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Thread: Can this shot be rescued?

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    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Can this shot be rescued?

    The rodeo is in town this week, so I'm trying to get some shots, including some people shots. The man in this shot was trampled by a horse after being thrown in the bareback bronc riding event. I really want to rescue this shot, if possible, because it is unusual for a cowboy to give away any sign of pain (while in the arena, anyway), no matter how much it hurts. This man's arm is probably broken, but he walked away casually until he was right next to the gate, where he grabbed his arm and grimaced.

    I know there are other adjustments to be made here (and the final version will probably be B&W), but the main problem is obvious. Unfortunately, there was a chain-link fence I just couldn't shoot around from my seat. (The ushers wouldn't let me stand at the rail and shoot, as this would block everyone else's view).

    Can this shot be rescued?

    I'll post more rodeo shots later, but I'd appreciate any suggestions that would help save this one. I fear it will just have to be discarded, but I thought I would ask for help first.

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    First and foremost, Was the image captured in RAW ?

    If this was an in-camera JPG, the file probably lacks the necessary detail to recover the shadows or fill in the obscured area sufficiently with a fill light adjustment.

    Was this a single frame of several shot in rapid sucession ? If that is the case, you may be able to recover obscured details by blending multiple exposures when the region obscured by the fence shadow covers different areas from frame to frame.

    One possibility is to crop the head, shoulders and upper body just above the fence shadow.

    BTW, having been bashed by Horses... Ouch.

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snarkbyte View Post
    I fear it will just have to be discarded, but I thought I would ask for help first.
    Al

    I too feel that this is one of those that 'could-have-been, but ...'. I think you've just got to much going against you to be able to turn it around.

    It's always so frustrating when you want to make an image work. I know I've often spent far to much time on something knowing it wasn't good enough, but really wanting to make it work.

    And maybe if teh marshals could see that you are a serious photographer you might get a little more help in getting the images that you want.

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    It really just depends on the sort of quality that you are expecting, Al.

    Can this photo be improved? Yes most definitely, particularly when starting with the original. Will it be close to perfect? Obviously not. But it will probably be worth improving if you want some sort of record of the event.

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    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    First and foremost, Was the image captured in RAW ?

    If this was an in-camera JPG, the file probably lacks the necessary detail to recover the shadows or fill in the obscured area sufficiently with a fill light adjustment.

    Was this a single frame of several shot in rapid sucession ? If that is the case, you may be able to recover obscured details by blending multiple exposures when the region obscured by the fence shadow covers different areas from frame to frame.

    One possibility is to crop the head, shoulders and upper body just above the fence shadow.

    BTW, having been bashed by Horses... Ouch.
    Thanks, Steaphany. Yes, I do have the RAW file, and other shots of this man as he walked to the gate, but not in rapid succession. I will look at the other shots to see if something can be used to fill in, but I believe this is the only shot where he is holding his injured arm. I have considered cropping above the fence line, but the shot does lose a lot without seeing the cause of his expression... otherwise, it could be taken for simple disappointment or frustration. I'll see what can be done... I think it's a long shot, but using the other images may be the only option here.

    Now I'm off to the rodeo again... with better seats this time. "Better" in this case, means a little higher up... I'd just assumed that the closest seat I could get would be best, but I didn't count on that fence being in the way!

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Al

    I too feel that this is one of those that 'could-have-been, but ...'. I think you've just got to much going against you to be able to turn it around.

    It's always so frustrating when you want to make an image work. I know I've often spent far to much time on something knowing it wasn't good enough, but really wanting to make it work.

    And maybe if teh marshals could see that you are a serious photographer you might get a little more help in getting the images that you want.
    Thanks, Donald. It is more frustrating than usual in this case for a couple of reasons. First, as already mentioned, cowboys rarely express any pain at all, if they can help it (at least, not in the arena, anyway). Second, I have another shot of an exuberant cowboy walking out of the arena after a great ride, and the two shots would make a great pair... "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" sort of thing. This shot is worth working for, imo, so it doesn't hurt to ask... folks here are always helpful.

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Thanks, Geoff. Obviously, the shot can be improved... other than cropping, the image posted is SOOC. But I'm really hoping for something more than a record of the event here. I've known lots of cowboys, and as a group, they are famously stoic about pain... especially in front of people who don't ride. This man is lucky not to be in coma... I've known a couple of those guys, too. Rodeo is a VERY dangerous sport.

    Steaphany's idea is worth a shot, but it will take some work, if it works at all.

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Well, bad news all around. It's raining, so I won't get any more rodeo shots today... the rodeo will go on, anyway, but equipment considerations aside, I'm a real wimp when it comes to cold, rainy weather. I looked at the other shots of the cowboy, but none of them are suitable for repairing the image I posted, so I guess I'll give up. Thanks for the input, anyway, and I did learn something by asking (thanks again, Steaphany), so the question wasn't wasted.

