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Got the Trots - Equine Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Tips, Tricks & Tutorials Forum' started by Snips, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Snips

    Snips Always on

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    It's quite a long time since I last posted about the legs in equine photography and with much more experience and thousands of photographs later I've just about cracked it. Still learning* though and still deleting loads too.

    The horsey world people can be very picky about what they buy and what they think is rubbish and they're not afraid of telling you either!

    To get the "trot shot" ideally without any need for cropping the photograph you need to focus on the horse's shoulder. This will create a good composition with more space in front of the horse and less space behind as well as being a good place to maintain focus. Also, if you zoom in well then there's no need to crop the photograph later - assuming you're close enough - if you're shooting and printing in a 2x3 aspect.

    While focusing on the shoulder you'll want the horse either pointing towards you a little or going sideways. Once it's gone past you've missed the shot as the rider's back will be facing you as opposed to their face.

    Multiple exposures don't work so you need to time your single shot for the correct leg position. You need to watch the far, hind leg and you're waiting for the hoof to straighten just before it hits the ground.

    The classic M shape - a bloomin' fluke with the letter I must admit!
    70917-1934-2.jpg

    Note how the rear hoof is still airborne and the front is stretching and about to hit the ground. (The photo has been cropped as well to a 10x8 aspect.)

    The horizon is good on this (well, near enough) but what these people prefer is having the steed going uphill so sometimes I tilt the image.

    This one is too early - the feet are not yet parallel with the ground and the M shape hasn't formed: 70917-2322-2.jpg


    On this one you can't see the rider's face. Although acceptable it's taken a little too late as the front, off hoof is now off the ground.
    70917-2324-2.jpg

    Cantering

    These shots are taken in a similar manner, single shot and focusing on the shoulder. This time though, you're watching the front leg and the one nearest to you assuming the rider is leading the horse on the correct leg. If going in a left hand circle then the left/near, front leg should be leading. If they're not leading on the correct leg they won't buy the photograph as it looks wrong and they won't want to have their mistake in print as well!

    These shots are much easier and all you're watching for is for the leading leg to curve and you'll click as it strikes out. This is true of deer, dogs and so on. The stretched out animal shows much more movement. A gallop you might want all the legs off the ground but in the canter the ideal shot is to have the far front leg in a vertical position.

    This is taken much too late and the horse looks scrunched up. This was my son's first day at this game - taken on the 12 year old Canon 5D.
    70917-1327.jpg

    This one is also taken too late - the lead leg is on the ground (left hand bend)
    70917-1328.jpg

    This is what they like (still on the 5D) - note the far leg is near vertical and also the photograph has been tilted to make the horse look better.
    70917-1330-2.jpg

    Jumping and Stationary

    Loads more tips I could mention but essentially the best jumping shots are with the horse just leaving the ground and rising in the air - again, a single shot and sideways or preferably around 45° facing you. Stationary shots won't normally sell unless the horse's ears are pricked. I throw my hat around and others sometimes help me flapping things to try and get the ears to work but late in the day they are tired so don't look so perky. When photographing the whole animal you need to have space around all four legs, that is showing the animal isn't stood on a tripod.

    Finally, for fun, you don't necessarily need the rider. I don't know what possessed me to take this shot, let alone display it, but an £18 print was bought!
    70902-9450-2.jpg

    Also, this photograph has the legs in the "wrong" position which begs the question ... Why did I bother scribbling all that stuff above?!! :confused::)


    * Just the other day I learned that four strides at a walk = one horse length.
     
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  2. Roger S

    Roger S Crazy Canuck Administrator

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    Very good tutorial, Edward. There's a lot to learn here and all your info is helpful.
     
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  3. Ramble Vision

    Ramble Vision Mountain Climber Super Moderator

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    nice edward, very informative
     
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  4. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    Neat stuff. Now need to find a horse.
     
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  5. Ogofmole

    Ogofmole Always on Moderator

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    Interesting reading, this is why I don't sell many horsey pics lol.
     
