Why Execution (Not Ideas) Will Bring You Success

photo by: Dorie Griggs

You know that God has called you to do photography. You even have a great idea of how to use photography in a way that others have not thought about doing. It is a great idea.

Does this sound like you? Big, powerful ideas are everywhere and the vast majority will go nowhere. So keeping your big idea in stealth mode will likely make no difference to your ultimate success.

I realized long ago that people were lining up to talk to my mentor Don Rutledge on how to become a full-time missions photographer. I actually believe there are even more today wanting to use their photography as a way to serve on the mission field.

There are even more who want to use their photography for social justice issues and work with NGOs.

I have been teaching photographers for years on how to make this all happen. I wrote one blog post “How to become a humanitarian or missions photographer” that continues to be read by those searching for how to make it happen.

Here are a couple of the comments worth sharing:

While I have outlined the things that you must overcome to become a photographer there still seems to be what I call the “Frozen Chosen” audience.

While there are a few meanings to “Frozen Chosen” it refers to Christians who sit still in worship. They are lifeless. I am using it here to refer to those Christians who love listening to inspiring messages, but never implement those messages into their lives.

Why people fail to act

I have a few possibilities on why it is so difficult for people to act.

Analysis paralysis. Many people let questions and doubts paralyze them. They believe they can’t start on a goal until they have all the answers to every “what if” scenario. However, no matter how long and hard you prepare, you will never have all the answers to the questions you ask.

Misunderstanding of Goal Setting. To many people think that setting goals and objectives is writing a list on a piece of paper. Goals are about making real changes in your life. Goals are not about a one time moment, but rather something that changes you over time.

No Destination. I remember learning how to shoot a basketball. My teachers all said the same thing. Not only must you look at the goal you must picture the ball going through the net before you shot. Your destination needs to be clear – something you can visualize and describe to others. Without such a clear view of what you want in life, you’ll be forever changing course and falling short of your potential.

Distracted by too many goals. You only have so much time and resources, so you need to limit your efforts to that which will be the biggest Return On your Investment. You need to be focused. Yes you can have more than one goal, but do your best to put your effort on one at a time. Once you accomplish it move on to the next one.

Don’t seek help. Too many people do not understand that those things that we desire most usually will require things we do not have to attain them. We need mentors, coaches and teachers to help us on our journey. Just like we often go to a bank to get a loan to buy things like a car or house, we go to people to get their help to achieve our goals.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZzZERmk05o]
Boils down to Execution

I love this clip from Indian Jones where he must take that “Leaf of Faith” to achieve his goal.

Are you expecting the next steps to have no risk? Maybe that is your problem.

You see there are usually two things that keep us from achieving our goals: 1) Time & 2) Money.

If you had the time and the money to make your dream a reality then there is no need for a “Leap of Faith.” It is a no brainer.

I believe that the reason God calls those without the resources to make it happen is he needs you to take that “Leap of Faith.”

Why would God call you to do something and not give you the Time and Money to execute it? Because then you could take all the glory.

Without God I know I wouldn’t be doing this as a career. I know because I cannot explain any of my success as to my abilities. I was born with autism. I have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Autism – a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.

I cannot believe that God called me, a person with communications deficiency to being a professional communicator. I can attest that it has been a very difficult journey, but I can also say God made it happen.

Will you take that “Leap of Faith” today?

Cheap and powerful off camera flashes

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel, Neewer T850,

I had a lot of fun capturing the brand new Chick-fil-A food truck that is being tested in Athens, Georgia. It was parked in the restaurant parking lot to show to their customers and hoping they will book the truck for an event.

This shot was taken at sunset with the sunsetting behind the truck. To show the truck I put one flash on the side laying on top of some bushes to light up the side of the truck.

My assistant was pointing the second flash on the front of the truck just off to the camera’s left.

I love using the Neewer T850 with the radio remote. I can control the power output from the radio remote. I just set each flash to a different channel and then I can vary the power from the camera. No need to walk over to the flash to make a change.

Now I have the more expensive Nikon SB-900 but have found it difficult to use in manual mode and change the power from the camera of several flashes. Also shooting in TTL if you just barely move the camera it can change the flash and how it puts out light. Having the lights set to a power gives you more consistent exposures than TTL.

SWPJC – Don’t wait till Next Year!

Dave Black former speaker at SWPJC

SWPJC March 10 – 12 and Student Workshop 9 – 10

“Next Year” is the common thing I always here from people when I ask them if they are going to Southwestern Photojournalism Conference this year.

This is the 25th annual meeting of the conference. The conference has changed through the years to reflect the industry as best we can.