    In looking at the other photos, I noticed that the man's left forearm was already injured and wrapped in a bandage... no wonder it hurt!

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snarkbyte View Post
    "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" sort of thing
    Quote Originally Posted by Snarkbyte View Post
    Rodeo is a VERY dangerous sport.
    You know what you want with a pair of images, so do what I do, plan out and put yourself in a position to get the shots that you'll need. Contact the Rodeo organizers and see if they have provisions for photographers getting clear views and potentially closer to the action access. Try to attend numerous Rodeos and irregardless of how stoic a Cowboy should be, try for the shot in the moments right after an angry Stallion or Bull attempts to rip them limb from limb, before they regain their "composure for the crowd".

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    You know what you want with a pair of images, so do what I do, plan out and put yourself in a position to get the shots that you'll need. Contact the Rodeo organizers and see if they have provisions for photographers getting clear views and potentially closer to the action access. Try to attend numerous Rodeos and irregardless of how stoic a Cowboy should be, try for the shot in the moments right after an angry Stallion or Bull attempts to rip them limb from limb, before they regain their "composure for the crowd".
    Yeah, this was my 1st attempt at photography at a rodeo, and I learned a lot from the experience. I'm sure I'll do a lot better next year. One important thing I learned is that there is no "one best place" to sit. The bronc and bull-riding chutes are on one side of the arena, the roping and bulldogging chutes are at another end, and the best cowboy shots are from a 3rd location. I now know the best seating positions for each, so I can plan to shoot different events from the best vantage points on different days. I also learned what focal lengths are needed to shoot from each location, and the afternoon light angles. Also, take along a LOT of media cards for the camera... rodeo requires shooting constantly at high rates, so shooting in RAW eats up memory very quickly. I went thru a 64GB card before the last 2 events even started, LOL. There's a lot of weeding to be done afterwards, to find the best shots, but there's no way of predicting when the shots will occur, so you just have to keep shooting and sift thru the hundreds of shots later. Reaction time just isn't good enough to capture the best action shots in this sport... too unpredictable. There are additional factors like dust (we had 45+ mph winds this year).

    David Stoecklein, a noted cowboy/western photographer held a photo workshop on the 1st day of the rodeo, and I got some useful tips from him (though I envy his access to locations that are off-limits to the general public). For anyone interested, Mr. Stoecklein has published many books and calendars, as well as many commercial shots. You can see some of his work at his website:

    http://stoeckleinphotography.com/

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Any good?

    Can this shot be rescued?

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Thanks, Colin, but it doesn't do anything for the fence rail, which is obviously the real problem. I didn't worry about the exposure, contrast, and so on when I posted the original image... I know how to fix those. I just didn't bother to fiddle with anything else until I could find out if there was a way to repair the main problem, so the image I posted is SOOC, except for a quick crop.

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snarkbyte View Post
    I envy his access to locations that are off-limits to the general public
    That is why I suggested that you approach the Rodeo organizers, you'e not part of the general public either.

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    That is why I suggested that you approach the Rodeo organizers, you'e not part of the general public either.
    Unfortunately, I am. There are far too many people with cameras for all of them to get any special consideration. Anyway, I know where the good and best locations are now. Good locations are available for a general admission price... if you reserve your seat early (and you can talk the people in front of you into taking off their cowboy hats!). The best locations sell for premium prices, of course, but they might be worth it... I look into it next year.

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snarkbyte View Post
    Unfortunately, I am. There are far too many people with cameras for all of them to get any special consideration. Anyway, I know where the good and best locations are now. Good locations are available for a general admission price... if you reserve your seat early (and you can talk the people in front of you into taking off their cowboy hats!). The best locations sell for premium prices, of course, but they might be worth it... I look into it next year.
    Then again, all the others might be thinking the same thing -- so nobody bothers to ask.

    I've heard of people just turning up at events with big cameras and long lenses and security just says "Oh - you must be from the media - through you go then"!

    Of course a high vis jacket with "Event Photographer" on the back would probably help as well!

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Then again, all the others might be thinking the same thing -- so nobody bothers to ask.

    I've heard of people just turning up at events with big cameras and long lenses and security just says "Oh - you must be from the media - through you go then"!

