All rodeo cowboys are tough. I particularly admire the steer wrestlers as that is an event that I have a hard time even dreaming of trying out. Leaping off a perfectly good horse onto the back of a small cow with large horns seems a bit too close to the insane end of the scale for me.
I absolutely love watching and photographing this event despite having no interest in doing it myself. The short go of the steer wrestling event at the Tsuu T’ina All Indian Rodeo on July 26th put the top 10 qualifiers in the finals and a shot at the money. Keenan Crane (the image directly above) had a great run and took home the cheque and the hardware – well deserved!
This series of Leon Montour pulling in a steer illustrates a bit of the power, balance and danger of this event.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800
The Tsuu T’ina Nation’s 39th Annual Open All Indian Rodeo ran from July 26-28 this year. I went over several times and had a great time on the Redwood Fair Grounds watching the rodeo and the Pow Wow which combine to form the backbone of the Tsuu T’ina’s Annual Indian Days Celebration. The rodeo finals on Sunday got started under dark skies but the rain never fell and the sun drifted in and out of the clouds throughout the afternoon.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/6400th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800
It was a perfect afternoon for rodeo and judging by the full grandstand, there were many people who agreed. We were rewarded with a lot of top shelf performances by the cowgirls, cowboys and animals who were competing. Here is a collection of a few of my images from this year’s finals.
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1000th of a second at f/8 on ISO 800
Canon 5DII camera with a Canon 70-200mm lens + a 1.4X extender at 235mm: 1/1250th of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 400
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1250th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2000th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1000th of a second at f/11 on ISO 1600
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1000th of a second at f/11 on ISO 1600
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2000th of a second at f/5.6 on ISO 1600
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 400
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600
The steer wrestler above is Virgil Jacobs. He came out guns blazing and beat all the other cowboys to win the event this year. My hat is off to you sir!
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/640th of a second at f/11 on ISO 1600
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2000th of a second at f/4 on ISO 400
It was a quiet passage into 2013 at our house this year. We enjoyed the Redwood Meadows community fireworks (thank you to the team that put on the show – it was fantastic!) at 8 and then celebrated New Year’s with the East Coast of North America so that our kids could take part. At four and six years old, staying up until midnight in our own time zone seemed unlikely. We said goodbye to 2012 and wished each other and our family the very best in the new year. I would like to extend the same warm wishes to you and yours. Happy New Year!
For those interested, both of these photographs were taken with the camera on tripod using mirror lock up with the lens focused to infinity (works well with smaller apertures). When the firework missile streaked skyward, I triggered the shutter and used longer exposures to capture the explosion and the cascading streaks that followed. For the first image, I had the camera set on manual with a shutter speed of 13 seconds at f/11 on ISO 500 while the second image was 8 seconds at f/11 on ISO 800. As always, you can click on each image to open a page with a higher resolution version.
A dancer in full regalia spins during the Grand Entrance on July 29th at the Tsuu T’ina Pow Wow.
I was under the weather this year and only went over to the Pow Wow one day this year for a few hours. I still have to work through the images from the Grand Entrance but I can say it was another great event put on by the Tsuu T’ina Nation. This year seemed quite a bit bigger than last year and I again enjoyed the excitement, fun and enthusiasm on display among the dancers, the organizers and the crowd. It is a fantastic weekend and I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to spend more time across the road with my neighbours.
Lindsay Sears is a local barrel racer from Nanton, Alberta. She won the Barrel Racing event at the 2008 Calgary Stampede as well as being a two-time Barrel Racing World Champion (2008 and 2011). The crowd went crazy when she raced today and it was well deserved. She is the best in the sport right now and is rightfully the hometown favourite.
She has been getting faster with each day through the qualifiers at the 100th Calgary Stampede Rodeo this year. She won the Thursday Group B qualifier, with a time of 17.62 seconds. She is currently tied for 4th place in Group B with the last qualifier on Friday. I would expect she will keep getting faster and should earn her spot in the Sunday finals without rolling the dice in the Wildcard Saturday event. When the finals are run on the 15th, her track record would suggest it might be foolish to bet against her walking away the centennial champion. I can’t wait for that race – good luck Lindsay!
The rodeo down at the Calgary Stampede today was great today. It was Day One for the Group B competitors and it seemed obvious that they were ready to get started.