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  6. Snips

    Snips Always on

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    Another ... ahem ... trot shot: :D

    71014-4817-2.jpg
     
  7. Roger S

    Roger S Crazy Canuck Administrator

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    Itd 3d Ani W60 Smiles 043
     
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  8. Christopher

    Christopher Here a lot

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  9. fmw

    fmw Active Member

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    Love the piggy. Seriously, horse photography isn't easy. I learned it over a weekend with a horse association client the hard way. I remember my wife getting tired of standing behind me and waving her jacket to get the animals to aim their ears forward for the portrait. Animals will do what they do regardless of the camera. They aren't into posing. Good thread, OP.
     
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  10. Snips

    Snips Always on

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    Thank you and that's probably true of all photography genres. With equine photography it was a piece of cake at the beginning because everyone said how good the photographs were. And then I met the professionals and I quickly realised I was right at the bottom of the heap!! And what a learning curve and goodness knows how many thousand pictures later did I learn how to time the shots. Still struggle if I'm honest.
     
  11. fmw

    fmw Active Member

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    Yes, photographing motion is always difficult. I don't do a lot of it and I'm glad of that. I remember one day I was shooting a championship motocross for an oil manufacturer. I positioned my self at a jump and shot the riders as they sailed into the air. At the end of the day I had only a single keeper. When I presented it the manufacturer explained that the particular rider didn't use their oil. I had to stay another day to get the job done. I got hold of a list of the correct rider numbers to shoot and finally got it done.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
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  12. LYNN GRIFFITHS

    LYNN GRIFFITHS Member

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    hi
    could i ask what setting you had for this pic. i am a newbie ,only just joined. thanks.
     
  13. DonS

    DonS Stuck in Toronto Moderator

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    You can get plugins for your web browser to view the EXIF info in digital photos (if it is there)

    Here:

    Date Time Original: 2017:10:14 09:15:00
    Exposure Time: 1/250
    F Number: f / 2.80
    Exposure Program: Aperture priority
    ISO Speed Ratings: 400
    Metering Mode: Pattern
    Flash: Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
    Focal Length: 155mm
    White Balance: Auto white balance
    Make: Canon
    Model: Canon EOS 6D
    LensInfo: 70/1 200/1 0/0 0/0
    LensModel: EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
    LensSerialNumber: 0000c1f9fb
    Lens: EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
     
  14. Snips

    Snips Always on

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    Thank you for asking and of course you can have it. It was quite a dark day and I would normally use a higher ISO as I like to use faster shutter speeds for this sort of shot. The ISO for the above is 400 but if it was 800 then that would mean the shutter speed would be 1/500 as opposed to 1/250. Less change of blur at 1/500 sec.

    1/250 sec at f/2.8 and ISO 400
    Taken at 155mm on a Canon 6D Mk1 with EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens

    If this was on a sunny day and out of the woods I'd have used ISO 200 and would probably have a speed of 1/1000 to 1/1600 sec

    For this sort of photograph and all the ones above I tend to use f/2.8 (or the widest aperture available) as I like to blur the background and isolate the subject better. I use aperture priority and alter the ISO so I can have a shutter speed of at least 1/800. The pig shot was a quick snap as I wasn't expecting it so I just pointed and clicked hoping I had something near enough to the settings.

    I started on the forum a while back and was a newbie too - it's a great place to learn and plenty of people are more than happy to help. I had loads of help but unfortunately don't have much time to chatter as much as I used to.

    Some of the critique is a bit harsh. Actually it isn't. It only feels harsh. If people say nice pic all the time you don't learn. So if someone does say something too close to the bone they are only trying to help and typing on a forum is difficult to get your point across sometimes. I hated some of the comments I received but didn't say anything as members are genuinely trying to help. Eventually you'll leave the beginner's part behind and start winning the odd competition. Very few members joining are professional photographers. Most of the superb photography you see is from members who were beginners when they joined. With effort you'll get there - it's a great hobby.
     
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  15. LYNN GRIFFITHS

    LYNN GRIFFITHS Member

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    many thanks for that, i will keep reading and hopefully di jest!!! i really do not mind the critique, i would rather people be honest, yes it does hurt a bit if i am really truthfull, but the saying goes, honesty is the best policy, and i really want to get my head around all this info and start taking some good pics, we also have another hobby, which is outdoor bowls, (which starts in april) and also we go swimming 3 mornings a week. i really do like taking sunrise and sunsets aswell. well i wont bore you anymore snips. maybe talk later. thankyou again
     
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