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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:20 am 
Hi All. I am rather embarrassed and angry because , even though I have only had my NikonD7000 for under a week, my daughter borrowed it to take photos of horse jumps in a reasonably well lit indoor arena. I thought I set everything up right but nothing seemed to work . either the horse was blurred or it was too dark. Oh, by the way, she is not permitted to use a flash. She can home (16 years old) rather disapointed and I was so bloody angry at not being able to help her. Can someone please (as politely as possible) tell me how we can take photos of horses jumping over jumps is quite poor light. Or even send me a link. I am currently in Hospital now and feel so bad that I let her down. Any help would be dearly appreciated.
Bear


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:17 pm 
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Hi BeardedBurbler,

The first decision is what shutter speed you need to stop the action and that can be done indoors or outdoors. That leaves an interplay between f-number and ISO. For an indoor event the chances are that you'll need to shoot with your lens wide open (smallest f-number) so select that (manual mode as you've already selected a shutter speed) and then check the camera's metering at the event to decide what ISO you need to dial in. If the indicated ISO looks reasonable then you can select it (or even a notch or two more if noise won't be a problem) and return the camera to shutter priority mode. Another possibility is to use Auto ISO but I'm not familiar enough with the D7000 to know if that is available and, if so, whether it will select as high an ISO as you might need.

Of course it may be that you can't select a sufficiently low f-number for any reasonable ISO in which case you might consider investing in a bright prime if you can find one with a usable focal length that is in budget.

Bob.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:01 pm 
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Indoor sports photography is one of the most challenging areas of photography and one where having the most expensive gear is very useful. However it is possible to get some nice shots with any camera. As Bob said choose your shutter speed, then use your lens wide open and keep bumping the ISO up until you reach the point where you are happy with the exposure. You may find that your images are quite noisy but there isn't too much you can do about this since you will have to use a fast shutter speed meaning your ISO will naturally be high. You could post process the images and reduce the noise if you had the time.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:15 pm 
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Which lens are you using? I would think an f/2.8 or larger aperture desirable for such shots, and purchased a 135mm f/2 earlier this year, in anticipation of photographing indoor swim meets, after using a 100mm f/2.8 the last two years.* These are not inexpensive, but rental ("hiring" for those speaking the King's English) is an option. Raising the ISO is an option, but I try to keep ISO rather low whenever possible.

The goal, in raising the ISO or using a larger aperture, is to be able to use a fast-enough shutter speed to "freeze" the motion of the subjects. I would think 1/250th to 1/500th to be needed for horses, but having never photographed this subject matter, I may be wrong, as an even faster shutter speed might be needed.

The D7000 is fully capable of this type of photography, a most excellent camera! I use digital Canons, but my wife, an accomplished photographer, uses a D7000. I have considered purchasing a D7000, so that when traveling, we can economize logistics by being able to share batteries, chargers, lenses, flashguns, and such.

*The lenses I mentioned are Canons, and may not have Nikkor counterparts in the exact same focal lengths.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:43 pm 
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Don't feel too bad, it's not your fault that physics is such a harsh mistress. As others pointed out above, indoor sports photography is really tough because there simple isn't enough light. Photographing a moving subject requires a fast shutter speed (1/500th or faster) otherwise the subject will be blurred. Faster the shutter speed the less light gets to the sensor. To counter that you need a fast lens, but even with something like a 2.8 lens wide open you still may not get enough light. Then, on top of that the lighting in many venues is awful neon lighting and the frequency of the lights can cause additional problems. The only solution is to crank the ISO up - and that requires a fairly decent camera unless you are willing to put up with noisy images.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:35 pm 
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As others have mentioned, lower light indoor action photography is one of the toughest - some very skilled photographers still fail at this type of photography, because though they are good, they don't have the experience in shooting this type of subject.

Shutter speed is indeed key, and actually 1/400 might be acceptable, though probably at the very lowest end of what shutter speed would be needed - 1/500 to 1/2000 would be more like it. Other factors too could have been the lens - what lens was it, what was the focal length, and was it stabilized? Blur could be from the moving subject, but also could be overall softness or blur on a long lens where camera shake came into play...a 400mm lens at 1/400 would be the very edge of stable for a photographer with a good stance, so a less skilled one might struggle more.

To get the shutter speed, you need big apertures and high ISOs unless the light is perfect and bright direct sun. What might seem like reasonable indoor lighting to your eye might not be so to a camera sporting a slowish F5.6 - 6.3 aperture lens. As much as some folks like to avoid high ISO, there are sometimes no substitutes, and cranking up over 1600, maybe even 3200, might be needed to get the shot. Your camera should be capable if properly exposed of shooting something quite decent at ISO3200.

So many other variables need to be considered though - white balance can be tricky indoors, good panning technique can help keep the subject nicely in focus and motion-blur free, while letting the background blur a little to imply motion. The right focus mode is crucial - is the multi-point focus system able to properly pick out the subject, or are other things interfering or stealing focus? If so, switch to center or spot. The right metering mode is crucial - if in S, A, or P mode, if the metering is too wide, the camera can overexpose, also selecting too slow a shutter speed if too much of the scene has dark objects in it - if spot metering, it might try to meter off far too small a section and through off the metering and aperture/shutter selection from shot to shot. Was the focus in continuous or servo mode? if yes, keeping the focus point on the subject is crucial, otherwise it could all go wrong. If it was in single AF mode, was the shutter half-pressed first to acquire focus? If so, the subject may have moved before the shot was fired. Was any pre-focus technique used to anticipate the subject's location in advance to shorten the AF acquire time? Was the camera in continuous frame/burst mode or firing single frames?

So much to consider - and even with everything done right, the lighting may have been too challenging for the settings or for the lens used. Much skill is needed to know instinctively that there will be a problem and adjusting for it, so there's no reason for her to feel bad - some very good pro photographers I know still probably wouldn't have done any better because that type of shooting isn't their forte.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:46 pm 
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As the others stated, the holy trinity of any photo is shutter speed x aperture x ISO = exposure.

When dealing with a blurred out image, you also have to understand the different types of blur:

1) entire image is blurred: your shutter speed was too slow, or you need to stabilize your shot (IS/VR/VC lens or monopod or tripod)

2) one subject that was moving too fast is blurred out: your shutter speed was too slow. For horses, 1/250 or 1/500 is probably the minimum depending how fast the horse is moving.

3) the image looks grainy: your ISO setting was too high, can sometimes be fixed a bit in adobe lightroom

You will have to find a fine balance between #2 and #3.

Generally speaking, people who do interior sports photography invest a minimum of 15'000$ on their equipment: they get the fastest camera in terms of frames per second, coupled with a long focal length lens (300mm to 500mm is very normal) and a good aperture of preferably at least 2.8.

Having a very wide aperture such as 2.8 or 2.0 will enable you to use a faster shutter speed. Going from 5.6 to 4.0 to 2.8 would give you 3 stops more light, which would let you go from 1/125 to 1/250 to 1/500 by using the same ISO.

If you crank up your ISO enough, though, such as 3200 or 6400, you can most probably still get the shot at 1/500 and f/5.6. It will look very grainy, but it's a start. Then again, not all shots can be taken with all equipment.

The 7100 is a good enough camera, and if you combine it with a good lens, you'll do great.

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