Here, Cody Cassidy has just left a perfectly comfortable horse to dive onto the back of a slightly ornery cow. The Donalda, Alberta cowboy did a great job with this ride pulling the steer down in 4.5 seconds which was good for second place on the day.
Blake Knowles, from Heppner, Oregon, digs boots into the dirt as he drags the steer to a stop.
Clint Cannon had a wild ride on Coal Black with the horse winning today’s round. It was a good Bareback event matchup and I would like to see Clint turn in some good scores and get into the final.
In the same event, Jake Vold drew Witch Doctor. The horse lived up to its name and was a tricky ride. One that the Bareback rider from Ponoka, Alberta was up to the challenge for. Together, the pairing won the day with an 86.0 ride.
Savannah Reeves, a perennial contender from Cross Plains, Texas who won the 2010 Ladies Barrel Racing event rounds the first barrel during her run.
I can’t wait for the weekend. The performances have already been great and I am excited about what we will see for the finals.
I was down at the rodeo with my kids and my parents for a couple of hours yesterday. Here are a few from the events that I pulled off between runs to the fair ground and the snack tent. After a rainout the night before, Saturday was beautiful. A great small town rodeo – definitely part of what summer in Alberta is.
Wild Card Saturday on July 16th was the last day of the competition before the Calgary Stampede Rodeo Finals. Billed “Rodeo’s Richest Afternoon”, Showdown Sunday is the day all of the athletes were gunning for throughout the event.
The top four money winners in each pool leading up to the weekend had their ticket to the Finals in hand so they had the day off. For the rest, this was their last shot to qualify for the finals. There were two wild card spots in each event so getting to Sunday was no easy task. Here are some images from the rail.
Bell Dinger bucked Chad Besplug of Claresholm, Alberta off just after the gate was opened ending this cowboy’s run to the Finals for 2011. Chad had a good ride on Monday with an 84, I hope he gets invited back next year.
Seven Persons, Alberta bareback rider, Reid Rowan, in the middle of a battle of wills with Gorgeous Connie. Reid won with a full time ride but scored 80 and missed the Final.
Sierra Stoney from DeWinton, Alberta bares down on the second barrel. Sierra’s horse knocked this barrel down while exiting the turn and she finished outside of the top two spots.
Despite appearances, Tyler Corrington rode Awesome for the full 8 seconds. He scored 83.50 and missed the Finals by half a point. The Wild Card saddle bronc event had a two point spread between the top spot and 6th place. Very tough to sit out Sunday when you’re that close to being in.
Ryan MacKenzie of Jordan Valley, Oregon stares down the neck of Gross Beetle during a 79.50 point ride in the Saddle Bronc event during Wild Card Saturday at the 2011 Calgary Stampede Rodeo in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
A final one from Reid Rowan, well known for his curly mane and his exuberant flair, here disappears altogether to suggest that the Invisible Man has taken up rodeo – for one kick anyways.
I spent the afternoon back at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo on Sunday. Some great rides across all events matched with fine weather made for a great afternoon. The rain came with a fury later during the chuck wagon races but left us alone for the rodeo.
As is the custom all of the day’s competitors come out at the beginning to tip their hats to the crowd and stand for the national anthem.
Here one of the mares, Lush Margie, launches Jim Berry of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta on a short-lived flight.
Wade Sumpter of Fowler, Colorado leaps on a mini bull before trying to wrestle it to the ground.
Leaping out of the chute like a beast on a mission, Broken Lady gave Ryan Gray of Petersburg, Texas a pretty entertaining ride.
Joe Gunderson of Agar, South Dakota pulls free of his ride, Kalispell Whiskey, as the horse runs along the rails sending the cowboys up the rails to get out of the way.
Kelly Timberman of Mills, Wyoming in the middle of a good test with Jay Bar Nine.
A break in the action for the Red and White
Clint Cooper leaps while his horse stands on the brakes during the tie-down roping event.
Mid-flight after being flung well clear of the saddle during the saddle bronc event.
Lane Stuckey of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta competing in the novice saddle bronc event gets bucked off Tough Alloy.
Cory Hines from Rocky Rapids, Alberta as he and Super Nest leap out of the gate during the novice saddle bronc event shortly before parting ways as seen below.
