Please give advice on indoor equine show.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by pixall, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. pixall

    pixall TPF Noob!

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    I have my first indoor horse show very soon and really need some advice/tips. I have a rebel xsi and will be renting the 70-200mm 2.8L non/IS lens for this shoot. Flash will most likely Not be allowed. So any tips on getting great exposure without knowing a lot about manual settings, and not using flash. There will be no artificial lighting, there is a Large open entryway and 3-4 ft clear panels along the top of the sides of the arena.
    I just want to know what my best shot at getting great exposure on moving horses will be in this lighting.

    Please any and all advice and tips GREATLY appreciated.
     
  2. Ptyler22

    Ptyler22 TPF Noob!

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    This may seem obvious but make sure your ISO is set at 1600, or 3200 if need be
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Is there any chance that you can rent a higher level camera body as well as the lens?
    As Ptyler said your going to have to raise your ISO very high to get you the needed shutter speed to freeze the motion - even if your using the glass wide open at f2.8 (where you will also have to make certain that you nail the focus on the right places otherwise your going to lose out since you will have only a small depth of field to play with).

    I would also readup on noise removal since your going to have a lot of noise in your shots - have a read of the articles on noise on this website here:
    Ron Bigelow Articles
    Also get an update on your sharpening too whilst your there, higher ISOs also tend to affect overall sharpness of a shot - so some good sharpening practice is important also

    edit - also as its your first see if you can't hire the lens a day or two earlier and get on site and maybe shoot a series of shots to get a feel for the lighting - even if you can't some shooting practice onesite as well as a good look around will help you a lot on the day - you really don't want to walk in and have to always guess your settings and where to shoot from - a little practice before will help solve these problems
     
  4. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    The Canon 450D isn't capable of ISO 3200, and 1600 has so much noise it's useless. (Seriously, 800 is pretty easily salvaged as long as you exposed correctly, but 1600 has this extreme banding in the shadows that can't be removed by any software I've tried, including LR2's noise reduction, Nik Define, and Topaz DeNoise. DeNoise was able to remove the noise at a severe sacrifice of sharpness, so the only thing to be done is put it through Simplify and see what happens.)

    My advice is, whatever you do, don't shoot at 1600. I can't stress this enough. Go to 800, and invest time (and possibly money) in good noise reduction software. Make sure you get your exposure bang-on or the noise will be incredible and make the shot useless.

    So, without the safety net that a higher-quality camera provides, you're going to have to get creative, and I dare say use some more skill. (This is the point where I note that weilding these entry-level DSLR's and still getting good shots in crap conditions requires a fair bit of skill over a top-end camera where one can just pump up the ISO to a bazillion and get a shutter speed of a billionth of a second.)

    Practice stabilizing the camera. If you have a tripod, and can use it at the event, practice panning with it. Just make sure you have a really good feel for it and the lens. Practice your hand-holding, A LOT. In all likelihood, you're going to have to go out of the safe zone of 1/focal length for shutter speed. It's entirely possible to get a sharp shot at these slower speeds, but you have to be relaxed, steady, calm, and practice every single technique to stabilize the camera that you can. Holding your breath before squeezing the shutter. Positioning your arms properly and posture. Dig up every tip you can on this; if you can master it it'll save your butt.

    Start getting comfortable with manual focus. The AF Servo on better bodies is great; on the 450D it's less than stellar. It won't track your subject very well while their moving (and in low-light conditions, you'll be lucky if it tracks at all). So start using MF for, well, everything, and get really comfortable panning and focusing on moving targets (while observing all the above technique to stablize the camera).

    Try to use the lighting to your best advantage. Observe where the light is strongest (try spot metering various places in the arena), and time your shots for where the light is most intense, which will help you when the camera calculates the shutter speed (based on your f-stop; I'd recommend just going with Av at f/2.8 and letting the camera sort-out shutter speed).

    Or, if all that looks like it's going to quickly become a nightmare (which it really shouldn't; film shooters not so long ago had to deal with situations just like this, and still got good shots), rent a higher-end body, like a 40D. It's the only way you're going to get ISO on your side.
     
  5. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I shoot indoor and you have to shoot ISO3200 most of the time and there is no way of getting away of shooting manual
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    My first bit of advice would be to rent the IS lens!!!! I cannot stress that enough. I have shot a couple indoor horse shows in buildings that had poor light coming in from one or two large,open barn-sized doors and a few overhead skylight-type fiberglass panels,and VR came in very,very handy.

    If you are not a very experienced shooter, you might have some difficulty handling a 70-200/2.8 on a light consumer body like a Rebel. I suggest the IS lens because there will be a number of shots where panning with the horse/rider or horse/showman will work well with VR. As suggested earlier, if the XSi has horrible 1600 banding, then you will need to shoot at 800. I would highly,highly suggest shooting in RAW mode and carefully post-processing the .CR2 files.

    There are always times when the horse/rider are stopped; make sure you get on it and shoot. Try and get a feel for the overall light in the arena; it is possible that some areas will be mcuh brighter than other areas, so keep that in mind. If one end has an open end, the light there will be much stronger than at the opposite end or side of the arena. Try and figure out how the metering is working; large expanses of dark horse hide can give false meter readings, so you "might" have to set the meter to Minus .7 or Minus 1.0 stops to get a good,solid exposure that is not overly brightened-up.

