Tag Archives: Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede – Chuckwagon race 2013

Calgarians were suspicious of opening of the Calgary Stampede after the flood hit in south Alberta. It turned out to be not so different from every year. It looked not as busy as last year, but still many people visited the Stampede park and enjoyed events, live music, attraction, food and of course rodeo and chuckwagon races. I tried to capture some exciting moments of the chuckwagon races this year as well.

Last year, I used a conventional manual focus “rangefinder” camera. Contrarily, this year, I used a modern DSLR, Nikon D800 and 70-200 mm zoom lens which has vibration reduction.  obviously, I benefited from the state of the art auto-focus system. Please take a look the images of chuckwagon race from last year here and compare with this year.

Actually, I needed a little practice to chase the wagons and to keep focus on. They runs that fast. But I shot about four times as many frames as last year, and I got some sharp images with D800.

Calgary Stampede Chuck Wagon race 2013 - 1 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K)) on 500px.com
Calgary Stampede Chuck Wagon race 2013 – 1 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Please click the image for checking details of the camera settings. Shutter speed is 1/250.

I also tried panning. Shutter speed is 1/50.

Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon race 2013 - 4 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K)) on 500px.com
Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon race 2013 – 4 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Well I could shot much more images than last year with modern DSLR, but I do not know if I got better images. I still prefer artistic “blur” images, like this.

Calgary Stampede Chuck wagon race 2013 - 2 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K)) on 500px.com
Calgary Stampede Chuck wagon race 2013 – 2 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Time-lapse Photography – Rebuilt for Youtube HD

In my last blog, I have posted the time-lapse photography, “A night at the Calgary Stampede”, and I noticed the image quality uploaded in Youtube was very bad. I do not think it was far from the acceptable level to publish. Think about the resolution produced by even old D80; it is much higher than 1080p high-definition. So I took a whole day (Beautiful Saturday) to research how to develop HD video for Youtube. Here is process to build time-lapse photography, which I think at least working for me.
1. Minor retouching on Adobe Light Room and apply the changes to all photos.
2. Export whole images to a folder with resizing to 1080 on short edge. In this movie, I captured ten different scenes so the resized images from each location were stored in particular folders.
3. Build the sequence movies (Time lapse) by Apple Quick time pro. In this case, I made 10 different movies.
4. Quicktime produces ‘mov” files which cannot be opened by Windows Movie Maker 6.0 so I used Avdemux 2.5 for not only converting files but also stitching the ten video files to one sequence. Avdemux 2.5 is very good software to transform video and audio to suitable ones to display on Youtube HD. Then the file was converted to AVI file.
5. Some effects were added by Windows Movie Maker 6.0, which allows to develop only WMV format of the video files.
6. The WMV file was converted to mpeg 4 format by WinFF.
7. Finally upload the time-lapse photography to Youtube.

I am sure that many people know better ways than this process I tried. Please share your method.

Although I have replaced with the HD version in my last post, I attached the HD version in this post. You can see the big improvement from the low resolution version. Also all softwares are free, except Apple QuickTime Pro which is only $20. Please select 720P HD in “Change Quality” button which is shown as a wheel mark located on right bottom of the video and try full screen.

High resolution version

Low resolution version

Time Lapse – A night at the Calgary Stampede 2012

I went to Calgary Stampede on July 14th Saturday. It was very busy day. Although I had my regular camera with me, I did not use the camera for even a shot because I decided to focus on time lapse photography with my old Nikon D80. I tried time lapse for wedding photo session which I hope I can show you in near future.

Calgary Stampede – Aftermath

Calgary Stampede 2012 has been over. After fireworks were done and when I was walking toward the C-train station, I found this scene. Well, although my friend, Janice, is the one who gets inspiration from Japanese Haiku,  I recalled the one of the most famous Haiku in Japan composed  about 350 years ago. Of course, I felt I’ve got to capture the scene and my sentimental feeling.

The summer grasses―
Of brave soldiers’s dreams
The aftermath.

The aftermath of dreams by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
The aftermath of dreams by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Calgary Stampede – Thank you, volunteers

My friend who was volunteering for Calgary Stamped went home today with her lovely horses. I guess her part of the summer 2012 has been done. When I visited the barns which spreads to huge area of the stampede park, I saw hundreds of campers. Most of the volunteers stay in their own campers and take care of their horses from early morning to the end of the fireworks which is around 11:30 pm.

Volunteers are not only for livestock, I noticed thousands of volunteers are helping Calgary Stampede. Without their help, Stampede could not be opened. My photos are being exhibited at the Stampede Western Photo gallery, and the gallery is run by 10s  of volunteers. They are the ones giving me the opportunity to show my images in the world event in 2011 and 2012. They are working not only the period of Stamped opened, but also they start planning for the next gallery show months ahead

I took picture of my friend’s love, Jazz. I would like to give this photo to her for showing my small appreciation. Thank you so much, all volunteers. Only one day left.

Jazz at Stampede by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Jazz at Stampede by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Calgary stampede – Chuck wagon race

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a chance to visit backstage of Calgary Stampede. I could see chuck wagon race at close range and I tried to capture the powerful horses running hard and working together.

