.
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Old Nov 27, 2008, 7:45 AM   #2
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For an arrow in flight I would suggest you would need manual focus - trying to acquire an arrow on a focus point would be very difficult indeed. But I would submit that unless it was a staged shot with light on the arrow and dark background the resulting image would be very boring anyways. Sports shooting is about peak action. The peak action for archery is the point of release or the point of impact.

So, I would concentrate on those two events and not so much the arrow in flight. The release is going to be a timing thing. I'm not sure what "tells" if any exist that indicate the shooter is about to release but you're going to have to work on timing that. Of course a high burst rate helps - having 8-10fps would be a bonus, if you're shooting with a digicam with less than 1fps and great shutter lag you'll have issues. Which is a good point - what camera are you using?

Other shots that might be interesting - tigh framing on the eye, on the face and on the hand/fingers (and I mean tight - filling the frame).

For the impact I might suggest the following two types of shots:

1. Try to get the arrow just prior to impact. Set narrow aperture (f11 or so) and fill the frame as much as possible with the target. If you can't fill1/2-3/4 of the frame with the target this is going to be tough because you won't end up with enough detail to make the shot interesting after cropping. But, with target fillingat least 1/2of the frame focus on the target and wait (this is where using a monopod can be helpful). Work on timing so you take the shot as the arrow enters the frame but just before impact. Again, burst is nice here as timing will be difficult.

2. Shot at impact with a slower shutter speed to get some of the quiver of the fletching/shaft that occurs at impact. Try different speeds - I would start around 1/80 and adjust as needed.

Good luck - I look forward to seeing some photos.
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Old Nov 28, 2008, 8:34 PM   #3
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Catching an arrow mid-flight can be done. It needs patience, both on the part of the photographer and archer. I haven't done this myself, but have seen the setup. You really need a slave flash along the arrow's path to illuminate it an at least partially stop the motion.

I would think it would be more difficult, actually with archery than with firearms, because with a pistol, one can use a sound trigger and calculate the timing fairly accurately. With a bow, you don't have that option, and have to rely on photographer's reflex to get the shot. I predict it will take you at least a half-dozen trial runs before getting it right.

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