>> So prior to a few years ago, you are saying these shots were impossible? Interesting.
All I can tell you is what the participants tell me. There don't seem to be many good quality jousting shots publicly displayed.
This is a different competition held prior to the main jousting with lances event.
This was shot at 300mm f/3.2. I'm slowly opening up until I get the ring consistently the way I want it without bringing the background into distraction.
This was the first time I shot this exact angle; I got a special accommodation to shoot from a position normally in a "no man's land" on the rail. I'm usually about 3 feet higher, due to some obstruction issues. This is an interesting angle.
This is the un-cropped image. This is called the "Quintaine". It's a wooden sled supporting that shield, which holds the ring the knight attempts to spear with his sword (or sometimes a spear). The sword blade is about 3 feet long although not obvious due to this angle.
The problem here is that the knight is moving about 25 feet per second. He's moving from left to right of course, and he passes behind the shield and the Quintaine just before he grabs the ring. I don't have a clear view of the tip of the sword in order to time the shot. Although I need 8fps for certain aspects of this shooting, in this particular event the shot here is usually my first shot. Just to say that this is not just spray and pray.
My consistency rate is better than 50% picking up this shot with the sword or spear tip obviously about to go through the ring. Assuming the knight gets it, and their rate is somewhat less than 50%. So I need good consistency or I never get a "perfect storm".
There are only 4 or 8 Quintaine passes each session so this is not a matter of having dozens or hundreds of chances to grab a shot like you might have in something like volleyball, or baseball where you have a minimum of 54 at bats and usually many many more in a game.
The 2nd set of 4, if they are done, is something called "the Gauntlet" where they do three similar things in one pass. That is a very tough event, especially with a fixed prime because the shooting perspective and framing changes with each of the 3 situations and the whole thing happens in just under 5 seconds.
This shot was from the Gauntlet. The framing may not look optimum but it's a compromise to accommodate the final scoring situation that happens 2 seconds later at a much closer distance. And all I wanted here was the deep crop to highlight the intensity of focus on the knight's faces.