I had a full day along the rails down at the Stampede yesterday. Here are a few photographs I liked from the quick scan of the wagon load I took yesterday.
The rodeo is a great event and I’m amazed by the performances of both the athletes and the animals. Huge helpings of strength, balance and sheer will on both sides. And, a lot of fun to watch.
I’m just heading down for today’s rodeo, can’t wait to get back down there.
I was up in Canmore last weekend to photograph the wedding of Leanne McIsaac and Dane Moran. The weather came around just in time and we had a beautiful afternoon up on a hill overlooking Quarry Lake for the ceremony. We went down to the Bow River for some photographs with just the wedding party.
It was a really fun day and I can’t say enough about the couple and how much fun they were to work with. I wish them all the best together – I can’t wait for the baby photos in a few years!
Thank you to my friend Jeff Rhude who signed on as an assistant but was more a second shooter and a discussion board throughout the day.
I’m very excited to share the news that Art Wolfe is leading a photography seminar here in Calgary on April 16, 2011. Art has earned great respect from photographers, artists, conservationists and humanitarians around the world. I am constantly amazed by Art’s work and have loved learning from him and his images for a long time.
The seminar is part of a series that Art is presenting across North America. It is titled, “The Art of Composition” and the emphasis is on building the photographer’s eye. Art builds the artistic and technical skills to help the photographer create compelling imagery.
I have traveled with Art in Myanmar and there is no exaggeration when I say he is a fantastic teacher. He has an ability to engage people and present subjects like composition, color, inspiration and light in ways that are relevant to photographers. He not only shares his approach to photography but teaches people how to incorporate these skills into their own work.
Art usually presents this seminar in a large venue but for the Calgary seminar, we have booked a great location with a more intimate setting. The seminar will be held at the Naturbahn Teahouse in Bowness in the Canada Olympic Park. It is a beautiful location for a world-class event!
My wife and I helped out Art’s team with some of the logistics as eyes on the ground here in Calgary so it is very exciting to be only a month away from the seminar. I hope to see you there!
It was chilly at the zoo wandering the pathways last night amid a cold breeze off of the Bow river. It was worthwhile though as Bobbi and I were surrounded by over 1,500,000 Christmas lights!
(click on any of the photographs for larger images)
This annual event runs from November 26 to January 2 this year. Most of the zoo is wrapped in lights taking the shape of animals, dinosaurs, sleighs, jungle scenes and a lot more. We went last year and it was -30°C plus the windchill which made it a bit too cold for more than a few photographs as I was attending a party and was not bundled up. This year I had longjohns, two sets of gloves and some good layers on so I was able to enjoy the walk more. We were both bundled up but Bobbi’s boots let her down a bit – nothing serious. We had no trouble having a great time.
I had to hunt this creature down…
… but I finally got clear of the forest of lights for a clean shot.
This year I brought my tripod as well because I wanted to make long exposures and play with some zooming techniques during these slower shutter speeds.
Here is a straight long exposure of the jungle scene.
And here is the same composition with the addition of the twist of the zoom lens. You can do this handheld as well but using a tripod you get straight zoom lines and I find I have better control over the speed of the zoom and how the effect looks.
Thank you to the Zoo for putting on such a visually delightful event, my wife for humouring me as I doddled along in the cold and my parents for spending the evening with the kids.
Two weeks until the big day but in case I don’t see you between now and then, Merry Christmas!
On Monday, I went down to the Lion’s 44th Annual Labour Day Rodeo for the finals of the weekend long event. This was my third rodeo that I have attended this summer and I joined my parents, aunt and uncle, and my wife’s parents. It was fun to enjoy a bit of time together down at the grounds.
I can’t say enough good things about this event. A large portion of the townspeople of Cochrane were down on the grounds. The banter between the announcer and the lead rodeo clown throughout the afternoon was fun and held the crowd’s interest between rides. The cowgirls and cowboys were impressive as they competed in their specialties. There were more than a few outstanding rides. I am always impressed by the level of skill on display at all of the rodeos, big and small, throughout Alberta.
I wasn’t at the rodeo on Sunday, so I missed seeing Darwin Wiggett and Wayne Simpson there. They both posted images from their time on the grounds – great work by both. The event drew a fair number of photographers but there was plenty of room to set up and move around the gates.
