Saturday, December 13, 2008

Camera Issues Shooting Horse Pictures

Sometime between packing to return home after the Region 4 All Arabian Horse Championships and unpacking my camera once I arrived there, I broke the LCD screen on my digital camera. Since that time, I've struggled with an older, less advanced camera until the point that it finally died as well.

I've been planning for a while upgrading to a better camera when money would allow. But you know how that goes..........there never really is enough money to go around, particularly when supporting a herd the size of mine.

Faced with the prospect of spending more money for an inefficient camera, I have been really dragging my heels. However, I have to admit that blogging has gotten me into the mode of "thinking pictures." Every time Richard or Jessica, or I do something new with a horse, all I can think about is pics for the darn blog. That's made having no camera at all has become an intolerable situation.

I finally broke down and began investigating a camera to suit my needs without stretching my budget more than I could tolerate.Since I first made that decision, I have tried a number of cameras, and you have seen the results of some of those on blog posts here.

After each purchase I've gotten the battery charged and the camera all set up to take pictures while Richard and Jessica work horses. At times Richard has been over there long lining one of my horses and chattering away about this new thing they're doing and it's all falling on deaf ears because I'm still trying to figure out how to work the darn camera.

I do manage to get a couple of dozen pictures shot before I give up and take the camera home. But usually after the results are downloaded to the computer, I already know enough to decide that this camera is just not THE one. I think I've repeated this process at least four times before the last camera was tried.

That last attempt was the very day before my surgery. The camera, recommended by my friend, Lady of Chaos, is a Nikon D40. The pictures looked good on the camera, but I've learned from experience the real test is how they look on the computer. The only problem has been getting the darn pictures to download on my computer.

Windows has a generic program that should download from any camera. I have used it for 7 or so different cameras or the life of my computer and it has never failed me until now. I didn't want to upload the camera's software to my computer because I'm pretty sure I have way too many pictures on my hard drive to accommodate another program of any kind.

While I've been recovering (if you can call it that) getting those pictures onto my computer has been an ongoing protect. Wouldn't you know that yesterday when I had my computer whiz grandson here to help, the darn camera and computer decided to make me look bad...........and the pictures loaded without incident.

I was hoping that once I saw the pictures, I could decide about the camera . My husband informed me I didn't have the camera on the right setting to eliminate the blur so the jury is still out. I'm going to have to shoot a few more pictures before I can make the final decision. But here are a few of the first pictures I took. What do you think?

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. You do have to learn the features/settings on the camera, but I found that it's much simpler to learn on it than on most others.

    One thing I have learned is that you need to NOT be afraid to use the flash, even if you don't think you need it, try it. I've gotten better shots with the flash on at times.

    What I did is go through the book, one page at a time and play with the camera while doing so. I took a few pictures on each setting so I could get a feel as to what each setting would give me.

    All the pics I took with my Nikon D40 at your open house, were taken on the auto focus setting, ISO 400.

    Also, when taking a picture of a moving object, move the camera with the object, it cuts down on the blur.

    I think you've done pretty good for the first few pics. Once you learn some setting you'll be getting more good pics. :)

    Have fun playing. I usually take about 500 pics each time I pull the camera out and play with it. :)

    Oh and Tracey, desperatehorsewife, uses the same camera.

  2. I don't think they look bad, sometimes it seems my pictures could be a little sharper than they come out. I use a program on my computer to fix them. It's a free download called Picassa from Google. It doesn't take long to fix a picture for sharpness or color etc.. Give it a try. I don't think any camera is going to take great pictures everytime. That's why I use the fix-it programs.

  3. Hi Mikael!
    I have the Nikon D80 and I love it!
    For shots with the horses moving you want to have it on the Sports/Action setting, it looks like a little guy running on the selector dial. I put my D80 on auto for standing and action shots combined of my Haflingers and it does well.
    It helps to place yourself so that you are between two light sources(preferably sunlight) when you are in an arena. So that you have the most light getting to the camera's light sensor. Arena shots are very hard for the simple need of light.

  4. This frustration is mainly because of me, MiKael asked me ages ago to recommend a camera and give her a few tips and tricks and like everything else it just has never got done. So I am sorry my friend but wil give you a few tips here which may help others too.

    I dont use Nikon I shoot ith Canon but basically they function the same.

    Indoor shooting is the hardest and I avoid it at all costs because I just hate the quality of the pictures compared to outdoors, but with a few rules you should be able to get some reasonable results. The secret when shooting a single horse is that you must zoom the camera right in to the 80mm end rather than the 35mm end because if you use the wider setting (35mm) it will give you all sorts of distortion on the horse (large head small but scenario). I have a fixed 100mm that I use and a 70mm-200mm and uness I havea groupd of horses to shoot this is all I use. You do have a sports mode on your camera but I dont know what the fastest shutter speed it will select for you automatically will be. Try to acoid shooting when they are riding along the open end of the arena where you can see outside, the light from outside will mess your light meter up and give you bad exposures. Use your pop up flash if you have one if the shots are close, if you dont, then select the highest ISO on the camera (I will check it out online shortly) which is probably 1600. Then turn your dial to Tv which lets you set the shutter speed and allow the camera to work out the apperture. For horses I would set the Tv at at least 750 depending on how fast the horse is moving, if they are moving slowly (standing or walking)you will get away with 500 but at a trot or lope you will need at least 750 to 1000th sec. You will have more luck with getting pictures with this SLR (I am assuming it is a SLR camera, one where you can change lenses) than you will with the little compact cameras because they don't have a shutter delay when you press the button. The shutter speed is important for freezing the action the higher the speed the less blur you wil get. You can also pan (move the camera along with the horse while focusing and then shoot when you are ready) This will lessen the blur too.

    Okay this is going to get long winded so what I am going to do is try to do a tutorial which I will post on my blog using the pictures you have posted here as references so try to tell you why you have got the results you have. Shooting outdoors is a whole nother animal LOL. Just remember your pictures will only be as good a the light available will allow them to be, the better the light the better the picture, but it looks like you have quite a lot of natural light in that barn which is good, but you have to watch the open sides and avoid shooting with them in the background.

    Can you tell me exactly what lenses you have as this will help too, the sizes will be on the lens 35mm-80mm or 28mm-105mm or something like that.

    Unfortunately there is no easy fix but I think you have the right type of camera if you just understand the basic rules you will learn from there on from your successful pictures as well as your failures, always ask why you got the result you did because that is how you will learn. If you have any pics that you are really confused about the results on, send me a smaller copy and I will try to tell you why. Don't save them for the web because I will need all the metadata on each picture to see how it was shot in order to tell you what to change.

    My bad, sorry my friend, we will get you shooting like a pro for this summer for sure!!!

  5. I have saved the pics here but they have been stripped of all of their data, if you can e-mail the full file straight off camera to me on each one It will hopefully have that info, it should download onto your puter when you transfer the picture from the camera to computer but some resizing software strips that data. I will get onto the Editing software later LOL.

    This may give me a good exercise to keep me occupied. (((Hugs))))


  6. Looks like you have good advice in the works here Mikael. Agree with Lori, indoor arena shooting is tough, but not impossible! one setting specific to your D40 you might want to leave about is how to set the minimum shutter speed you want to shoot at. This will force your camera to balance the rest of the settings to match a shutter speed fast enough to freeze horse action. See Lori's specific comments on shutter speed as well. Good luck working with the new camera. I love my Nikons.