It’s that time of year when I like to look back on the year that just closed and try to distill a set of “best of”. As I had the chance to shoot a bit of rodeo this year – let’s start with a few of those.
So – in no particular order – here you go.
The Polk County Fair and Rodeo – not only did it produce more good barrel racing images than the bronc events – but the bull riding images were some of the best from the night. I often don’t shoot straight into the gate – but on this evening it worked well. And like the barrels – the light + dirt were nice compliments.
As I mentioned over on the Camera 47 FB page – it’s an odd day when I get more barrel racing keepers than from the bronc events. But that’s exactly what happened up at the Polk County Fair – rodeo provided by Wild West Events, Inc. It was mostly an evening of rough stock (bareback bronc, saddle bronc, and bull riding) – but there was also some barrel racing – and just for fun – some mutton busting.
All too often, I can get into a groove (rut?) when shooting rodeo – mostly because I have a preferred location (or two) for each event. But while up at Polk County, to be honest, I was a little out of sorts. It was a pretty small arena but for the horse racing segment – I happened to be outside the arena near what is often the 1st barrel (depending on the rider’s preferred pattern) – and in between some gulps of water – tried for a few images. The dust + low light were great elements to work with.
This trip to the rodeo was also the first gig with the new camera. I’m digging it – but I’m still trying to dial in the nuances. Hopefully, more on that later.
In no particular order – here’s a few barrel racing images from the evening:
This had been on my “list” for awhile and last Friday night during their Test & Tune evening, a buddy and I headed on out to the dirt track at the Willamette Speedway. It’s just unfortunate that I can’t push some dirt, exhaust, and engine rumbling through the screen to you.
This was the first time I’d taken the opportunity to shoot fast moving cars and, truth be told, it was a heck of a lot of fun. The Test & Tune format really provided a great opportunity to get some daylight images without a lot of distraction.
At the Willamette Speedway, these Test & Tune nights are free to attend but for $15 you can get yourself in the pit. If you’re asking – it was worth the $15.
And if I have my classes right – #25, #90, #31, and #22 are Street Stock. #0 is Modified and #33 and #2 are Super Sports.
As a Cub Scout, I recall my one year on the Pinewood Derby circuit. Sure – that season was compressed to a single evening in the cafeteria of my elementary school – but it was a heck of a lot of fun watching my car take 2nd in all three heats that it bounced down the wooden swooped track.
So, imagine my joy when my daughter announced that she had a morning of Pinewood Derby racing on the calendar.
Of course, we worked on her car. It was pink. And, as it turns out, the fastest “legal” car of the day. But for this project – we wanted the fastest car of the day.
I was looking for a bit of track level video and thought it would be fun to bolt one of the Contours to a car as an experiment. Thankfully, by simply weighing more than twice the allowed limit of 5 oz – the extra weight helped get the car out in front of the pack. And with the wide angle lenses on most POV cameras – your car won’t need to be much faster – maybe only a couple of car lengths.
This design is essentially a basic wedge Pinewood Derby kit and a Contour camera. The weights? Well, where they’re located on the image above – I don’t think they really helped. A simple quarter-twenty bolt attached the camera. The spacers you see were only added to take up some of the bolt length – as it was a bit long.
As for the track footage – I cleared it with the event organizers, got a race number for the car so that it would be integrated into the real-time racing matrix (this allowed for footage from all 4 lanes and a mix of cars) – and simply let it go. For most cars on this day, it was fast enough. This version of the camera car only ran in the high 2.5’s. Next year – I’ve got some ideas to see if I can get it a bit faster.
If you decide to try this – or something similar – let us know!
For folks that read this blog regularly, you know that my assignments typically don’t have me rubbing elbows with public figure types. But one of the organizations that I’ve had the opportunity to work with the past few years is Oregon Special Olympics (SOOR). And as a near life-time Trail Blazers fan (there – I said it ) – I think it’s great that the Blazers have a strong relationship with SOOR.
This last summer while I was at the Oregon Summer Games, former Trail Blazer Jerome Kersey was in attendance, spoke at the awards ceremony, and was on hand to pose for photos.
Last week, Jerome Kersey passed away suddenly from a blood clot at the age of 52. Those who knew him well, speak much of his warmth and his infectious personality. Those who played with him speak of his tenacity and hard work. I didn’t know him personally, but one thing that impressed me in my very few short minutes with Jerome was his genuineness with everybody around him. Not once did he seem distracted or if there was somewhere else he’d rather be. Heck, I’m not even sure if he ever stopped smiling.
