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DISCLAIMER: I’m about to geek out, so if you’re not interested in the technical details of how I shot this event then just go ahead and scroll down to the pictures. You’ve been warned. lol Silver Spurs Arena is one of the few rodeo hosting venues that offer a catwalk. Shooting from atop this position isn’t perfect, because the platform that circles the entire arena is recessed about 20 ft into the stands. Once all the hard work of hauling my lighting gear up was done, my job became a lot of fun. It’s funny that all the hard work of setting up strobes was only good for producing one image. Everything else I walked away happy with was shot with natural light. The problem was I only had two bi-tude 1,200 watt power packs, and arena is larger than four basketball courts. I basically lit one particular area well, and let everything else go to hell. With strobe I got f/4 at ISO 400 and a recycling speed of about 1.5 seconds, and since I was using Pocket Wizard’s TT5 system, I was syncing at 1/1000 with no black bar and little light loss. Besides the overhead position, I was also excited about shooting from the dirt level across from where the bulls come out. However, shooting natural light from there yields busy backgrounds. I was hoping to position the strobes so that the exposure fell off four stops sharply outside the ring. This couldn’t be executed, because the catwalk, where the strobes had to be fasened was too far into the stands and the catwalks on the sides were too far away to side light where the bulls come out. After getting one image with lights that I was happy with, I shot the rest of the action using no strobe at 10 frames per second f/2.8, 1/1000, and ISO 5000. After a little noise ninja filtering, the images looked good. The biggest tradeoff was white balance consistency. With strobe I could get a pretty consistent white balance from one shot to the next, but once I switched to shooting natural light, my WB varied greatly and there was nothing I could do about it despite setting a custom white balance in camera and using an Expo Disk. Here, the problem was the fact that each frame my camera took captured a different point of the ambient light’s frequency cycle hence recording a different light hue and temperature.
“Clayton Wooten of Arcadia, Fla. rides Buck Fever during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Sheila Shirah, 17, the 2011 Miss Silver Spurs, rides around the arena during a prayer that kicked off the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Bull riders line up before being introduced to the crowd of the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Jonathan Richardson of Theodore, Ala. gets bumped by the bull he rode during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Richardson walked away without any apparent uninjuries. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“A bull waits for his turn to be set free from his pen during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Greg Hall of Carrier, Miss. rides a redo bull during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Michael Campbell of Livingston, Ala. prepares to ride Built Ford Tough during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 12, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Greg Hall of Carrier, Miss. rides Big Boy during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“A bull rider waits for his turn for an 8 second ride during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Zack Peterson of Conover, Ohio rides during the final round of the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Austin Gosnell of Mt. Airy, Md. rides Cream-O during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Taylor Mills of Okeechobee, Fla. rides Tar Baby during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Michael Campbell of Livingston, Ala. rides Built Ford Tough during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”
“Wayne Butler of Sebastian, Fla. rides Ugly during the Silver Spurs Monster Bull event held at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on February 11, 2012. Bull riders from across the country compete for a chance to win $2,000. REUTERS/Octavian Cantilli (UNITED STATES)”

  1. these are great! Nice position up top…I’d love to see your set up, ie: where are you shooting from?

  2. Thanks Patrick. I just posted some text that describes the technical stuff…

  3. is this a paper article? and how can i get the pic of me?and would like to see more if you have some!

    • Hi Zack,
      I’ll send you a link to a galley of a few shots I took of you. You can purchase prints directly from there. Thanks for your interest.

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