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Indoor photography in low light


tigerlily 10 29 England
28 Oct 2007 7:46PM
Ok. I'm dabbling semi-seriously into event photography.
Now.. I have a canon 10D, with an 85mm F1.8 lens. This seems to be one of the fastest lenses I can find, with quality at F1.8.
Now generally this lens performs well in low light, but I'm still getting about 40% of my pictures blurry.
So I take photos at show jumping events.
The technique I use is to auto-focus on the fence, then switch manual, lift my camera up and as the horse goes over I click.
Now, I've been show jumping myself on my own horses for 9 years, so my timing is good. I don't need to do the whole click click click and just hope I get a good one... But I'm baffled as to why so many of pictures are still blurry.
We have an event photographer at my local show ground, but I'm actually too nervous to just go up and ask him in case he thinks I want to steal his ideas! (which i guess in reality I do!)
Any ideas?

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ZenTog 12 7.9k 1 England
28 Oct 2007 7:51PM
you will find the shutter speeds indoors to be far too slow to really freeze the image, at the slow shutter speeds the horse will be travelling further accross your sensor in the time the shutter is open.
you can get around this with high asa but will lose out on picture quality, the 10d is a bit noisy at high asa
tigerlily 10 29 England
28 Oct 2007 7:55PM
It's just that I've seen photographers indoors and I myself have bought pictures from them when I've been competing so i know it can be done! I'm just baffled as to how!
STUARTHILL758 12 33 1 United Kingdom
28 Oct 2007 8:00PM
hi there to me it seams that the depth of field at f1.8 is not deep enough at the focus point you are using ,if you use the 85 the shutter speed has to no less than 100sec but saying that horses can move a bit so if you can get faster use the fastest possible and your auto focus should be able to cope ,try to track the horses head his eyes should be the most important ,try iso 200 as well
User_Removed 10 17.9k 8 Norway
28 Oct 2007 8:03PM

Quote:The technique I use is to auto-focus on the fence, then switch manual, lift my camera up and as the horse goes over I click.


Kill the autofocus - switch to manual and learn to pan. Bump the ISO and get a good noise software package.

Example .

1/60th/sec @ f2.8 handheld with a 200m lens.
3200ISO
tigerlily 10 29 England
28 Oct 2007 8:05PM
I use ISO 400 when I'm indoors and at F1.8 my shutter speed is around 1/60 or 1/90.. which just isn't fast enough.
I understand WHY it's blurry... I'm just frustrated that I don't seem to know how to do anything about it.
I think I'll just have to flunk out of indoor events.. but what a waste of a season!
ZenTog 12 7.9k 1 England
28 Oct 2007 8:06PM
dont track the horses, if you do you will constantly cut off the head of the rider or the bottom of the fence off, I shoot horse photography for a living, use the method you are using, look at getting a little more depth of field by using f5.6 or so , look for fences where the horse is coming to wards you or cross wards etc, this means the horse is moving through less of the sensor path.
indoors is always difficult,I have used flash to a limited degree of success, if you use fill in flash after the horse is off the floor it doesnt disturb the rider or the horse, some places dont let you some places do ,it depends on the level of the comp
I try to avoid the indoor events aprt from dressage or showing which is far easier due to low speeds
tigerlily 10 29 England
28 Oct 2007 8:08PM
Ooh. Thanks Mike I'll give that a go.
User_Removed 10 17.9k 8 Norway
28 Oct 2007 8:11PM
Learn to breathe. Seriously.

Do some research on 'Marksmanship' (Yep - I'm talking about shooting - with guns).

I'm ex-military and at one point, was a 'Marksman' with various weapons. The training I was given to 'do my job' transferred to using a camera where a slow shutter speed was needed in low light conditions...

HTH's...
ZenTog 12 7.9k 1 England
28 Oct 2007 8:14PM
you can get away with a mono pod indoors as you will not have such a range of jumpers height wise
beening a shooter target and field in the past, I have always used the breathing technique of, breath in , raise camera / gun , breath part way out but leave a cusion of air to steady you, press the trigger very gently with out snatching

other good advice is try to get a better camera body , the eos1dmk2 can go much higher in asa with out producing too much intrusive noise
Geoffphoto 8 13.5k United Kingdom
28 Oct 2007 8:14PM
You could always try a monopod, like wot I do !! Smile

(Sorry just read Paul's last posting and I agree with him ! )
tigerlily 10 29 England
28 Oct 2007 8:16PM
Hmm.. I'm not sure about using a flash. but shall try and get a better depth of field.. and ask the photographer what lens he uses. I do try with horses coming towards me.. as there's less movement across the sensor path.
I tend to sometimes just get the fence in focus and not the horse....
Or sometimes I can get it right...
And I can't figure out why the results can be so different.
ZenTog 12 7.9k 1 England
28 Oct 2007 8:16PM
Geoff suffers from old age shakes , as well as the gin tremors, so he needs a monopod just to prop himself up!!!

I have used flash not with head on horses though, using fill in flash set to minus 1.5 stops it worked fairly well
Geoffphoto 8 13.5k United Kingdom
28 Oct 2007 8:17PM

Quote:Geoff suffers from old age shakes , as well as the gin tremors, so he needs a monopod just to prop himself up!!!


That is SO true Paul !!
tigerlily 10 29 England
28 Oct 2007 8:18PM
Thanks for the advice guys. I guess I might just need to upgrade my camera body and equipment when I can afford it. Wink

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