Prior to the ceremony, I was asked if I could get a photo of Jerome with the Olympic torch. So, after the ceremony, I introduced myself and we tried to cross the fifty feet from the stage, down the steps, and to the torch for a photo or two. And as he was surrounded by athletes and coaches – Jerome stopped for every hug, handshake, high five, and photo that he possibly could. By the time we made it to the torch, it was quickly evident that we weren’t going to the get the photo we’d set out to make. Just a quick bit of eye contact, a smile and small shrug, and we got the photo below. A quick nod of thanks (as the crowd rushed in – we weren’t going to get our parting handshake) and Jerome got back to the hugs and autographs. Looking back – I’m glad that we missed on the initial photo idea. I’m pretty sure this one is much better.
Is it too late for a “2014 Best of” post? Hopefully this one is only arriving “casually late”.
That said, regardless of your photography experience, I think it’s a good practice to go through your photos periodically and choose a few that you consider to be among the best. The transition from December to January provides, if nothing else, a convenient marker.
So, in no particular order, here are a few from my 2014 archive.
This is arguably my best Milky Way image. More details here.
From a quick trip up to Mt St Helens – here’s an image of the edge of the crater that I’d posted over on the Facebook page.
And there I was standing on the Morrison Bridge (trying to get an image for the Bite of Oregon) when the bridge went up. I also posted a number of images from that gig over on the Camera 47 Facebook page.
From the Harrisburg Harvest Festival and Tractor Pull. More images from that afternoon can be found here.
Who would have thought that fisheye lenses and historic bombers were a great combination? More images of this B-17 can be found here.
2014 was the year that I learned about the IR72 filter + X100s. More details can be found here.
Happened to be in San Francisco for business and brought the X100s along. This is a panorama cobbled together from a series of handheld images.
Could I really have an annual list of photos and not have a rodeo image?
Or some hot air balloon photos?
Just playing. This photo can also be found over on my Exposure.co site.
Had a chance to shoot some Polar Plunges for Oregon Special Olympics. The Portland event had a group of Super Plungers that ran once an hour for 24 hours into the very chilly Columbia River. I posted a number of photos from my time with the Super Plungers over on the Camera 47 Facebook page.
Just a bit of flooding here in Corvallis.
More Viking! At the Bend Polar Plunge. More images from my trip to Bend can be found here.
The debut of Saddle Shop over the summer. You can see more from this gig over at Exposure.co.
Was looking for a vintage-feeling portrait for this one that connected the student, his school, and sport.
At the county fair for a dance performance and happened to have the X100s + IR72 filter with me. Really dug the architecture + sun + colors on this one. I thought the combination provided an unexpected industrial feel.
Our dog was waiting for a bit of beef jerky in some pretty strong light with shadow.
Christmas morning sunrise over Fish Lake just outside Leavenworth, WA. Not sure what created all of the sparkles speckles. I’m guessing it was a really dirty filter. Then, again, it was Christmas morning.
This last weekend I had the chance to get out and shoot for the first time at a Truck and Tractor Pull. This particular event was at the Harrisburg Harvest Festival. To be honest, I had no idea how such an event operated or what to expect. But I just pointed my lens down the field and tried to record a few reasonable images.
Also on hand were a couple of old tractors and steam engines. With those, I happened to have the X100s in the bag along with the IR72 filter – so I continued in my summer long IR experiment.
Last week I shared a few from the Roping & Racing events. This week – rough stock.
As it turns out, it was also an odd weekend for the bull riders as no one made it the full 8 seconds. Good riders – just better bulls.
That’s Bullfighter Cody Harsch.
More Bull Riding
Over the last few years I’ve had a chance to shoot some rodeo and it’s been a heck of a lot of fun. But on Saturday – while shooting over at the Benton County (Fair &) Rodeo – they had an event new to me – mounted shooting.
And, yes, I was completely out of position (should have been on the other end of the arena for this course) – but I’m really looking forward to trying it again.
That said – it’s not often that you see a rodeo queen with a single action Colt .45. Yep – that’s Nicole Schrock, the current Miss Rodeo Oregon, trying her hand at mounted shooting.
And another one.
BTW – if gear is your thing (or if you’re mulling teleconverters)– here’s a possible data point for you – I shot the entire afternoon with a Canon 1.4x teleconverter on a 70-200 f/4L. There was plenty of action and plenty of light making it was a great combination. Of course, the teleconverter will drop you a stop – equivalent of f/5.6. Only once or twice did the autofocus refuse to cooperate – but more likely due to operator error. And, if you’ve read this far – you might find it interesting that this isn’t the latest version – I was able to pick up a used second generation 1.4x over at Adorama.