photo tours

10 Tips for Photographing Running Horses

Provence, France.

Provence, France.

This post originally ran before my first Provence workshop. Click here to see my Camarge horses images.

Photographing running horses is something we do on many of my workshops

As a prelude to my June 2015 Provence workshop (contact me for info) I thought I'd share some tips for photographing running horses. If you come to Provence, you'll have the opportunity to make pictures like the first two images in this post. Thank you Patrice for sharing.

Provence, France.

Provence, France.

1 - When photographing groups of horses, try to get as much separation as possible between the horses.

2 - Set you camera to the fastest frame rate to capture the action. A split second can make the difference between a good shot and a great shot. Set the goal of getting a shot of a horse with all the hooves off the ground. To do that, you'll need to take a lot of pictures.

3 - If the horse is running across the frame, leave some room in front of the horse into which the horse can run. If you frame too tight, the horse will get stuck in the frame.

4 - When the sun is in your frame at sunrise and sunset, check your histogram and highlight alert warming on your camera. Try not to overexpose the area around the sun.

Spearfish, South Dakota.

Spearfish, South Dakota.

Los Osos, California.

Los Osos, California.

5 - Use the focus-tracking AF system in your camera - AI servo in Canon cameras. Make sure the focus point stays on your subject.

6 - When framing your picture, leave some extra space around the subject so you don't cut off part of the tail, ear or hoof.

Mongolia.

Mongolia.

7 - Use a shutter speed of at least 1/1000th of a second to freeze the action, but try slow shutter speeds, too. I used a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second to blur the action the photograph below.

Los Osos, California.

Los Osos, California.

8 - Try panning, as illustrated below. You need to get lucky or take lots of shots to get a good pan. Try different shutter speeds, from 1/60th to 1/ 15th of a sec.

Costa Rica.

Costa Rica.

9 - Note the position of the horse's legs in your photograph. You want the legs in a position that says "action."

10 - Have fun. Don't get so focusing on getting great shots that you miss the fun of photographing the action.

Double JJ Ranch, Michigan.

Double JJ Ranch, Michigan.

My lens recos for photographing running horses:
Canon 24-105mm IS lens
Canon  70-200 f/4 IS lens
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS lens

Here's another tip: Join one of my workshops. I'll show you how to make great images, including action panos like the one below.

If you can't make a workshop, or if you want to learn about light and composition before the workshops, check out my Kelby Training classes on light and composition.

Spearfish, South Dakota.

Spearfish, South Dakota.

Explore the light,
Rick

Why I Enjoy Teaching Digital Photography Workshops

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Above: My talented and dedicated Summer Arts students in action.

This post originally ran in June 2013. For new followers, I am running it again.

I'm just back from teaching a digital photography workshop at the Summer Arts Program in Monterey, CA. The event, organized by California State University and produced by my friend Professor Mark Larson, brings together students of all ages and from all backgrounds - and at all different stages of learning.

I was one of several instructors at the event, and I was honored to be included.

You can see from the picture above just how much fun the students and I had on the workshop. That's probably the #1 reason why I do workshops: we all have fun!

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Above: Getting ready to teach Photoshop and Lightroom in the classroom.

During the three-day session we covered: travel, people, HDR, flash and landscape photography. In the classroom I shared Photoshop and Lightroom techniques, as well as tips on social media marketing.

This workshop, as do all my workshops, emphasized why I enjoy teaching digital photography from start to finish. Sure, I get to impart some ideas and techniques to the students, but I also see how each photographer pictures the world in his or own unique way.

I also get to meet awesome individuals, many of whom have incredible talent. I learn, too - and we all learn from each other.

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Above: That's Mark on the left and me on the right.

What could be more fun? Well, I'll tell ya. At the end of my workshops I go around the room and ask the students, "What does your photography mean to you?" This is a good question that you may want to ask yourself. It may help you define your photography.

During my "What does your photography mean to you?" sessions I ask the students to give a short answer, which I break down to one word. We put that one word on a white board. New for me to hear this session: Loving, Confidence, Blessing, Celebration and Heart. Always something new.

I hope to see you on one of my 2014 workshops. We learn a lot and have non-stop fun.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. If you can make a live workshops, you can take a virtual workshop with me on-line. Check out my Kelby Training classes here

Day 6: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips

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Today is the last day of a series here on my blog: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips.

I ran this series in preparation for my 2015 Botswana digital photography workshop.

Shoot me an email for info about this awesome Botswana photography adventure.

Check out my Beauty of Botswana gallery to see my favorite photographs from my two previous trips to this wildlife wonderland.

Also check out my on-line class: Capturing the Wild: Safari Photography. You can use my tips for making great pictures on a photo safari and at a wildlife park.

Today's tip: Be prepared with the right photo gear. All my gear recos are listed on My Gear Page.

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Two camera bodies - so you can always have a telephoto lens and a wide-angle zoom lens at the ready. Currently, I am using Canon 5D Mark III cameras.

Telephoto lenses:
• 100-400mm zoom - for distant wildlife
• 70-200mm f/4 zoom - for closer wildlife
• 400mm DO lens with 1.4x tele-converter - for even more distant wildlife

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Wide-angle lenses:
• 17-40mm lens - for landscapes
• 24-105mm IS lens - for landscapes and environmental portraits
• 15mm fish eye – for behind-the-scenes shots

Filters:
• Tiffen polarizing filter - to darken a blue sky and to reduce reflections on water

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Accessories:
• Two battery chargers - for fast battery charging between game drives
• Storm Jacket - to protect your camera from rain and dust
• Blower - to keep your sensor clean
• Head-mounted flashlight - for hands-free shooting on night drives
• Plenty of memory cards

All this gear does something very important for you on your photo safari: it helps you tell the whole story of your experience - as opposed to only taking lots of close-ups photographs of the animals.

rick africa.jpg

I hope to see you in Botswana or on another one of my workshops.

If you like the composition of the photographs in this post, and if you want to learn how to make the best possible exposure, check out my Kelby Training Classes on my On-Line Classes page.

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Explore the light
Rick

This post sponsored by Adorama - great gear at great prices.   

Key West, Florida: Shoot/Hangout with Rick: February 3-4, 2015

I'm running a cool, up-close and personal digital photography event in Key West, Florida - for only four photographers.

Here's the scoop:
• February 3 - 4, 2015.
• Only four photographers.
• Cost: $500 for the two on-location days and follow up critique session (see below).
• February 3:
– Mid-afternoon and sunset shoot. Key West is one of the best locations for sunset viewing in the country, and Mallory Square is wonderful for people photography.
– I can help you with reflectors, diffusers and fill-flash.
– Dinner (not included in cost) at a Cuban restaurant after our shoot to talk about photography.
• February 4:
– Bring your laptop to breakfast to review your best five photographs from our shoot.
– Early morning HDR/street shoot. I recommend Photomatix for your HDR processing.
– Lunch (not included) to talk about photography and your goals.
– Mid-afternoon street shoot.
– Back to Mallory Square for another sunset and people photography shoot.
• You make all your own travel arrangements.
Godfatherly Advice via Skype session included ($95 value): Three weeks after the shoot to see your progression.
• No charge for non-photographer spouse (as on all my workshops).

Attendees will receive an autographed copy of my book, Rick Sammon's Travel and Nature Photography.

Shoot me an email if you are interested in joining this event.

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Explore the light,

Rick

P.S. To help you find the best light in Key West, and in other cool locations around the world, check out my Photo Sundial app.