Cowboys, Kids, & Complications

More from the fair!

One of the last events I attended at this year’s county fair was the ranch rodeo.

1/640 – f/7.1 – ISO 800 – 55mm
1/640 – f/7.1 – ISO 800 – 250mm

Yes, in the dirt again!

Several teams of cowboys competed in four events and worked hard to rope, and sort, and doctor, and trailer those cattle.

The kids even got in on the act and worked hard to chase down the calves and remove ribbons from their ears and tails to win a prize!

1/800 – f/7.1 – ISO 1600 – 131mm
1/800 – f/6.3 – ISO 1600 – 100mm
1/800 – f/6.3 – ISO 1600 – 171mm

The only one, or thing, not working hard was the lens I had chosen to use that night. It seems that it is having some kind of complications and just doesn’t want to focus.

Those complications left me with images that I thought were going to be unusable. The focus was much to soft and  they were going to need a large amount of work. If I could save them at all.

1/800 – f/6.3 – ISO 1600 – 123mm
1/640 – f/6.3 – ISO 3200 – 55mm
1/400 – f/5.6 – ISO 3200 – 154mm

I sharpened everyone of those rodeo shots the best I could using Camera Raw and then again in Photoshop. I used the sharpening sliders, I added contrast, I used the clarity slider, I used unsharp mask, I used a highpass filter, I added more contrast…. Well it all helped to sharpen up the focus but boy did it do a number on the colors. And oh the blown out highlights it caused!!


But then inspiration struck amongst all these complications and I hit on an idea.

After running a couple of pre-set actions, one including a black and white conversion, I had something that I kind of liked.

Well they aren’t the best rodeo images ever created but I think I’ll keep ’em.

1/500 – f/6.3 – ISO 3200 – 240mm
1/500 – f/6.3 – ISO 3200 – 250mm

Hmm…. Maybe I need to start one of those “go fund me” things for some new equipment. Anyone know how those work?😀


Dirt Track Races

Awww Yes…. Summertime in small Kansas towns.

I know you’re thinking “What!!??” “What’s there to do in a small town in the middle of summer?”

Well sometimes there’s a lot to do. Like when the county fair rolls around.

Now; when the county fair rolls into our little town there’s no ferris wheel, there’s no roller coaster, there’s no deep fried everything on a stick. Nope. None of that.


We do have a parade, watermelon, music, horses, cattle, kettle corn, snow cones, bouncy houses, photography, crafts, a petting zoo, a ranch rodeo, dirt track races… lots more! This year we even had monster truck rides!

1/4000 sec – f/7.1 – ISO 6400 – flash fired – 55mm – Yes, I was very close to the track!
1/4000 sec – f/7.1 – ISO 6400 – 47mm

The last few years I’ve been out of town come fair time and haven’t been able to participate. But this year I was home.


Off I went camera in hand to see what sites I could capture.

1/4000 sec – f/7.1 – ISO 6400 – 40mm

The dirt track races were lots of fun to shoot even if I was covered head to toe with dirt by the time I got back to the house that night!

I really wanted to slow down the shutter and pan with the cars as they zoomed by at 100+ mph. That way I could show the motion and speed in the photos. However… when you are shooting with your lens sticking through a hole in the chicken wire fence there just isn’t enough room to pan.

1/4000 sec – f/7.1 – ISO 6400 – 97mm
1/3200 sec – f/9 – ISO 6400 – 105mm

So for the most part I shot with some fast fast shutter speeds and stopped those speeding cars in their tracks!

Not a bad job for my first attempt at shooting races! I’ll have to try it again next year and just maybe get out into the pit area where I can shoot without the fence in the way.

1/4000 sec – f/8 – ISO 6400 – 80mm

To see the full gallery visit


Life Lit Up

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