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.
It was fun because 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.
I was introduced to Cowboy art by Don Rutledge. We went to the Cowboy museum in Oklahoma City, where I saw the work of Remington and Russell for the first time. They not only painted but did sculptures.
With the help of Remington and Russell’s work, Don taught me that expression makes the photo. The expressions of the animals and the people in the picture frame.
What I love about Rodeos is that the cowgirls and cowboys must work as a team with animals. 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.
I set up the Nikon D5 as I do for all sports shoots. Here is the blog post that goes into a lot of detail about all the settings.
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 ride for 8 seconds, you compete.
Most of the time, I see the bull riders being kicked off the bull in less than 8 seconds.
The cowgirls have Girl’s Cutting, where they are to lasso the cow. Two of the cowgirls did so in less than 4 seconds. WOW! I was impressed at these high school girls being so good.
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 do other things to take care of their herd.
It was just fun to see the high school kids having so much fun and learning a skill while playing games.
I was always greeted with a big smile when asking the cowgirls if I could take a picture of them with their horses. They were proud of their horses and the bond they had built with them.
I cannot recommend enough finding a rodeo near you and spending the time to capture the action with your camera.