dbmurrell
dbmurrell

Essence of the Game



TLU Polo Match

TLU Polo Match
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1 Comment | Report
RuthJollyphoto PRO+
 
RuthJollyphoto January 25, 2016
Wonderful! What a POV!
dbmurrell
dbmurrell February 06, 2016
Thank you! I managed not to get hit as they galloped by

Behind The Lens

Location
The photo was captured during a match at the County Line Polo Club in Kyle, Texas.
Time
It was taken during the late afternoon
Lighting
This was all natural lighting, no reflectors. The polo arena is outdoors and does not have any artificial lights. I don't use flash or reflectors due to the risk of spooking the horses or disturbing the players.
Equipment
I used a Canon 7D mark II with a 70-200mm f2.8 IS L2 lens. No flash, reflectors, or tripod. Hand held at 1/1000, f3.2, ISO 1250, 75mm focal length with a circular polarizer (B+W).
Inspiration
Polo offers significant challenges (and rewards) for action photography. The game is fast paced, and moves quickly over the entire arena. Horses are often at a full gallop, with riders leaning precariously in the stirrups. The ball stays in constant play. The trajectory is un-predictable and ricochets off of hooves and fences. I love the intensity of the shoot. For this image, I was leaning way out over the fence to catch the ball in motion as the ponies rode toward me. It turned out much better than I expected.
Editing
I shoot RAW and do my post using Capture One. I'll then make a pass using Imagenomic Noiseware to clean things up. I don't normally do a lot of touch up -- partly because I want to spend more time with the camera than the computer (as a break from my day job), and partly because I'm not particularly good at the brush-work :). With C1 I could easily do just a few adjustments for shadows and highlights, crop, sharpen, and tweak the white balance. That's all there was to it.
In my camera bag
I usually tote only my 7D mark II (for action) and 6D (for detail and portrait work). I'll mount one lens on each and make do. The equestrian venues I shoot are far too dusty for on-site lens swaps, and I don't have time to change them out during the matches. Texas sun is brutal for daytime work, so I use the Canon 70-300mm IS L (f5-ish) with a B+W circular polarizer on the 7D2. For twilight matches, I use the 70-200mm IS L2 (f2.8). On the 6d I'll use either the 85mm f1.2 L2 or the 35mm IS f2, depending on whether I expect to do some close-in portraiture or group shots.
Feedback
The best advice I can offer is to practice (a lot), and don't beat yourself up over hit rate. I'm shooting a polo or equestrian show nearly every weekend and take many hundreds of shots during each session. I end up keeping only 5% or so. Don't feel inferior if you use the "automatic" modes. For action under constantly changing natural light, I rely on shutter priority to freeze motion. It's more important to get the shot and concentrate on composition than fiddle with exposure. RAW covers a multitude of sins in that regard. Most importantly, don't let the photographic elite bully you. Shoot the way that is most enjoyable and gets the results you like.

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