Pointy boots and point-and-shoots
The secret to good photography is comfortable shoes. I left my cowboy boots in my car and donned soft leather hikers to photograph the Flint Hills Rodeo earlier this June.
I wasn’t going to fit in with the rodeo fans, but they weren’t going to get good photos. Their pointy boots were fine, but their point-and-shoot cameras weren’t going to get the job done.
A night rodeo is like a night football game. Once the sun sets on the lone prairie, lighting at most outdoor arenas is lousy. Bronco-busting requires fast shutter-speeds to stop the action. A minimum shutter-speed of 1/500th of a second and a lens with a large, or “fast” aperture (e.g. f2.8) to let in as much light as possible is a necessity. You also need a telephoto lens to zoom in. These three requirements are not a strength of point-and-shoot cameras. And no, your camera flash won’t save you when you’re more than 50 feet away.
But with appropriate equipment, comfortable shoes and the ability to eat some dust, you’re ready to shoot. Experience Kansas rodeos during the summer of 2017. Here's a small list.
Flint Hills Rodeo, Strong City, June 1-3 / Kansas Largest Night Rodeo, Pretty Prairie, July 19-22, Dodge City Roundup PRCA Rodeo, August 3-8