My camera gear was my everyday set, a rangefinder camera and I used 135mm and 90mm this time…No auto-focus nor huge 300mm 2.8 lens.  Elamrit 135mm is quite sharp even though the lens was designed 35 years ago. I often think what the evolution of camera technology for these 20 years is. I started shooting with shutter-speed fairly first, 1/250 sec.

Chuck wagon race 2012 -1 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Chuck wagon race 2012 -1 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

I do not shoot sports photography so I thought this was a good opportunity to practice panning. It was pretty difficult to get idea how first I should move my camera to follow the horses running first. I tried the shutter-speed 1/15.

Chuck wagon race 2012 -3 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Chuck wagon race 2012 -3 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Chuck wagon race 2012 -4 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Chuck wagon race 2012 -4 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

The impression of the image is completely different from the first one. I got some ethereal images with 1/15. But it was a little too blur so I tried 1/30 and changed lens to 90mm. I think this image is dynamic enough and not too artistic as the 2nd one.

Chuck wagon race 2012 -5 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Chuck wagon race 2012 -5 by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Please click the images for larger sizes.

Calgary Stampede – behind the scenes

A friend of mine volunteers Calgary stampede every year and she invited me to a backstage of Calgary Stampede. I visisted the site around 5 pm evening so I had an opportunity to photograph cowboys and cowgirls preparing their horses for the chuck wagon race. I saw a young girl was helping, I guess, her mom. Also I saw a senior was showing how to bandage a horse legs to young one. I noticed the skills and knowledge were handed down from a generation to next generation.

Then I had a little beer with some volunteers, attending from all over the Alberta with their horses. That was great experience! Oh, fireworks from the other side of the Stampede park was amazing. I hope I can come back next year.

Animal portrait – Horses, such a gentle animal

Last weekend, I had a chance to visit my friend’s farm just outside of Calgary, Alberta. My purpose of this visit was photographing their horses. My inner images were trying to capture horses running dynamically…with a little bit motion blur. However, due to the rain before the day, the soil was pretty muddy, they could not get out to the field. So I changed strategy and tried more close-up shorts and made it animal portrait. Hmmm…I don’t know since I stop caring ribbon collecting images or my photographic vocabulary is expanding?… now, I can get images making me feel good in any situations…most of times

Talking about and horses and western theme, my 6 photos are exhibited at Calgary Stampede Western photo gallery until July 15th.

Secret talk by Hiroaki  Kobayashi (Hiro-K) on 500px.com
Secret talk by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Please click the image for the larger size.

Also please check out, my friend, Janice Meyers Foreman’s photo. Good one as well.





Stampede Wstern Gallery Show(3) – Photo finish “Direct Metal Print”

When having conversations with photographers, we tend to talk about equipments or photo editing software. But when I have chances to talk to professional or experienced photographers, I am often impressed by their care for photo finishing. Prints by major chain stores are fine for casual occasions. However, imagine if someone bought my photo and hang on a wall at their home, I would like to provide properly completed works. More importantly,  I believe photo finishing is still a part of artistic process. It is like chefs make delicious food but also serve on carefully selected plates and bowls.

For previous gallery shows, I printed on conventional Barayta or fiber based paper by my Epson photo R2400 printer. I really like their rich black and NATURALLY saturated color. But I wanted to try something else this time
for Stampede – Western photo gallery . After some researches, I found Quintaro
in Calgary, Alberta does “Direct Metal Print”. It is not metallic paper; an image is printed directly on an Aluminum metallic board. Quintaro has 3 types of finishes: white coated, white coated glossy and non-coated (brushed). I tried non-coated and brushed finish for my Infrared images.

Floating Root

Please note, I copied print images by taking picture of them by my digital camera so the quality is compromised. But you can see its uniqueness. Because of its shiny surface, intensity of high light changes depends on directions of illuminating light . This also changes impressions of image. You may understand if I would say…that it is like sun is moving behind the clouds. It is cool.

Enlarged image. Now hairlines of brushed surface are visible.

Possible downside of this photo finish you are thinking of now may be that the results of prints can not be predicated on Photoshop. However, it is not a problem since Quintaro provides free proof prints for a couple of times. Actually, I did not need 2nd proof prints for most of my entries.  Thank you very much, staff of Quintaro Imaging, for your wonderful services and professional suggestions.

Major advantage of the metal print is that I can print my images as large as possible since mats and a frame are not necessary. For the same reason, cost of the metal print is comparable with a framed photo. Now, I am just hoping viewers will like the displays.

One more info I have to mention, Samantha Chrysanthou and Darwin Wiggett‘s photos are exhibited at Baker Creak Chalets – Restaurant in Banff national park, Alberta. To be honest, I heard about direct metal prints first time in their lecture. (I admit I am a follower of them. I always find something new to learn in their blogs). Some of their display are metal prints as well, but their prints are white coated ones. So the photos have very different look from the non-coated brushed surface. Check them out if you have chance to visist Canadian Rockies.

Lastly,…I think it is okay to proud of myself… this image is the winning image in Stampede – Western Photo Competition in the nature category.  Next week of the same day, Calgary Stampede 2011 will have been opened. I am throbbing with excitement.

RELATED POST: Infrared Photography