One of the things I particularly love about publishing this blog is the fact that I can post pix that would never end up in the paper otherwise. The photo below is one such example.
While I find it bizarre and interesting at the same time, the fact that it kinda looks "suggestive" would defintely take it out of the running of any edit for the paper.
What is going on is actually very normal, in terms of rodeo stuff anyway. I found this fellow, Bucky Dickson, behind the chutes at the Long Beach Rodeo Sunday prior to his ride in the bareback bronc event. I found him immediately intriguing because of his choice of shirt. But as he continued to prepare he started simulating the way he would move while on his ride, I guess to get his body stretched out, which made for some interesting pix. I ended up going with the pic below, which I also like, as part of the package in the paper.
A couple weeks ago I talked with an aquaintance and great shooter Andy Bronson from the Bellingham Herald and he was talking about how when he worked at the paper in Roseburg that he would actually shoot from inside the rodeo yard — you know, where the wild animals are. I actually gave it a thought upon arriving, but decided instead to stay on the back side of the fences, where I felt I had a better chance to catch the cowboys and girls in situations that weren't just them riding.
One of the few real "action shots" I got was from the steer wrestling competition. That's Charlie Barker trying to bring down his cow. It took him seven seconds, which was good enough for sixth place. I shot this with my tele-zoom from along the fence and it's cropped a fair amount to bring it closer. I usually carry my long glass to events like this, but didn't want to be weighed down too much, so left it in the car.
On the other side of the arena I hung out for awhile where the barrel racers and team ropers were gathering and preparing for their events.
The rest of the afternoon I stayed along the chutes as the bull riding events took place. I have to say that I have come a long way in terms of nerve when it comes to hanging out up there and holding my own as the masses move from one chute to another. I used to be kinda afraid that I had to stay out of everyone's way, but it resulted in bad, if any, pix at all. This time I just acted like I was supposed to be there and I was a little happier — though not thrilled — with what I got.
And while I know it comes with the territory, it was pretty gnarly to see bull rider Justin Bain have his head stepped on after falling off his bull. I actually watched it happen rather than shooting it, because it was out of range as I was shooting with a wide lens as they left the chutes. And while he appeared fine at first, when he almost keeled over a minute or so later, cowboys quickly came to his aid while EMT'S were called.
I found it interesting that a woman from the announcers booth above this chute yelled down to the judge in front of me and told him to make me stop taking pictures. He was nice enough about it, but I found it strange that this would even be an issue. I mean, do they think that by seeing this people might get the idea that bull riding is dangerous?
Here's what I did with the pix in our paper this week on B1.