photo workshops

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

Day 6: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips

sammon giraffes.jpg

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.

africa gear.jpg

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

rick sammon ths.jpg

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

rick sammon 2.jpg

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.

rick sammon a.jpg

Explore the light
Rick

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

Day 2: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips

sammon giraffe.jpg

Today is day two of Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips here on my blog.

I am running 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.

Today's tip: Go wide.

First-time Africa photo safari photographers often focus on getting super close-ups of the animals with super-telephoto lenses, and subsequently don't take wide-angle shots.

sammon ele.jpg

Taking wide-angle shots on your photo safari is important. These shots give a "sense of place" to your photographs - and for sure add interest to your slide shows. After all, you can take close-ups of lions and giraffes in a wildlife park or zoo. Right?

Of course, you can also take "sense a place" photographs with a telephoto lens - as long as you include the surrounding area in the frame. Just shoot wide, and don't fill the frame with the subject.

sammon giraffes.jpg

Lenses used for these photographs:
Lone giraffe - Canon 24-105mm IS
Elephant and elephants passing safari vehicle – Canon 17-40mm
Several giraffes - Canon 100-400mm IS
Safari guide – Canon 15mm lens

You can read about (and get great prices on) these lenses on My Gear page.

mosess copy.jpg

Getting back to telling the story, pictures of wild animals and beautiful landscapes are not the only pictures that tell the story of your photo safari. Behind-the-scenes shots do that, too.

shows eles on tilt.jpg

Behind-the-scenes pictures also bring back memories of your long safari drives and time with your guide - and how close the animals actually come your safari vehicle.

show lion and LR.jpg

I hope to see you on a photo safari or on any of my workshops. I'm there to help you make great pictures and process your images.

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

If you like stuff like this, you can subscribe to my blog here.

Explore the light,
Rick

Rick Sammon Seminars Coming to Denver, San Fran and LA

I will be in Denver, CO for a free seminar on June 14th. Don't miss out!

I will also be recording a travel photography segment for the DPE Podcast that I co-host with Juan Pons. Bring your questions! Get on the show.

On June 15th I am running a model shoot workshop in Denver. Click here for info. Note: Space is limited on the June 15th paid model shoot, so sign up early.

June also brings me to California for two free seminars for Samy's Photo School (sponsored by Lexar):
San Francisco event.
Los Angeles event.

Bring your questions - and enthusiasm.

If you can't make a seminar, I have lots of on-line classes that are also info-packed and a ton of fun.

Explore the light,
Rick