In 2007 and 2008 the economy was hard hit and our numbers were suffering because everyone’s personal budgets were hurting.

We added a Student Workshop to the front end of the conference for students to get some one-on-one time with our speakers. This has proven to be very helpful for students to get their work reviewed and talk to the industry leaders.

The industry has been hit hard. Last year Canon and Nikon Sales were down close to 50%. All this doom and gloom doesn’t mean there is no longer a need for photographers.

At the same time the industry is changing the amount of pictures taken last year was up. That adds up to more than 14 trillion photos annually (14,600,000,000,000). Much more conservatively, if only one billion people have cameras or phones, and take less than 3 photos per day/1,000 pictures per year, that’s still 1 trillion photos captured every year.

The need for those who know more than just how to push the button are in great demand. People know that with all these photos being created every moment for their “Brand” to be seen it must break through with images that “Capture the Audience.”

This year’s keynote speaker Garrett Hubbard [left] at a previous SWPJC.

I know I go to the conference to meet people that I can hire through the year as projects pop up for my clients. Last year I hired many photographers for projects and continue to look for more photographers. This is where I go to find not just great shooters, but those who see this as a calling.

Esther Havens past speaker

Don’t wait for next year anymore. Commit to meeting with other photographers who see this as a calling. Come to Fort Worth this year and connect. Listen to some of the best in the industry tell you where they see things going for the professional photographer.

Go to the website to learn more SWPJC.org Then go and book your transportation and hotel. I hope to see you there.

Gary Fong with the Chick-fil-A Cow.

Don’t put off to Next Year when there might not be a Next Year conference. Signup and come while we are still doing SWPJC.

Monday morning devotion–Photographer’s Humility

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 3600, ƒ/5.6, 1/100


During my time teaching the students of the School of Photography at the University of the Nations campus in Kona, Hawaii I had them tell me WHY they made a photograph.

Asking this question made them quickly realize that the reason they were making a portrait for example was to capture a person’s personality and communicate it best that they could.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/200

Portrait photography is a great example to me, when done right, of how we as Christians should be living our lives.

Philippins 2:1-11

Imitating Christ’s Humility

2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,

    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

7 rather, he made himself nothing

    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,

    being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man,

    he humbled himself

    by becoming obedient to death—

        even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.

In portrait photography you do everything you can to get to know the person. After getting to know the person you work out a way using posing, lighting, composition and through dialogue with the person pull out of them that brief moment that captures them in such a way that their closest friends feel like you captured the best of their friend.

You, the photographer, must diminish for the subject to be celebrated. When well done people see the person and not all the photography stuff that it took to make the photo.

C.S. Lewis writes, in Mere Christianity, that pride is the “anti-God” state, the position in which the ego and the self are directly opposed to God: “Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” In contrast, Lewis states that, in Christian moral teaching, the opposite of pride is humility and, in his famous phrase, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” 

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/200

When you do a great job as a portrait photographer people seek you out not because of your photographic skill. They seek you out because of how good your subjects looked.

“True humility” is distinctly different from “false humility” which consists of deprecating one’s own sanctity, gifts, talents, and accomplishments for the sake of receiving praise from others. In this context legitimate humility comprises the following behaviors and attitudes:

  • Submitting to God and legitimate authority
  • Recognizing virtues and talents that others possess, particularly those that surpass one’s own, and giving due honor and, when required, obedience
  • Recognizing the limits of one’s talents, ability, or authority; and, not reaching for what is beyond one’s grasp
Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/1000
Moments like this of this little child in Togo remind me that there is something greater than me that allows for these moments to happen. I did not speak her language and did not get to know her as I normally would do for a portrait, however I believe God was working with us to allow for this to happen.
I have to acknowledge that most all my portraits happen for reason I cannot always explain. While I did everything technically to get the photo, it is the expression and moment itself that is always beyond my control. I believe that this is where God takes control.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. – 1 Peter 5:6

Humility isn’t about being a doormat; it’s about being a doorway–a doorway through which others enter into the presence and power of God. By focusing on building others up and help­ing others connect with God, we show them the love of God, who desires the best for them.

The #1 Key to Great Photos

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1100, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

There are many things that go into making of a photograph. However, only one will truly be the key to a great photograph.

Exposure Triangle

The exposure triangle is a common way of associating the three variables that determine the exposure of a photograph: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. One must balance all three of these to achieve a desired result, an adjustment of one requiring adjustments of at least one of the others.

If you do execute this just perfectly you still can have a photo that lacks any sort of connection with the audience.

Principles of Composition

In photography composition is the arrangement of parts of a scene to form a particular visual outcome. Composition can also be about picking a viewpoint to form a pleasing visual outcome. In practical terms, the photographer tends to use both “arrangement” and “choice of viewpoint”. 

