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Old Jul 28, 2010, 12:37 PM   #1
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Default Another First for me - Shooting Rodeo Photos

Well I had never been to a rodeo before Friday but it was free entry so of course I had to go see what it would be like to take some cowboy pictures. This was a JR Rodeo event so it was fun watching the kids do their thing.

I went both Friday night and Saturday night and really struggled with the lighting. As not knowing the sport I really did not know what to shoot.

On Friday I used the 70-200mm and everything was fair until it got dark and the then the ISO had to go up to 3200 and 6400 which caused some horrible noise. Shots of the barrel racing and pole bending when the horses came close wasn't too bad. But the steer riding at the other end was just awful because I had to crop in so much the noise was really bad.

So Saturday came and I decided to switch to the 85mm f/1.8 when dark approached to combat the low light. At 1.8 I had decent light but the DOF was so small that I could not get both the rider and horse in focus. I actually moved all around the arena trying to get a close as possible with the 85mm but it still required too much cropping. As I expected at 1.8 when the riders got real close (like as they exited near where I was) the DOF was awful but a little further away it did improve a little.

Question, should I have reduced the aperture and the shutter speed to get more in focus and just accepted motion blur? I tried to keep the SS up to 1/400 or 1/500 but maybe that was too much. Since I had never been to a rodeo and did not know anyone competing I did not want to use the flash. Is flash acceptable at rodeos?

On most of the photos I used Noiseware (thank goodness I had it) - and probably over did it for many. Anyway, here are a few pics, any comments and critique is welcomed.

If you care to see more the galleries are located at http://andygriffin.smugmug.com/Sports/SRAJRRODEO?ao=0


1. Before it got dark - trying to figure out what/how to shoot.

2. Trying to pull back the zoom as they got close gave me some close ups.

3. What is a good rodeo shot? Rope extended, rope overhead, rope on cow????

4. Poor little goat never had a chance!

5. To the goat those little girls probably looked like Hulk Hogan!

6. many of the further away shots I cropped landscape out of vertical shot - way over cropping.

7. Wish she was smiling

8. Some brave little kids on those big animals.

9. Would be great if I could get both faces, horse and rider, in focus.

10. Most exciting events were at the very end when it was the darkest and were the furthest away from the fence - heavy crop heavy NR

11. The last steer rider - this guy hung on good and make it to the count. Here the official was trying to calm down the steer. Again heavy crop and NR.

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Old Jul 28, 2010, 12:58 PM   #2
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Sweet series and for the conditions the last have come out well.
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Old Jul 29, 2010, 10:06 AM   #3
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Actually #7 is kind of fun, she may not be smiling, but the look on her face shows great emotion!
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Old Jul 29, 2010, 4:10 PM   #4
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These are excellent shots...lighting is very nice. Very low noise on those that you used ISO 3200. I like the way you captured the expression on the faces of the subjects. I'm not a sports/action photographer, but high praise from me anyway!
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 12:06 PM   #5
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I'm glad you posted this! I'm going to a local county fair tonight, and there will be bull riding in the evening. I've been looking around for ideas of shots and settings, since I've never really shot fast sports action before.

#2 is my favorite... I like the concentration and determination on the kid's face!
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 12:24 PM   #6
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Good Luck Pure Evo.

Remember to get as close as you can and have fun!

Also bring us back some photos!
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