Weekly Photo Challenge – Surprise

Buckeye, Arizona.

For this week’s challenge, Jen H. suggests that “Much of photography is about discovery, and with discovery may come a surprise.” Her challenge is to share a surprise, as seen through the camera lens. You can read the entire challenge post here. It only took me a moment to realize that my share would require a gallery. Of course, I chose specific images to prove my point, and I can’t say my surprise was of a 100% consistency, but I had enough evidence to ask an expert, and my surprise was confirmed. 

You’ve probably heard the term, “This ain’t my first rodeo.” Well, photographically speaking, Buckeye Days’ Hellzapoppin Arena was the location and the National Seniors Professional Rodeo Association was my first rodeo for image capture. You can see more photos from the rodeo here. Look closely at the opening photo, captured during the rodeo’s practice session the day before the actual rodeo. Notice the horses’ forelegs appear to be in sync. Both left forward and appearing to be synchronized. Now, it could be a coincidence, but after studying shot after shot of my team roping photos, I concluded that there is enough photographic evidence to demonstrate that the horses somehow “sync up” their gait.

Study the two photos above. They were taken moments apart with the Nikon D500, a camera capable of 10 frames per second. If I was a videographer capturing the action, I’m not sure I would have noticed the forelegs appearing to sync at 24 or 30 frames per second, but in reviewing the dozens of individual photos captured during my learning experience at higher speed still photography, the leg sync was obvious.

Studying the photos captured just out of the gates, the horses were generally not in sync, nor were they if the calf was roped almost immediately after release. But given time, if the calf was quick and the horses needed to chase for a short distance, their forelegs appeared to fall into sync. As it turns out, one of the members of my hiking club is also involved with team roping. What a coincidence! I mentioned what I saw with my camera on a recent hike and he confirmed that the horses do sync to match their gait naturally. It isn’t a trained process. See my evidence in the pairs of photos in the gallery below. Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.

Having the capability to grab up to ten frames per second with the new camera has opened up a new world of photography. Capturing action and reviewing the images for the best possible shot is much easier and I found a powerful tool for both sports and wildlife photography in the Nikon D500. I am looking forward to expanding my library of photos to include more of both categories in future posts.

John Steiner


4 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Surprise

  1. Huh, maybe horses are smarter than people. It takes weeks of social engineering in branches of the military to get people to march in sync… Once again food for thought! LOL Great pics!

    • And if they aren’t paid for their sync efforts, good luck… 🙂 Thanks. That camera at 10 frames per second proves the adage… take a hundred pics, at least one of them is gonna be good.

  2. Pingback: Surprise: Fresh Green | What's (in) the picture?

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