Preakness question

I just recieved my creds to cover the Preakness, this will be the first horse racing event I ever covered, if anyone has any tips from experience they woudl liek to provide that woudl be great.
 
errrr, i shoot a fair bit of racing. i have no idea what the 'Preakness' is....

a nice shot is from inside the track looking back at the crowd by the post, kind of like this one from last weekend:
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note: you'll need to talk to the stewards before heading out there to make sure they're cool with it. the general rule is you have to stand at least ~20' inside the rails to make sure you don't baulk the horses.

if you have a second body and a remote, then mount the body with your widest glass under the rails just past the post, it can make an awesome pic.

try and move around the track a bit and try for some different angles. a plain 105mm past-the-post shot of every race get's rather boring.
 
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Mike,
No offense to the above photo, but that's not what you're after. Keep the rail out of the photo unless it is behind the horse.
You also won't have time to wander about... the race will be only about 2:00 and depending where you are stationed
you'll get only one or two chances at the pack.
If you want two chances, be along the main straight.
Me, I'd be around the clubhouse turn (1st) on the outside (not the infield) with a 400 OR 500 on one body for the
cool compressed shot of the horses entering the turn.
Then I'd grab my second body with a 70-200 for side shots as they went by.
Of course this is all very easy to say... truth is it like saying
use one camerra/lens for the QB passing then grab another to catch the reception. They'll go by pretty darned quickly.
This spot will also give you shots of the jubilant winning jockey pulling up the horse after the race.
You'll also have the NBC race commentator gal in the shots as she tries to shove her mike into the jock's face
and ask inane questions.

I've never been to Pimlico, so I don't know if this is a good spot lighting wise.

There may be some disagreement, but I like to use f/5.6 or so for equestrian coming toward me. This usually gives enough DOF
for the horse's head and the rider (about 3-4 ft. apart).

If you can, go to Pimlico early one morning for the training / workouts. This will give you an idea of what you will be
working with and a chance to do some practicing.
Just remember that the late afternoon light will be quite different. (did I really need to tell you that :smile:)

If I said I wasn't jealous Mike, it would be quite the understatement.

Here's a gallery of some track work I did a few years ago... I kind of grew up on the track and it was fun to go
back with the camera.
http://www.pbase.com/stl_don/fairmount_park


Send me a PM if you have questions etc.

Don
 
No offense to the above photo, but that's not what you're after. Keep the rail out of the photo unless it is behind the horse.
dunno how it is in the USA, but here in Oz we have to have both inside and outside running rails.

unless it's a straight down the track shot, or you shoot from an elevated position, there will ALWAYS be a rail in the frame.
 
dunno how it is in the USA, but here in Oz we have to have both inside and outside running rails.

unless it's a straight down the track shot, or you shoot from an elevated position, there will ALWAYS be a rail in the frame.
A rail in the frame... yes, but not one between the photog and the horses.
Just saying, if it were me I wouldn't include the near rail in a possibly once in a lifetime shot at the Preakness.

Don
 
A rail in the frame... yes, but not one between the photog and the horses.
Just saying, if it were me I wouldn't include the near rail in a possibly once in a lifetime shot at the Preakness.

Don
while i don't disagree with you, to some extent, with both inside and outside running rails, it can be tough not to have one in the frame.

i attend at least 20 race meets a year and i'm over worrying too much about it to be honest. if i restrict myself to shots that don't have the rail between me and the horse, i'm seriously limited in what i can shoot and my readers will get sick of seeing the 'same' shots all the time.
 
Mike,
Check out SportsShooter for the videos that were done two years ago of the camp. They setup remotes and talked about how to cover the event. I think that may help, and I'm fairly sure it was two years ago, maybe three.
 
Mike,

Horses are creatures of habit and spook at things that seem out of place to them. If this is your first attempt at this you really need to be careful. There was a steeplechase event recently, I think in Ireland, where a horse spooked at something and dropped the rider and ended up jumping a wall and landing in a crowd of observers. Fortunately no one was hurt. I know nothing about remote cameras, but again camera/flash in strange places just might startle a horse. And if you've never done it before I don't think the Preakness is the best place to learn.
That race is coming up fast and if I were you, I'd get there a few days before the race and find out where the other photographers will be standing, and it will give you some time to watch the morning workouts. You also need to know which horses to watch and how to identify them. And it's not only about the race, it's about the winning jockey, trainer and owner. Obviously you can't be everywhere, so maybe decide what is important to you.
I've worked in the Thoroughbred racing industry for 30 years + and I think Don has given some very knowledgeable advice on location and gear. If you can bring an assistant along that would really help.
Let us know how it goes, and congratulations on getting your credentials. Oh if you fly me back there, I would gladly be your assistant. LOL
 
and this Reuters blog from a few years ago about shooting the Preakness might also help....note the "With a cut-off time of 10am before the first race of the day" issue, looks like it will be a long day.
 
Mike, I'm no expert, but I do get to the track on occasion. The track I go to has great access to the outside of the final turn, so that is where I typically position myself. The action is very fast, and you really only have a few seconds of shooting time. Staying focused on a single horse/rider can be a challenge, because, not only are they moving at 40mph, but they also bobbing up and down too. If you have a chance, I would highly recommend going to a local track for some practice, and to get the "feel" of shooting a horse race. Also, how close you are to the track will greatly influence which lens you may want to use. When I'm right up against the fence, my 300 f/2.8 (on a dx crop camera) is great as the horses approach from head on, but as they pass by, it is too much lens, and I can't get the whole horse in the frame.


Good luck, and what a great opportunity!
 
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