Photography 101: Moment

Rodeo cowboy caught underneath hooves of bucking bull.

Nikon D90, 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 170mm, 1/80 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 640

Jackson, Wyoming and summer rodeos go hand-in-hand. But trying to capture action at night with a fairly slow 200mm zoom lens without a tripod was definitely a challenge. “Why no tripod?” you ask. Simple answer: I didn’t yet own one. So I cranked up the ISO, found a railing for support, and did my best.

And then this scene unfolded, quickly. I picked up my camera, zoomed in, held steady as best I could, and fired a burst of shots. And managed to catch this moment. I had never attended a rodeo before, so I have no idea how frequently something like this happens. I hope the answer is “infrequently.”

But there’s an incredibly happy ending to this story. Yes, the cowboy was taken off the grounds via ambulance. Yes, it was a moving sight to see the rodeo workers and fellow cowboys, hats removed, form a pathway to block him from view as he was moved. But it was a downright miracle to hear 45 minutes later that he had not sustained any injuries.

Crazy business, rodeos.

Photography 101 Assignment: Capture a fleeting moment and experiment with blur and movement.

16 thoughts on “Photography 101: Moment

  1. Great action shot. In this situation a monopod would work better than a tripod – more freedom to rotate the camera, but maintaining stability. Some tripods come with a detachable leg to act as a monopod.


    • There were so many fun events, including the sheep chase: all the kids in the stands come into the ring and chase a herd of sheep with the goal of getting the red ribbon attached to one of them. Hysterical (though the sheep probably didn’t enjoy it as much)!


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