More Action shots


Link Posted 10/06/2013 - 11:40
A follow-on from my previous horsey shots, but I have some questions re improvement :

KX + DA 55-300 Tv mode ISO 800 f5 1/640 and 0,3EV

1. All the photos I took yesterday in dull weather and those I took on Friday in brighter weather, seem to have a yellow hue, which I wasn't very happy with.

2. Could I have used a better combination of settings ? I fiddled around and the above seemed to be the most consistent. A lower ISO made the shots underexposed and I didn't dare go any higher because of noise.

2a. Did I need to use such a high shutter speed ?

3. Whilst I realise that with a faster shutter speed the aperture will want to be more open, is there any way of focussing on the subject and not having the background so sharp ? This problem isn't so bad in these shots because the background is far away, but where there are people, it's distracting.

This is the 5th or 6th day of taking this sort of photo and I have binned far fewer than on previous days !!!! One of the most difficult things is timing : catching the moment just before the horse lands, just as it starts to go over the jump, catching the right action at gallop (not always very pretty). I did a fair amount of bad shots where the horse is just coming into shot on the left, though some can be recovered by making it seem deliberate !

Comments would greatly be appreciated


Link Posted 10/06/2013 - 12:09
1. The yellow hue can be corrected in PP. I shoot in RAW. In lightroom there is an eye dropper. I select a neutral grey area with that to correct a colour cast. I don't set a specific WB at the time. You can set the WB in camera too. With options for Daylight and Cloudy for instance. Or you can set a custom WB to suit.

2. I don't know how fast you need to be to freeze the action. You rprobably at the slowest. Maybe you could go to 1/500, although that wouldn't make much difference, as its only a third of a stop. You could try the ISO at 1600. See if you are happy with that. Don't try underexposing as you'll just create more noise on correcting.

3. This ties in with your other questions. To blur the background you need a larger aperture. Something like th 60-250 will give you f4. Or there is the Sigma 70-200 which will give you f2.8. The added benefit is whilst also blurring the background, the larger aperture lets in more light so you will be better able to keep the shutter speed high and the ISO low



Link Posted 10/06/2013 - 22:42
Thanks for that, Alan.
I had another look at the light settings and I found that the blue was reduced (I have no idea how this happened, perhaps I pressed something I shouldn't).

I hadn't realised I could use such a high ISO - I thought that in itself could create noise. But I'll give it a go.

I think it's a question of persisting - different light/weather conditions seem to make a huge difference to the settings.


Link Posted 10/06/2013 - 22:59
I'm a big fan of shooting with a wide aperture Sally. As Alan has said, this blurs the background and the longer the focal length the more pronounced this becomes.

Don't worry about the colour cast as it's easy to remove, again as Alan has pointed out.

With the K-5, you can shoot at ISO 1600 with very little noise and even ISO 3200 looks good. If you're worried about reducing noise in post processing on RAW files, shoot in JPEG and then the camera will apply a level of noise reduction. Also, if you do shoot in RAW, the noise reduction that is included in the Pentax software (PDCU4) is pretty good.

I would also try some different / unusual angles, like getting down really low for example. On my photography trips out, I'm quite well known for laying down on the floor!

Hope this is of some use.


Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs


Link Posted 10/06/2013 - 23:52
Sometimes a slower shutter speed will introduce some blur and evoke a sense of movement.

I don't know if it would work with horses, but a number of motor sport photographers use the panning technique to have the subject in focus while blurring the background to make it indictinct.
Too Old To Die Young


Link Posted 10/06/2013 - 23:54
Ditto for the wide aperture and lower viewpoint recommendation Sally - you might want to put the camera in AV mode, open the lens wide up and leave it there for these sort of shots - the 55-300 is a good enough lens to do that.


Link Posted 11/06/2013 - 10:24
Thank you all for the comments - they are very helpful.
The first competition I went to, I was using Av and a slower shutter speed which made panning shots more interesting with the blurred background giving a better impression of speed. But I found I needed a tripod and many more of my shots were not sharp. I noticed a couple of pros there were using monopods, but their Nikons and lenses were far heavier than my Kx !

I changed to Tv on the advice of a pro present at a more recent competition and I found I had far fewer wasted blurred shots. I've been able to crop very closely and keep the sharpness.

Positioning ! I was fortunate to be allowed to be on the course - many competitions won't allow it. It's actually quite difficult finding the perfect place where I could get more than one jump. Shots need to be taken from the front, 45 or side on - those taken from behind are rarely interesting. Then there is the sun - dark horses are terrible against the sun !! The water jumps are always the best but often difficult to find a good position (safety and sun).

Here are a couple where I was able to get low down - it does make a more interesting shot !

I certainly need a lot more practice and will try all the various tips above. The pros all shoot in JPEG as RAW files would be too heavy given the number of shots they do. I only have the one memory card which at 10mpx gives me about 1000 shots (I dropped from 12mpx).


Link Posted 11/06/2013 - 11:10
Blaze that last shot is stunning!

I'd recommend getting at least one more memory card though. They are fairly cheap & it saves a lot of hassle if you forget to clear it before a session or one fails!
Pentax:K5ii, K7, K100D, DA18-55, DA10-17, DA55-300, DA50-200, F100-300, F50, DA35 AL, 4* M50, 2* M135, Helicoid extension, Tak 300 f4 (& 6 film bodies)
3rd Party: Bigmos (Sigma 150-500mm OS HSM),2* 28mm, 100mm macro, 28-200 zoom, 35-80 zoom, 80-200 zoom, 80-210 zoom, 300mm M42, 600 mirror, 1000-4000 scope, 50mm M42, enlarger lenses, Sony & micro 4/3 cameras with various PK mounts, Zenit E...
Far to many tele-converters, adapters, project parts & extension tubes etc.

.[size=11:].Flickr WPF Panoramio


Link Posted 11/06/2013 - 12:17
Good advice, Mike. I aways carry spare batteries (some non-rechargeables that I have) but had never thought of a memory card. I can easily do over 500 shots at a horsey event (continuous shooting makes it easy !!)
I'm astonished just how well the Eneloop batteries last though I have noticed they are not holding the charge quite as well as they were. But there's still plenty of life in them after 2 years.
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