amfoto1 wrote in post #14225059
It's up to you, whether or not to use high speed burst... Someone experienced with a particular sport and camera can probably time it better with a single shot... Any time you are "spraying and praying" with high speed bursts, you are leaving it up to chance to some extent, that one (or more) of the frames will be well timed. All cameras have a bit of delay, too... call it shutter lag or whatever. Your 7D isn't bad, though even a split second can make a difference.
Depending upon how close you are, you can use as slow as 1/320 for horses going over jumps (farther away you can use slower speeds). 1/500 is better, if possible. 1/640 would be more ideal. Anything much over 1/800 or 1/1000 is probably just "wasted ISO".
The lighting must be very even to use M... manual. If the event is indoors under artificial lighting, that's the best... but sometimes shadows can be a problem. Outdoors on a nicely overcast day is also great... sunshine is harder, but if it's not a partly cloudy day, lighting is steady, it's doable with M too. Outdoors, you have to check your histogram every 15 min. or so to see if some tweaking is needed. The light always changes in outdoor, daylight, even on a cloudless day... It gradually brightens, causes the heaviest shadows around Noon, then gradually dims toward evening.
I move around to get a position on the sidelines with the best, most consistent light. Outdoors with natural daylight, I try to keep the sun behind me or off to one side. I also try to shoot from different angles.... straight on from the side and with the horse and rider coming directly toward me get boring after a while, do I move around to get shots more from an angle. Some I shoot wide to get the full effect of the two coming over the jump, others I try to shoot tightly on horse and rider's faces, to get their expression and concentration. That's one of the nice things about any sort of arena jumping, position yourself well and you'll have a lot of different opportunities and angles possible with each and every competitor.
Definitely have your camera in AI Servo, select the center AF point only, and use Back Button Focusing. This is the perfect type of subject to use those techniques.
Pick up your subject well in advance with a half-press on the shutter release so you have IS ready and pressing the back button with your thumb to keep AF on and tracking. Follow the subject maintaining the AF point right on them. Trip the shutter when you wish. A short burst of 2 or 3 or 4 over a jump might help get the optimal moment, if unfamiliar with photographing the sport. In typical arena jumping situations, where every you are standing, there will be jumps that are favorable for you to shoot and others that are not (going away from you, partially blocked, or just too far away). I track the horse and rider right from the beginning anyway, ready to shoot.
Particularly shooting from ground level, you will have occasional obstructions around the course. If using back button focusing, you can simply lift pressure momentarily as you pan past an obstruction, then pick up focus again after the subject is past the obstruction. However, 7D you can change the sensitivity to reduce the possibility of AF jumping focus to the obstruction. Custom Function III - 1 set toward "Slow" is how this is set up and that's something a lot of people do. However, I think there is a trade-off doing this, that the camera is less responsive to subject changes in direction when C.Fn III-1 is set to "Slow". I actually have mine set one step toward "Fast" and use the BBF method to keep AF on the subject and avoid obstructions.
Shooting high frame rate, be sure you have plenty of memory cards! Some large events with upwards of 100 competitors, I'll shoot as many as 5000 images in a day using a high frame rate. That's a whole lot of sitting at the computer and editing after the fact, and basically why I prefer to take single shots unless really, really necessary... But hunter-jumpers and gymkhana are two types of equestrian events where I will often use short bursts of shots.
If the shooting is indoors, under artificial lighting, you would probably benefit from setting a Custom White Balance... but only if the nature of the light doesn't change and isn't "mixed" variably around the arena. If, for example, some areas also have ambient light, and you need to take shots in both, then leave the camera on AWB (and if you shoot RAW it will be easy to tweak later).
If I can, I go into the arena in advance and photograph a gray target under different lighting. Keep those images on a memory card and they can be used later to adjust images in Photoshop (or whatever).
Try to be down low, at ground level of the arena if possible. I always try to be even with or below the horse's eye level, to get full effect of them going over jumps. But I only shoot events as an official photographer with full access, so don't have any trouble moving around.... It might depend upon your capacity at the event, where you'll be able to go and shoot.
But - you probably already know - don't be "hiding" from the horses, peeking out from behind something. That can startle the horse. Stand in plain sight.
Reading about that event, it appears there's some concern about this already... the rider's get to walk the course in advance, but the horses will be coming into the arena without any chance to preview it. So there might be some skittishness due to that. Of course, those horses are at a pretty high level, so shouldn't be a problem.