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Improvement or point of stagnation?

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hmm I recognise this place! And some of you!
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Shots taken at f2.8, 1/620sec and various ISOs as needed

So far as I can tell I've either reached the limit or the point of stagnation with what I can do - so feedback people I need feedback!

I'm still not 100% happy, backgrounds are a mess, but I really can't get any better indoors at the events; I mostly settle for a clear foreground at the very least and as clear a background as I can get.

I'm still a fan of the "head-on" charge or at least a low down shot at that angle. Side on I can't seem to get much luck with at the venue I go to doesn't present many jumps side-on to the area on the ground level for viewing - at least not without other things getting in the way. I can head up to the gallery, but then I'm looking down more than getting a nice clear looking at or up to subject angle.

Ears and rider heads are still a pain - getting both together is possible but hard and often I feel like I just have to ignore the rider's head and focus all on the horse (and I get both its a bonus).


so anyone got any feedback?
 
Hi O. My very first thought was - if you could somehow gain access to positions where you could get images from more unique positions.
 
Second pic is interesting pose though I dont like the background. I would have lowered or raise the imagenary horizon a bit to create 2/3 ratio

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And move the subject a little to the right

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Have you asked for better access? If they don't already have a pro on retainer, you might well get inside access in exchange for photos. I don't think this is stagnation, I honestly don't think that there's much more you can do in this setting. You either need a different venue or better access. Ideally a 3/4 head on profile is what I would strive for.
 
Have you asked for better access? If they don't already have a pro on retainer, you might well get inside access in exchange for photos. I don't think this is stagnation, I honestly don't think that there's much more you can do in this setting. You either need a different venue or better access. Ideally a 3/4 head on profile is what I would strive for.

Agreed...these look fundamentally sound, but there's only so much one can do with sawdust and corrugated aluminum sheeting...
 
You're definitely improving, IMO. These are far better than the first ones you've shown us. I think the framing is superb!
 
My thanks all.

The venu is pretty small and the area is mostly filled with jumps - at best if I moved out into it I might get a few more angles and possibly a side on shot - but chances are I'd be dealing with the same problems and there's nowhere really where I think I'd be able to throw the background into blur or lose the grey/blue split. At best I can go up high and if the jumps are just right I can nearly land a side on with sand in the background - but its tricky as by the time the sand fills the background I'm almost shooting down onto the riders head.

I do think that its a case where the only way to improve on that aspect might be to move to another venue; or where if there are other angles I just can't "see" them. I know one pro who works at the spot, however he tends to shoot from the gallery rather than lower down [and knowing something of his medical history I don't blame him].


ahmadabhamid my thanks - framing with two key points of focus often with head going in opposite or different directions tends to throw me when framing - even when cropping shots I find it hard to line the two up. If I go with the rider I end up feeling like the horse is starting to fall out of the frame, where instead it wants to be a bit more central.
 
Different angles are needed and you know that. When I look at these shots I like them all. You mentioned the background. I had an arena in WV some years ago and added a second floor on the lounge just to get up high enough to also shoot down which made the background be the ground and the kick walls instead of shooting into the stands. Most competitors wanted the side shots with just an occasional front-on or rear-on for variety.
 
As already stated the venue is what it is, not too much you can do there except find the best spot you can find. I really like these shots and I agree with making the horse the primary focus. BUT I would also shoot from just a little more of an angle to try and get the riders entire face 100% unobscured., two steps to the left on the last one would do it. Or go the other way with 100% obscured. But that is just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions ;)

Again, beautiful shots, i'd love to see more.
 
What if you cloned the blue into the white on pic 1 & 2? Solid blue back may make the image more dynamic and pop.

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I would try shoot with a different f-stop, make the background blur a little more, and the subject pop.
 
I would try shoot with a different f-stop, make the background blur a little more, and the subject pop.

I think the OP is at the limit there.
they can spend more on a longer focal length f2.8 lens to get more background blur and get beyond "stagnation"
 
1 is the best. It shows emotion and involvement with the horse. 2 she's distracted by looking away. 3 and 4 are ruined because the manes block the faces and the backgrounds just distract. I agree with Stephanin that blurring the background on all by waiting for the horses to get closer to you would make the pictures less confusing.

Good work.
 
I would try shoot with a different f-stop, make the background blur a little more, and the subject pop.

I think the OP is at the limit there.
they can spend more on a longer focal length f2.8 lens to get more background blur and get beyond "stagnation"

Hmmm? Interesting. I just saw that now. I seem to get a lot more separated background/foreground at f/4 or even f/5.6?... I shoot a lot of concert phtography and use mostly a 70-200 f/4 L lens....Get beautiful bouguet on that one?
 

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