Sometimes you get lucky...

by Pino Pino May. 23, 2019 835 views

I recently wrote about the 'turn around' theory - sometimes we focus so hard on shot 'A' that we don't see shot 'B' right behind us...

This is one of those shots.

I've also written about how sometimes the least perfect shot is sometimes your favorite shot - because it captures the essence of the story rather than photographically technical perfection...

This is one of those shots.

I've also written about the photographic balancing act - shutter speed for movement and aperture for DoF...

This is one of those shots.

A shot that I come back to again and again...

A shot that I literally heard over my shoulder after I thought I was done shooting...

We were at the rodeo and the competition was over - or so I thought. As we all stood listening to the 'after the rodeo' band play I heard scuffling behind me. I turned and saw a few of the cowboys finishing up official rounds - with all the lights off but one so as not to distract from the concert. I quietly walked over, leaned over the fence (I'd not been allowed this close all day), pointed my 55-300 down the chute, and took the shot.

A shot that is rough and almost presents like an accidental double exposure in some ways...

At 1/100th of a second, and given that he came out leaning into the horse's burst out of the chute, the front brim of the cowboy's hat exposed twice and with pretty good definition.

A shot that required sacrificing so much to capture the fast moving action in very little available light with the absolute wrong lens for the task...

Since most of the day I was kept at distance for safety reasons as I was just a general audience member, I had a 55-300 4-5.8 mounted. This was at 10pm and the available light was from one pole mounted bulb nearly 20+ feet in the air. The rider stated in the dark chute, burst out passing briefly through the light, and then continued into the dark main arena to complete his task. Technically we were not supposed to be watching - especially at this close range where I was literally leaning out over the fence into the arena with my camera.
1/100th | f4 | 12,800 | 97.5mm (147mm equivalent)
Fast moving action...
Little available light - oddly positioned waaaaayyyy up in the air...
I'm leaning over a fence - so this is a hand held shot...
No time to do test shot - one opportunity to capture the story.

This is the shot.

Big Hat Rodeo 'after rounds' at Kendall County (Illinois) Fairgrounds.

Big Hat Rodeo 'after rounds' at Kendall County (Illinois) Fairgrounds.

The competitors apparently had to finish a few rounds for scoring after the crowd had moved to the after concert on the other side of the grounds. I heard a little shuffling between songs and turned around to see the quiet action taking place. The decreased attention meant they had removed the warning and security barriers so I was able to sneak in a little closer to the action for this shot.

Gritty, but just the right amount of grit to tell the story.

Blurry, but just the right amount of motion blur in just the right places to tell the story.

Not framed as I would have given better situation, but just the right framing to tell the story.

Of course, these three points about the image grit, blur, and composition are presented 'In My Humble Opinion'... as I may be personally biased in favor of this capture's ultimate result.

Truth be told... I got this shot because I got lucky.

I heard the scuffling.

I turned and looked.

Security had eased off.

I took a gamble on settings, leaned in, held my breath, and hit the shutter.

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There are 5 comments , add yours!
Bill Baird 1 year, 9 months ago

Great shot. This puts me back dreaming about going out to Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. I will make it someday.

1 year, 9 months ago Edited
Pete Fitzgetald 1 year, 9 months ago

what a cool shot lucky or not you have a great eye and fast fingers

1 year, 9 months ago Edited
Pino Pino Replied to Pete Fitzgetald 1 year, 9 months ago


1 year, 9 months ago Edited
Heike 1 year, 9 months ago

Often the 'lucky' shots are the best.  Love the movement in the photo, it makes the photo so 'alive'.

1 year, 9 months ago Edited
Pino Pino Replied to Heike 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank you!

1 year, 9 months ago Edited