It was a great day to visit Tampa Bay Downs. The weather was in the low 70’s, it was the University of Maryland Alumni Club’s Tampa Day at the Races, and it was Cap Giveaway Day.
Clutching my email reservation and dressed in red, I made my way to the Party Suite for the University of Maryland event. A table of Maryland Freebies greeted me as I entered the spacious party suite overlooking the track.
Televisions adorned the interior wall, playing the University of Maryland vs. Ohio State basketball game and the horse races below. Programs and free hats were placed by each seat, and drinks could be ordered from the suite’s private bar.
At 12:30 we were invited to a lunch buffet, including smoked turkey with stuffing, pork with wild rice, potatoes, green beans, salad, and rolls. Cookies and turtle brownies were for dessert.
As the races began, people started placing bets at the suite’s private betting booth, and I went out with my camera to take photos of the horses.
My main goals were to experiment with different shutter speeds on a moving subject and to practice panning, a technique in which you emphasize movement by following a moving subject with your camera, thereby blurring the background. Peterson’s Understanding Exposure suggests shutter speeds of 1/30th or 1/60th of a second for this technique to work well.
In general, it was a lot easier to capture a subject at 1/60th of a second than at 1/30th sec. At 1/30th of a second, the subject often blurred along with the background. In some cases, though, this made the horse look even faster.
The easiest technique of all is to use a high shutter speed that will freeze the action, like 1/1000th or 1/2000th of a second. But in this case you don’t get the artistic blurred backgrounds that panning yields. Look at the crowds and you will see all the free orange caps.
This was a great event. I normally enjoy my time at Tampa Bay Downs, but this was definitely a couple steps up from the general Tampa Bay Downs experience. I’ve got two words for you: Party Suite.