    Try your hardest. Shoot,shoot,shoot. A monopod might be very helpful to you. And again, if possible, I would suggest the 70-200 L-IS if it is possible to rent that.
     
  7. UUilliam

    UUilliam TPF Noob!

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    1. Try get a better High ISO performance body for the day ( i use XSI too but it has rubbish ISO performance)

    2. Remember to set the Aperture atleast 2 stops higher than it's Maximum Aperture (this gives you a sharper image)

    3. Make sure you use AV mode as if you use program, Auto, sport etc.. (with excetion of TV M A-Dep.) your flash may popup and it could cause Horse RAAAGE!!!

    4. Get gaffer tape / Duct tape (same thing) and tape the flash down incase it does pop up...

    thats all i have tbh...
     
  8. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    You gaffer'd your pop-up too? Bahahaha. (Actually, I used PVC tape. It's a little more water-resistant, which is what I was going for really. I never use the bloody thing anyway 'cause I almost always carry a flash.)

    And don't be so hard on the ISO performance. Sure 1600 is just frightening to the point of being useless, but 800 is surprisingly useful, as long as you nail your exposure. No way in hell you'll bring back an underexposed image from ISO 800 on a 450D; there's too much noise. But, if you nail the exposure and focus, you can still get a pretty darn sharp image even with aggressive noise reduction. Here's an example at 800. Okay, I used a flash which helped a bunch, but still. As long as you nail exposure, the 450D's ISO 800 setting is totally useable with noise reduction. But at 1600, the only thing to do is get creative. (I was trying desperately to at least quasi expose the people in the back correctly, by backing up as far as I could, flashing, and using the highest ISO available, but the banding was just so extreme—even though my exposure was pretty good; I came in about 1/3 stop under in the foreground—that the only way to salvage it was to throw it through Topaz Simplify. ... Those are the times I wish I had a 5D. Oh well.
     
  9. Reese's PB Luver

    Reese's PB Luver TPF Noob!

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    Why aren't you renting an IS lens? You will really need it for barn/indoor ring shoots! I'm an equestrian myself and a couple months ago had an in-barn shoot (the same or bit darker lighting than an indoor arena).

    No, you never want to use flash around horses! They're too spooky and using a flash could put the riders' lives in danger. A reflector won't help you for show class shots, but if you do any posed shots of horses/riders, be aware that a reflector may also spook a horse who isn't sure what that big, shiney object is - especially if it waves in the wind even a little bit.

    You'll want to bring your tripod and monopod, of course, but you'll also want to hand-hold some shots, which is why you'll need the IS lens.

    If you use long exposures and/or high ISOs, be sure to turn the options for noise decreasing on in the camera. It does help a bit.

    If you're not that good with using Tv, Av, or M, then learn and practice as much as you possibly can between now and the show! You didn't state what kind of show it is or what types of classes you'll be shooting, but for hunter/jumper classes you won't have time to learn your camera while at the show. For pony/horse-in-hand and kids' gentle classes where they just walk, trot, and halt you'll have a bit more time, but still not enough.

    Get to the show extra early so you can scope out the arena for the best light (though it may change throughout the day) and best places to stand for good photos and such, as well as try out the different shutter speeds and apertures. They may not have a warm-up session in the show ring (instead, outside), but if they do, that'll be great for some test shots.

    You will NOT get photos that are as light as what you'd take at an outdoor show. Depending on the shot and location, the lack of light may add to the charm/look of the photo or it may kill the photo. Keep shooting - you'll hopefully get some good shots.

    Oh, and if you haven't already, turn the beep of the focus indicator off; sounds really echo and are LOUD in indoor arenas. The shutter sound will be bad enough. (I'm hoping you weren't thinking you'd not stick out, LOL! Everybody will know you are there! :) )

    Remember that not all your shots should be of the action in the arena; you'll get some great shots (especially close-ups) outside the ring and inside the barn aisles (if you're allowed and if it is that type of show - otherwise, everybody will be outside by their trailers).
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Shooting indoor = low light. There is no black magic that is going to let you use a low quality (read slow) lens in a dark location.

    The only solutions to getting pictures in dark places are:

    1 - long shutter speeds (useless to you... motion blur)
    2 - flash (useless after 30 feet even if you were closer, you'd possibly scare the horse... all in all a very bad idea)
    3 - fast glass ( F/2.8 or faster)
    4 - a camera that is very clean at high ISO.

    Obviously #3 and #4 together are the perfect combination for best results.

    Most of these events indoors are held in arena type of locations. A longer lens (150-200 mm) is very handy... almost mandatory, I would say.
     
  11. Silverdreamer3

    Silverdreamer3 TPF Noob!

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    I do find it interesting that many are saying flashes spook the horses. I have shown for many years at mostly indoor shows and flashes are standard. They usually use the big flash not the cameras flash. My horses have never spooked at them. There are situations where a flash would be a bad idea, for example if you are on the outside of the arena and you catch a horse coming around a corner and it doesn't see you til the big flash gets him in the eye. My mom did that to me once, not fun.
    So I say yes you need a flash.
     
  12. Jon, The Elder

    Jon, The Elder TPF Noob!

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    You are going to find out that photography is all about light. How much, what color and where it is in relation to the subject. You are also going to find out the shortcomings of both the camera and yourself. Don't quit trying.
     

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