Michael Pintar Photography
“Bulls Won’t Pay the Bills”
In 1997, my twin brother Brian and I moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. One morning, we went to the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association) Hall of Fame to watch three-time world champion bull rider, Tuff Hedeman, get inducted.
I’d already had longtime respect for the sport of rodeo, its history, and impact on Western American culture and excited to now be living in the heart of rodeo country. It was at Hedeman’s induction where I said to my brother, “Hey, we’ve been tough athletes, right?” “I bet we’d be good at rodeo.”
Neither of us could afford a horse at the time, much less ride or rope off one, and bronc riding looked too scary. Yet for some wild reason, bull riding appealed to us. Ultimately, Brian did okay at riding bulls, making a few bucks along the way. I, on the other hand, promptly realized that a 26-year old former city-boy, was not making frequent trips to the pay-out window as a bull rider. Needless to say, bulls were not going to pay the bills.
After that I’d never thought be around rodeo, western lifestyle, and cowboy culture again. That is until I picked up a camera. My hope is to continue making images that inspire, tell a story, and perhaps break the mold in traditional imagery.
Do You Have a Good Photo Tip for Us?
There’s so much to be learned, but first and foremost, have fun. Shoot, shoot, and shoot images. And when you’re done with that, shoot more.
Slip-ups Occasionally Work
Many of the images on my Instagram page @pintargraphy have been captured at Cervi Ranch in northeastern Colorado. Cervi Championship Rodeo produces some of the largest and most entertaining rodeo events across the United States.
My first opportunity to photograph at Cervi Ranch was at Ace High Roughstock Academy whereby riders test their skills on their awesome rodeo stock. I was motivated to shoot in Cervi’s distinctive arena that gives the photographer a chance to shoot close to the action, more so than most traditional setups.
The goal was to capture as many bronc-riding pictures from a traditional view (both rider and horse) as possible, go home after the long weekend, and start tediously post-processing. Upon reviewing the hundreds of photos, I quickly recognized many photos had cutoff both horse and rider as result of failing to rotate between cameras when the action got close.
Instinctively, I began removing all ‘cutoff’ images. That is, until I noticed one of the ‘cutoffs’ had more attention-grabbing details than some of the more common looking rodeo images.
Thus, what was initially considered photographic slip-ups, have become some of my best art.
What’s In Your Bag?
- Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II – I’m on my second one of these bags. They are awesome!
- BlackRapid – Hybrid Breathe Double Camera Sling (I love how easily I can slide a camera out of the way and keep it there on the occasional times I have to run away from a potential collision with a horse or bull)
- Canon 5dsr w/battery grip
- Canon 80D w/battery grip
- Canon Lenses: 70×200, 24×70, 16×35, 40mm
- Batteries & Chargers
- Cleaning Kit
- MacBook Pro 15
Social Media Links & Website
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/pintargraphy/