Hello Blog Followers,
I wanted to take the chance to tell a bit of a story. I as a boy grew up in the city, I played traditional Sports Football, Basketball, Track, Baseball and just about any other sport other than Rodeo. I Bowled for many years developing my skills and hitting a pinnacle when I bowled my First perfect Game That's right the big 300 baby. Well I digress a bit here and come back to the real story. Barrel Racing.
You may Use the link below to view my Barrel Racing Portfolio
I have been asked Jeff Why do you shoot Barrel Racing? I have a couple not so serious answers for that and the real answer for that. Lets start with the not so serious. I know or learned that women with horses like photos of themselves with their Horses, That combo equals sales and views. Second not so serious answer is "maybe I will find my new wife at one of these events!". Well that hasn't happened at least to date. Now for the real reason I started to shoot Barrel Racing/Rodeo. As a traditional sports photographer learning how to get good photos of action and movement, what better place to practice that craft other than a Rodeo speed event. We all know there is no place on earth darker than a rodeo arena with black dirt. Something to keep in mind is a camera hates darkness, all cameras work on light and well when I was shooting Basketball in a dim lit gym I was struggling to stop the action. Well with that in mind I started thinking, what happens during the summer where I could practice my low light photography? That's right a rodeo arena, well what happens at most rodeo arenas for rodeos is usually once a year. But barrel racing is everywhere and can always be found to shoot or practice in my case. So my main reason to photograph barrel racing started from just needing to learn low light photography challenges.
Link to Barrel Racing Portfolio below
What is the Hardest thing about barrel racing photography? Other than the before mentioned low light situation would have to be stopping the action, keeping the blur of the photo to a minimum a lot of photos you may see from photographers will have horse foot blur, or say a lot of background movement blur. So practice practice practice is what it take to conquer the tasks involved in barrel racing photography. That makes me not any different than the barrel racers themselves. Why?. You may ask, well what do barrel racers do, they practice practice practice. The above photo is a run towards the end of the night at a local jackpot. I feel I did a pretty decent job of accomplishing what we are looking for as a photographer. The subject is clear and defined, the motions factors are minimal, you dont notice the darkness so much as what the arena was actually like. Key points a photographer is looking forward to when learning how to get quality shots with decent results. Now you heard what I am looking for, but wait until you hear and see the next photo and what was said about that photo.
Link to Barrel Racing Portfolio
Alright that brings my story to this photo above. I will first say from a photographer's stand point this photo is trash and not really a photo to be shared. Well in my early days I didn't have a lot of shame in posting any and all photos, even ones I didn't feel hit the mark I was looking for. Now back to this photo, I shot this and posted this photo like I do with most of my work. It wasn't more than a day later I get this message from this gal saying oh I love this photo. I am very confused because what I saw was blur blur and more blur, most photographers unless they were trying to produce this type of image would trash it. This sparked my interest in to why does she like it. The photographer sees, nothing in focus other than the horse head and the contestant head, if I cropped into this photo and full photo of those two items in the photo would be marginal at best for a keeper. So this prompted me to respond back to this gal and ask "Why do you like this photo?", I received a return message with a comment similar to this "this is the best photo I have had of me in over 20 years". Okay now I am really confused. So I responded once again saying no I really need to understand why you like this photo. She Responded with three reasons. first reason "This photo makes me look like I am going super ass fast", which she actually was going super ass fast at least to me. Second, I have been in rodeo for over 20 years, I have many photos on my walls of me racing and as I walk down the halls of my home in all those photos the crowd watches me walk down the hall and in this photo there are no faces with eyes to watch me walk down the hall. Third and final reason, Its just a cool shot! it was this shot that enlightened me the most in my photography career. As a human being, I am not unlike most other people and trying to decide what everyone else likes or wants to see. Blinders I call them now, using a preconceived idea from my brain saying no one will like this or that. Truth be told we have no clue what someone else will or wont like until they see it. As a photographer in the start of my career I posted my shots hoping to get feedback either through likes or comments just so I could slowly refine what it was people are looking for in an event or a photo. I have learned a lot. I will close this blog with another photo and hope that you keep enjoying my work as I enjoy making others happy to see their photos. Thanks again for reading my blog. Feel free to join my rss so you can see future blog posts I am working on.
Link to Barrel Racing Portfolio Thanks for checking it out