Al Swanson  

Steer Wrestling by Al Swanson

June 2022 - Steer Wrestling

June 2022 - Al Swanson


About the Image(s)

I don’t think there’s any more action-packed sporting event to photograph than rodeo competition. I love rodeos because they pose such a challenge and I really need to improve my technique for photographing them. We spend the winters in Arizona and this was a rodeo that occurred in April. They do not construct rodeo arenas to favor photography “ “ harsh light from the sides, extremely busy backgrounds, flying dust and debris, and about anything else you can think of that would help destroy photographic opportunity. But this is my attempt to at least isolate one steer wrestler. I cropped down as much extraneous information as he could out of the image and concentrated on the cowboy and steer. Then I brightened the image considerably and adjusted the saturations and tones. I then ran it through studio to clarify the image and focusing on the Faces of the participants. This is what I came up with. I had the camera set for rapidfire so this is one of probably a dozen images of the single event. Unfortunately, this cowboy did not have much of an expression “ “ bronco riders and bull riders seem to be more frightened of their partners then do steer wrestlers.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
7 comments posted

Mike Patterson   Mike Patterson
Great capture! I hope you saw the newest PSA Journal. Big article on shooting rodeos. Also some good tips.   Posted: 06/04/2022 16:26:48
Al Swanson   Al Swanson
I did see that article and was very impressed with the images that accompanied it. I've loved rodeos for a long time and keep trying to improve photographing them. If you have an archive you might want to look at the PSA Journal for June 2019, page 22. I also had an article concerning rodeo photography that was more of a basic level.   Posted: 06/11/2022 13:31:51

Joseph J Zaia   Joseph J Zaia
Great color, composition, light, action and above all sharpness, considering how fast the action must have been. Well done!   Posted: 06/08/2022 08:20:41

Jerry Biddlecom   Jerry Biddlecom
Great action shot Al, and you did a very good job of rescuing the exposure considering that the subjects were back lit. I've shot lots of rodeos and fully agree about the difficulties in isolating the riders from the background, especially if that background is filled with rows of empty aluminum bleachers reflecting a strong sun. The bull riders, for example never seem to get very far from the chutes. I have noticed a kind of shape on the left central edge of the picture, next to the steer. Is this an artifact left over from cloning?   Posted: 06/13/2022 20:03:30

Marti Buckely   Marti Buckely
Good job with closing in on the subject. I feel it might be a little too lightened. Many of your images have had that "gritty" look. Perhaps a little of that would work here? Picky comments for a really nice job.   Posted: 06/13/2022 22:55:32

Peggy Reeder   Peggy Reeder
Really nice job Al. I've attempted rodeo shots, and I know they are very difficult for lots of reasons. I think you've over brightened a bit, and I'd try to increase the contrast too. But you have captured the essence of this event. Well done.
  Posted: 06/22/2022 19:26:41

Kaylyn Franks   Kaylyn Franks
I echo your comments about shooting rodeo's. They are tough, but I still jump at the opportunity to shoot a Ranch Rodeo!! You have done a great job of isolating the subjects and capturing the expression of both. I'd like to see it darkened a bit and add some grit. I'd also clone out the artifacts on the left.   Posted: 06/28/2022 07:51:04