Jack Schatzberg...photographs and talks about horses

Questions and Answers


Hi. I take a photography class in school and I tried to take some shots of horses jumping. A few of the pictures were good, but I can't figure out when to snap the picture. On most of them I waited too long and missed the horse's scope. I wanted to know how to know when to take the picture at the right moment. If you could help me I would appreciate it. Thank you.



Hi Earth,

Thanks for your interesting question.

First: Do not use the camera in the autofocus mode. There is too much time lag between the instant you push down the button and the time that the actual shutter operates. Set the distance between you and the center of the fence on the meter ring of the lens and use the camera in manual mode.

Second: You need to stand at about a 45 degree angle to the direction of motion of the horse, not a 90-degree angle. This will allow the horse's motion to appear slower. Think of it as your standing between the railroad tracks and watching a train approaching. Compare that to standing at a 90 degree angle from the train, it appears to be traveling much faster in relation to you.

Third: Watch the animals front legs and shoot the photo as the horse is ALMOST directly over the top rail of the jump. You should shoot a jumping horse over an oxer rather than a vertical, since the jumping arc of a horse is a greater and generally looks better. In the finished photo, a line drawn across the horses back should show him going slightly uphill at the top of his arc.

To save money, practice shooting horses with your camera without film loaded. Remember, the last image that appears in your viewing screen before the mirror goes up is what will appear on the film.

Please keep in touch.

Subject heading: Photographing Jumping horses
Posted: Aug 1998
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