The Lion’s Annual is a small rodeo in Cochrane that I love attending every year. It has very good talent (both people and animals) and a great atmosphere which makes you feel like a close member of the community.
I’m heading down for the Finals right now but wanted to post a couple of images I took on Saturday afternoon as the storms started to roll in.
The Tsuu T’ina Nation’s reserve lands run on both sides of Highway 22x, The Cowboy Trail, as you approach Bragg Creek from the east. Every year, the band holds a Rodeo and Pow Wow in July at their Beaverdome and rodeo grounds across the road from the Redwood Meadows Golf Course.
The event is attended by nations from all across North America. The rodeo is a major pull for competitors and fans alike. Drawing on a rich history of horsemanship and true cowboy toughness, these men and women put on an exciting, unpredictable and truly enjoyable show.
Here is a sequence showing a great ride ending with a hard, hard landing…
… I spoke to this gentleman afterwards where he had missed a full ride by less than a second. He told me he almost had him and all he wanted to do was get back on tomorrow. Awesome! Pretty mean looking horse too.
I stayed late on Saturday night, with the sun leaving us in twilight, a moon drifting higher in the east and the bulls seeming to gain the upper hand over the would be riders. It was a relief at the end, as there were a couple of bad tramples. There may have been a couple of broken bones but not many moans. It has been said how tough cowboys are and watching a bull stomp on a rider’s knee or chest, that comes to light in the aftermath.
The breath holding eased as the last of the riders made their way off the dirt. Giving room for the beauty of the area and a great sporting event to take back center stage in the minds of the crowd as we shuffled out of the grandstands.
I already can’t wait for next year’s rodeo (July 22-24). If you can make it, you will have a great time and meet some wonderful people.
On Sunday afternoon, I was down at the Calgary Stampede photographing the rodeo finals.
Thanks to a conversation with the media accreditation manager at the Stampede along with a call to, and a letter from, Roy Anstey, I was able to get media credentials for the event. Roy is the editor of the Bragg About the Creek magazine that I have been working with for a few issues now. Armed with the media pass, I was able to tour the stocks before the rodeo started where the animals were waiting to march into the fray.
When the rodeo got underway, the events came shotgun style as the cowboys and cowgirls competed to get into the final round. The action was incredible and I have to say no one takes a bigger beating in sports than the bull and bareback riders.
Fred Whitfield as he jumps off his horse to pick up the calf and time it up. Whitfield, a Texan from Hockley, tied Matt Shiozawa in the final with a 7.4 second run. They rode one more time to determine the winner with Shiozawa taking this hotly contested tie down roping event.
Jim Berry from Rocky Mountain House, AB riding Knife Money in the qualifying round. Berry placed 3rd overall.
Lindsay Sears riding hard for the finish line. The Nanton, Alberta barrel racer finished 2nd with a 17.31 second ride, missing 1st by 0.06 seconds!
After a couple of hours of hard riding, the finals were set for what the announcer billed as the “Richest Hour in Rodeo”. As each winner of the saddle bronc, barrel racing, bareback, bullriding, steer wrestling and tie down roping takes home $100,000. Second nabs $25,000 with third at $15,000 and fourth walking (or limping) away with $10,000 . The crowd was roaring, thunder clouds were looming off to the south and the animals were fired up. When the men and women started performing the energy in the whole place exploded. Every event was close and they kept coming with only a short break for the winner before the next group got started. It might have been a bit longer than an hour when it was all over but it felt like five minutes.
Boxholm, Iowa’s Wade Sundell rode Lynx Mountain for a 90.50 in the qualifier. Here Sundell is just out of the gate riding Mata Fact to an 88.50 and title in the championship round of the Saddle Bronc event.
Savannah Reeves of Dublin, Texas posted consecutive rides of 17.25 seconds to win the Barrel Racing event. She beat Lindsay Sears whose home she was staying at during the Stampede – nice house guest 🙂
Here Duncan Douglas “dismounts” from Wranglers Deja Vue after completing 8 seconds astride the beast. Douglas, hailing from Alvin, Texas, won the Bull Riding event by one point over Beau Hill with an 88.0 on this ride.
What a great event! I will be going to some of the local, feeder rodeos around Southern Alberta through the summer and I can’t wait for next year’s Stampede. I had a great time working at this event and can’t believe how much fun it is shooting from the rails.