Cowboy workshops

Photograph the "Old West" on My Casper, Wyoming Photo Workshop

I am gearing up for my "Old West" photo workshop in Casper, Wyoming later this year. Can't wait, and I hope you can join the fun.

Fun? I run a lot of workshops, but this one will be a ton of fun, as illustrated in this video.

I took the opening image for this post on my previous Casper photo workshop. Yes! We got a horse in the Wonder Bar, and we'll do it again - for you!

In going though my files, I came across some of my favorite Old West images (from a shoot in Spearfish, SD) along with some captions. Enjoy.

Reflecting on the day. The most important element in a photograph is the mood, feeling or emotion. I created the mood in this photograph by “painting” the cowgirl with the light from a $5 flashlight. My goal was to create an image with dramatic shadows. Shadows are the soul of the photograph.

Lone rider. I like the feeling of  freedom that this image captures. That’s part of being a cowboy.

Looking for her. I am drawn to faces. It was the intense look on this cowboy’s face that inspired me to make this photograph. To add to the artistry of this image, I removed the color. When you remove the color from a photograph, you remove some of the reality.

Best friends. The eyes are the windows to the soul. It was this cowgirl’s beautiful eyes that first drew me to make this photograph, but then I noticed the look and “feeling” in the dog’s eyes. Both subjects seem to be having the same feeling, so I included both of them in my frame.

Daybreak on the range. I like shooting at the crack of dawn, capturing dramatic silhouettes against the rising sun. I like to challenge myself to make pictures in these high contrast situations, as the light changes very, very fast.

Good morning, pardner. The perfect silhouettes of the horses and cowboys drew me to make this photograph. Silhouettes add a sense of mystery to a photograph.

After the storm. I like the way the dark clouds create the mood in this image. Not every picture needs to be taking on a bright, sunny day.

Heading home. This cowboy was riding as fast as he could. To convey the sense of speed, I used a photographic technique called panning, which blurrs the background but keeps the rider in sharp focus.

Ride 'em cowboy (and cowgirl),

Subject, Light & Composition

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When it comes down to it, good photographs have a good/interesting subject, good light and good composition.

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I talk about that stuff on my workshops and in my on-line classes.

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I also cover those topics in my books.

When you look through the viewfinder, before you shoot, think about the importance of light and composition – and how these element can be used to make a good image.

Explore the light,

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Evolution Of An On-Location Portrait Session

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I'm saddling up for my Spearfish, South Dakota Old West Workshop, which I am co-leading with my cowboy/photographer friend, Les Voorhis. You'll find info on the workshop on my Workshops page, and you can see more pictures in my Old West Gallery. I hope you can join the posse of photographers who will be on the workshop.

While going through the images from my previous Spearfish workshop, I came up with the idea to share with you a few images that illustrate the "evolution of an on-location portrait session." Here goes.

Above: Final image, which is a hand-held, in-camera Canon 5D Mark III HDR image. I had to shoot HDR due to the high contrast range. My lens: Canon 24-105mm IS, which is my favorite lens.

Here's why I like the image: nice light rays, low camera angle, cowboy looking toward the light, night light on his face, relaxed pose, relatively plain background.

I shot at ISO 4000 due to the low light. Even at that high ISO setting, I saw little noise in the images.

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Above: Adobe Bridge screen shot of the three raw files and in-camera produced HDR JPEG image.

The final setting in the old barn was not my first choice for posing the cowboy.

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Above: This location was my first pick for our portrait session. I liked the light, but it turned out that the scene was just too cluttered - with light and shadows and objects.

For more on light and composition, see my Kelby Training on-line classes.

By the way, the scene looks soft because there was a ton of dust in the old barn.

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Above: A behind-the-scenes shot showing the students shooting. On my workshops, everyone has the opportunity to make great pictures.

The message of this post: When you are on location, keep looking - and testing - for the best light and best background, as well as the best pose.

Also think about the digital technology (in-camera HDR in this case) can help you make the picture you see in your mind's eye.

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Above: Here's another image that illustrates the technique of making a picture, rather than simply taking, a picture. The cowboy was not positioned in this exact spot my accident. :-)

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Above: When we are not photographing cowboys and cowgirls, we'll focus on landscape and nature photography.

I hope to see you in Spearfish or on another one of my workshops.

Explore the light

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Rick's List: Gear for Cowboy/Cowgirl Workshop

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Planning on joining my Spearfish, South Dakota cowboy and cowgirl photography workshop, during which we'll also photograph the spectacular local scenery - which includes some of the best waterfalls I've seen? Here's a list of the gear I recommend.

This gear is for Canon shooters, but all shooters, of course, are welcome. Also, filter sizes will vary with your lenses.

Lenses: Wide for environmental portraits, tele for portraits and action shots.
Canon 17-40mm lens

Canon 24-105mm IS lens

Canon  70-200 f/4 IS lens

Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS lens

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Speedlite: For portraits.
Canon 600EX-RT

Reflector/Diffuser Kit: For portraits.
Westcott 6 in 1 Kit

Tripod: For low-light shots.

HDR Plug-ins: For landscape photographs.
See my Plug-ins page

Filters: For scenery and waterfall photography.
Tiffen Polarizing
Tiffen 2 - 8 stop ND filter

You'll also need your laptop, card reader,
memory cards and chargers.

Any questions, give a call at 914 271 6132.

If you can't make a workshop, you take a virtual workshop
with me on line via one of my Kelby Training classes.

All my workshops are listed here.

If you like stuff like this, you can subscribe to my blog here.

Explore the light,

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