In general composition aims to direct the viewer to see the point of the photograph. The “point” may simply be an aesthetically pleasing scene, or something containing a more complex story. Even a visually disturbing or discordant outcome is the result of efforts in composition. 

The finer points of a particular composition rely on a range of “photographic elements” and the “principles of photographic art” for using them.

Now when you execute the rules of composition and Exposure Triangle together your photos will look even better, but still will fall short of connection with the audience without one more thing.


The greatest proponent of previsualization was Ansel Adams and it was he who perhaps summed it up best with a single sentence, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” Great photographs require you to work out everything that goes into making that photograph before you actually take it. So how do we mere mortals go about previsualizing our shots?

The very first book Ansel Adams wrote started in chapter one explaining this concept to people.

While my work cannot stand up to Ansel’s I still believe that there is a better way to describe this process of previsualization by asking a simple question.

WHY take the photo?

I believe for example that Ansel Adams made the assumption no one could look at Half Dome and not be moved. Half Dome is a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, California.

When you ask yourself, “Why am I taking this photo” you will get to the core of the element that will help you connect with your audience. This is the #1 Key to Great Photograph.

I love the two words “so that” in the Bible.

“So that” is used as a subordinate clause to show purpose or to give an explanation. It is used to show an action producing an intended result or a cause producing an effect. In the format Sentence 1 “so that” Sentence 2, the first sentence is the action/cause and the second is the intended result/effect. In the format “So that” Sentence 1, Sentence 2, the first subject-verb clause is the intended result/effect and the second is the action/cause.

I push my shutter on the camera, so that, to inform, imagine, influence, meet social expectations and express feelings.

Nikon D5, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 5600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

Show & Tell

I believe that photos alone cannot tell a story. I believe at best they can just capture a slice or a moment. People need the words to help understand what is going on in the photograph.

We learned this concept in Kindergarten when we had “Show & Tell” day at school. The objects your classmates brought into school needed them to tell us why they brought them to school. Without their words we didn’t understand.

Now the best part to me of “Show & Tell” was that the visuals really gave us a great deal of information that the words alone couldn’t do as well and succinctly do as the visual.

Here is the formula I think works well for photos that communicate:

Ask Why
Take Photo
Add Words

Ask yourself why am I wanting to make this photograph. For example how is the situation affecting me and what do I want the audience to understand that I am experiencing.

Once you know the answer to WHY then you must use all your photographic skills to know how to best capture this moment. This “previsualization” is understanding how the best shutter-speed, aperture, ISO, composition and lighting all controlled by me can be used to capture what I am wanting to communicate.

I then execute the previsualization and make the photo.

Last we know that the photo by itself will make the audience ask a question. What is going on here? They will need more information to be sure the message is not left up to interpretation. You will then need to marry the photograph with words to complete the communication process.


I think this is a compelling photo, but I want to know more. Now compare this same photo to one using it with words:

Together with the words the picture completes the communication process.

Now I am not saying put words on photos always. Captions under photos work just as well.

Use the caption to tell the reader something new. When a reader looks at the photo they’re usually confronted with some form of emotion and some information (based on what they see in the photo). The caption, in turn, should provide the reader with a piece of information they were unaware of from simply looking at the photo. In short, the caption should teach the reader something about the photo.

Now go forth and make photos!

Shooting Gilley’s of Dallas Texas with the Nikon D5

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 14400, ƒ/8, 1/100

Last night I took in Gilley’s of Dallas with a large group. What I was really pleased with at the end of the night was my ability to shoot everything without a flash.

The reason is the Nikon D5 just has such a wide range of ISO. ISO 100–104200 and can be pushed to 3 million ISO as well.

Nikon D5, NIKKOR 14-24mm ƒ/2.8G, ISO 4500, ƒ/3.2, 1/250

Since there was a lot of line dancing I wanted to crank the shutter speed to a minimum of 1/250. The people in front were being lighted by the stage lighting and then the rest of the place was extremely dark in comparison. However the dynamic range of the Nikon D5 did a great job. I was able to pull out all the shadows in Adobe Lightroom from the RAW images.

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 65535, ƒ/2.8, 1/640

Now when the people jumped up on the mechanical bull I needed to capture this without everyone being blurred. No problem. I set the camera to my Sports Settings.

These are the settings that I use on my Nikon D5 for shooting most all sport action. Nikon has made it really nice to allow photographers to save these settings so they do not have to remember each and every little setting they like to use for a style of shooting.

If you go to Menu and under the camera icon pick the first item “Shooting menu bank.” I have chosen B, which is my sports menu.

