After being assigned to shoot the local area Rodeo for the past few years I have become to some a fixture. “This guy with the camera is okay”, they seem to think as I pass by or pick out my spot on the rail. It can be a tough clic to get into. Photographers can get a bad rap by getting in the way or lurking around where they are not welcome. Even well established pros can be kept at arms length by publishing unflattering photos of cowboys face down on the arena floor or cowgirls in anything but most attractive poses. That’s not to say that I don’t have those shots because I sure do, lots of them. I just don’t publish them. At least I don’t where any Rodeo people would see them. My business card is floating around the Canadian circuit and if I’m going to continue to get requests for prints I will tow the line.
This year the weather didn’t cooperate very much for the three day event. It was dark and cloudy for most of the events and this made sharp clear photos pretty tough. But I did complete my assignment and came up with the photos expected of me. Before and between the events my camera is always on patrol for good images in the crowd and behind the scenes. This year I wasn’t disappointed. My favorite photo came from far away from the arena. A little girl playing on the back of a big truck used to pull a very large horse trailer was by far my best opportunity for a great photo. Lucky me she was willing and her dear mother was just as happy to have her photographed. After I e-mailed her mother copies. As it often happens children make some of the best subjects.
Street photography is an aspect of my professional development that continues to be a work in progress. Snapping candid photos of unsuspecting people on the street is the easy part, capturing a truly interesting and quality photo is where my challenge lingers. Once in a while It just pops up in the view finder like some from the water park series last summer. The Rodeo I shoot every year always provides dozens of good opportunities for good “street photos”.
Knowing that, I look for them between action shots of the cowboys and livestock. It can be easy to find good street photo opps at outdoor gatherings like Rodeos, farmers markets and street fairs. People are generally up beat and in good humor. That alone can be all you need to get your shot. Most dress for the event too, unlike the same people just walking to the car after a trip to the store or walking to work. I suppose what I’m learning is just some age old photographic basics; you just have to be patient . The good photo your after needs your effort in time and planning. Very few subjects just walk up to you and smile.
During a road trip to Spokane Washington a couple weekends ago, my buddy and I stopped by the park near downtown. As I was walking around the park with my camera I couldn’t help but hear the joyful screams of dozens of young children. When I rounded the corner of the on site snack bar I found what was creating all the fun.
I attended the air show photo contest and in the end I think it was a great weekend. I was a little out of my element meaning that I rarely shoot on such tight deadlines and with strict guild lines. I altered my approach early on figuring that they were looking for photos that would translate to marketing photos like pics for a poster or brochure and not straight art photos. When your standing with a group of twenty or more photogs aiming at the same subject you soon feel the need to separate your style from the others. Over all I was happy my final submissions. Three photos in each category, in flight, static (on ground), and people at event. With one overall for a total of ten. Since the event I have had some nice feed back on my choices. Here are the ten I submitted. The winners will be picked early on in September.
Last fall I enjoyed a week in Cancun to attend and photograph my son’s wedding. I didn’t wonder far from the resort simply because I don’t have to. There was plenty to do and lots to see fifty meters from my room. What a great location for any photographer. Great photo opps while sitting on the beach lounge chair. My biggest worry was keeping the towel covering my open camera backpack. On the field trip day to the Mayan ruins I was busy editing wedding pics from the same lounger. I came home with hundreds of great photos from candid children to sunsets and sunrises. Needless to say I also brought home over a thousand photos from the wedding. Over all I would have to say some of my favorite photos are the candid kid shots. Kids will always be the best subject for street photogs like me.