Telling Stories

Creating a memorable image takes thought and skill. A photographer has many choices available to them to assist in documenting and capturing moments in time. Light, emotion and inclusion or non-inclusion of elements all help to convey a mood and tell stories.

The results from the 2013 International Loupe Awards are now in and I thought I would share with you my images, their scores and their stories.

Image 1 – “Night Rodeo”
This image received a final score of 87 and a Silver Award. The five judging scores ranged between 73 and 88. The judge who gave it a 73 must have shuddered when he saw it took out First Place. One judge commented that the image was “A nice different take on a normal shot – kudos”. Of course what the judge is referring to is the middle part of the image where the steer wrestler is coming off his horse to catch the steer. I have lots of this type of shot in my archives and it is a common rodeo action shot to capture. In this case, bad arena lighting and positioning helped my cause in capturing this panoramic image showing all the drama surrounding the event.

Night Rodeo Steer Wrestling
“Night Rodeo”      © Sue Thomson  2012

Image 2 – “Media Man In Trouble”
This image received a final score of 82 and a Bronze Award. I actually entered it in the Photojournalism category because of the irony of the bull stomping, not on a cowboy, but on a media man who was recording the action and had turned his back on the arena and thought that the action was all over. He wasnt hurt, but his fancy camera, suffered unrepairable wounds!
The judging scores ranged between 78-89 and I had a judging comment to crop tighter and remove the distraction of the red top. Perhaps if I did this, the image would be stronger from a competition point of view, but I find myself more and more including elements to ‘’tell stories”’. To me, the inclusion of the Chute Boss and the cowboys scurrying to the rails were part of the story that I wanted to tell.  Check out those cowboys peeping through the rails!

Media Man In Trouble
“Media Man In Trouble”      © Sue Thomson  2012

Image 3 – “The Rescue”
This image received a final score of 79 and just missed a Bronze Award. Scores ranged between 73 and 88 and truth be told, it is my favourite image of the four. It is incredibly difficult to take rodeo action shots where you have all of the elements come together. In this image, the horse has four feet off the ground, you can see the emotion in the cowboy’s face, the story is being told of the rescue man bailing out the cowboy, and check out the rescue horse’s eye…..he is doing his job in adverse conditions! The other element that is a spoiler for rodeo shots, is signage in the background which can be mimised by choosing an appropriate aperture on the camera.  Converting the image to monochrome also helps to keep the attention focussed on the action.

The Rescue
“The Rescue”   
  © Sue Thomson  2012

Image 4 – Winner of the Bull Ride
This image received a final score of 78, with scores ranging between 68 and 88. It received two judging comments: “love the emotion, wish it were cropped tighter to show his expression” and “a little crop to lose a bit off the right side would have helped, well seen and well captured”.  I always take on board comments from judges, but in this case, I will keep the image the way it is. The story behind the image, and of course the judges would not have known this, is the cowboy had just ridden eight seconds on one of the toughest bulls. He received top score which won him the big bucks. To me, leaving in the rope signifies that he has finished his ride and the crowd, and his hat are all part of the story. The cowboy is a New Zealander and he was so excited, he was actually doing the haka. You can see that pesky signage in the background here, but with sport and photojournalism entries for awards, you cannot remove or add elements.

Rodeo Haka
“Winner of the Bull Ride”      © Sue Thomson  2012

All of these images were captured at Warwick Rodeo in October 2012.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at the images, reading my award results and the stories behind them.

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