If you toggle into the “Shooting menu bank” you can rename those settings. Once you choose one of these settings everything you do to change the menu will be saved in that menu bank. I recommend to go ahead and try all my settings and then tweak them to your preferences.

When shooting sports it is very common for the lighting conditions to change instantly. While the football player runs toward you they may go from shade into direct sunlight. For this reason I let the camera do some of the thinking for me.

Go to the camera icon again and look for “ISO sensitivity settings.” Select this and you will then see this menu:

I turn on the “Auto ISO sensitivity control.” Then I set the minimum shutter speed to 1/4000. You could pick something else. I used to shoot at 1/2000. The ISO setting is what you see in the smaller window below the menu. I set this to ISO 100 and then set the “Maximum sensitivity” to ISO 102400.

While I am in Aperture Mode shooting the camera will always pick 1/4000 shutter-speed. If in sunlight I am at ƒ/4 the shutter-speed may go as high at 1/8000 at ISO 100, but as the scene changes and the athlete is now in the shade the camera will automatically drop to 1/4000 @ ƒ/4 and then change also the ISO up until I can still shoot at 1/4000.

The only time the shutter speed will dip below the 1/4000 is if the ISO peaks out at 102400.  If my aperture is wide open then the camera is doing everything that I would have done manually, but faster than I could ever adjust the camera. That is how you get more shots than the guy next to you.

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 4500, ƒ/1.4, 1/100
Here I am letting the BOKEH create the mood for the night club. Shooting at ƒ/1.4 let that background go to a silky smooth out of focus while directing your attention to the man in the foreground.

I really love the Nikon D5 because it lets me capture anything I can see with my naked eye.

Shooting 3:1 Lighting Ratio by the students I taught in Kona Hawaii

© Fred Tesone 2017

These are the photos by the students in School of Photography 1 at the Kona, Hawaii Campus.

The students shot the 3:1 Lighting ratio and then after doing the assignment I saw they needed to push for more variety. So the next assignment was to turn in 10 different poses of a person all doing 3:1 Lighting Ratio.


Using a flash to spice up the environmental portrait

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 125, ƒ/14, 1/250

The last assignment I gave the class was to do an environmental photo where their flash will improve the situation. Here is the example we did as a class. I took them here and we ended up with this photo of the school leader Dennis Fahringer.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/160

I took this photo first as a reference for the before and after. I also made this second photo to show how you would correct this without a flash.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 400, ƒ/9, 1/100

Now throughout the time we were doing this photo I was explaining to the class the WHY.

Now here is the how on the above photo with a diagram for you.

Dennis Fahringer says, “My wife, Jo, and I have served in Youth With a Mission since 1977.”

Throughout all this time Dennis has been teaching photography to students to equip them to use photography in missions or the secular. For this photo I wanted to show that his students go out into the world with Youth With A Mission to serve.

I felt like the flags of the world behind him capture the missions to the world and the camera helps to show that he is involved in photography.

This week every assignment the students are having to tell me why they took a photo. They must create a caption for every photo even if it is in the studio.

Ideal lighting for PR Headshots

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/200, 4–Alienbees B1600, Pocketwizards to trigger flashes

I am teaching lighting class in Kona, Hawaii with the Youth With A Mission School of Photography class.

This is one of the lighting exercises I do each year. This is teaching the 3:1 Lighting Ratio. I started by showing the class the final photo and then walked them back through how to get this lighting. This is all done with a White Background. See below for the same example but a Black Background.

Here is the setup that I used from above. Now here you can see one of the students later with the setup we were using.

While we have all the lights in generally the places they will be at the end, I turn them all off except the main light. The main light is 45º to the left of the subject and right of the camera as well as closest to the subject. Then I took a light reading and also set the white balance. The aperture was set to ƒ/5.6. Then I took this photo.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/200

Then we turned this light off and turned the fill light on. This is the one closest to the camera. Ideally it would be right behind the camera, but I put it a little off to the side so while operating the camera I am not blocking the light.

I set the light to be one stop less than the main light. The light is set to give me ƒ/4, but I kept the camera set to ƒ/5.6 which meant the photo will be under exposed by one stop.

Here is this photo with the same settings as the main light.

Next we turned both of those lights on and double checked the exposure with a light meter which still was ƒ/5.6. It might have been a 1/10th of a stop brighter, but we kept the camera set to ƒ/5.6.

Here is the combined light photo.

Lastly I turned two more lights on that are just hitting the background and trying to get an even light across it. I made this light just one stop brighter than the main light of ƒ/5.6, so this light was set to ƒ/8.  Here is this photo.

