From time to time, things just stack up your way. For instance, a great opportunity to shoot great rodeo action in a classic arena under an picturesque sky. For two days last month in Emmett, Idaho, I got just that opportunity.
|Sony α6000 | E 55-210mm f/4.5 | 93mm | ƒ/5.6 | 1/1000s | ISO 3200|
Emmett is a fun place with a good rodeo. Good enough that it attracts some of the valley's very finest competitors, and a certain photographer from Nampa. I looked forward to this rodeo for some time, and it did not disappoint at all.
|Sony α6000 | E 55-210mm f/4.5 | 138mm | ƒ/5.6 | 1/800s | ISO 1600|
| Sony α6000 | E 55-210mm f/4.5 | 99mm | ƒ/5.6 | 1/1000s | ISO 6400|
Turns out that the rodeo committee had not hired a photographer for their event, so I was given free rein of the arena. There really isn't a better way to get all the action from pretty much wherever you need to be. Safety first, and stay out of the way, but the arena really lets you pick your spot, and I was glad to have the opportunity there.
|Sony α6000 | E 55-210mm f/4.5 | 210mm | ƒ/6.3 | 1/1000s | ISO 4000|
|Sony α6000 | E 55-210mm f/4.5 | 164mm | ƒ/6.3 | 1/1000s | ISO 1600|
The people in Emmett were so friendly. Rodeo is a kind of unique sport where, as a photographer, you get to know the athletes, and both meeting new people and running into old friends is a huge highlight of the day for me. The forest fires to the west tinted a sky that was threatening sprinkles, and for a great half-hour, we had senior-photo lighting in a rodeo environment. It was awesome.
|Sony α6000 | E 55-210mm f/4.5 | 120mm | ƒ/5.6 | 1/1000s | ISO 1600|
Keeping an eye on what's around you isn't just a safety thing for the bull riding. Being too focused on the middle of the arena or chimping keeps you away from seeing some pretty cool stuff - even during the mutton busting!
|Sony α6000 | E 55-210mm f/4.5 | 116mm | ƒ/5.6 | 1/160s | ISO 500|
|Sony α6000 | E 55-210mm f/4.5 | 210mm | ƒ/6.3 | 1/1000s | ISO 1600|
The arena got very dark at night. Part of the problem with these old arenas is that they tend to not be very well lit, and that makes it tricky to shoot anything after the team roping. Pretty much you're just cranking ISO up and shutter speed down (I max at 3200 and basement at 1/800s, respectively), and hoping the action gets into the spots where the arena lights give you just a little to work with. Then it's up to Lightroom and Nik's Dfine software.
|Sony α6000 | E 50mm f/1.8 | 50mm | ƒ/1.8 | 1/1000s | ISO 3200|
|Sony α6000 | E 50mm f/1.8 | 50mm | ƒ/1.8 | 1/1250s | ISO 6400|
The skies, stock, and action just all worked together at Emmett this year on both nights, and I call that lucky. It let me get what might be my favorite rodeo shot yet. It's Dakota Christensen on a great ranch bronc from the 4T string of bucking stock, and thanks to all the elements working together, I feel like it worked out with all the drama I could hope for.
|Sony α6000 | E 55-210mm f/4.5 | 107mm | ƒ/5.6 | 1/1250s | ISO 1000|
Two nights of action, then on to the next rodeo. It's non-stop... and I'm not even a rider!