Recently, I was invited up north to cover an early morning roundup. Not something staged…the real deal here. As a photographer, you can’t be afraid to use your equipment when presented with opportunities like this. Fortunately, I’m not one that is. In fact, in less than 24-hours of owning my newest camera I fried it in a canyon…all I can say is, thank you for CPS! That’s Canon Professional Services.
From a photographer’s mind, going into this shoot I knew I wanted to be laying down on the ground to capture a different perspective…in a Dave Stoecklein inspired manner. What could be better than Cowboys, horses, and cows? Perhaps laying in cow poo? Yes, almost a minute after capturing my first image, I rolled right onto/into it. Par for this day!
I geared up with my Black Rapid double harness, carrying my 5D/24-70L on my left, and 5DMKII 70-200L on my right and a pocket mixed with cards and batteries. I synced the time on both my camera bodies so as not to hose up post production. I was shooting in manual for a better part of the day and began with the following exposure; f/8.0, 1/500, ISO400 on both cameras. The weather was very overcast, low cloud and even a chance of snow and rain this day.
There were some curious cows wandering away wondering what the hell I was doing laying down. I took caution and stood up so as not to disrupt what the goal was here…getting these buggers in! For this shot, I dropped my aperture to f/5.6 to add separation between the cow and cowboy. Still ISO 400 and 1/500sec.
Not long after, the Cowboys had all the heard in and began to separate. This is where things start to get a bit more interesting. Tighter quarters and the mood changes a bit. The one thing I can say about this time is, these horses that the Cowboys ride are no show horses. These are pure work’n animals. They know their jobs and their riders and they respond! For this shot I had switched over to AV and chose f/4.0 still ISO 400. I had seen this Cowboy sprint once before on his horse and I just waited for the next time. Still using my 70-200 on this one.
After rounding these cows up and seeing where they’ll be loaded, I had decided that I want to capture the depth of the heard as the Cowboys herd them into the trailer. For this shot I used the 24-70, wide at 24mm and opened the aperture up to 2.8 shooting on AV.
During the last part of the day we had to go out and doctor a cow…for those that aren’t Cowboys, that’s give a sick cow some antibiotics. Made sense once I saw it. This was a photographer’s dream…slightly overcast, windy and just a hint of rain. Really? Does it get this good? Hell yea! I found a clean patch of land and laid down. Watching the action unfold, couple Cowboys hustling off to the left and a couple to the right, lassos out and going for the cow. For this shot I used the 70-200, and my exposure was ISO400, f/6.3 at 1/250.
Finally, we’re done! I stayed down on the ground as the Cowboys got back up on their horses, got everything together, and headed right towards me. Perfect! That’s when I captured these. Shooting manual, ISO400, f/8.0 at 1/800.