Tag Archives: sports

Best of 2015: Rodeo

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.

best of-4









best of-10



best of-7

best of-9

best of-8

Mounted Shooting

Benton County Rodeo - Mounted Shooting - 2013-2Over 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.

Benton County Rodeo - Mounted Shooting - 2013-4

And another one.

Benton County Rodeo - Mounted Shooting - 2013-1

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.

5 Biggest Flops on Camera 47

Now that I’ve been writing Camera 47 for a couple of years and have hit a few milestones – I’ve tried to reflect a bit on some of the most and  least popular posts from the blog.  Today I’m passing along some from the “least” list  – if not for anything else – maybe you can avoid similar mistakes.low res rodeo for biggest flops

So – in no particular order – here you go – the 5 Biggest Flops on Camera 47:

  1. Angry Birds.  I have to admit – I was really looking forward to hitting the submit button on this one.  To my caffeine-saturated eyes – this one looked like a winner.  In all reality – it sits here as one the largest flops on C47.  But, hey, why stop here – there’s still 4 more…
  2. Turkey Cutting Video.  This little video saved the turkey from its yearly shredding at our house.  Heck – I liked this video so much – I’ve posted it twice.  It’s received little to no attention both years.
  3. Sports Photography article.  Rodeo, rugby, ultimate frisbee.  It’s managed only a few clicks more than the turkey cutting video.
  4. 4 1/2 business books.  Heck, no one read this post.  Turkey cutting was more popular.
  5. Not regularly hitting the submit button.  And the reality of this one is that folks like an updated blog.  C47 has had a few dry spells.

And just to let you know – you might find the turkey cutting video posted again at Thanksgiving.  Seriously – it’s that good  🙂


Rodeo Season 2010

PFR - Thursday - quickly low res-1For many, it’s already rodeo season.  But – my season typically starts with the Philomath Frolic and Rodeo.

It’s late (so I’ll keep this brief) – but here’s a couple from Thursday’s slack event.

PFR - Thursday - quickly low res-2

Sports Photography

rodeo pic for blog-1Sports photography is challenging.

Most folks will tell you it’s all about the gear.  But gear, is only half the story.  Yes – it’s sure easier to get consistent sports images with really big, fast, sharp lenses coupled to the latest / greatest / coolest camera – but – thankfully, photography still requires a photographer.  And sometimes,  a modest kit is all that’s needed.  

But like many things – it’s take the 3P’s: practice, practice, practice.  You’ll need to literally shoot thousands of pictures (in a lot of environments) to get reliable sports images.  And every sport has a “shot” that defines top action.  It’s your responsibility to study the action, figure out where to be, anticipate it, grab it, and then, make it your own.  Fortunately, the web offers lots of examples if you’re new to a particular sport.

ulti for blog 2-1My setup, in the world of sports, is humble – and, at times, a bit restrictive.  Right now, I’m packing a 20D and the Canon 70-200 f/4L.  If I’m too far away from the action – the 200mm is a bit short – and if the light is low – f/4 isn’t quite fast enough.  The rest of the time, it works pretty well.  But, take note, with this gear list, I stick to outdoor sports that are well lit.

Don’t get me wrong, a 20D (or a 40D / 50D) plus the 70-200mm f/4L is serious kit (and not inexpensive – though there is much more expensive gear out there) – but within the genre of sports photography, where 300mm f/2.8 lenses (or bigger) are commonly coupled to those really expensive cameras (say, something like a Nikon D3) – frisbee dog for blog-1I’m simply not in the same league as those other guys.  On the other hand, let me persuade you, that with a modest  kit – and a little elbow grease – you can have a lot of fun. 

So, I encourage you, whatever you’re carrying – go experiment (“back in the day”, I could be seen with a Canon Rebel G and a Canon 50mm f/1.8…).  Snap through a few hundred frames and figure out what works and what doesn’t.  And then go snap some more.

Right now, I shoot a lot of ultimate frisbee, some frisbee dogs, and a little rodeo.  It’s a heck of a lot of fun – and, as the events are local, I’m able to get pretty close to the action. 

Keep in mind that I’m not a professional sports photographer, and someone like Rod (a much better sports photographer – who happens to do this sort of thing for the Seattle Times) or Michael Clark (another great pro photog), will likely disagree with me (and if they do – that’s OK – you should probably follow their input over mine) – but here’s where I typically start:

  • Aperture Priority @ f/4 (as wide open as this little lens will go)
  • Lowest ISO setting I can manage and keep the shutter speed above 1/250.
  • Auto focus point set to the center only.
  • Auto focus is set to AI Servo.
  • Partial Metering: this is 9% on the 20D (the 20D doesn’t have spot metering)
  • On the 70-200mm f/4L lens – there’s an option for 1.2m or 3m minimum focus distance.  Set to 3m minimum distance, the lens focuses quicker.
  • JPG,  not RAW, so as to get faster write speeds.
  • Continuous shooting mode.

ulti for blog 1-1And it’s likely that your optimum starting point will be slightly different – but whatever your setup is – focal length, focus speed, and frame rates will go a long way to helping you make consistently good images.

From here, there’s a lot of technique to pan, zoom, tuck elbows, keep one eye on the action, breathe, anticipate, and hold that hammer down… and that’s where that practice comes in.

Two more thoughts: (1) shoot a lot frames and throw out a lot of frames – only a small fraction are going to be “keepers” and (2) don’t be afraid to crop. 

If you have more input for new sports shooters – or simply disagree  – drop it in the comments.