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Old Oct 11, 2010, 8:07 AM   #1
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I tried taking some shots of my daughter at her horse-riding lesson which shouldn't have been too difficult because they're only up to cantering so nothing too fast but it's a lot more difficult than it looks. Out of 100+ shots, this is the only one I'm really happy with and I'm sure it has a few faults even after processing. C&C and advice welcome.

Panasonic DMC-FZ38. I had it set to ISO80 for low-noise which set a shutter speed of 1/80 which I guess was a bit slow and required my panning to be spot on which is where most of my shots went wrong. I also set it to -2/3ev to avoid clipped highlights from strong sun in places.

I'm guessing that I would have been better letting the ISO go higher and using a faster shutter speed?

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Old Oct 11, 2010, 8:50 AM   #2
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is it me or is the pic missing?
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 8:53 AM   #3
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This is actually a decent picture! I have almost given up trying to take pictures of my daughter riding as well for a number of reasons: horrible lighting (fluroscent and dim) in the arenas, and not just horizontal motion of the horse but also the verticle motion (bobbing) during walking, trotting, and canterring. And that's using a Nikon D300s and a 70-200 f/2.8!! Having looked at images taken by the event photographer, it appears there is some heavy noise reduction that will pass in a print, but not on screen to a pixel peeper like me! I was at one event where the photographer had set up 4 remote flashes which were not distraacting to the horses, but enough to give it that needed light.

These days, I just enjoy the event without a camera!

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Old Oct 11, 2010, 10:03 AM   #4
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A couple more turned out OK with some more editing:

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Old Oct 11, 2010, 11:11 AM   #5
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When shooting indoor equestrian events, the problem is always light. You take it where ever you can get it. You try to keep the sources behind you as much as possible, and keep them out of the frame as much as possible.



This was shot using a Nikon D90 with a Nikkkor 85/1.8 with the aperture wide open and a shutter speed of 1/200, and with an AUTO ISO of 640.

MartinSykes, you had decent light, but your daughter's face was in the shadow. You should have tried to get her going in the other direction. At the walk, using a shutter speed of 1/80 was pushing your luck, and at the trot and canter, you'll need it to be faster. I don't know what the maximum aperture you have on your FZ38 is, but I'd use it (A Mode if you've got it) and find out what ISO you can get away with, without getting too much noise. One of the problems with higher ISOs is that noise reduction techniques will also remove detail in the horse's coat, etc., but if you don't reduce the noise, you'll get a lot of noise in the green dropcloth and the cinder blocks in the background (especially with a large aperture.)

What I've done is to get into the ring, but stay in a corner where the horses can't get to you and you won't be in anyone's way.

The other two shots had a lighter background, so the subject was underexposed, and, again, your daughter's face was in the shadow.
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 11:27 AM   #6
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Thanks TCav.

Position was difficult - whenever I walked round to a good spot the teacher would invariably set them going round the other way. Next time I need to pick a good spot and wait for the shot. Would you use A or S mode? I was thinking I'd use S to fix it at 1/200 or faster but would A be better? The FZ38 does 2.8. I'm not sure about the shadow on her face as she's wearing a helmet. I'd almost think it would be better getting the shot in the shade where there are no strong shadows instead of in bright sun where the shadows are harsh.

You're also right the background light was a problem - or at least my obsession with it. I was so concerned with blown highlights that I deliberately underexposed but took it too far.
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 3:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinSykes View Post
Position was difficult - whenever I walked round to a good spot the teacher would invariably set them going round the other way. Next time I need to pick a good spot and wait for the shot.
Absolutely. You have to remember that the instructor wants the horses to not get used to any convention, and so will often mix things up. Pick a spot that gives you good lighting which ever direction you shoot, and stay there! That's not just for you, but also for the safety of the horses and riders! If a horse gets used to seeing you in one place, and the next time he passes that place, he doesn't see you, or he sees you someplace else, he could spook. And often, kids just don't know how to ride through that. Some adults too. And even if they can, nobody will be very happy with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinSykes View Post
Would you use A or S mode? I was thinking I'd use S to fix it at 1/200 or faster but would A be better? The FZ38 does 2.8. I'm not sure about the shadow on her face as she's wearing a helmet. I'd almost think it would be better getting the shot in the shade where there are no strong shadows instead of in bright sun where the shadows are harsh.
(I presume that your FX38 is equivalent to our FZ35.) The lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at the wide end, and f/4.4 at the long end, which isn't bad, and could be a lot worse. I'd pick an ISO I could live with, use A Mode and keep the aperture wide open, and for the shutter speed, let the chips fall where they may. If you end up with a little motion blur, that's not encessarily bad. In fact, if you've got an AUTO ISO feature, try that. My Nikon D90 has that. I can use A Mode to select the aperture I want, and select a minimum shutter speed, at which point, the camera will start raising the ISO until it reaches the maximum ISO I selected. Then and only then will it let the shutter speed drop below the minimum I set. That system lets you select at what point you're willing to accept motion blur instead of image noise.

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Originally Posted by MartinSykes View Post
You're also right the background light was a problem - or at least my obsession with it. I was so concerned with blown highlights that I deliberately underexposed but took it too far.
If you position yourself so you'll get the dim, dull background, then you won't have that problem.

Don't force the shot; wait for the shot to come to you. It will.
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