    Of course a high vis jacket with "Event Photographer" on the back would probably help as well!
    Heh, heh. Yeah, I was surprised how many people around me asked if I was with the press. I restrained from asking them if I would really be shooting from the stands if I had press credentials. A large lens does attract a lot of attention, which I'd rather do without. I did have a (very large) badge pass into one of the premium seating areas on the 1st day, for the photo workshop with Mr. Stoecklein, and security was definitely checking everyone for a pass into that area... but it was the 1st day, after all. On the next day I attended, I tried to stand next to the rail and shoot over the fence, but the usher asked me to return to my seat, as I was blocking the view. So I tried moving to the corner of the section, past the edge of the seats where I wouldn't be directly in front of anyone... and was told by different usher to return to my seat for the same reason; I didn't see how I could be blocking anyone's view, but there's no point in arguing and making a bad name for anyone with a conspicuous camera.

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    I'd say approach the organizers now about covering next years rodeo. I'm sure Mr Stoecklein does the same, but also be prepared for the rodeo organizers to ask you for advertising and PR photography that they can use in their future promotions.

    Have your licensing agreements in hand or at least readily available, have your prices set and keep in mind that you should charge higher for a photo that will be seen by thousands to millions of people than you would for a one off. ( Think of your photography being put up on a billboard, published in a western magazine, or in a brochure that gets handed out, this is where a single image can pay. )

    Other potential venues for your work could be through the local news paper, find out if they would be interested in freelance photography, as well as western eventing and rodeo sports magazines that cover the rodeo that you'll be photographing. You learned first hand that a lot depends on being the photographer at the right place, right time, and who has the shutter open. You could easily be the only one lucky enough to capture that special shot that all would value.

    There are sites online addressing the subject of photography licensing and I'm sure we have some published photographers here on CiC who could contribute advice and recommendations.

    To get you started, here is the link to the ASMP Licensing Guide:

    ASMP Licensing Guide

    Search out other professional western eventing photographers and see if you can find their photo licensing rates so that you can set yours below the long time career pro's but still at reasonable and commensurate to the industry.
    Last edited by Steaphany; 28th February 2011 at 01:45 PM.

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Thanks, Steaphany, but I'm strictly an amateur and I have zero interest in selling my photos. Some professional credentials would be useful for access at events like this, but for me, it isn't worth the trouble of maintaining a business. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile to have some phony business cards printed to identify myself as a photographer... the neighbors have already called the police on me once for walking around the neighborhood taking photos. I wasn't shooting into their windows, or anything, but people here are a little on edge after the congresswoman and all those other people were shot (with a gun, that is. It happened about 3 blocks from where I live).

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snarkbyte View Post
    Thanks, Steaphany, but I'm strictly an amateur and I have zero interest in selling my photos.
    I'll bet that would change if someone offered you $2000 for a photo

    Some professional credentials would be useful for access at events like this, but for me, it isn't worth the trouble of maintaining a business. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile to have some phony business cards printed to identify myself as a photographer
    You could tell them that you're shooting for the CiC Website!

    ... the neighbors have already called the police on me once for walking around the neighborhood taking photos. I wasn't shooting into their windows, or anything, but people here are a little on edge after the congresswoman and all those other people were shot (with a gun, that is. It happened about 3 blocks from where I live).
    Out of interest, what did the police have to say?

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    Re: Can this shot be rescued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I'll bet that would change if someone offered you $2000 for a photo
    Uh, yeah... right. Are you making an offer?

    You could tell them that you're shooting for the CiC Website!
    Now there's an idea for the phony business cards: CiC Photography

    Out of interest, what did the police have to say?
    Honestly, I thought the cop was a bit on edge, as well. He was polite enough, and he did relax a bit after I offered to show him some ID (we had talked for several minutes, and he hadn't asked, so I finally offered my DL). The neighborhood had been flooded with news media for several days after the shooting, but they had all gone by the time of this incident. Apparently, what got someone so nervous is that I took a shot of an electric meter on the side of a house. It was clearly visible from the sidewalk, and I didn't go into the yard, but it just seemed like a strange thing to someone.

    I explained to the cop that photography isn't just about puppies, flowers and sunsets, and for some reason, the electric meter just caught my eye, so I took a couple of pictures. Electric meters are rather bizarre looking, once you think about it, and they've hardly changed at all in the past several decades. Ink pens, chalk boards, zippers and nearly everything else have all changed dramatically in my lifetime, but electric meters, for some reason, are almost identical to what they were 3/4 of a century ago. I thought that was interesting, since they measure energy consumption, and energy production and consumption are such a large global issue. Anyway, I promised the officer that I would henceforth point my camera only at my own electric meter, but it never occurred to me that anyone would care about (or even notice) what I was doing. After all, what could anyone possibly do with a photo of an electric meter? The officer talked with me for about 15 minutes and then left, but it was clear he thought I was a bit of an oddball. (OK, maybe he was right about that, but taking a picture of an electric meter was one of the least strange things I've done.)

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