A day at the races - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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A day at the races

Today I took the day off from working on the house, working and other stuff and went to Keeneland. Tomorrow morning I fly out so thought I would rest today.

It was a beautiful day, in the 70s, slight haze but it was good to hear the call to post and the thunder of hooves.

Not happy with the motion in the digital camera and the horses. It is the first time I have used the E500 with the BIG zoom on horse racing and I am picking up too much contrast and motion.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 03:59 PM
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Keeneland is beautiful. I can't wait til Churchill starts fall meet. always a good time.

How'd you do?


I once bet on a horse that went off at 5 to 2 came in quarter after three.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 05:16 PM
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What were the specs on your zoom lens, and what were the metering settings on your camera (just out of pure curiosity)?

It's really odd to have high-ISO noise and exposure issues in broad daylight.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 05:21 PM
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I wonder how many times a race horse shits during a race.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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What were the specs on your zoom lens, and what were the metering settings on your camera (just out of pure curiosity)?

It's really odd to have high-ISO noise and exposure issues in broad daylight.
On this shot IT shot at 1/320th at f6.3. ISO is at 100, Focal length was at 180 [well off the edges of the 135-400 Zoom].

This "version" is completely clean, not run through lightroom or cropped or anything. Simply the base shot.

This is the same camera/lens combo that I used in similar weather/sun, at about the same time of day that I shot the F1 race last June.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 07:07 PM
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Were you in shutter priority or program mode or what?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Were you in shutter priority or program mode or what?
I was in "Sports" priority mode. I was testing the area where I was shooting today to insure that I can get good shots. I tried that mode to see what happens. It was not good. I think it would be better with slower sports.

With cars, while they go faster, they don't undulate like horses do when they run. I am assuming that is part of the problem.

When you look at the posts to the right, they are all crisp enough. The math for that f-stop says that "focus" should be from 50ft to Infinity. I was right at 75 feet away.

When I get back from NYC I will go back out with a new approach. In the past I have always shot horseracing with a Pentax 6X7 and stupid expensive lens -- but the postcards and photos that I sold that were shot with that lens have more than paid for it.

I was going to take a camera tomorrow but decided to timeout and thing about it for a couple of days [and allow myself to actually travel light for once].

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 07:39 PM
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It seems like the horses move enough in 1/320th of a second to blur; I'd set the metering to something like "matrix" on Nikons (basically not spot-metering on the horses, which are darker), and do shutter priority at something like 1/500th. Not sure what the max focusing distance is on the lens, but I'd imagine at wide-open they're still far enough away (even racked out) that the depth of field wouldn't be an issue...certainly something faster than f/6.3.

Does the E500 have a continuous focus mode where it does motion tracking of whatever's in the center of the viewfinder?
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 07:40 PM
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And it's an incredible looking facility, by the way. If only you had a little bit of overcast weather. Jealousy.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by QBNCGAR View Post
It seems like the horses move enough in 1/320th of a second to blur; I'd set the metering to something like "matrix" on Nikons (basically not spot-metering on the horses, which are darker), and do shutter priority at something like 1/500th. Not sure what the max focusing distance is on the lens, but I'd imagine at wide-open they're still far enough away (even racked out) that the depth of field wouldn't be an issue...certainly something faster than f/6.3.

Does the E500 have a continuous focus mode where it does motion tracking of whatever's in the center of the viewfinder?
I am going to go full manual mode next time through and just go old school. Use the spot to nail the metering, shut it down to full manual and shoot from there. I do think that is the answer. 1/500th should freeze them but I have been surprised before. I am also going to use the tripod next time. Today I was on a tower, about six feet up but that did not seem to be the issue.

Hardest thing in horse racing is that they race every 30 minutes. So you kick back, listen [being 1/4 mile from the grandstands] and wait for the bell. Then, when they get in range, shoot for 20 seconds and wait 30 minutes.

Here is the grandstand. I did my shooting from the equivalent of "Turn 3"

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