May Customer Spotlight – Mike Caple

Allow us to introduce you to our May Customer Spotlight: 

Mike Caple  

Photographer, Videographer, Horse Aficionado

Where are you from? Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Columbia, Missouri and went to Hickman High School and the University of Missouri. I have been shooting photography for quite a while, over 20 years. I have also been showing horses, riding in horse competitions, and photographing and video taping competitions around the country.

What is your favorite horse that you’ve ridden?

My favorite horse would have to be one called Smart Badger Chex.   He is still around and about 20 years old. I was able to ride him in quite a few competitions.

Have you ever been hurt reining, riding or working with horses?

I broke my back, my leg my arm a couple times Some of them were on 2 year old prospects and some of them were on seasoned horses. A lot of soft tissue stuff, fingers, broke my kneecap- did not even know I had broken it until it swelled up. Thought is was just hurt until the doctor confirmed. I’ve also dislocated shoulders.

How do you get paid to do what you want to do with your photography?

I’ve learned how to combine my two favorite things into a business. I enjoy working with horses. In fact, I still get paid to work with horses. But I am also currently running my own company called Mike Caple Photography and Video. I am able to film these competitions for the riders, competition committees and the audience.

What kind of gear do you use, generally when shooting sports photography?

  • Camera body –Canon 5D Mark III
  • Favorite Lens – Sigma 70-200 2.8mm-sports and Sigma 24-70mm 2.8-portraits
  • Tripod – Generally, I don’t use a tripod, but when I do I have an old MeFoto made of carbon fiber. I like it for the weight, variety of other good tripods that I have and use if needed, but that’s my go to tripod. Two Manfrottos, 1 set up for the video side.
  • Filters – Besides my general UV filter I’ll use a circular polarizer at times during a baseball game.
  • Flash – I have a couple Canon Flashes including the 600 series and 450 along with the 800 Alien Bee Series.
  • Camera bag – I have a few smaller Canon Camera Bags and a Tenba Backpack and a larger case. I am getting ready to upgrade to a few harder cases.

Which is your favorite lens?

My go to lens is my 70-200mm. I tend to shoot from farther out due to the logistics of each venue. They used to allow photographers inside the arenas, but many of the horse competitions are getting away from that. We generally shoot from the other side of the arena walls. For portrait shots my go to lens is the 24-70 mm.

When you go on one of your travels, what all do you take with you?  

Generally I always have my camera equipment with me. I take my Canon most places because you never know when your are going to find that perfect shot. My travels tend to be more for work. I haven’t been on a vacation for a while, but I if I did I would be prepared.

In the field, what are your settings?

  • Aperture – When shooting my horse competitions it depends on if I am inside or outside and at what location. For instance, when I am in Florida, I will put an ND Filter on the end of my lens and run my aperture up a little bit. Basically on these outside shots I try to get my exposure correct. If I am inside I will try and add more lights, which is not always possible. If I am using the light inside I am many times at a 2.8
  • Shutter Speed – On a good action shot I like to be at a shutter speed of around 320.If possible.
  • ISO –At least a 1600
  • Image Format – RAW/JPEG I always shoot Raw once and sometimes add in JPEG if I need to send them quickly.

What kind of tools do you use for post processing?

I utilize Lightroom for many of my projects. I will add some post production with Photoshop, but mainly stay with Lightroom.

How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

This year I joined the Missouri Professional Photographers Association. Other than that when I know the photographers and they’ve released an educational video I will watch those. Online I like the f-stoppers. I read a lot and spend time educating myself lately on the editing side.

Among your works, which one is your favorite?

There are several shots I really like. It’s not enough to be my favorite. About the time that I like a photo a lot I’ve gone through the editing process and like it less.

Whose work has influenced you most?

Some photographers that I’ve grown up in photography with are Casey Montgomery and Walton Berry These individuals were influential to my photography when it comes to shooting horse competitions. I would watch these guys a lot asking them questions and picking up pointers from them.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

 There is a lot I wished I knew when I started. I would have liked to have known a little more on the exposure triangle. I was not as good as I thought I was and needed to better understand shutter speed, ISO and aperture and how they worked together.

–Interview and video by Dave Pott, Columbia, MO Store Manager