A Vancouver photography Adventure  


Our “Vancouver Adventure” is weeks in the past and Jo and I are still talking about the fun we had.

In last week’s article I said that my dictionary defines Adventure as “excitement, thrill, and stimulation”

Two weeks ago I wrote about the great time we had photographing the Bloedel conservatory and the birds in the aviary on our first morning. And last week my article was about the exciting time we had doing long exposures from Stanley Park across the water of the city lights after dark.

What an enjoyable way to spend the day before the Vancouver Used Camera Sale and Swap Meet.

That first night Laurie, Jo and I knew had to get up early to set up our tables in the morning, but we were having too much fun and instead were up late talking about photography. Nevertheless, we did get up to the sound of the early morning seagulls, ate breakfast, and after packing everything into our vehicles were off to the Croatian Community center for the third part of our adventure. We carried equipment through a light Vancouver rain to have our tables ready for the onslaught of excited photographers when they entered the large hall and started searching for great deals.

That event was, as always, a hodgepodge of different people with different interests. The crowd seemed to have grown a lot younger, but that might be my personal impression. After all, I have been attending the Vancouver Camera Sale and Swap since the 1980s and I’ve gotten a bit older.

Actually, the people attending are photographers of every age group; from experienced elders to teenagers accompanied by their patient parents. It is a diverse fellowship that includes all kinds of lifestyles, interests, and photographic specialties. There are those that are dedicated to film, vintage cameras, and processes of the past, walking alongside others carrying and looking for the latest in modern photographic technology.

Jo and I had a grand weekend photographing inspiring subjects, and the frosting on the cake was attending a gathering like the Vancouver Camera Sale and Swap where we got to meet and exchange information with other photographers and check out the many kinds of photographic equipment that would not be so available anywhere else. 

We spent the day selling the camera equipment I had gathered, had fun wandering the sale and, of course, talking with other photographers.

This was Jo’s second Vancouver camera show. When I turned to her and said, “Hey I just sold that neat old camera you bought last summer. What are you going to do with the $40.00 I got for it?”   I realized just how silly that question was when she said, “I’ll be right back” and about fifteen minutes later she returned with three little digital Canon Powershot cameras. A black one for her Husband, a blue one for her 5 year old son and a red one for her 4 year old daughter.

In my opinion it doesn’t get much better than spending the day surrounded by a huge selection of cameras and other photography equipment. Gosh, it is just invigorating and even after all these years I always learn something. We are already planning for next spring’s sale. Hmmm, I wonder if we can go two days early and search out more fun locations to photograph.

Grab your camera and go to the Rodeo

                                                                                                    I had finally reached Olympic games overdose. I enjoyed watching the Olympics, but in British Columbia, Olympics coverage was everywhere. Every radio station, television network, newspaper, and conversation had something about what was happening and I couldn’t get away from it. However, now they are over and I expect many (ok, I guess I’m included in this) might be going through some sort of withdrawal.


Well, for those who enjoyed watching and applauding athletes at their best I found a great way to get out of that withdrawal, however, they just need to be willing to get up off the couch and leave the comfort of their air-conditioned home.  Happening right now all over North America there is that time-honored tradition of the western Rodeo. Each year I look forward to the annual Prichard Rodeo. There are others all over BC that are worth attending, but I’m lucky because, “just down the road apiece” from my country home is the Pritchard Rodeo grounds.

As I strolled down the dirt lane to the bleachers, concessions, and rodeo arena, I looked around and could see some of my neighbors lounging in the fenced off beer garden, and others with their children waiting in the shaded bleachers. Then, of course, I checked out the photographers standing at the railing readying their equipment.  The first friendly face was local news photojournalist Hugo Yuen; we exchanged greetings, talked a bit before he left to get some of the participant names. He had a list to cover for his paper, so he was shooting fast and leaving.

I wandered on, watching photographers positioning themselves along the railing, I wanted to see what cameras they were using, and waved at the arena manager, Don Swift, as he readied participants and turned to see professional rodeo photographer Bernie Hudyma striding towards me. I knew I would see him there. He’s a good photographer and I always like to hear what he has to say. I’m sure many of the rodeo participants were also glad to see him arena side because of the pictures he will have waiting for them.


For those that haven’t yet photographed a rodeo, I’ll begin with the words, “Grab your hat and camera and do it!” You will have fun and get enjoyable pictures to share with friends and relatives.

Here one can see drama, explosive action, anticipation, heartbreak, defeat, excitement, athletic prowess, both male and female physical excellence, teamwork, sportsmanship and, of course, triumph. Then there isn’t, in my opinion, anything much better than attending a rodeo. And for those of us that are dedicated photographers, the action of a rodeo is the perfect way to spend the day.

My advice for first-timers is to get a DSLR. Little point and shoot cameras are great for taking pictures of family groups, and subjects moving slowly in one direction, but you won’t find much of that at the rodeo. When you shoot with the DSLR take the camera off the “P” mode and select  “A”, or  “S” mode if you own a Nikon, or on a Canon select AV or TV. Aperture priority means the photographer selects the aperture and the camera chooses the shutter speed. In shutter priority, it is the other way around, the photographer selects the shutter speed and the camera controls the aperture.

Fast moving, quick changing, rodeo subjects jump into the sky, quickly increase or close the distance from where the action began and, of course, constantly change the exposure by bouncing in and out of bright sun and deep shade.  While following the constantly changing scenarios it all happens very fast, and all one really needs is to control one part of the exposure equation.  Whether that is the shutter or the aperture really depends on what is important.

For example, when I am photographing the directional motion of horse racing or drag racing I prefer shutter priority. When at the rodeo I want more depth of field. That’s the field of focus in front of and behind my subject. Those horses and bulls move fast and I don’t want one moving out of my area of sharpness before I can refocus.

I suggest a zoom lens that goes to at least 200mm. Most modern lenses focus fast enough, following the action, and setting the focus takes a bit of practice, but there is lots of time to experiment at a rodeo, so just shoot and shoot and shoot. As I wrote, if you haven’t yet photographed a rodeo, grab your hat and camera and do it! Find a rodeo near your home and have fun.

My website is at www.enmanscamera.com