Photographing Horse Racing


Photographing Horse Racing

Turf Paradise Camel and Ostrich Races 23 March 2013 - 16

Hi, Jim Patterson here from Phoenix, Arizona.  I’m a college professor and photographer.  I happen to live in a city where it is easy to get to fun, photographic events.  One place I love going to is the horse track.  I’m not a gambler, but I do love to photograph horses and people.  The place is Turf Paradise and if you ever get to Phoenix, I highly recommend it.

I started shooting with a Canon 5D Mark III and several “L” series lenses the first part of 2013.  I used to use a Canon 7D, which is STILL a very very fine camera.  I used a Canon 24-105mm and Canon 70-300mm lenses.

Now I made a mistake.  I forgot my flash for fill.  I kicked myself for that because sometimes you find people are half in sun and half in shadow.  BUT, if you have Lightroom, you will find the “shadow” slider that can often bring out those nasty shadows.  That’s what I did here.  WHEW!  I love Lightroom by the way and can’t wait for the release of Lightroom 5.  I’m hoping for a July 2013 release.

Turf Paradise Fan Appreciation Day 20 April 2013 - 22

I made a panorama of the track with Photoshop.  You can also use Photoshop Elements (by the way, a great little program and much cheaper than it’s big brother program).  You can do the panorama by hand, but if you want to be really sure and give the software less to do, I’d suggest using a tripod.  Even though this is a Manfrotto blog, guess what?  I use Manfrotto tripods.  You can get cheaper aluminum tripods at Wal-mart, but you will end up throwing it away and spending a bit more on a good, light weight, solid tripod that is carbon fiber.  I went through tripod denial, so I know.  Anyway, this is the Manfrotto I use, the 190CXPRO4G with a ball head.

Turf Paradise Camel and Ostrich Races 23 March 2013 - 32-2

Check out how close you can get to the rail.  At Turf Paradise, the track is actually about waist high to me with lots of poles in the way.  I tried that in the first race and just didn’t like the results.  So I decided to get up high.  I broke out my telephoto lens, was able to get quite close to the action from the second deck of the grandstands.  My equipment got some attention so between races I talked to the other patrons and showed them my work.  I’m a teacher by profession, so I end up giving out lots of business cards and making lots of friends.

Now, after editing, the fun part is sharing your work!  I post on Twitter , Facebook , Flickr , and my own photo blog.

These are free to you and I encourage you to share your work and talk with other photographers.

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