Monday, March 22, 2010

Flying Ducks

Three flying drake mallard ducks in a rapid descent with wings cupped. I spend many hours (days!) trying to get shots like this. These are coming in to a landing but the airspeed is still wicked fast. Also, they don't track in a straight line but, instead, will often bank quickly to one side or the other. These three are with a hen that already side-slipped out of my frame on the right side. Very difficult for the tracking focus to lock on and keep up with the rapidly changing distance. When the ducks get closer to the water they will slow their speed but they also start backpedaling with the wings so we don't see the wings cupped like this.

I hand-hold the camera and it moves a great deal when I'm shooting like this. With the lens at 400mm I compensate by using a fast shutter speed, usually 1/1250 sec. This image is nice and sharp. But the main problem is getting the focus to lock on.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Indoor Horse Show

A junior rider and her horse jumping a fence during an indoor horse show. I like the shot because the timing was good (not always the case). The lighting, though, was poor. Quite a few windows in the arena but still not enough ambient light for action. I suggested setting a couple of flashes on stands at one jump but management preferred that I use on-camera flash to enable shooting multiple jumps. That worked in the sense that I took many more photos but resulted in the awful reflections in both the horse's and rider's eyes, plus shadows behind them.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Girl leaping over a wall.

This photograph of a girl leaping over a wall was taken the same night as the prior post of the jumping dog. She was one of the volunteers setting the course for the horse show the next day and decided to try one of the jumps for herself. This shot was not planned. I noticed her starting to run and quickly pre-focused on the wall in front of her. It happened in about 2 seconds. No cropping either. I was using a 70-200 f2.8 zoom and it was previously set at 135mm. I didn't even have time to think about changing the focal length but it didn't matter. Nice tight shot.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dog Jumping Over a Wall

This dog is jumping over a wall in an indoor riding arena. This was taken the evening before I photographed a horse show and volunteers had just finished setting a course for the next day. The wooden wall is painted to look like bricks and is one of the fences that horses will jump during the show. Kids started playing with the beagle after their work was finished and I set up in front of the fence to capture the fun.
I had been shooting candids of the kids at a rapid pace and was using a simple on-camera flash for speed and mobility. I had another light and stand in the vehicle, along with radio triggers, and would have preferred to use that. It would have prevented the reflections in the dog's eyes. But this action was spur-of-the-moment and didn't last long so I was happy to get a couple of quick shots.
Camera exposure set manually to underexpose the background.