Jack Schatzberg...photographs and talks about horses

Questions and Answers


Dear Jack,

I have been shooting horses (mainly Quarter Horses) for several year now and have used a Maymia C330 twin lens with a Lumedyne flash unit. This past month I shot a show that they wanted proofs the next day, so I switched to my Canon EOS A2 and set it on manual using the Lumedyne flash. Needless to say the camera wouldn't sync with the flash at 500. (The camera flash sync max is 200). My question is will I be able to stop action with this camera and flash and just what settings should I use. I am shooting Western and English Pleasure and some Hunters. I'm kinda stuck with people that want proofs the next day, and there are no labs close to me to do it. (in medium format) Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Susan Boos
Golden Creek Photography


Dear Susan,

If you are attempting to use flash out of doors at 1/200 of a second, it simply cannot stop the action, there will be motion of the front leg in a pleasure class. Over fences, you can sweep the camera by following the horse, the horse will be OK, but the standards will show some motion.

However, indoors, you can stop the motion with the same setting by allowing less ambient light to strike the film and increasing the amount of light that your Lumedyne emits.

If you are shooting at about 30 feet away from the horse, and using a 75 MM lens, I believe that by using Fuji ISO 400 film at f5.6 at 100 watt seconds you will be throwing enough light on your subject to light the horse and rider, but there will not be enough ambient light to show any motion in the finished photo. You can try the above combination, and if you detect any motion, go to f6.3 of f8 and possibly throw more light with your flash unit.

If you shoot a reining or a cutting horse, you should use a longer lens and use your flash at 200 watt seconds. You will be using this greater amount of light to cover the greater distance you are away from your subject.

Please let me know how this works for you.

Subject heading: Flash Problems
Posted: Sep 1999
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