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Phil Douglis | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Ninety-three: Bull riding, the "most dangerous eight seconds in sports" -- a photo-essay tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Gallery Ninety-three: Bull riding, the "most dangerous eight seconds in sports" -- a photo-essay

I use a photojournalistic approach to interpret the sport of bull riding in this thirteen image monochromatic photo-essay. Bull riding is usually one of the events of a rodeo, involving a rider attempting to stay on the back of a bucking bull for at least eight seconds. This particular bull riding session, held on the grounds of a restaurant in Cave Creek, Arizona, is not part of a rodeo. It features only bull and calf riding, drawing competitors of all ages, genders and ability. Prize money is at sometimes awarded as well.

Sports photography is a challenging specialty, requiring effective vantage points, a good sense of timing, and the use of appropriate equipment. Many photographers will use flash for nighttime events such as this. I do not use flash in my own photography. I prefer that my own images look as natural as possible. Because this arena’s lighting was not very bright, I had to boost the sensitivity of my image sensor to ISO 25,600. I also noticed that the mundane colors of this event did not add much meaning to my pictures, so I converted all of my images to monochrome, selecting a soft sepia effect in my post-processing. The images become simpler in the process, and convey the story with greater impact and meaning.

I took a balanced approach to my editing. More than half of my images feature the people who watch and participate in the event, while the rest interpret the violent world of bull riding itself.

I present this gallery, as usual, in “blog style.” I display an oversized clickable thumbnail image for each photograph, along with a caption explaining how I intended to express my idea. By clicking on that large thumbnail image, you will be able to see the photograph in a much larger size. You can study the details, as well as have an opportunity to leave comments, ask questions, and read any comments that have been left by others. I respond to every comment, and hope you can participate in this dialogue. I welcome your impressions, ideas, and questions.