Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 70-200 f/4L with 1.4x Extender – 1/1600 second, f/5.6, ISO 400

In preparation for a photography clinic I will be teaching at a rodeo next month with Ann Torrence, I spent Friday night at the rodeo in Morgan, Utah. While the clinic we’re teaching isn’t specifically about Rodeo Photography, it is in the arena and will have horses & riders as subjects. With this in mind, I figured it would make sense to do a scouting trip to another event ahead of time to familiarize myself with the surroundings.

Rodeo Shooters

Here are a few things I learned:

– High ISO on the Canon 5D Mark II is a Godsend
– The longer the lens the better (especially on a fullframe body)
– The 5D Mark II’s focus points & speed are nearly inadequate for this type of work
– Be ready for the transition from daylight to dark
– Shooting with a monopod is a must
– Consider JPG to keep from filling the buffer too quickly
– Cowboys are genuinely nice people
– Rodeo’s are great fun at an affordable price

Rodeo Sample (ISO 6400)
Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 70-200 f/4L – 1/80 second, f/5.0, ISO 6400

All in all, it was a great evening. If I were doing this type of work on a regular basis, I would definitely want a faster body. I think a Canon 50D with it’s faster frame-rate and 1.6x sensor would be a nice camera at an affordable price. Of course, budget permitting, it goes without saying that a body from the Canon 1D or Nikon D3 series would be the best choice.