Hope you enjoyed this step-by-step tutorial on how to shoot a 3:1 Lighting Ratio portrait.

This is basically the same exercise using a black background. Now just one thing you need to understand is that the 3:1 lighting ratio allows this photo to be used in so many places. The one thing is where it looks the best in a Newspaper as compared to other lighting which can make those shadows lose all detail and go pitch black. This allows for you to see some modeling of the light to highlight the cheek bones and contours of the face without over doing it and creating a photo with too much contrast.

Nikon D4, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/200

Here is the setup

Assignment Description:
3:1 lighting ratio.  This photo is classic lighting.


Octobox closest to subject
This light is your main light. Get a light reading with just this first. The light should be 45 degrees off the axis of the camera and 45 degrees above the subjects eyes.

Your subject should have the main light lighting only part of the face and the shadows should be just a little to show the 3:1 ratio.

Choose the lowest ISO.  Ideally on full-frame camera a lens close to 85mm and on cropped sensor a 50mm. Set your shutter speed to the sync speed for your camera [in your camera manual] or slower. My camera was 1/250 but I shot at a slower speed of 1/200.

Octobox behind the camera
This is your fill light and get just a reading of this 2nd.  Be sure it is 1/2 the power (1 f/stop less) than the main light. After this is done get a 3rd light reading of both lights which will be the setting for the camera. It can be level with the eyes, but you may have to move up with glasses to avoid glare.

First set the main light and here is what that will look like:

Due to using such a large soft box the shadows are not as severe as in our first assignment using the grid light. Some of the light is bouncing off a white wall a few feet to the left of the model or right of the camera position.

Turning the main light off after finding out your setting you need to take a reading and get the fill light to 1 stop less than the main light. The main light was ƒ/4 so the fill light should read ƒ/2.8.

This is what it looks like without the main light on. You can see a little darker but no real shaping of the face as the main light which is 45º to the side.

When you combine them you get the first photo of the model we started with.

The main light is twice as bright as the fill light. So to show this using math we would say the main light has value of 2 and the fill light has the value of 1.

Where both the main and fill light fall on the face is getting the combined value of the 2 + 1 = 3. However in the shadows only the fill light is hitting those and therefore the value is only 1.

So the bright areas get 3 and the shadows 1 giving you a 3:1 lighting ratio.

Now I showed the students how they can add a background light. I put a blue gel over it to show them they can also color the background.

Hawaii High School State Rodeo at The Parker Ranch

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 560, ƒ/4.5, 1/4000

Today I had a lot of fun shooting the Hawaii High School Rodeo at Parker Ranch Arena in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The reason it was fun is I brought the camera and lens that let me get the action shots I wanted. I didn’t bring my long glass, but rather what I call my go to lens for capturing just about anything. That lens is the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR. In this first photo I shot it at the focal length of 58mm. I wanted to capture the girl doing barrel racing, but also capture the Parker Ranch sign.

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 500, ƒ/4.8, 1/4000

I was introduced to Cowboy art by Don Rutledge. We went to the Cowboy museum in Oklahoma City where I saw for the first time the work of Remington and Russell. They not only painted, but did sculptures.

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1250, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

What Don taught me with the help of Remington and Russell’s work was that the expression makes the photo. The expression of the animals and the people in the frame of the picture.

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1250, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

What I love about Rodeos is that the cowgirls and cowboys must work as a team with an animal. The more they know about their animal and how it likes to get clues from the people on what to do the better the show.

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 800, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

I setup the Nikon D5 the same way I do for all sports shoots. Here is the blog post that goes into a lot of detail for all the settings.

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

Now to me the crazy sport is bull riding. These bulls weigh as much as a car and can crush you just as quickly as a car. That is why the sport is just about 8 seconds long. If you can just ride for 8 seconds you are in the competition.

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1400, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

Most of the time I see the bull riders being kicked off the bull in less than 8 seconds.

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 2200, ƒ/8, 1/4000

The cowgirls have an event where they are to lasso the cow. Two of the cowgirls did so in less than 4 seconds. WOW! I was really impressed at these high school girls being so good.

Nikon D5, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1800, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

The cowboys have a similar event where they lasso the cow and then with a teammate they wrestle the cow to the ground and tie their feet. This is a skill they use in the fields to capture the cows to give the shots, brand them and other things to take care of their herd.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/3.5, 1/1600

It was just fun to see the high school kids having so much fun and learning a skill in the process of playing games.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/8000

Asking the cowgirls if I can take a picture of them with their horse was always greeted with a big smile. They were proud of their horses and the bond they had built with them.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/1250

I cannot recommend enough finding a rodeo near you and spending the time to capture the action with your camera.