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Questions: 1st Time Shooting Horse Racing

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by NewBert, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. In the next week or two I plan to go to Saratoga Race Course to shoot the races. (I don't gamble much).

    I have very little experience in shooting any kind of sports - I do mostly landscapes and travel - so I would appreciate any tips for shooting technique, camera settings, etc.

    My thought is to use my 55-200VR lens for the actual race action (I hope to be down near the rail), and perhaps my 17-55 for crowd/people/atmosphere-type shots. But I'm open to other suggestions (see my sig for my lens line-up).

    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Hi Bert, I would approach this shooting opportunity by putting your camera in Aperture Priority mode so you an control your depth of field and use your ISO to maintain whatever shutter speeds you deem necessary to capture the action. Depending on the sunshine, I would use an ISO setting somewhere between 200 - 400 and an wide open aperture to have a very shallow depth of field to help keep backgrounds uncluttered. You an tighten aperture to allow for more than one horse focused in the frame. You can also slow your shutter speed so while you pan with the horses as they race by, you can have motion-blurred backgrounds, but tack sharp horses.
  3. I like your suggestions, Frank. Looking at your Pbase site, I assume that's how you captured the bike race? That's the kind of look that I'd be VERY happy with.

    Instead of shooting in Aperture mode, what do you think of shooting in full manual with Auto ISO-- setting the aperture for DOF, the shutter speed speed to freeze the action and letting the camera set the ISO? My schedule has a lot of flexibility, so I plan to be at the track only on a sunny day.
  4. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Bert, I have never used auto-ISO and seldom shoot in manual mode except when using a flash. Nothing wrong with giving that a try, experimenting can yield some wonderful results.
  5. Well, I gave it a try today. I stayed in Aperture Priority and tried to follow your advice. I'm wondering whether my 55-200VR just isn't up to this kind of shooting (or whether it's me...).

    If it's the equipment, how much better would the 70-300VR work for this? After all, it can't be my (lack of) skill level, so it must be time for new equipment, right? :biggrin:

    The pix are in their own thread here: https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=180927
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  6. FotoPhocus


    Jun 15, 2008
    The composition and focus look good to me, just a bit underexposed. I would bump the exposure compensation up a couple of notches for next time.
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