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National Western Rodeo, Denver, Large Dump
Lens: 77mm FA Limited Camera: Pentax K-1 Photo Location: Denver ISO: 1250 Shutter Speed: 1/1250s Aperture: F2.5 
Posted By: K David, 01-27-2019, 04:51 PM

I won't drop all 55 photos that I really liked here, just a few. If you want to see the whole album, here you go: National Western Rodeo 2019 - David Hancock

Friday I got to take in the National Western rodeo in Denver. I haven't been to a rodeo in 25 years, so this was a blast. I don't know that all the cows and horses had quite as much fun, however. We lucked into some good seats, on the first, first row, separated from the arena by only a couple metal bars. We got hit by dirt almost every time a horse ran past, some of which were inches from us.


Bareback bucking bronco rider, probably very ready to be on a different horse. He had a pretty harsh ride.


The next rider in the same event. His face says it all. FYI, these three bareback photos were taken with the Pentax D-FA* 50mm f/1.4, not the 77mm.


Australian horse freetrainer. He had four horses in the ring all doing tricks and things that he directed them to do, none with any kind of bridle or reins. I enjoyed the performance a lot. Really talented guy.


Another bareback bucking bronco rider. That looks like a hard way to make a buck.


Bull riding. That'll be a hard no from me, thank you. Those guys were amazing, to say the least.


The calf roping was pretty hard to watch, but must have taken a lot of practice to master. There were a lot of misses in the roping events. This was not one of them.


Right now, this is my favorite photo of the day.


One last photo, this guy had the gig, but he spent a good deal of time climbing the railing in front of us to get away from horses. This job would be another hard no from me.

For technique, I shot everything in full manual. 1205 ISO, f/2.2 to 2.5 (except the 50mm, which I shot wide), and at 1/1,000 to 1/2,50 for the shutter. That underexposed about 1.4 to 2 stops, depending on the lighting for each specific event. In post I batch edited the image and raised the exposure to the correct levels. No noise reduction, only some sharpening in raw and a minor touch after with an unsharp mask. Other editing included some cropping for horizon lines and stitching two photos from an immediate sequence together a couple times. So mostly the editing was minimal.
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01-27-2019, 07:46 PM   #2
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I've seen a few rodeo series, but these are excellent photos...the expressions of the competitors...your ability to focus fast on rider's faces...during what is fast moving action ...in not an optimum lit arena. I enjoyed your shots.

Excellent job freezing the action, catching excellent action. Well done !

Were you happy with your K-1 and 77mm lens ?

As someone viewing your pix, my view is that it seemed to work well and be a good combination for the event.
01-28-2019, 12:40 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Nice series. Third one stands out. Great work
01-28-2019, 10:26 PM   #4
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Excellent series of photos! I really like the Team Roping photo...the capture of the "healer" horse and rider in perfect sync as he releases the rope. My brother and dad were team ropers and they would have been thrilled to have someone capture them like you have here.

01-29-2019, 11:21 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
Were you happy with your K-1 and 77mm lens ?

As someone viewing your pix, my view is that it seemed to work well and be a good combination for the event.
Generally, yes, very much. Were I to do this again from the same seats, I would have liked to have had the 70-200mm f/2.8 (I don't own that lens) instead and just underexposed slightly more. I had to crop the full and bronco photos a LOT more than I wanted to. There's no single focal length that would have been perfect for the whole show. The 77mm was ideal when the action was within about 40 feet. A fast 150mm would have been great for action from there to about 120 feet.

The K-1 performed well beyond what I expected, especially in regards to the AF. The AF performance was spectacular. The only issue I had was that the K-1 overran the buffer at one point and locked up. I had to take the battery out to get it working again. That happens once in a long while with the K-1 when it overruns he buffer.

The frame rate was a little slow for some action, such as the bull riding. I would often have a series where in one shot the guy was on the bull and the next show he was on the ground. Getting mid-air shots on the bulls and broncos was hard and uncommon.

QuoteOriginally posted by ToddK Quote
I really like the Team Roping photo
Thank you. That was mt favorite shot of the day, too.
01-29-2019, 02:01 PM   #6
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Great stuff, I really enjoyed these! I was surprised though by what looked to be a relatively low turnout.
01-30-2019, 12:17 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeoJerry Quote
looked to be a relatively low turnout.
This was the daytime event, Friday at 1:30 PM. So most of the attendees were already there. I suspect that the final rodeo of the stock show (which is about three weeks long and has multiple rodeo events) was packed.
01-30-2019, 04:03 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Nice shots!
Agree that the team roping heeler is the best. Caught at the right moment from a great perspective. As a former rodeo cowboy I would’ve paid for a copy of that.
Rough stock (broncs and bulls) is hard to shoot without being in the arena. The perfect point of action and perspective (the one where he rider is begging to buy the pitcture) is tough to catch.


Last edited by simple1; 02-02-2019 at 07:18 AM.
01-30-2019, 05:41 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Great action shots!
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