Meet Austin. I was matched with Austin to be his photographer at the Bell County youth fair and livestock show. There were two different days that I watched Austin show his animals, which consisted of a steer and a sheep.
The steers were to be led around in a circle around the pin as the judge watched them.
When the showers were directed to come to a halt they would use a showstick to rub the belly of the steer. First the steers legs needed to be lined up. They would use their boots to first make the steers front legs become square then adjust the back legs so they were square to the front. They also had to check that the steers body was not stretched out. They then continued to rub the belly of the steer and adjust the legs as the steer moved.
Unfortunately Austin did not rank at the top. The judge would walk around, look at the steers, then wave a shower away to the back of the pin. As Austin waited for the judge to finish up the show he stood patiently while continuing to please Bruno by rubbing his belly. Bruno seemed to be getting bored as he was slobbering uncontrollably and making loud noises. Austin’s face is priceless as he did not know what was up with Bruno.
It was a fairly quick show for Austin but I stayed just a bit longer to watch the following round. It’s amazing how these young kids can control animals so much bigger than them. This boy right here seemed to be talking in his steers ear during the showing. It must have been some encouraging words because he was the winner.
At this show there where children young and old showing their animals. Can you imagine how much time they spend practicing for this show? Win or lose, I was impressed by how well everyone did at keeping their animals under control.
There was a lot going on during the day. There were pigs, goats and sheep. I waited about five hours until Austin’s showing but I didn’t mind because there was plenty of stuff to keep me entertained. This guy right here was a natural in front of the camera. He told me that he was six years old and he was in first grade. He also questioned why I was taking pictures of other people and that if I wanted to take pictures of him I had to pay him$1000.00 because he wasn’t a model. As his mother called him to leave he jumped off the railing and ran to her side. Soon after I felt a light punch on my leg and looked down to see him waving goodbye. He gave me a good laugh and I’m glad to have met him.
Austin was watching the previous showings before his so I whispered his name and as he turned around this is the face he gave me. I thought it was hilarious and told him I was going to keep it, he said okay.
Finally! It was Austin’s turn to show. There were people on all four sides of the pin watching the show so I had to find a place to squeeze in. I eventually stood on the gate so I wouldn’t get poles in my way. It was difficult trying to balance on a pole and shoot at the same time but I managed. The judge had all the showers enter the pin with their sheep and circle around him. The showers made sure to keep their sheep between them and the judge. They also had the sheep’s head facing the judge as they walked.
The judge would then tell the group to line up. They had to make their sheep’s legs square so they would use their hands to move their feet. Sometimes the sheep would be stubborn and move its leg back to where it was before their shower adjusted it. When the showers are satisfied with the position of their sheep whey would hold its head into their chests and wait to be judge. The judge came down the line and felt the sheep and waved people away if he did not choose them. Austin did not make the cut but he did well in my opinion. Now he has an idea of what to expect from this new judge.
Overall it was a pleasure working with Austin. He was very nice and easy to work with. The livestock show was something totally new to me but it was enjoyable. Now that I know what it’s like and what to expect I wouldn’t mind going back.
Dance is a beautiful thing. It may be a matter of opinion but I find it much more pretty than football or other sports, which sets this action post aside from others I have posted before.
I have never shot dance before this day but there was a competition in the area and I found it to be a great opportunity to advance my portfolio. The major difference I found between shooting football and dance is that dance is less hectic. You don’t have to run up and down a long distance or worry about being trampled by someone twice your size.
The thing I noticed when I got there was the photographer(s) in the audience. I knew they weren’t parents because the announcer would ask in between that if you wanted your child’s pictures to be taken to talk to that particular photography company. We both used the same camera and the same lens but the difference between us was that I was up front and moving around and they were sitting in the middle of the audience.
I like the way these pictures turned out. I don’t think you can really compare them with my football posts because they are completely different. In my football posts you will see players blocking others, their faces are hid by their masks but you can really see the action. Dance is kind of the opposite. You can really see emotion and focus in their faces. Aside from duets you have nothing getting in the way of the person you are trying to photograph. Although you may see the dancers being still they are in fact moving, just not as quick as football players. But even though its slower a quick move of the hand or a jump can cause a slight blur.
For editing I really didn’t have to do much. I adjusted the levels on most and removed some objects that may have been visible backstage from behind the curtain. In the following image I had to close the right eye of the girl just slightly. For this I used liquify and pulled it down just a hair.
I liked the way the floor reflected the bodies of the dancers. You can’t get this with a football field. The floor itself was nice but I appreciated how it lit up her face from where it was tucked.
You could see a lot of emotion in the faces of the dancers. I found this girls emotions to be dramatic in a good way. Her music had stopped and so did she, but only for a second and she kept dancing till the music caught up with her. You don’t see a football player drop a ball and keep running for a touchdown. The audience cheered her on for her decision to keep going.
Capturing pain is a hard thing to do, which is why I’m glad the dancers are capable of moving the way they do without snapping. If a football players did these maneuvers on the field it would be man down.
From big to small every dancer was different. Above is a more dramatic dance and below is a more humorous and cute dance.
At the start of a play and the end of a play you may here cheers from an audience. At a competition for dance consisting of mostly young girls its not cheers you hear, its high pitch squeals and screams. But just like every other sport their teammates and peers support them in their performance.
For this competition I watched the dances through the lens and shot at appropriate times. The settings were as followed
f/2.8 – SS1/320 – iso800
Dance is definitely something I would be interested in shooting again. This was a great opportunity.
And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say,’Maybe next year,’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from an ash tree, shoe a horse with hunk of car tire, who can make a harness out hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Who, during planting time and harvest season will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, put in another 72 hours.” So God made the farmer.
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to yean lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-comb pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the leg of a meadowlark.”
It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, and brake, and disk, and plow, and plant, and tie the fleece and strain the milk, . Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his son says that he wants to spend his life doing what Dad does. “So God made a farmer.” -Paul Harvey