Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Horse Eyeball Photos

Everyone likes to take photos of horse eyeballs and we are no exception. They are fun, challenging and rewarding!

Here are just a few important things to know about taking effective horse eyeball photos.
  • Details matter - make sure the eyeball is clean, this means no goop or tears. No burs in the forelock or mane. Watch out for misplaced hairs. No dust or mud on horse.
  • No halters or bridles - keep the photo clean and simple.
  • Shoot in good light - Take photos in early morning or late afternoon when the light is low and soft
  • Focus needs to be sharp and in the right place, the eyeball has to be sharp.
  • No dead center compositions, these are usually static and boring.
  • Watch your backgrounds, shooting at an angle that includes their mane and/or neck always works great.
  • Shoot at eye level, if you are shooting a pony, get down on your knees if you have to.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nikon's Buffer Expansion

One of the most annoying things about digital cameras is the buffer. If you shoot in raw and shoot fast moving subjects or quickly changing scenes then you are probably very familiar with that moment when your shutter simply won't fire. You wonder what the problem is and stare in disbelief at your camera as it slowly and methodically writes to the card. In the meantime, you have missed at least 1000 great shots. This can be incredibly frustrating!

The scene plays out over and over for us with the horses. Say you are at the race track. The action is fairly predictable and you know you'll be shooting as the horses come thundering down the track towards you filling your frame. You get all excited, do your thing and take a bunch of photos. The next thing you know one of the horses has lost its rider but your buffer is full, you are done, the loose horse is running wild and your camera is writing to the card. After awhile you'll get to fire one more frame.

Loose horse on the racetrack

Or, say you are out in the pasture and the horses get stirred up and start trotting around. You get all excited and take a bunch of photos. The next thing you know their tails are up over their backs and they are running like mad. You click off three shots and your buffer is full, you are done, the horses are running and your camera is writing to the card, again. You are ready to rip your hair out, again. But, it doesn't have to be that way.

Horse galloping in pasture

A good buffer is one of the best reasons I know to buy a pro camera body. We shoot lots of horses and sports action and the buffer is a crucial limitation on shooting.

Here are the number of shots that can be stored in the buffer during continuous shooting for some of the popular Nikon bodies.

D5000 or D90 - 7 raw
D300, D700 and D3 - 17 raw

So, you can see you get more than twice the buffer capacity with one of the pro bodies. That is a great start! But, you also get an increase in the frames per second which can plug the buffer full in a couple seconds or less.

There is an answer! Its the "buffer upgrade" offered by Nikon Service. For $500 they will add memory to your buffer and increase the capacity of your D3 to 38 uncompressed raw files.

This will change your life! And, the way you shoot. You won't be taking the camera from your eye. You can keep right on shooting and shooting.

Go to D3 Digital-SLR Camera Buffer Memory Expansion Service to find out how to get the service done. Yes, its expensive but not really compared to your investment in equipment and your time and effort.