Sunday, February 26, 2012

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros! Tucson Rodeo Action from 18 February 2012

Opening day for the "Festival of the Cowboy" in Tucson was Saturday 18 February 2012.  I sat in the Canon section at east far end of the huge rodeo arena.  This is big time professional rodeo, and the Tucson rodeo is one of the best and oldest around.  Having spent so many years living in Tucson, this is coming home to me in a lot of ways.

The action is not that fast.  Well, compared with NASCAR!  Today I came with two lenses I would use with my Canon 7D:  the Tamron 70-200mm, which ended up being my workhorse lens; and the Tamron 200-500mm for a bit more reach when the action started out on the far side of the arena.

I used aperture priority, low f/stop (wide open aperture) for the most part, and shutter speed of 1/500th and above to freeze the action.  I also used "back button" focusing on my Canon 7D.

My biggest enemy today?  DUST of course!  Now, compared to last years' rodeo, the dust problem was far less of a problem, but it still WAS a problem.  Last year, a strong wind (with sand) blew directly in my face the whole time, making changing lenses impossible.  This year, I just changed lenses by bending down away from the arena field.  No dust spots!

You can see all of my shots of the 2012 Tucson Rodeo at my Flickr page at

Happy Shooting,

Jim Patterson

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