Texas – Photo Tip

Explore both sides of every coin

Rodeo arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand. It is the official state sport of Wyoming, South Dakota, and Texas.

Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Texas – Photo Tip

Explore both sides of every coin

Rodeo is a very physical affair. It is perhaps the most physical contact between man and animal you can think of. It is rough, sometimes even violent. Not only people get hurt but animals as well.

Jochem Wijnands
Jochem Wijnands Founder / photographer

In steer wrestling and team roping, it is all about man and horse against steer to get the job done. It is primeval man and animal.

At some point during my rodeo days, I realized I was focusing mainly on the human side of the rodeo. Trying to catch the emotions on the faces of the cowboys. Feeling the pain, the disappointment and, of course, the triumph. Then I started zooming in on the animals. What were they feeling? Was it possible at all to capture a sense of emotion on their faces?

The interesting thing for me from a photography point of view is that by changing my focus I changed my pictures. That means you can control your output to an important extent. If you go somewhere and just wait and see what happens, you might be unprepared. I would have never taken this photo if I had not first thought of zooming in on the animals to study their emotions.

Did I succeed? Well, I am not sure. I think I see bewilderment, like a big question mark hanging above the steer’s head somewhere. It could be anxiety or even fear I saw in his eyes. But since I am not a steer, I can only wonder.

A calf runs between two horses during a team roping event. PRCA rodeos tend to feature three rough...

A calf runs between two horses during a team roping event. PRCA rodeos tend to feature three rough stock events – bull riding, bareback riding and saddle bronc riding – and four timed events: tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing, where a rider and horse ride around barrels against the clock. Photo by Jochem Wijnands / Getty Images

Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

NIKON D3

Agency
Getty Images
Aperture
ƒ/3.2
Exposure
1/320
ISO
3200
Focal
200 mm

A calf runs between two horses during a team roping event. PRCA rodeos tend to feature three rough stock events – bull riding, bareback riding and saddle bronc riding – and four timed events: tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing, where a rider and horse ride around barrels against the clock.