Going Down in the Steeplechase – Sometimes 30 fps and 50 MP are Critical
Even when 50 MP resolution exceeds the final resolution required for an image, the ultra-high resolution is often unexpectantly valuable. In this example, the selected camera position was optimized for capturing vertically oriented images of the runners jumping from a hurdle (going high in the air) while attempting to clear a water pit.
Crashes always draw attention, and the fall was the eye-catcher of this pass. However, the compressed body position and splashing water no longer worked well in the vertically oriented frame. The horizontal orientation crop seemed favorable, and the optimal framing required a tight crop, including pulling in from the sides. Despite the heavy cropping, the a1 image provided an often sufficient nearly 20 MP of final resolution.
While the Sony Alpha a1's 30 fps drive rate seems extreme, I am finding it addicting. In this case, the 30 fps results provided the ideal moment of touch down and splash combination.
Regarding splashing water, bright water droplets in front of a subject are notorious for stealing a camera AF system's attention. While a sustained high volume of water drops covering the subject sometimes eventually stole the a1's focus, the default AF settings held on the subject's eye behind the splashing very well.
The 400mm and f/2.8 combination is often perfect for photographing track and field events. In this example, the Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens renders the foreground and background diffusely blurred, making the subject and water drops stand out. Despite the cloudy day and 1/2000 sec. shutter speed, the ISO setting remained relatively low.
We can enjoy the spectacle of this water crash without feeling too sorry for the runner. Being cold is apparently motivating for running because she went on to win this event with a top 10 list time for the university.
400mm f/2.8 1/2000s ISO 1600