Sanpitch Cowboy Expo

Last weekend I went with a few friends out to Sanpete County, Utah to attend a free rodeo photography clinic that Rich Legg and Ann Torrence organized. There was a pretty good turnout and we had unlimited access to an arena with several cowgirls doing barrel racing, sliding stops, and tons of other events that are not always easy to photograph during a rodeo.

Both Rich and Ann posted a good wrap-up of the event on their blogs … check them out on the following links:




2009 Worldwide Photowalk Wrap-up Video by Jeremy Hall

Video and post by Jeremy Hall; reprinted with permission from

A large group of us enjoyed the Photowalking Utah participation in the 2009 Worldwide Photowalk. Thanks to Rich Legg and Nicole Young for heading up the two events. I was able to be a part of the morning edition in downtown Salt Lake City and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with friends, meeting new people, and even snapping a photo or two.

It had been some time since we did any video wrap up from a Photowalking Utah event, so I volunteered to take some video with my 5D Mark II and put together a short wrap-up. Though the 5D worked great, it reminds me why it is better suited for set shots, preferably on a tripod. Despite the shaky footage as I walked around, hopefully you’ll enjoy revisiting the fun event.

Before & After – Rodeo

Sanpete CountyThis “Before & After” is a simple cross-processed image with a little bit of Photoshop layer styles added to give it a white border. Above is the finished version … here’s the straight-out-of-camera RAW image:


I did some white-balance and tonal adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, and also added a cross-processed effect using the “Split Toning” panel. The adjustments are visible in the image below:


I then brought the photo into Photoshop and added a Black & White adjustment layer with the blend-mode set to “overlay” (I clipped it to the main image so it wouldn’t affect the layer style). The layer style is a stroke using a pattern (one of the white paper patterns), then I added a simple drop shadow to give it some depth.



FireworksNikon P5100 (hand-held), ISO 64, 4 seconds @ ƒ/7.6

I decided to go “low-key” this year for fireworks and not take any “serious” photos. This is the first time in over 10 years that I have attended a fireworks event and not lugged my SLR, tripod, and whatever else I need to get good fireworks photos. So what did I do? Well, let’s just say I didn’t follow any of my own advice from a recent blog post I wrote about photographing fireworks. I went old-school and used a hand-held point-and-shoot camera, and even used one of the fancy preset “fireworks scene” modes.

I’m sure that I would have taken some nicer photos with my SLR & tripod (note the mini-squigglies in the trails), but this year I just wanted to sit back and enjoy the show … or just sit around and be a goof-ball most of the night (as Rich Legg managed to do quite well as seen in this photo). ;)

Rodeo – Part I

RodeoNikon D200; Lens: Nikon 24-70 f/2.8; Exposure: ISO 1600, 1/60 @ f/2.8

About a week ago I attended my first rodeo in Morgan, Utah. It definitely was a new cultural experience … and a huge learning experience as a photographer. When I was a kid I loved to photograph sports (yes, I was the photo-geek standing on the sidelines of the football games, dreaming of a career with Sports Illustrated) and this was a fun way to revisit that style of photography.

Some things I learned were mostly about how insufficient my Nikon D200 is for shooting fast-action low-light events. Both lenses I used were pretty fast (Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 & Sigma 70-200 f/2.8) but as the sun went down I found that even at my highest ISO (1600) I was getting speeds that were way too low for the lenses I was using (along with tons of noise). Now, don’t get me wrong, the D200 is a really good camera but it has its limits, especially after the sun had set and all that I had left to shoot with was the lights in the rodeo arena.

RodeoNikon D200; Lens: Sigma 70-200 f/2.8; Exposure: ISO 1600, 1/90 @ f/2.8

The good thing is that while the sun was still up I could get decent shutter speeds, but the bad thing is that the light was best as it started sinking over the horizon. My counterparts, Ann Torrence and Rich Legg, were both shooting with some nice equipment (a Nikon D700 and Canon 5D Mark II) so when the sun went down they were able to get into those higher ISO values and shoot away. So … what did I do?

Well, as you can see in the photo at the top of this post, I started to get creative. I couldn’t get fast enough to freeze the action after the sun went down (note the movement in the above image) so I tried to find other things within my surrounding that told a story. I also attempted some panning (as in the photo below) throughout the evening. I ended up having a really great time in spite of my camera limitations, and got some good shots. It forced me to try new things and not just to get the regular shots that I was expecting to take. Not everyone can own or can afford the top-of-the-line pro equipment … and I am no exception. :)

RodeoNikon D200; Lens: Sigma 70-200 f/2.8; Exposure: ISO 100, 1/30 @ f/22

BTW, if you are interested in learning more about “Rodeo Photography” Rich Legg has a post on his site with some good tips to get you started. Also, if you live in Utah there is a free “Rodeo Photography” clinic led by Rich Legg & Ann Torrence at the Sanpitch Cowboy Expo in Sanpete County, Utah on July 24th.