A bullrider parts from his mount during competition at the Austin Rodeo in Texas. This picture offers a bizarrely serene image with both the rider and bull apparently floating despite the fact that there was a great deal of frenetic movement going on at the time.
Bull riding is actually easier to shoot than bronco riding since the animal and rider don’t typically cover a very large distance. The bulls twirl around but tend to stay reasonably close to the gate so, as long as you are somewhere near that end of the arena, it’s usually fair to expect some good images. The trick, however, is to grab shots while the rider and bull are facing you and, preferably, while the rider’s face is visible.
Most of the rodeo pictures I shot at the rodeo this year used a rented 300mm f/2.8 lens since my 70-200mm just wasn’t long enough to get in close and fill the frame. The exceptions were this shot and the barrel racing where I was close enough to the action that the 70-200mm worked well and allowed me the flexibility to recompose without moving.
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