Photography at the Pritchard Rodeo

making pictures with John Enman - Photography at the Pritchard Rodeo

A great place for a photographer to get that perfect pictures is a local rodeo

A great place for a photographer to get that perfect pictures is a local rodeo

“When photographing fast-paced, erratically-moving subjects like those at a rodeo I would select Shutter priority. I like shutterspeeds of 1/500th or more and one always needs to be aware of depth-of-field, and balancing the shutter speed and aperture for that. Wide apertures reduce the field of focus in front of and behind your focus point, so leave room for the moving subject; something like f/8 or better yet, f/11 would be safest.”

That was part of a discussion I had with a fellow photographer while standing beside the arena at the Pritchard Rodeo last Sunday.  I had been laughing about the not-so-successful attempts two wranglers were having as they tried to lasso a wily bronco.  As we talked I was quickly pointing my camera at the action, and the other fellow wondered why I wasn’t paying attention to my settings in the changing daylight.

I asked how he set his camera and his response was he first tried his camera on Manual mode and had just switched to Aperture priority.  I am sure either of those would work well, and I have no doubt that some photographers who shoot rodeos professionally will have their own advice to him.

I was there to have fun, socialize with friends, and still get as many shots (that were keepers) of the rodeo as I could. Shutter priority assured that I’d always have a shutterspeed that would stop the action.

My first goal was to get the light correct and keep it correct without constantly resetting the camera. The only “chimping” (a term used to describe the habit of checking every photo on the camera LCD immediately after capture) I would do was to check my camera’s histogram every now and then.

Shutter priority was as close to point-and-shoot as I could get in an environment where my attention might stray. Fortunately this was a local rodeo and I was very familiar with the grounds and where the action would take place. When an event was about to change I would casually walk around the arena to where I had in the past found the best place to photograph that particular activity.

My favorites to photograph are saddle bronc, bareback, steer and bull riding.  The action is explosive and I think the participants (horse and rider, or bull and rider) pitted against each other are well matched and one can never be sure who will win. I am of the opinion that both animals and humans know it’s a game. For example, I watched a large black bull crashing around in the bucking chute, giving the handlers a hard time as the rider tried to get mounted. The gate opened, rider and bull exploded into the arena with the bull bucking, rearing, kicking, spinning, and twisting. Although he did his best to hang on for the required eight seconds, the contest ended with the cowboy being thrown.

Bullfighters rushed to help the rider, possibly expecting additional aggression from the bull, but at that moment that large, black, dangerous bull’s attitude immediately seemed to change from “death incarnate” to, well, a nice fellow out for a stroll. And that’s exactly what he did, casually walked back to exit the arena to brag to his buddies.

My photographs didn’t show that mellow conclusion, that’s not what we expect at the rodeo. Instead they are great action photos of what has been called, “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports”.

The Pritchard Rodeo grounds are perfect for photographers. The arena is enclosed with a strong metal fence that’s safe to stand close to and doesn’t restrict the view.  Of course, one has to be careful when excited horses are getting ready for the barrel race, but heck, it is a rodeo and one must remember that the animals, like any other athletes, are focusing on what they are about to do, not some silly person with a camera.

I’ll mention that barrel racing is also a great subject to photograph, and trying to perfectly capture what seems like a gravity-defying moment as horse and rider, fast and furiously, circle the barrel is exciting.

 

I know there are more rodeos scheduled for the rodeo circuit ahead and interested photographers can expect an enjoyable, energy-packed day of photography that, at times, will test their skills.

 

 

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

(TNRD Library)
Let the mystery of the Summer Reading Club begin

Are you ready to ‘Crack the Case’ at the Barriere Library?

(Metro Creative photo)
Gardeners of all ages invited to enter 2021 NT Fall Fair contests

The North Thompson Fall Fair Drive Thru scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4,… Continue reading

Milsom Lodge was built in the East Barriere Valley when the Milsom brothers purchased two parcels of land in 1911, DL 2323 and DL2324. (Milsom’s photo)
The Milsom Lodge: The mansion, the ballroom, the history

“At the turn of the century, when so many families were leaving… Continue reading

teaser
Ladies Golf close enough for a cheery wave

A new month - new COVID rules - a new start. For… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read