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Old Jul 26, 2010, 12:02 PM   #1
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Default Horse track and water tubing setting help

I have 2 trips coming up, and wanted to get a handle on settings. I am going to be using a Canon Xsi with a 55-250 IS lens.

Horse track, I was thinking partial metering, center focus, shutter 1/400 shutter p, AI servo,and let the camera pick ISO and Apt, would this be ok?

On the lake pulling a tube with boat, action shots with kids on tube, thinking same as above with a 1/1000 shutter?

Would appreciate advice, thanks

Last edited by Mark2009; Jul 26, 2010 at 12:10 PM.
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Old Jul 26, 2010, 12:35 PM   #2
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For the racetrack, the 55-250 lens will be tough. It doesn't focus very quickly, so you may have trouble as the pack is galloping toward you (sort of) presuming you're at track level at or near the finish line.

AI Servo definiately, but 1/400 won't be fast enough to freeze the movement. (That's not to say that all motion blur is bad, however.) You'll be outdoors, so there will be plenty of light, so even at an ISO of 100, you might have a problem keeping shutter speed from being too fast, or even below the upper limit of your XSi. You can stop down, but that will give you a significant depth of field, so everything in the foreground and background will be in focus. I'd shoot in aperture priority, keep the aperture wide open, and use a neutral density filter to keep the shutter speed from getting too fast.
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Old Jul 26, 2010, 12:54 PM   #3
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I would suggest you touch base with Greg Chapell in the Oly DSLR forum as he's the resident horse race shooter. It's one sport I don't shoot.

I will point out a couple things for both efforts:
1) the only time I recommend shutter priority is if you intentionally want motion blur otherwise it's a poor mode for action photography.
2) your biggest challenge for both events may be proper exposure - especially if it's sunny out. If you're not going to shoot with manual exposure (my preference), take some test shots and use exposure compensation so that you expose the important parts properly. For tubing, the important parts are the faces of your subjects. For horse races it's the face of the rider but also the body of the horse as well - in a good shot you'll want detail in both.
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Old Jul 26, 2010, 1:08 PM   #4
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Here's a link to Greg's smugmug gallery of horse racing images with his e-mail address listed for those who have any questions.

gmchappell.smugmug.com/Sports/Lone-Star-Park-2010-Images/11793372_9wMGL#938165478_rB2Ku


In the meantime, you can view his gallery as well as the EXIF data of each image posted.

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Old Jul 26, 2010, 1:18 PM   #5
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T, John, Zig,

Thanks, this gives me a base. I just went and looked at the link Zig posted, this is great, and gives me an idea to start with.

Thanks again.
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Old Jul 26, 2010, 2:23 PM   #6
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This was shot from the dock at 180mm, 1/800 F5.6 with the Sony 75300 (exif is gone as I editted out a water drop on her teeth. Looked terrible).

I like the drops captured in the air. So did they. The biggest problem I had was keeping them in the frame. That's why only 180mm. 250mm would have been better but they kept getting away from me.

From a bouncing boat, even tougher. In a boat I would use a smaller aperture to give me more depth of field. Try both ways if you can. Use burst like crazy. If you can get several shots of them flying into the air (off the tube), they'll love you.
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Old Jul 26, 2010, 2:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
...
1) the only time I recommend shutter priority is if you intentionally want motion blur otherwise it's a poor mode for action photography.
...
Ok. I'll change today. I was using S mode almost exclusively. Maybe because I could understand it easier. Beats me. But, no more. At least for a while anyway.
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Old Jul 26, 2010, 2:36 PM   #8
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Frank - shutter priority works better with auto-ISO than it used to before that feature. There are 2 major issues with shutter priority:
1) you lose control of depth-of-field. Depth of field is important in most action shots because a good action shot usually isolates your subject from the background. So you want just enough DOF for your subject but not too much. So you don't want to relinquish control of the aperture.
2) Shutter priority can allow you to select a shutter speed too fast which leads to underexposed images. This problem has been somewhat addressed by auto-ISO if the camera you are using has the feature and you are employing it with a high threshold. But you could dial in 1/1000 and not have enough light and wide enough aperture to get that value - so shots will be underexposed.

And, for most stop-action shots there's no good reason to limit your shutter speed - you just want a "bare minimum". Shooting aperture priority allows you to lock in an aperture necessary for DOF you require and get the fastest possible shutter speed for that ISO. You just bump up the ISO until you get fast enough shutter speeds.

In reality I prefer to shoot manual exposure as much as possible because there are so many elements that fool the exposure. Take shots in teh water - get a big spray of water in bright light and suddenly your subject is vastly underexposed (because that spray of water causes the camera to drop exposure).
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Old Jul 26, 2010, 6:25 PM   #9
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Do you guys agree on the partial metering, center focus point, AI servo part?
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Old Jul 26, 2010, 7:17 PM   #10
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I do.

Horses are tough. Their coat can be anything from pure white to pure black, but center weighted metering will capture an appropriate amount of detail off it, yet still give adequate weight to the jockey's face and the the silks and other tack.
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