Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Action, Action, We Want Action!

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So this week's assignment in photo class was learning to work with our shutter speed. This, combined with the f-stop, should help us get better photographs of wild horses racing at breakneck speeds in dark arenas. The instructor probably didn't realize that's what he was trying to teach...he mentioned something about city lights at night, waterfalls and fast moving cars. And football players. But I'm sure everyone knew what he was secretly hinting.

On Tuesday, Darling and I headed to her riding lesson where I typically will record her with the camcorder. Not this week, though. This week it was time to make an attempt at having a civil conversation with Mr. Nikon (much to Darling's dismay.) The lesson is under cover, with both ends of the arena open and as the late afternoon sun begins to dip into the western sky, the rays of sunlight will spill in with warm, rich tones of gold and red.

Unless it's raining.

Thankfully, this week the weather has been good and the lighting was lovely, picking up Steve Holt!'s deep, rich mahogany tones. I set up my camera on a little tri-pod and began shooting the moment Darling entered the arena, fiddling with settings in an attempt to find something that would work.


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Action shots aside...I loved how this turned out! Normally I'd not have gotten a decent photo in this light without using the flash. That flash always reflects in Steve Holt!'s eye, making him look like a demon horse. No reflection here, though!

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I can't decide between these two. Sepia? Or natural light? I like them both.

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Mr. Nikon was holding up his end of the bargain on Tuesday, there was no doubt about that. I'd double check the auto settings now and then to see if my aperature (f-stop) was in the right range, but I worked the shutter speed on my own, bouncing back and forth from slow to fast in an effort to get different effects. Unfortunately, it really was too dark to slow the shutter for a real good blur...unless I wanted to change my ISO again. Since I didn't want to have to worry about grainy photos (or forgetting to switch it back), I opted to keep it on 400 and not worry about it.

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I kinda like the blurry white horse jumping into the view finder here. Darling wishes she could see more of Steve Holt!'s nose, but over all? I think it turned into a really neat sort of shot. You can tell it's getting a bit darker, though, and the light is dwindling. Still no flash!

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One of the last shots of the day, and my wild mustang emerged. Well...as wild as he gets these days, anyway. Gotta love that mane whipping back over his neck as he canters around the end of the arena!

Okay, I confess that these are not the most dramatic action shots I've ever taken, but I was quite pleased at figuring out how to photograph in the low light. I may need to try to find something other than a horse to throw into the mix for the class, though. Darling doesn't really pass for a football player.

4 comments:

JeniQ said...

Great pictures!! Sounds like you are having fun with it, which is the idea right?

jane augenstein said...

Great shots Tracey! I can't decide between the sepia or the natural light either; both have interesting looks.
I need to learn more about my camera settings too!
Jane

Kristina said...

I vote for sepia, puts the focus more on them and less on the background. Great pic

Pony Girl said...

Nice work! I haven't messed around with SS yet. I like the first one, great expression on SH's face! I like the second one too, and can't decide between sepia or color, either! :)