One of the things that got me into photography as more than a mere hobby was the opportunity to provide images to accompany my writing for D&B Supply. I've been around rodeo for a long, long time, and absolutely love the opportunity to cover the local events and spread awareness for a traditional sport I truly enjoy.
Rodeo is a tricky sport to capture because the action is so quick. Roughstock (bucking) events that end successfully only last eight seconds, and a good timed sequence can be five or less. Add to that the unpredictability, the immediately changing angles, and a rather pronounced sense of personal safety, and the challenge presents itself in a rather escalated sense.
It's not all about action, though. Rodeo, like any event is filled with humans, with all the emotions they convey, and the stories their faces tell. Whether it's an old-timer who has ceased competition to take on official's duties, or a young guy who is looking forward to his chance, everyone has a story.Let's not forget the stock either. Rodeo bulls, broncs, steers, barrel horses, and all the other four-legged athletes provide at least as much interest as their human counterparts. Whether in competition with or coordination with humans, the animals are often larger-than-life.
I love shooting the action with my Sony a6000 because of its object tracking capacity, but my a58 got the job done for me for thousands and thousands of clicks as well. On that camera I keep a 75-300 f/4.5-5.6, and a 55-210mm f/4.5-63 on the a6000. While I would love to have glass that doesn't mess with aperture as a horse runs down the arena, this lens is so light, and the autofocus is plenty fast enough at the lengths I use, so I will probably hang onto it for a while anyway.
When people think of rodeo photography, they think of bulls, airborne ropes, flying hooves, dust clouds, and action, action, action. Most of my best work comes away from the arena floor, though. There's a lesson in it: It pays to keep your eyes open. You never know what you're going to see, and where it will show up.